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London City Guide

Welcome to London! We hope you enjoy your time here. To help you get started and familiarize yourself with the city, have a look below.

Did you know?

London, England’s capital, set on the River Thames, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its center stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.

Size: 1,572 km² (606 sq mile)
Population: 8,538,689
Language: English
Currency:Great Britten Pound (£)

Airports:

• London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
• London Gatwick (LGW)
• London Luton Airport (LTN)
• London Stansted Airport (STN)
• London City Airport (LCY)

Recommended restaurants:

Barnyard (18 charlotte street, London w1t 2lz)
      Unusual and well-executed cooking: casual, family-friendly vibe. Great service and reasonable prices however no pre-booking; , be prepared to a queue; it’s tiny.
Barnyard Website

Princi (Soho 135 Wardour Street, London W1F 0UT)
      Princi runs as a canteen. That is, you choose what you want from the counter, you're given it on a tray, and you pay at the till. But the taste is great!
Princi Website

Bunga Bunga
      Bunga Bunga, or ‘An Englishman’s Italian’ is definitely up there as one of the quirkiest restaurants in London. You will find yourself faced with a gondola shaped bar, a bicycle hanging from the ceiling, and a tribute wall dedicated to former three-time Prime Minster of Italy and media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi.
Bunga Bunga Website

Places to see:

Royal Observatory
      Overlooking the rest of the Royal Museums Greenwich from the top of the hill, the northern section of this two-halved attraction looks at Greenwich’s connections with time. Few visitors get much past a photo-op straddling the Prime Meridian in the courtyard of Flamsteed House, the observatory built in 1675 on the orders of Charles II. But the building contains the apartments of Sir John Flamsteed and other Astronomers Royal, as well as instruments used in timekeeping since the 14th century. John Harrison’s four timekeepers, used to crack the problem of longitude, are here, while the onion dome houses the country’s largest (28-inch) refracting telescope – it was completed in 1893. The south site houses the Astronomy Centre, home to the Weller Astronomy Galleries (free entry), where you'll find a 4.5-billion-year-old meteorite, and the Peter Harrison Planetarium, which screens daily and weekend star shows. The 120-seater planetarium’s architecture cleverly reflects its astrological position: the semi-submerged cone tilts at 51.5 degrees, the latitude of Greenwich, pointing to the North Star, and its reflective disc is aligned with the celestial equator.

London Eye
      Visible from all over the city, the London Eye is one of the world's biggest observation wheels; a sedate rotation offers great views of the capital. On a clear day you can see as far as Windsor Castle, 25 miles away, from the top of the London Eye, one of the world's largest observation wheels. A circuit on the London Eye will show you all the city's key sights in 30 minutes, and each of the 32 capsules (one for every London borough) is equipped with a touchscreen to explain what you're looking at.

Tower Bridge
      Opened in 1894, this is the 'London Bridge' that wasn't sold to America. Originally powered by steam, the Tower Bridge drawbridge is now opened by electric rams when big ships need to venture this far upstream The Tower Bridge Exhibition tells the history of the bridge and explains how its original machinery, two steam pumping engines which are still in place, worked. From the high walkways there are stunning views of London to the west and east.

Places to relax:

Queen Charlotte's Cottage
      This lovely little place is a sanctuary within a sanctuary. Queen Charlotte's Cottage is at the end of a secluded paddock in Kew Gardens. This 18th-century rustic cottage was built as a country retreat for the royal family. Open in the spring and summer months only, it seems to be one of the less popular attractions in the gardens, which makes it perfect for those seeking a bit of tranquility. The paddock originally housed exotic animals including kangaroos, but is now a fine flower garden which, in the springtime, displays more bluebells than you've ever seen in your life.

Eel Pie Island
      No cars! No bikes! No barking dogs! The small number of residents on this island don't seem to like visitors much either (clock the number of Keep Out signs), but don't let that stop you having a wander. Eel Pie was known for jazz studios in the 1960s and its hippies in the 1970s, but in 2012 it is quiet and smells of honeysuckle. The Twickenham riverside is packed with noisy pub-goers in the summer (and rugby days), so the island really is a haven, easily accessible by footbridge.

Hampstead Heath Extension
      An obvious choice, but well deserving of a place on this list. The Pergola and Hill Garden offer lovely views, Kenwood House is beautiful, Parliament Hill delightful and the ponds (pictured), in summer, a treat. But the real hidden gem is on the north-west side, the extension, which was originally farmland, later tacked on to the main heath. Think hedgerows and open spaces, ancient trees and ponds. It's eerily silent, too. When we were here, we heard someone say: "We could be anywhere in the world." And it's true.

Neighborhoods:

Covent Garden
      To the east of Charing Cross Road lies Covent Garden, the famous marketplace turned shopping mall. Although boutiques and haute fashion shops line the surrounding streets, many Londoners come to Covent Garden for its two outposts of culture: the Royal Opera House and the Donmar Warehouse, one of London's best and most innovative theaters. The area becomes more sedate just to the north, at the end of Wellington Street, where semicircular Aldwych is lined with grand buildings, and from there the Strand leads to the huge, stately piazza of Somerset House, a vibrant center of contemporary arts and home to the many masterpieces on view at the Courtauld Gallery.

Notting Hill
      Notting Hill as we know it emerged in the 1840s when the wealthy Ladbroke family developed a small suburb to the west of London. Before then, the area had the far less glamorous name of "the Potteries and the Piggeries," after the two industries it was best known for: ceramics and pig farming.

Westminster
      Home to London's most photogenic pigeons, Trafalgar Square is not only the official center of the district known as Westminster, nominally a separate city but in fact the official center of London. What will bring you here are the two magnificent museums on the northern edge of the square, the National Gallery and the National Portrait Gallery. From the square, two boulevards lead to the seats of different eras of governance. The avenue called Whitehalldrops south to the neo-Gothic Houses of Parliament, where members of both Houses (Commons and Lords) hold debates and vote on pending legislation.

Featured properties in London:

Framery Loft

Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
2
Max Guests
6
Size
107 m²
  • All destinations
  • London, UK
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Eclectic and colourful and completely individual, this wonderful top (second) floor loft apartment will make your stay in London totally memorable. Details

Shoreditch

Bedrooms
1
Bathrooms
1
Max Guests
3
Size
47 m²
  • All destinations
  • London, UK
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A fun and modern one bedroom flat with 2 goldfish! Located in fashionable Shoreditch with Old Street tube station less than 10 minutes away. Relax and cool off in the garden after a day's sightseeing. Details

Regents Canal

Bedrooms
3
Bathrooms
2
Max Guests
6
Size
77 m²
  • All destinations
  • London, UK
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Trusted Host

A chic and sophisticated 3 bedroom apartment in a new Water Side development situated in Hoxton overlooking Regents Canal. Perfect for a group of friends or a family visiting London. Details