Amazing architecture and a long, fascinating history are just two reasons to visit this amazing city. Set along both sides of the River Thames, London has been here for over two thousand years. Now it's also one of the world's biggest tourist attractions and an important financial centre too. The city's theatres are amongst the best anywhere, and often visitors combine business with visits to the arts.
London is set in a basin, therefore it is often more protected than the rest of the south of England and often enjoys milder temperatures. However, weather all year round is mild, just make sure you bring your umbrella as the changeable, rainy weather that England is famous for is very much the norm in the capital too.
Major festivals here include the Notting Hill Carnival on August Bank holiday (around the 31st); The Chinese New Year in February in Chinatown, Soho, which is bright and lively. April is also a good time to visit, as the boat race and the London Marathon are both held then.
If hiring a car, be aware that London has an Inner City Congestion Charge during the week will cost drivers £11 or so per day. Parking is tricky and expensive, so use public transport wherever possible.
Compared to the rest of the UK, London is expensive, in fact it's probably one of the most expensive cities in the world. Accommodation, restaurants and entertainments will all cost quite a bit, and snacks and public transport are also not cheap. However, some museums and galleries are free, and the parks in London are lovely for a picnic.
Stansted airport train station is under the airport terminal. Trains to London Liverpool Street Station are every 15 minutes and it's the fastest way in taking around 45 minutes at a cost of about £8 one way. Booking online saves money. CrossCountry Trains link Stansted to Cambridgeshire, and the Midlands. Local buses serve local towns like: Harlow, Colchester and Bishop's Stortford. National Express coaches serve many other destinations and Easybus operates to Baker Street or Old Street Station in London. The M11 and M25 roads also provide fast links. For taxis head for the reservations desk at international arrivals. A hostel in London is available for from around £15/night, and budget hotels are about £40 upwards. For travel in London get an Oyster card and load up, a day's travel in the centre is about £8.