With a rich maritime history dating back over 2,000 years, London is one of the world’s most economically powerful cities. It is a powerhouse for finance, fashion, technology, tourism and more and continues to reinvent itself and adapt to whatever economic challenges it faces. It is home to more than 8.5 million people and generates approximately 22% of the UKs GDP.
Things to do:
There is plenty to do here, as you would expect from this world leading city. At London’s centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city. Some of the must do’s include visits to Buckingham Palace for the changing of the guard, Trafalgar Square, Oxford Street, Hyde Park, Greenwich. Drop in to Harrods and Hamley’s to marvel at all they have on offer. Dinner in China Town followed by a show on the West End is also a necessity.
The Thames is the longest river in England and the second longest in the UK. It rises at Thames Head in Gloucestershire, and flows into the North Sea via the Thames Estuary. On its way, it passes through London, the country’s capital, where the river remains an important transport artery for people and goods. London boasts the UK’s second biggest port, handling some 50 million tonnes of cargo each year and contributing over £3 billion to the economy annually. It has the busiest inland waterway, handling over 2 million tonnes of goods and materials. The port is not located in one area – it stretches along the tidal Thames, including central London, with many individual wharfs, docks, terminals and facilities built incrementally over the centuries.
There are many ways to enjoy this incredible city and many transport options for you to choose from. The system includes trains, buses, trams, black cabs, ferries and the famous London Underground.
Each of the major airports Heathrow, Stansted and Gatwick are serviced by express train services as well as standard train and bus options. You will be dropped into the centre of the action in no time.
The easiest way to navigate the centre of the city is by taking the London Underground. The LU has 11 colour-coded lines and services run from 05:00 until late. You can download an underground map here.
Another option is the London Buses which run all day from 05:00. Also night buses operate on many major routes from around midnight to 05:00.
The London River Services offer a fantastic way to sightsee and a relaxing alternative to the Tube or Bus and the London Overground is the local service which will take you for an adventure out of the city. Trains run approximately every 7-15 minutes during peak hours on most lines.
The newest addition to the transport network, Emirates Air Line cable car, is a fun way to cross the River Thames and a great way to see panoramic views of London from the air day or night.
If you plan on regularly using public transport while you are visiting London, best to get an Oyster Card when you arrive to make all modes of travel seamless. If you choose to walk around the city, signs and maps are a regular find and offer realistic walking times between sites.