HistoryThe city of Londinium began when the Romans invaded Britain in AD43. Queen Boudica of the Icena tribe led an uprising against the Romans, and the city burned to the ground, only to be rebuilt when the Romans claimed control again. London’s near 2,000-year history involves Viking attacks, an invasion from the Normans, William Shakespeare, the Gunpowder Plot, the Civil War, the Great Plague, the Great Fire, Jack the Ripper and Charles Dickens!
Things to doWith so much to do in London, the only question is wot to do first! A ride up high on the London Eye? A cruise down the River Thames? Why not catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, the home of the Queen. See the famous Big Ben, the great big clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, where the British Parliament meets. The Palace is World Heritage-listed, and so is Westminster Abbey, the 1000+ year old Gothic church next to it. If that isn’t enough historic and spectacular architecture for you, maybe St. Paul’s Cathedral or the Tower of London may satisfy. During the day, you can chill out in the parks and green areas that take up about a third of London. There are eight Royal parks in the city, including Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. Museums and art galleries like the National Gallery and the Tate Modern will give you your fix of history and art. And at night, you can lose yourself in London’s nightlife, which includes live local bands, hip bars, and bangin’ dance clubs where thousands of people pack out a former theatre or warehouse. Party everywhere from the Ministry of Sound (you may have the compilations) to the tunnels under the London Bridge.
Shopping and diningEver wanted to go to Oxford? Here’s your chance. The Oxford Street shopping district has a mile and a half of high end brands, and you can graduate with some new clothes from one of over 300 outlets, including the famous Selfridges store. Bond Street and Mayfair are popular with celebrities, and so is Tottenham Road but it’s not all about the glitz in London. There’s also vintage clothing in areas like Notting Hill, where you can visit the notable and very popular Portobello Road Market and pick up some amazing crafts and antiques As well as fab vintage clothing. Other shopping hot spots include Canary Wharf, Box Park and Covent Garden’s for hip fashion and designer stores. With over 6000 restaurants (65 of them with Michelin stars), there’s no need to go hungry in London. You can blow fat wads of cash on celebrity chefs and gastronomic goodness, or find food from across the globe on a budget.
Getting hereIf the Queen Mother isn’t flying you here on a private jet for tea and scones (bummer!), your next best option is to book one of our cheap flights to London. You can get around London in a red double decker bus, a black cab or by hiring a car. With our London accommodation, your London adventure is sorted, old sport.
London eludes definition. A place of extremes and contradictions, it has transformed from robustly English capital to truly multicultural city. Having experienced Renaissance, revolution, and revival, and survived fire, plague, and war, the city has a pretty interesting history, the best of which it holds on to. Visit its monuments and museums and you'll come across ancient and modern London, and learn about its wealth, poverty, ambitions, reality, and make-believe. From the Tower of London to Buckingham Palace, the major monuments pull in the crowds, but make sure you take some time to explore its back alleys, quiet squares, and colorful markets.
Art in the city
As red buses, black cabs, and pigeons encircle Trafalgar Square, there is no mistaking where you are. Stop by the National Gallery to look at some of the world's finest artworks, ranging from Leonardo's meticulous sketches to Turner's chromatic landscapes, or for a fix of modern art, visit the converted Bankside power station, the Tate Modern. The gallery covers art from 1900 to the present day, and its enormous Turbine Hall displays specially commissioned works.
Razzmatazz and all that jazz
Finding entertainment in London is as easy as finding books in a library. In the West End theater district, you can choose from musicals, theater, and comedy shows. Based on the songs of the band Queen, We Will Rock You is currently showing at the Dominion theater. From April to October, you can see some of Shakespeare's greatest plays in the faithfully reconstructed Globe theater. It's no surprise that London attracts influential artists from all musical genres; and you can listen in pubs, theaters, basements, arenas, churches, and parks.
Serious shopping and hearty meals
There's great shopping throughout the city. From high-end Harrods to cheap and cheerful Camden market, the city caters to every budget and taste. When it comes to food, the same rule applies, so whether you're after a comforting English breakfast, a reviving curry, or tea at the Ritz, you'll never run out of options.
The London Eye will give you a bird's-eye view of the river Thames looping through the capital, as well as the city's many parks. In a city of skyscrapers, buildings on top of buildings, and crowded public transport, London is thankfully protective of its beautiful green spaces. Find everything from rose garden to meadow and woodland in its eight Royal Parks, which offer free guided walks to explore the flora and fauna, and trace the city's royal, political, and literary associations. Hide