It's a spectacular city, but the inner London neighbourhoods can be a bit hard to understand. Why is the "City of London" not London? Westminster may be in London and surrounded by London, but it, too, is not London — it's a separate city.
This selection of maps will help to oriented you in this historic yet modern city. You'll go away with a better idea of the layout of London and where the top attractions are located. We also share out our favourite, easy-to-carry, maps of London.
Here you get a real understanding of how close London is to the Continent. London is located pretty much in the southeast of England, giving it easy access to France, Belgium, and the Netherlands. In fact, with the Chunnel and the Eurostar high-speed train, it's often easier to travel to Europe than it is to the rest of England.
Because of that, you can even do a day trip to Paris from London, taking in Versailles while you're there.
In London, what's the different between "East" and "East End"? It's easy to see on the map that the East End is (nearly) a part of Central London, while London East is a far-out borough located to the…East!
On a map of this scale you also get a good understanding of where Wimbledon is (sort of on the opposite corner from East). You note that Camden is north and Southwark is south. But, see those tightly-packed districts north of South Bank? That's where you'll be spending your time as a visitor. The next map lets you see those areas up close.
Here we are in the heart of historic London, where most of the things you want to do and see are found. To the East is the City of London, a separate entity with its own mayor and the location of finance and skyscrapers, including the Shard.
About in the centre of the map are the three urban parks that connect at Buckingham Palace — places you're sure to want to visit. You'll also spot Soho, Marylebone and, to the west, Notting Hill.
It's by far the largest park in London and you definitely need a map to get around. Hyde park separates the sort or urban-trendy-ethnic Notting Hill from the rest of Greater London.
This interactive map shows the location of the top London sites and attractions. Click on the map to drag it around. It also allows you to increase or decrease the view. Click on "View larger map" for an even broader view.
When we're exploring a city like London we always have a printed map or two in our bag. They're great for understanding what's around us and figuring out and where we want to go next.
We have some simple criteria for printed maps. They have to be small enough to tuck easily in a pocket or bag. More importantly, the map scale should be large enough large enough to be easy to read. (London is a big city, with a lot to try to fit on a map, so the scale does tend to be smaller than, say, a map of Rome.) With that in mind, here are the London travel maps that top our list —