London is the capital of Great Britain. It’s hard to say anything new about this city: Big Ben and Tower, British Crown and red coats of the guards, telephone booths and doubledeckers, Baker Street and the London Eye, and the Union Jack flag, after all.
The fogs of the Albion’s capital hides cozy tea-drinking ceremonies and loud meetings in pubs, cozy streets where the Beatles walked, and the roar of fans at the football stadiums. Besides, it has huge international corporations, political organizations, and stock markets. London is a trendsetter and the pirate of hearts. It’s impossible to remain indifferent to it.
Administrative and territorial division of the city
The City of London is the heart! That’s where the story began. The Modern City is a business center with banks, stock markets, offices of insurance companies, and international corporations. This is a borough of fat money and lonely tourists. Not everyone is delighted to wander between the skyscrapers made of concrete and glass. Even the Londoners don’t live in the City, except for the desperate careerists who live and sleep at the office desk. But you should definitely come here for the sake of seeing the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Westminster is absolutely different. The concentration of London’s attractions is mind-blowing here: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Palace of Westminster, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, and Hyde Park. The Royal Academy of Arts on Piccadilly and the flat of the not unknown detective on Baker Street are must-see places. Several prestigious districts belong to Westminster. It’s clearly Covent Garden with is theatres and fashionable hotels, Belgravia with elite real estate, Bohemian Soho, sophisticated Mayfair and Marylebone.
Tower Bridge and the Millennium Bridge connect City with Southwark. This borough has pretensions of being the oldest part of London. It is not so dignified and expensive as Westminster and City but the attractions here are not less significant: Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, Tate Modern, City Hall, Southwark Cathedral. On the north, Southwark border upon the borough of Lambeth. Every tourist head there to admire the city from the London Eye observation wheel.
There are boroughs which are located further from the center of the city but still attract lots of tourists. They include: Greenwich which is fully included to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, and Camden with its King's Cross railway station, Lincoln's Inn Fields square and park, and faculties of the Univesity of London; the green borough of Hammersmith and Fulham is a paradise to all football fans and the home of such football clubs as “Chelsea” and “Fulham”; Kensington and Chelsea were the royal properties in the past, and nowadays it’s a respectable borough with the famous Hyde Park, Kensington Palace, Imperial College, and Notting Hill.
In such boroughs as Wandsworth, Islington, Hounslow, Richmond upon Thames, and Kingston upon Thames you can easily find affordable accommodation options. These areas are quiet and clean, but it will take up to 40 minutes to reach the center of the city.
Tower Hamlets, Hackney, and Brent boroughs are known for their ethnic diversity. You can find cheap accommodation here but be ready to face poverty on the streets daily.
A couple of words about London’s attractions: a picture is worth a thousand words. We gathered a list of the most renowned place in the capital of Great Britain. Create your route and head to fall in love with London.
A brief history
But London succeeded not only in the fields of politics and economy. The steam-engine, mechanical television, the computer, the Internet, penicillin, perambulator, metro, football, tennis, casual fashion, and dozens of other things were invented here. Despite its rises and falls, London remains to be the greatest city in the world. And if people mix up the capitals of Switzerland and Sweden, even the sleepy child can name the capital of Great Britain.
Before the trip, you should calculate the approximate budget that you will require for the travel:
The best time to visit London
In summer, the air in London warms up to the comfortable +20 - +25°C. Lovely days in this period bring delight to all the fans of tennis and Hew Majesty. At the beginning of June, the whole country celebrates the Birthday of Queen Elizabeth II. And at the beginning of July, The Championships, Wimbledon happens. Autumn filled with rains and winds looks bright and colorful with the help of the London Fashion Week and the Art Fair at Regent's Park.
It’s a total waste of time to plan long walking tours around London. The days are becoming shorter and the frosty wind knocks people down. It’s better to wait till the cold is over in cozy pubs. And when the city is blooming, head to Festival of Flowers in the Royal Hospital in Chelsea, visit the Shakespeare's Globe and Open Air Theatre in Regent’s Park.
London is an expensive city. Therefore, if you find any chance to save money here, don’t be shy to use it. Purchase the Oyster Card for tourists and get a discount on public transport. With this card, a metro ticket will cost you £2.30 instead of £4.80, while the bus ride - £1.20 instead of £2.
You can also save money on your trip from Heathrow Airport to the city. Don’t hurry to jump into a cab. Better buy the Heathrow Connect ticket worth £10.10 and get to the center of London at only £5.70 on the metro which departures right from the airport’s terminals.
The cultural program is London is more beneficial if you are traveling with the whole family. The tickets to museums and various events are often being sold on a special “family rate” with 25-50% off.
When you are going to pay for a beer in bars keep in mind that it’s not the local practice to tip. However, in the majority of restaurants, the 10-15% tips are already included in the check.
What should a tourist do in London
- Take a couple of rounds on the largest observation wheel in Europe. Clearly, we are talking about the London Eye. The wheel whirls from 10:00 to 20:30. Even if you miss the dinner, the emotion you get while being at the very peak of the wheel and the view you see will compensate for everything.
- Attend a football game. England is home to football. The worldwide known Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham play here. Football fans have their culture. Even if you are not that passionate about this kind of sport, attend the match. A supply of drive, adrenaline, and festivity is guaranteed.
- Take a city tour on the second floor of the doubledecker. This bright red bus has been the symbol of London for many decades.
- Visit the fantastic world of Harry Potter. Warner Bros Company did not demolish the studio and turned it into a real attraction. Here you can buy a magic wand, grab a glass of Butterbeer, attend a small hall, and even cast a couple of spells.
- Pay a call to Sherlock Holmes. This character of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s stories is an idol to many people. The inventor of the deduction method and a horrible violinist lives on 221B, Baker Street. The museum house stores Sherlock’s belongings: a hat, a pipe, a hunting whip, equipment for chemical experiments, and other fascinating stuff. In addition to that, you can take a picture with wax figures of Holmes, Mrs. Hudson, and Doctor Watsons.
- Stand at the prime meridian. Yes, the one that divides the Earth into the northern and southern hemispheres. Greenwich meridian goes through the most cosmopolitan capital in the world. It is the reference point of the geographical longitude and the central meridian of the Coordinated Universal Time. They say, that if you make a wish above the Greenwich line, it will come true.
- See the Changing of Guard at Buckingham Palace. British Crown is a symbol of England and one of its main attractions. The brave soldiers wearing their parade coats measure out their pace daily by the gate to the Palace. It happens from May to July at 11.30 AM. So, if you happen to be in London in this period, don’t lose your chance to enjoy this unforgettable performance. You should check the schedule of the Changing of Guard from August to April on the official website of the Palace.