London: one of the most exciting cities in the world
London is a vibrant, ever-changing city where there will always be something going on to excite and entertain visitors. From sporting events to world-class museums and nightlife to match any city, London is a great place for a short break.
Always a good destination
There is no bad time to visit London. However, visitors might want to time their trip around a special occasion. In late August, head over to catch the music and energy of the Notting Hill Carnival. Chinatown comes alive with delicious smells and street parties for Chinese New Year in February, while sport is also a huge attraction. In April, the famous London Marathon draws thousands of runners from across the world while the Boat Race offers a lovely afternoon beside the Thames.
Preparing to go
Prepare for your trip by becoming used to the geography of the city - and mastering the Tube map. If you are driving in London, be aware that the city operates a "congestion charge" for vehicles heading into the centre. This costs ca. £11 between 7am and 6pm Monday to Friday. London can also be a little more expensive than other UK destinations - so budget to spend more, although budget accommodation can be found, and there are affordable places to eat in all of the city's districts.
If you are arriving via Heathrow, you can catch the Heathrow Express to Paddington, which takes 15 minutes and costs about £26. The Piccadilly Line also runs to Heathrow. It takes a bit longer, but at around £6 for the journey is much cheaper. Taxis will cost about £33 and take 40 minutes.
From Gatwick, catch the train to London Victoria for around £18 and you will be there in 30 minutes. Four people sharing a taxi will cost around £22.50 and take a little longer. From London Stansted Airport, trains to Liverpool Street cost £12 and take 40 minutes, and a taxi will cost you about £100. The train from Luton Parkway costs around £15 and also takes 40 minutes.
Accommodation will usually cost over £50 per night, but there are hostels that charge about £20 per night. When getting around town, it is advisable to buy an Oyster Card (a pre-payment card), which offers cheaper fares. On the Oyster Card, inner city bus journeys are capped at around £5 per day, making this the cheapest way to get around (aside from walking or cycling). Avoid travelling during rush hour as the price rises steeply and the crowds are immense.