A city for everyone
London has evolved, over its 2000 year history, into a city of culture, with a lively nightlife and proud traditions. A truly cosmopolitan metropolis, there's always something interesting going on.
Best time to go for annual events
There are occasions when London celebrates on a large scale. Every August Bank Holiday weekend the West Indian community holds the Notting Hill Carnival. Parades wind their way through the streets of West London, with glitter-clad dancers moving to steel bands.
In February, London's Chinatown celebrates Chinese New Year with parades down Shaftesbury Avenue and onto Trafalgar Square. Chinese dragons and lions are followed by dancers and performers.
26 miles of London's streets give way to the London Marathon every April, when thousands of people cheer on the runners as they go past famous landmarks like Tower Bridge and Buckingham Palace.
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race takes place on the Thames between Putney and Mortlake. The event itself only takes about 16 minutes, but spectators turn out to watch from the water's edge.
Congestion charge and insider tips
If arriving by car, be aware that there is a congestion charge of roughly £11 which applies when entering the inner city zone Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm. London is generally more expensive than other cities in the UK.
Getting into and travelling around the capital
All London airports have train services into the centre. From Heathrow, the cheapest option is the underground, using the Piccadilly line. It takes around 30 minutes, and a one way ticket is roughly £6. The Heathrow Express into Paddington Station takes half this time and costs around £26. Taxis are approximately £33, taking 40 minutes depending on traffic. Gatwick is a little further out, and the Gatwick Express costs about £18 into Victoria Station. A taxi will be roughly £100 and will take around an hour. Stansted and Luton airports are smaller hubs, and trains are about £15 one way and take around 45 minutes.
Busses, trains and tube trains are plentiful in London. Buying an Oyster Card is recommended and can be used on all public transport offering a small discount on every fare. Around £7 a day covers hopping on and off at all the sights around the city.