London City Facts
|Total Area||606 sq miles|
|Lat Long Coordinates of London||51.5171° N, 0.1262° W|
|Museum||Museum of Science & Industry, Greater Manchester Police Museum, Imperial War Museum North|
|Universities||The University of London, London’s Global University, London Metropolitan University|
About London City:
London is the largest financial hub in the world, rivaled only by New York City. London boasts the highest GDP of any European city, and over 65% of Fortune’s Global 500 companies are Tourism in London, which brings in over 19 million international visitors and is an unparalleled industry.
The capital of the United Kingdom comes as no surprise as the second on the list of most visited cities in the world. With the largest urban zone in the European Union, London is a major gateway to Europe. The city is truly cosmopolitan, in the sense that the city effortlessly blends a variety of influences from around the world. A global hub for business, trade, finance, arts and entertainment, media, fashion, healthcare, and tourism, London is also a premier location for higher education. Around 43 universities, 12 arts and culture institutes, and 395 public libraries dot the city, which boasts 200 museums and 900 bookstores. A cultural hotspot, London hosts around 200 festivals, and several sporting arenas, including Wembley Stadium – the largest football stadium in the world, and over 100 theaters.
From Londinium to London
The origin of London can be traced back to the Port of Londinium, founded by Roman Emperor Claudius in 43 AD. By the 7th century, Saxons had established Lundenwic to the west of the original township of Londinium. The Norman Conquest in the early second century left a legacy of growth and development. In 1190, London elected its first mayor, Henry Fitz Aylwin. With the ascent of Queen Elizabeth I to the throne, London grew to become the focus of international attention. The Royal Exchange was established and by 1600, the East India Company was formed. The latter part of the century was not a pleasant one – London experienced civil unrest and plagues, and was ravaged by the Great Fire of 1622.
Facts about London
659 square miles / 1,707 square kilometers
Average Summer High
75° F / 24° C
Average Winter Low
36° F / 2.3° C
Pound Sterling (GBP)
Country – 44, City – 020
Heathrow (LHR), Gatwick (LGW), Stansted (STN), London City (LCY), Luton (LTN)
Greenwich Mean Time
Robert Hooke, the Surveyor of London, supervised the Great Rebuilding of London, and master architect Christopher Wren rebuilt the city, establishing some of the city’s best-known landmarks, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, and the neighborhoods of Mayfair and St. James.
Queen Victoria came to power in 1838, and the Industrial Revolution brought a period of expansive growth in terms of transportation and industries in London. The London Underground opened in 1863, establishing London as the center of a growing colonial empire. Bombed by the Germans during World War I, the city’s economy suffered great losses. During World War II, UK Prime Minister Winston Churchill directed the nation’s war strategy from London. A period of austerity and rationing followed, only to be broken by the Olympic Games of 1948, which brought the city back into the limelight. In the 1950s and 60s, London became the hub of international culture and politics, fashion, and music. Today, the city has made a remarkable name for itself in the fields of education, politics, finance and trade, media, and fashion. Click to know more about How London got its name
On the Banks of the Thames
One of the most important cities in world history, London spans both banks of the River Thames. London is located in southeastern England in the United Kingdom. London’s merit as a port city has been the key factor in the city’s growth and its clout in both political and economic arenas. London is an ever-expanding city made up of Kent, Surrey, and Berkshire to the south banks of the Thames, and Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, and Essex to the north. The expansion of Greater London has now been arrested by the designation of the Metropolitan Green Belt. London Metropolitan Region, however, covers the entire commuter belt and Greater London.
When in London, you’re likely to find people checking the weather, but carrying umbrellas and sunglasses regardless of what the weatherman forecast. The rains are unpredictable, but London rightly boasts a mild climate most months. From May through August, London enjoys all the glories of the British summer. Spring and fall are pleasant and colorful. Tourists typically avoid the winter months, from November through February, but London is charming during the Christmas season.
How to reach London?
By air: Check London Airports Map
London is the best-connected city in the world by air, with the maximum number of flights arriving in this global city. Travelers can arrive in London from any of the 6 airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, City, Stansted, Luton, and Southend. All the airports are well connected to the city by bus or tube routes, with accessibility to nearby railway stations. For travelers arriving at Heathrow, the Heathrow Express tube line is the most convenient way to get from the airport to the city.
By train :
Travelers can arrive in London by train from mainland Europe or the other parts of the UK. The operator Eurostar runs trains from Paris and Brussels, along a high-speed rail line that crosses the English Channel under the sea via the Channel Tunnel, and arrives at St. Pancras International Station.
By bus :
Bus services (called coach services in the UK) run by National Express, Eurolines, Megabus, and Greyhound offer reasonable fares and convenient access to London from many destinations in Europe and across the UK. Most bus services arrive at Victoria Coach Station near Buckingham Palace Road and the Victoria railway station. All the bus operators allow online booking in advance, which is a good way to get a ticket at a lower fare.
By car :
If you’re fond of driving, you can always drive to London from mainland Europe or elsewhere in the UK. The M2 and M20 are the main motorways from the coastal towns of Folkestone and Dover (where travelers arrive from Europe) to London. From the shipping town of Southampton, the main highway to London is the M3. From Scotland, the main motorway to London is the M1, while the A1 is the highway from Scotland’s capital Edinburgh to London. The M25 circular motorway surrounds the city of London.
Getting around London
Once in London travelers will find a number of options, including trains, buses (including London’s iconic red double-decker buses), and the London Tube that offer convenient ways to get around the city. The London taxis or black cabs are other options. Minicabs which can be pre-booked are another way of traveling around the city.
Oyster Card: While in London, an easy way to pay for travel by bus and tube is the handy Oyster Card. Travelers can purchase an Oyster card and charge it up with a fixed sum. With every journey by tube or bus, a sum is deducted. The fare on an Oyster card is less than the regular fare for that distance. When you leave the city you can hand back the card at an Oyster Customer Service kiosk and get a refund on the amount not yet used on your card. Find out how many Stations are there on London Underground
Weather in London :
The weather in London in summer is pleasant with temperatures ranging from 64 degrees F to 86 degrees F (18 C to 30 C) on very warm days. Summer evenings extend well into the night and are a great time to explore the city, as the mild weather is great for walking. In spring and autumn temperatures are chillier ranging from 52 degrees F to 59 degrees F (11 C to 15 C). Winter in London gets very cold and can be snowy, with daytime temperatures ranging from 35.5 degrees F to 43 degrees F (2 C and 6 C), and nighttime temperatures dip well below zero, though the Christmas lights brighten up the city. Be prepared for rainfall throughout the year, with peak rainfall occurring in August and November. While in London it is advisable to dress in layers and carry an umbrella or windcheater all year round.
Which is the best season to visit London?
The summer months (May to July) are the best season to visit London as the weather is mild and evenings are longer, so you can make the most of the daylight hours to go sightseeing and enjoy the city’s attractions.
Transportation There and Around
With around 19 million annual international tourists, the city’s air traffic is handled by its two major airports – Heathrow and Gatwick, followed by Stansted. Heathrow is one of the world’s busiest airports, and the city’s airports together make up the busiest airport system in the world.
The sprawling city of London is well supported by its public transportation system. By speed and spread, the London Underground, locally known as the Tube, is your best bet. The black cabs around town are good options, and their drivers are well versed in getting to tourist hotspots. Another option is the red Routemaster – the famous double-decker bus. Another fun way to see the city is to rent a bicycle – but you’ll have to brave the traffic.
The Sights and Sounds of London
One of the best-loved tourist destinations in the world, London can take a lifetime to soak in all the splendid sights and sounds of the city. Tourists are often at a loss to narrow down the list of architectural marvels, museums, galleries, parks, and gardens to fit them into the itinerary.
The Buckingham Palace, the official residence and office of the British monarch, is the city’s biggest attraction. The Queen’s Gallery is home to some of the most prized works of art in the world, including paintings by Rubens and Rembrandt. And trying to make the Queen’s Guards smile is a must. There are many palaces in London. The Hampton Court Palace is yet another imposing palace. It has connections with Henry VIII. Several artworks dating back to the 16th – 18th century are seen in the palace.
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben are iconic structures of quintessential London. Visitors are allowed to attend the House of Commons proceedings, but it’s best to make these arrangements months in advance.
Tower Bridge is the next stop for most London tourists. Built in 1894, the bridge delights as 1,000-ton bascules are drawn, and you might find time for the Tower Bridge Exhibition. No matter your interests – historic drama, treason, or the Koh-i-Noor and the British crown jewels, the Tower of London is the place to be. Art lover or not, the National Gallery is one London attraction you can’t miss. Few galleries around the world can boast 2,300 paintings that include Monet, Rembrandt, Turner, and Da Vinci.
For an odd mix of London’s Old World charm and modern life, Trafalgar Square is the perfect spot. And for your fix of Royal Wedding goods and gowns, and other magic of the British Royals put Kensington Palace on your itinerary.
London is the Mecca for museum buffs. Not for nothing is the Tate Modern the most visited museum in the world, recording over 4.7 million annual visitors. The Natural History Museum gives insight into the ideas of Darwin and other scientific developments. Madame Tussauds, on the other hand, provides the perfect opportunity to get your picture taken with your favorite world leader, sports idol, or movie star – or at least with their wax clones. Visit the Victoria and Albert Museum for art collections from Asia and Renaissance Europe, and the Science Museum on Exhibition Road for a collection of scientific marvels. To travel to the center of the globe (literally), head to the Royal Observatory of the National Maritime Museum, through which the Prime Meridian passes.
Activities in London
When asking a Londoner what his favorite London activity was, the answer turned out to be “living in London.” With the range of activities and entertainment London offers, the reluctance to pick just one is perfectly understandable. From listening to one of the heated debates at Speakers’ Corner to taking a trip across the city in a vintage double-decker bus, attending a choir concert at Westminster Cathedral, to discussing the weather at a pub, London can be quite a demanding vacation. Wise tourists save up for their trip and splurge on a concert at the Royal Albert Hall, visit the original Hard Rock Cafe, catch a Shakespearean play, or shop for books. Speaking of which, shopping is the favorite activity of many Londoners, and with the many fashion designers around, we can’t blame them.
The Great River Race on the Thames, the London Literature Festival, the BFI London Film Festival, and the Wireless Festival make London a hodgepodge of colors and culture. If you are the sporty type, join the London Marathon or catch a cricket match at the Oval or the Lord’s. If you’re in luck, you can catch a Wimbledon match, if you’re visiting in June or July.
Take a ride around the London Eye; catch some spectacular views of the city on this giant Ferris wheel that takes riders to a height of about 135 meters (443 feet). Each ride lasts about 30 minutes, but the cost is fairly high. Located in the Jubilee Gardens of Lambeth, the Golden Eye attracts over 3.5 million visitors every year.
Dining in London
From fish and chip takeaway to fine foods, dining in London is an experience to be discovered and enjoyed. Try one of the quaint Oxford Street cafes, or have a spot of tea and scones at a bistro. Don’t miss trying one of London’s real ale clubs. Here are our picks:
|Cocktail Bars||Connaught Bar||16 Carlos Place, Mayfair, W1K 2AL||0 20 7499 7070|
|The May Fair Bar||The May Fair Hotel, 70 Stratton Street, Mayfair, London W1J 8LT||0 20 7915 3894|
|Ale Pubs||Dog and Duck||“18 Bateman Street London W1D 3AJ”||0 20 7494 0697|
|The Toucan||19 Carlisle Street, London W1D 3BY||0 20 7437 4123|
|Wine Bars||Gordon’s Wine Bar||47 Villiers Street, Embankment, London, WC2N 6NE||0 87 1971 6835|
|Vinoteca||7 St John Street, Smithfield, London, EC1M 4AA||0 87 1971 4561|
|British||Harwood Arms||Walham Grove, Fulham, London SW61QP||0 20 7386 1847|
|Hawksmoor Seven Dials||11 Langley Street London WC2H 9JG||0 20 7856 2154|
|International||Benito’s Hat||56 Goodge Street, London W1T 4NB||0 20 7637 3732|
|Princess Garden of Mayfair||8-10 North Audley Street, London W1K 6ZD||0 20 7493 3223|
|Café Food||Café Oscars||Ladywell Road 48, Ladywell, London SE13 7UX||07 590 690825|
|The Rainforest Café||20 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EU London||0 20 7434 3111|
|Vegan and Health Food||Blah Blah Blah||28 Clifton Road, London W9 1ST||0 20 7289 6399|
|Vanilla Black||17 – 18 Tooks Court, London EC4A 1LB||0 20 7242 2622|
Where to Stay
London offers the best in class and comfort. One of the premier cities in the world, London is also home to some of the best luxury hotels.
The Ritz London, 150 Piccadilly, London W1J 9BR
44 0 20 7493 8181
The Savoy London, Strand, London WC2R 0EU
44 0 20 7836 4343
For the aesthetically inclined and for those who like a laid-back home-away-from-home here are some of London’s best boutique hotels.
41, 41 Buckingham Palace Road, London
44 0 20 7300 0041
Sanderson, 50 Berners Street, Soho London W1T3NG
44 0 20 7300 1400
London-on-a shoestring options are not uncommon. While getting a London pass with the Travel option allows visitors free access to over 55 attractions and free access to the Underground and city buses, the city also has a number of economy hotels that are designed to provide comfort at inexpensive rates.
Caswell Hotel, 25 Gloucester Street, Pimlico, SW1V 2DB London Westminster
44 0 20 7834 6345
Jubilee Hotel, 31 Eccleston Square, Greater London
44 0 20 7834 0873
B & B Options
London offers great B & B options. A number of hostels and inexpensive hotels dot the city. With the Olympic Games coming up, though, getting a prior booking could save you a lot of hassle.
ABC Hyde Park Hotel, 121 Sussex Gardens London W2 2RU
44 0 20 7706 4660
Notting Hill Gate Hotel, 7Clannricarde Gardens, Notting Hill, London W2 4JJ
44 0 20 7243 3203
Where to shop in London
A fashion center of the world, London is known for its range of large stores by leading retailers on Oxford Street and small outlets by Avante Garde designers in Brick Lane. The main shopping areas in London are in the West End (including Oxford Street, Bond Street, Regent Street, and Covent Garden), Tottenham Court Road, Camden Town, Knightsbridge, Soho, Westfield, Westminster, and King’s Road in Chelsea. Some of London’s streets such as Savile Row, which is renowned for custom tailoring, are a legend in fashion. When in London you can also visit the leading retailers such as Selfridges and Marks & Spencer, and the world-famous department stores – Harrods, Liberty, and Fortnum & Masons. Hamleys in Regent Street is a treasure trove of toys spread over seven floors, and a delight for parents and children, while the area around Charing Cross Road is a paradise for book lovers, with numerous second-hand bookshops in the area. Portobello Road Market is another delight for shoppers who enjoy browsing for antiques and collectible items.
Universities/Colleges in London
London is one of the world’s most sought-after academic destinations, with more overseas students coming to London than any other city worldwide. Some of the best colleges and universities in London are :
London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE): Considered one of the best social sciences colleges in the world LSE is known for its neo-liberal slant and list of distinguished alumni that include Nobel laureates and heads of state.
School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS): This world-famous institute offers liberal arts and law courses with a focus on the Asian and African continents.
London Business School (LBS): One of the world’s most highly regarded MBA programs is offered at this leading business school.
Imperial College London (ICL): A leading university in the UK that offers courses in medicine, engineering, science, and business.
King’s College: With three campuses located in central London, King’s College offers many highly regarded courses at undergraduate and postgraduate levels.
Queen Mary, University of London: One of the largest colleges at the University of London, Queen Mary attracts students from around the world for its range of high-quality courses.
Entertainment Options in London
London is one of the world’s foremost entertainment destinations with plenty to offer for people of all ages. Some of the best-known entertainment venues in London are:
Barbican Centre: The home of the London Symphony Orchestra which performs about 90 concerts every year, the Barbican is also a venue for theatre, film, and dance events.
Royal Albert Hall: Best-known for the BBC Proms, a festival of Western classical music, this grand hall hosts many excellent concerts throughout the year.
Royal Opera House: This venue, known for its fine acoustics, has hosted some of the world’s best opera artists in their full-throated splendor and is considered one of the world’s best opera houses.
O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire: This concert venue seats around 1,300 people, and hosts a variety of cultural events around the year.
Southbank Centre: This venue has a royal festival hall that seats 3,000 people. Also in the complex are Queen Elizabeth Hall which offers, theatre, jazz, and pop music concerts, and the Purcell Room where poetry readings and chamber music events are held.
Old Vic: The place for theatre in London, this is not to be missed for fans of the theatre.
Sadler’s Wells: Reconstructed on the site of a 17th-century theatre, this venue offers a range of theatrical performances all year round.
Shakespeare’s Globe: Watch a play from the pit in the new Globe theatre and be transported back to the golden age of Elizabethan England as you experience true Shakespearean theatre.
Sports and Events in London
London has a range of sporting and cultural events throughout the year. Some of London’s major sports tournaments and cultural events are listed below:
Major Sports Events in London
- London Marathon (long-distance running) –the London Marathon lets its runners take a run through the city, starting at Greenwich Park and ending at the Mall.
- Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championship (tennis) – The third of the four tennis Grand Slam tournaments, the lawn tennis championships held every year in Wimbledon in July, is known for its keen competition between the world’s best players, unmatched sense of history, and delicious strawberries and cream.
- Premier League Football – Watching a football match in Wembley Stadium is an experience not to be missed if you’re a football fan in London.
- Oxford and Cambridge Boat race– This historic boat race is held every year between students of these two leading educational institutions from Putney to Mortlake on the River Thames.
London has many venues for different sports that make up the annual calendar of sporting events in the city.
Major Cultural Events in London
Chelsea Flower Show – This annual flower show is the place where celebrities mingle with the not-so-famous in the midst of floral beauty every year in May.
Trooping the Colour – The official birthday parade of the Queen, the highlight of this ceremonial event has a grand parade where the Queen reviews her troops.
Notting Hill Carnival – A celebration of life in all its colors, this annual carnival held in August is a great way to see London loosen up and party.
BBC Proms – held every year from mid-July to mid-September this series of concerts features some of the best new talents in Classical music.
Open House London Weekend – During the weekend of the third weekend of September many buildings (several hundred) which are not usually open to the public are thrown open for everyone to view.
London Film Festival – Held every year from mid-October to early November, this festival of film introduces moviegoers to the best of British and world cinema.
London Jazz Festival – This festival for Jazz lovers is held at various locations across the city.
Christmas decorations and New Year’s celebrations – The Christmas lights in Covent Garden, Regent Street, and Trafalgar Square are a sight to be seen, and the New Year’s celebrations at Trafalgar Square are a great way to bring the curtain down on the New Year in London.
Timeline of London
|50 – The town of Londinium is established by the Romans||1703 – Buckingham Palace in London is built|
|61 – Londinium is burnt by the Celtic queen Boudica, in a tribal rebellion||1711 – St Paul’s Cathedral in London is constructed|
|180 – London is encircled by stone walls||1720 – Westminster Hospital in Londonis founded|
|250 – London’s population is about 45,000||1734 – The Bank of England is relocated to Threadneedle Street|
|407 – The Roman army starts vacating Britain||1749 – Westminster Bridge is constructed|
|460 – The city of London is vacated by the Romans||1757 – Houses on London Bridge are destroyed|
|600 – A new town is created at Covent Garden by the Saxons||1760-66 – The town walls of London are destroyed|
|604 – London gets its first Bishop||1770 – Blackfriars Bridge is constructed across the Thames in London|
|650 – London has a population of about 10,000||1801 – London’spopulation is about 950,000|
|842 -London is looted by the Danes||1807 – Gas lighting is started in Pall Mall|
|851 – London is burnt by the Danes||1831 – London is hit by Cholera|
|994 – London is attacked by the Danesbut they are repulsed||1837 – Euston Station in London is constructed|
|1065 -The consecration of Westminster Abbey takes place||1839 – Trafalgar Square in London is opened|
|1066 – William I is crowned at Westminster as King of England||1849 – Kings Cross Station in London is constructed|
|1078-1100 -The Tower of London is built||1866 – London is hit by Choleraagain|
|1176 – A stone bridge is built across the River Thames||1871 – The Royal Albert Hall is constructed|
|1348 – London has a population of about 50,000||1881 – The Natural History Museum is created|
|1348-49 – London is affected by the Black Death (Bubonic Plague)||1903 – London’s first council houses are constructed|
|1550 -London has a population of about 120,000||1923 – Wembley Stadium in London is constructed|
|1571 – The Royal Exchange is constructed in London||1933 – Chiswick Bridge in London is constructed across the Thames|
|1600 – The population of London is about 250,000||1940-41 – London is bombed during the Second World War; about 20,000 people die|
|1603 – London is struck by the Plague||1944 – Missiles and rockets kill about 3,000 people in London|
|1633 – London is struck by the Plague again||1945 – Waterloo Bridge in London is constructed|
|1635 – Hyde Park in London is opened to the public||1951 – The Royal Festival Hall in London is constructed|
|1665 – London is struck by the Plague for the last time||1966 – The Post Office Tower is opened to the public|
|1666 -Around 13,200 houses are burnt down in The Great Fire of London||2000 – The London Eye is opened to the public|
|1685 – The streets of London are lit by oil lamps||2012 -The iconic building, the Shard is opened|
|1699 – Thefish market at Billingsgateis opened||2012 – London hosts the Olympic Games|
|1700 -London has a population of about 600,000|