London Essentials:

How big is London?
Greater London covers an area of 1,584 square kilometres. Even though it is Europe’s largest city, it is the smallest of England’s nine regions.
How many people inhabit it?
There are approximately 7.2 million people living in the English capital, making it one of the most densely populated areas in Europe. To put in perspective exactly how many people live there, just think that one in every eight of the UK’s population lives there.
What are the language and currency?
Pretty much every language is spoken in London, but the most widely spoken language is English. Regardless of the language a person speaks, they all spend English pounds (sterling).
  • Charing Cross Tube stop
Charing Cross Tube stop Camden Town Tube A London show Trafalgar Square London National Gallery London Fountain in Trafalgar Square London National Theatre Southbank London Fountain Trafalgar Square London Street Preformer Covent Garden Church sculptures London View of Big Ben London Covent Garden London London Transport Museum Outside Buckingham Palace London Church face London Changing of the Guard Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace London Westminster Cathedral Big Ben London Statue at Westminster Sculpture in Victoria Tower Gardens Book Market Southbank London Burghers of Calais Statue London View of the London Eye London Eye Southbank Centre London Big Ben Westminster London Statue of Cromwell London London Eye View of Westminster The Queens Walk Southbank London London Skyline Camden Lock London Tate Modern Museum London Tower Bridge London Shakespeares Globe Theatre London Royal Albert Hall London Hyde Park London Chinatown London

Things to see in London

The London Eye
What is London’s number one attraction?
The London Eye is the English capital’s number one (paid) attraction. A 'flight' costs around £18 for an adult and it lasts approximately 30 minutes. There are some breathtaking views to be seen from the London Eye especially over the Houses of Parliament and Westminster from the top of the Eye. If you do decide to go on the London Eye, keep in mind that the best time of day to do so is before midday on a clear day. The most impressive views are to the west of the Eye so get on before the sun begins to settle, and thus glaring at you when you want to take photos.
Anything else which shouldn’t be missed?
London is home to some of the finest museums and art galleries in the world and they are really worth checking out. The most popular gallery is the National Gallery, home to Van Gogh’s ‘Daffodils’. It’s located on Trafalgar Square, just across from the National Portrait Gallery which is also worth an hour of your time. The city’s most popular museum is the British Museum on Great Russel St (5 minutes from Oxford St). And if you happen to be around the Kensington area of London then pay a visit to the Natural History Museum and the Science Museum. Away from the museums, don’t leave without visiting the electric circus that is Piccadilly Circus, the bright lights of Leicester Square and if the weather is nice make sure to bask in the sunshine in Hyde Park. Another big attraction in London is its many markets with Camden being one of the top locations. From the Inverness Street Market to the Camden Lock Market the area is a top spot for those looking to browse the market stalls and soak up the atmosphere.
On average, how much does it cost to get into London’s top museums/galleries?
Good news – all of London’s best museums and galleries are free. This includes all the above as well as the Tate Modern and the Museum of London plus many more.
Where can you find London’s finest architecture?
London’s best known buildings and most beautiful architecture can be found in Westminster, or the City of Westminster to be precise. This is where the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben and Buckingham Palace all are. Just ten minutes away is No. 10 Downing Street although it’s not much to look at considering it’s just a black door. St Paul’s Cathedral is located in the ‘city’, London’s financial district.

Going out in London

Piccadilly Circus at night
Is it expensive to go out in London?
That depends really. If you follow the crowds and bright lights to London’s West End you’ll find it can be fairly pricy. This area encompasses areas such as Covent Garden, Soho, Leicester Square and the area around Piccadilly Square. Take the short trek to parts of London such as Islington in the north-east, Clapham in the south, and Camden which is pretty much still in the city centre and you’ll find the price of drink isn’t as expensive.
Where are most of the bars found?
Well the West End is heaving with them, particularly areas such as Covent Garden and Soho. The only thing is that bars around this area are a lot more expensive than in other parts of the city. As London is so big, each suburb is like a mini-city in itself. This means you don’t have to go to the West End when you want to go out. Areas such as Islington in North East London, Clapham in South London and Camden, just north of the city centre, are good for a night out.
Do I need to carry my ID with me when going out?
The legal age limit in the UK is 18, so unless you look like you are just 18, you don’t have to bring your ID with you.
Is there anything to do that doesn’t involve alcohol?
London is home to one of the world’s most celebrated theatre districts in the world. Just as in Broadway in New York, many of the world’s finest actors have graced stages in various theatres around the city. The average ticket is around £30 but you can get cheap tickets on the same day as the performance in various booths around the city centre. The best-known one is the TKTS office in Leicester Square, although if you shop around the surrounding area you’ll definitely find cheaper tickets.

Eating Out in London

Covent Garden
Is it expensive to eat out in London?
Around the West End it is, although you’ll definitely find a few ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffets Chinatown. Get down to Piccadilly Square any afternoon and you’ll find somebody handing out flyers for some pizza establishments also specialising in these types of buffets. Just like in going out, the further you go from the city centre (unless you are in one of London’s most exclusive areas like Chelsea), the cheaper it becomes to eat out.
Where is the best selection of restaurants in the city?
There seems to be restaurants every ten metres in Soho. A lot of them tend to be quite pricy though. For more affordable restaurants take a short tube ride to Old St in the area of Shoreditch. There are some great fusion restaurants around here. Islington, also in the north east, has nice cafés and restaurants. The East End is heaving with affordable Indians and other Asian restaurants, although it is a bit out.
Are international cuisines well-represented?
Are you being serious? London is one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. No matter what type of gastronomy you are looking for, you'll find it London. A great place to get a range of all international cuisines side by side is around the market places such as the Stables Market in Camden/ Chalk Farm.
What times do restaurants stay open until?
Most restaurants in London will take their last orders around 11pm. If you end up going out afterwards, and work up an appetite once more, Leicester Square has loads of fast food booths. Good for when you feel like fattening up a little.

Transport in London

Piccadilly Circus Tube Station
What are the different types of transport in London?
In Central London there are three - tube, bus and taxi. The tube is extremely easy to use and is instrumental in any traveller’s quest in seeing as much of the city as possible. London's famous red double deckers can be seen all over the city and their destinations are written on the front of the bus. These buses are worth looking into as a means of night transport after a night out as the tubes stop around midnight. Many Londoners use night buses and are a handy and cheap way of getting home after a night out. Just as instantly recognisable as the buses are the city's black cabs. Always take these cabs as at night there are hundreds of rogue taxi drivers charging overpriced fares.
Is there one ticket which covers tube and bus services?
Yes - 'Travelcards'. A one-day travelcard costs £4.70. Well that's how much the 'off-peak' one costs. Off-peak means travelling after 9.30am. If you set off on a day's sightseeing before that the travelcard will cost £6. If you are there for more than one day it could be worth purchasing an Oyster card for £3 which you then top up as you go. You can use it whenever you go to the city and just top it up when you are running low on credit. Oyster cards can also be used on London buses and save you having to look for change all the time!

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Make your trip go further with Hostels.com. We offer the most comprehensive selection of hostels on the internet with over 35,000 hostels in 180 countries. Bringing you great value and providing a service that is fuss free, reliable and frankly brilliant! Hostels.com the ultimate resource for great value accommodation all over the world.

  • London Podcast
  • London - All about Pasties
  • London - All about Pasties

  • City: London
  • Adam Moutray of the West Cornwall Pasty Company in Covent Garden talks to Tracy Lynch about this historic English food. He talks us through the history of their popular restaurants and the pasty, as well as the atmosphere of working in Covent Garden.

Make your trip go further with Hostels.com. We offer the most comprehensive selection of hostels on the internet with over 35,000 hostels in 180 countries. Bringing you great value and providing a service that is fuss free, reliable and frankly brilliant! Hostels.com the ultimate resource for great value accommodation all over the world.

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  • London Transport

  • Category: Travel
  • London Transport
  • London is one of Europe's largest capital cities and covers a lot of ground so if you plan on doing a lot of sightseeing then make sure you do a little bit of research into transport around London.
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