London is a vibrant, historic and sprawling city. In the centre are famous landmarks like Buckingham Palace, The Tower of London, Trafalgar Square and St Paul's Cathedral. There is also a lively theatre scene, many fantastic shopping areas and restaurants which serve dishes from around the world.
London's temperatures are mild all year. Weather can be changeable in any season, and rainfall should always be anticipated. July and August are usually the warmest months and it rarely snows in winter. Festivals from many cultures are celebrated in London and there is always something going on. Notting Hill Carnival shuts down streets during the long bank holiday weekend in August. The Oxford versus Cambridge Boat Race and the London Marathon are both held in Spring, and in February Chinese New Year is celebrated.
London is an expensive city to visit. Eating, drinking, travel and entertainment costs more than in many other parts of the country. A hotel room will cost from £40 or thereabouts a night, and hostels charge roughly £30 and upwards for a bed in a dorm.
If planning to hire a car, it is worth considering that parking is difficult and there is a congestion charge of approximately £11 per day in the inner city. Black cabs are the only taxis that can be hailed on the street, all other taxis need to be pre-booked. There is a complex network of underground trains, buses and a light railway. These can all be paid for using an Oyster Card which is the cheapest option. A £5 deposit is required for this card, and credit can be loaded at any underground station.
Getting from London Stansted Airport to central London
Stansted Airport is on the outskirts of Greater London, 40 miles from the centre near the M11 motorway. There is a train link called the Stansted Express and the station is under the arrivals terminal The journey takes about 45 minutes and the fare varies depending on the time of day, but starts at around £8 one way. The cheapest option is to travel by coach and this service operates 24 hours a day. There are taxis available from the reservations desk in the airport arrivals area, the fare to central London will be at least £100 but these cabs can usually take four passengers.