Written From… The Southbank Centre in London, England, on a cold December evening
The capital of England, a vibrant, multicultural city, a business hub and a destination welcoming millions of overseas visitors every year. From significant historical and cultural sites, to bars, Museums and large grand parks, London has a little something for everyone. But when it’s your first time in this diverse city you’re bound to have some questions, so this quick guide to London is intended to give you the basics before arriving.
Population: 8.788 million
Language: Official language, English.
Currency: Great British Pound (GBP)
Time Zone: GMT
Average Temperature in Celsius: January high: 6, low: 3 February high: 7 low: 3 March high: 10 low: 4 April high: 13 low: 6 May high: 17 low: 9 June high: 20 low: 12 July high: 22 low: 14 August high: 21 low:14 September high: 19 low: 12 October high: 14, low: 9 November high: 10 low: 6 December high: 7 low: 3
Airports: London Heathrow (17 minutes to Paddington – via Heathrow Express)
London Gatwick (31 minutes to London Victoria – via Gatwick Express)
London City Airport (32 minutes to central St Pancras – via DLR and train)
Luton Airport (32 minutes to central St Pancras – via Thameslink)
“Pack your bags and get ready to explore the capital of England, London!”
Top Sites: The Shard, Big Ben and Westminster, The London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral, Trafalgar Square, Millennium Bridge, Kensington Palace, Piccadilly Circus, Royal Observatory Greenwich, The Queen’s House Greenwich, HMS Belfast
Top Museums: Science Museum, Natural History Museum, British Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Gallery, Museum of London Docks, Tate Modern, The Royal Museum Greenwich, Saatchi Gallery
Best places for shopping: Regent Street, Oxford Street, Stratford City Westfield, White City Westfield
Cool places to check out: St Katherine Dock, Greenland Docks, Brick Lane – Shoreditch, Regents Canal – Kings Cross, Little Venice, North Greenwich, Tobacco Docks, Potters Fields Park
Easiest way to get around: Buses, Underground and overground trains. You will need either an Oyster card (purchased from travel information centers or corner shops) or a paper ticket – cash is not accepted on public transport.
Top tip for getting around central London – stations on the underground might not be as far apart as you think, it may be easier to walk to your next destination.
Peak congestion times (traffic and public transport): Mon-Fri 7am-9am and 5pm-7pm
Taxis: There are the famous London Black Cabs – you can now order these like Uber with the Gett app – there is also mytaxi. Just a heads up, taxis in London aren’t a cheap option!
Where to leave your luggage for a day: Early Airbnb checkouts and a late flight or bus home are extremely common, so you can use this website and find out where you can leave your luggage in London for the day (for a small fee)