Information & Facts
The climate of London is temperate, with modest daily high
temperatures during summer (apart from the odd heat wave) and
winter lows that seldom fall below freezing. Rainfall is fairly
regular, but most often in the form of drizzle, occurring
throughout the year. Snow occurs sometimes in winter but rarely
settles more than a few millimetres deep.
A melting pot of cultures, eating out in London is an
international affair. Renowned for its curries, there are hundreds
of Indian restaurants to choose from, from upmarket Mayfair to the
trendy Brick Lane. Head to Chinatown in Soho for Chinese, or
Brixton for African or Caribbean.
A city synonymous with celebrity big name chefs like Jamie
Oliver and Gordon Ramsay, visitors to the city can also sample some
of the country's finest cuisine, but at a price. For a special
gourmet evening out head to Mayfair, Covent Garden, Soho or
Chelsea, but expect to pay. For the ultimate English experience,
traditional fish and chips are the order of the day. Get it wrapped
up for take away and head to the nearest park for a greasy snack.
If the weather is doing its usual thing then head to a cosy
gastropub instead and sample some heart-warming English fare like
the world-famous fish and chips.
Eating out in London is expensive but a lunchtime sandwich and
soft drink shouldn't cost more than £5 and an evening meal at a
standard restaurant, excluding drinks, can be had for £10.
For a comprehensive list of London restaurants check out
London's legendary Tube network remains the quickest and easiest
way to get around the city, though it is best avoided during rush
hour. The famous red buses are a more pleasant, if slower, way to
get around. One-, three-, and seven-day Travelcards are good
options for tourists; they can be used on buses and the underground
and can be bought at any newsagent. Oyster cards, a reusable,
discounted, pay-as-you-go option, are now available to overseas
visitors, but they must be purchased beforehand online or from
overseas travel agents. The ubiquitous black cabs are excellent but
very expensive; minicabs are cheaper but must be ordered in
advance. Illegal minicabs tout for business around London's
theatres and nightspots; they are often the only option late at
night but should not be taken by single women or those who don't
know the way home. London's main attractions are fairly close to
one another; many are situated along the River Thames, and if the
weather is nice, walking or taking a riverboat are good options.
Driving is not a good option in central London, as parking is
difficult to find and very expensive, and those who park illegally
are faced with steep fines at best. A 'congestion charge' is also
payable by those driving into central London from Monday to Friday
between 7am and 6.30pm. However, driving is the only option for
those wanting to explore the countryside. Car rental companies
require the driver to be over 25, have a full driving license, and
hold a credit card. For more information, visit
London is a great city to explore with children. On a clear day,
take the kids for a ride on one of the hop-on hop-off topless
buses; the constantly changing scenery is exciting and it'll save a
lot of energy trying to walk the streets with small children in
tow. The bus tickets also allow a Thames River boat ride past such
sights as Westminster, Big Ben, the London Eye and Tower Bridge.
Kids will be delighted at the amount there is to spot along the
way. While obvious holiday attractions for kids in London include
the London Eye, Big Ben and the delightfully tacky and gruesome
London Dungeon, there are also an assortment of parks, museums and
shows to keep children happy. Whether children are interested in
nature and science or arts and crafts, London is a child's
paradise. Madame Tussaud's is fun and children will love
discovering the famous wax sculptures. Don't miss taking the kids
to the world-renowned Hamley's Toy Shop for a shopping experience
to remember. London may be synonymous with cold, rainy weather but
is still a year-round holiday destination. It is at its best during
spring (April to June), when the days are warm, and the flowers are
English is the official language, though visitors will be
astonished by the variety of regional accents.
The currency is the pound (GBP), which is divided into 100
pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and
American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards
should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign
currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels,
however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks.
Travellers cheques are accepted in all areas frequented by
tourists; they are best taken in Pounds Sterling to avoid
The nightlife in London is second to none with something for
everyone and for just about every kind of occasion, from the
pulsating dance floors of some of the world's most famous clubs to
the more chilled out and intimate music lounges and bars.
Hardcore party animals wanting to strut their stuff will love
the clubbing scene, complete with well known local and
international DJs, while the countless bars and cosy independent
theatres featuring local and international live music acts that
will blow your mind. Live music in London is the best in the world,
and on any given night there will be an international or local band
playing in more than one of the venues around this pulsating
The West End in particular is home to many bars, clubs and
restaurants, and Soho is one of the trendiest and coolest places to
drink. This is also where most of London's gay bars and clubs can
be found. The perpetually cool Notting Hill and Portobello Road
areas still draw large crowds and local areas, such as Camden and
Angel up north and Clapham and Brixton down south, boast some
fantastic pubs and bars, all with their own unique flavour.
Those in the mood for a quiet drink and some conversation should
head down to one of the many tradition English pubs scattered
around this cosmopolitan city, where they can enjoy some of the
finest ales, stouts, ciders, and malt whiskies in the world.
Although, many of London's bars these days have clubs and dance
floors inside them, transforming them into miniature nightclubs and
ushering in a new era of the phrase 'heading down to the pub'.
The West End is also known as 'Theatreland' and those in the
mood for a Broadway-style theatre shows should head down to the
Lyceum Theatre or the Queen's Theatre to catch a show or musical.
And while you're in the area, culture lovers can enjoy an evening
at Covent Garden watching the Royal Opera or the Royal Ballet,
while lovers of classical music can head to the Albert Hall.
There is also plenty of fringe theatre outside of the West End
with young professionals and amateurs performing anything from
classic plays to cabaret. Common fringe venues include fully kitted
cosy theatres to cramped rooms above some of the city's local pubs.
Other non-commercial theatres include the world-renowned National
Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe Theatre and the
London is not just a European shopping destination, but a global
one. The city has fantastic fashion stores, with famous brands
lurking around every corner. Visit the renowned Oxford and Regent
streets for big brands like Gap, Zara, Topshop, H&M and United
Colours of Benetton. Don't be put off by their loud exteriors; some
shops are actually quite affordable. For music lovers head to
Virgin or HMV where you might even spot a famous musician as
publicity performances are often held at these stores.
Renowned for its markets, Camden in North London has become one
of the fourth most visited sights in London. A haven for punks,
Goths and other alternative sub cultures the myriad of stalls and
shops sell outrageous retro outfits, colourful accessories and
modern party outfits that really have to be seen to be
For an enjoyable weekend outing, Portobello Market is a gem
(look out for the Farmers Market in the vicinity). Made famous by
the romantic Hollywood film
Notting Hill, there are many attractive coffee shops,
independent retailers and cheap stalls selling clothing, jewellery
and music to explore.
If you are a foodie then head to the Borough Market adjacent to
London Bridge. Dedicated to gastronomy, visitors can sample
homemade pâté, buy fresh cherries, olive oil, sweet cakes and the
likes. General groceries can be bought at one of the major English
supermarket chains such as Tesco, Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and
With iconic attractions such as the Houses of Parliament, Big
Ben and Tower Bridge, visitors to this eclectic city will be kept
busy with the multitude of sights to explore. Visit the stoic lions
on Trafalgar Square, be bowled over by the grand interior of St
Paul's Cathedral, or take a stroll through St James Park and watch
the famous changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and you
still haven't scratched the surface of London's attractions.
Venturing more into the heart of the West End, follow the crowds
to the bright montage of lights and billboards at Piccadilly Circus
and from there take in Chinatown, Soho and Covent Garden. For those
with an appreciation for history and the natural world, the superb
British Museum and Natural History Museum in South Kensington are a
must on any London vacation. The south bank of the Thames draws
visitors with the London Eye, the London Aquarium and the über-cool
An easy and pleasurable way to see the major sights is on one of
the London's red buses or, weather permitting, on foot. Many
visitors use the underground to travel the short distances from
sight to sight, missing the opportunity to gain a better picture of
this vibrant city. A boat tour down the river Thames is also a
great way to view some major sights and to learn more about the
central role this river has played in London life, or just relax
while you ponder what next to see and do in London.
Local time in the United Kingdom is GMT (GMT +1 from last
Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).