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World > United-Kingdom > London
City Guide London
Overview
General Information
London is a massive, multicultural, cosmopolitan city with a population of nearly 8 million people. Greater London extends over 600 square miles and is divided into 33 boroughs. These range from wealthier areas such as Chelsea and South Kensington to poorer Hackney or Lambeth. However, each borough has a diverse mix of people, cultural activities and markets, all of which make London an incredibly exciting place to be. Ten years ago, many locals and tourists were unsure where to go out to eat as London was not renowned to be one of the best culinary capitals in the world. However, this has all changed and there are some fantastic restaurants to suit all tastes and pockets. From South Indian vegetarian dosas to jellied eels or fish and chips, the range is incredibly diverse. In addition, some remarkable new galleries and cinemas have opened in the last years...from the magnificent Tate Modern south of the Thames to the giant IMAX screen near Waterloo Station. There is something for all ages, and many events can be booked ahead over the internet. London has both an incredibly successful financial district and is home to many offices and retail outlets. There is always plenty to see and do, from paying a trip to the brand new Greater London Assembly building to an antique market in Camden Passage. You may want to take advantage of the extensive public transport network, but become well informed of any current delays, as the system isn't quite as efficient as in other European cities. London not only has some excellent theatres (with many film stars coming from The States to perform live on stage), but also some unusual music venues. These range from old religious buildings (Union Chapel in Islington) to The Roundhouse, a former train depot in Camden. Check out the many parks and gardens, from Greenwich down by the Meridian to Hampstead Heath in the north; both offer magnificent views over the capital by day or night.
Weather
Summers tend to be moderately warm and pleasant with occasional hot days and less rain than other seasons. However, the weather can be quite unpredictable, so visitors should plan for all eventualities. Winters are usually wet and cold, although average temperatures can be considered mild when compared to mainland Europe. Snow is infrequent.
Currency
British currency is the pound sterling (£). Notes are divided into denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50. Coins come in denominations of £2, £1, 50p, 20p, 10, 2p and 1p. ATMs are commonplace and the cheapest way to withdraw cash. Most machines accept Visa, MasterCard (including Cirrus and Maestro), American Express, and Diners Club. Foreign currency can be changed at banks and bureaux de change, although it is the best to use a high street bank as their rates are usually better than bureaux de change and they charge less commission.
Language
English is not only the national language spoken in London but also the most important one, considering the fact that there are more than 300 different languages spoken in this multicultural city. In many parts of the city English is only a second language. Actually, the English spoken today in London is a mixture of foreign words, the typical south eastern accent and the traditional cockney dialect. It is a moving language that is constantly influenced by new trends and other language groups.
Religion
Due to the many nationalities living in London, there are a lot of different religions colliding. The largest religious groups are, nevertheless, Christian. The Anglican Church, which is the country’s official church, has still a lot of members throughout London. About 56 % of the Jewish community of Great Britain is concentrated here. Also over 52 % of Great Britain’s Hindus live in London. Besides, there is a large Islamic community settled in the city, most of them Bangladeshis and Pakistanis. Arabs and Turks are a minority group. London also has a high number of Buddhists and Sikhs communities.
Taxes
The VAT in London is 17,5 % on most goods and services excluding food, books and children’s wear. In most of the cases tourists have the right to claim back the paid taxes when they have lived in Great Britain less than 365 days before the purchase and if they have left the country within 3 months after purchasing the goods. Unfortunately, not all shops take part in the Tax Free Shopping. Most of the shops have a minimum price limit of £75. On request you can get a special form (VAT 407) which you have to present to the tax office together with the purchased goods. After a confirmation of the tax office the form needs to be sent back to the shop where the product was bought. Then you will get the tax back. The whole procedure can take 8 to 10 weeks.
Tipping
It is common practice to tip hotel service personnel such as luggage handlers and door attendants. Service charges are included in some restaurants and are clearly stated on menus. However, it is standard to add 15 percent. Tip taxi drivers about ten percent of the total fare.
Telephone
The international number for Great Britain is +44. There are two numbers for London: 0207 for all connections in the centre and 0208 for all calls in the outer city ring. The old red telephone boxes were replaced by more functional phone boxes which can be used with coins, telephone or credit cards. Telephone cards can be purchased in most kiosks and magazine shops with £1, £2, £4, £10 or £20. The cheapest time for calling is after 8 pm.
Internet
Going online is actually no problem in London. If you have a laptop you can easily use the internet from a hotel room or choose one of the numerous internet cafes. Essential for the use of a laptop is an adaptor for the normal telephone cables. Internet cafes are for example: Buzz Bar, 95 Portobello Rd; Cyberg@te, 3 Leigh St; Bethereds, 39 Whitfield St, easyEverything, 9-13 Wilton Rd; Tottenham Court Road 9-16 Tottenham Court Rd; Oxford Street 358 Oxford St; ect.
Emergency Numbers
Police, ambulance or fire brigade: 999 Police in Central London: 0171 – 2301212
Opening times
Major banks are usually open from Monday to Friday 9.30 am to 4.30 pm), and some on Saturday until 1pm. All banks are closed on Sundays. The post office at Trafalgar Square is open Mo to Fr until 8 pm. Shops are usually open between 9 am and 6 pm, sometimes even longer in the evenings. Some shops and supermarkets are also open on Sundays.
Public holidays
On public holidays nearly all shops and public constitution is closed. • 1. January: New Year’s Day • Good Friday • Easter Monday • First Mo in May: May Day • 25. Dec Christmas Day • 26. Dec Boxing Day
Safety
London, like any western European capital, is a relatively safe city. The biggest problem, as in any big town with many tourists, is the presence of pickpockets. So, it is important to make sure that valuables are properly concealed. Pickpockets are usually active on public transport and around busy locations where tourists are distracted, such as Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus. If you are alone, avoid walking though parks after dark and take taxis to the outer boroughs rather than walk down unlit streets. Another big problem in London is car crime, so make sure that doors are locked when driving and that valuables are well hidden. Don''t leave anything in your car dashboard unattended.
Sightseeing
Discovering London
London, “the” in-metropolis par excellence, city of superlatives and contrasts, of the latest trends and oldest traditions! There is in fact more than one reason to visit London! Nobody can actually resist the special flair and the immense attraction that is coming from the city on the Thames. The endless number of attractions, monuments and entertainment sites, which reflect the combination of modernity and past, astonish even widely travelled people. The interesting part for tourists lies mainly on the north bank of the river Thames, between South Kensington in the west and Tower Bridge in the east. From the key attractions like Buckingham Palace in the east through St. James’s Park, you reach Westminster, the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben and Westminster Abbey. From here it only takes a short walk to Whitehall and Trafalgar Square. The Leicester Square in the west end quarter of the city is a busy tourist area as well as Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden with its street performances. Hundreds of museums and palaces present the immeasurable treasures of the former British Empire. In the Tower of London the crown jewels twinkle and in the middle of the hectic city life, green oases, the Royal Parks, spend some peace. On the south bank of the Thames the London Eye has been attracting visitors already for years. Here you also find the London Aquarium and the South Bank Centre, the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre. Lord Foster’s Millennium Bridge connects the Tate Modern with St. Paul’s Cathedral on the north bank of the river.
The “London Pass” gives a free access to over 50 attractions. An option including public transportation is possible. It is available for one, two, three or six days and can be purchased at all tourist information in London and at the airports. Nevertheless, the card is only worth it, when planning to visit a lot of sights during your stay in London, because it is very expensive. The main tourist information is the “Britain and London Visitor Centre” (BLVC) in Lower Regents Street. It is open from 9.30 am until 6.30 pm on Mondays, from 9.00 am until 6.30 pm from Tuesday to Friday and from 10 am to 4 pm at the weekend.
Piccadilly Circus
Framed by flashy luminous advertisement, loud and restless this is how the famous communications junction presents itself. Although it does not seem very attractive in the first place, Piccadilly Circus attracts a lot of visitors who wouldn’t leave London without seeing this popular place. Due to its central position and the fact that there is always something to see and experience, the place became one of the most popular meeting points. Piccadilly Circus was actually part of the modernisation plan of John Nash in the 19th century. A north-south axis was planned to run from the former Carlton House, passing Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus and ending in Regent’s Park. The two places and Regent Street were built but the closeness of Piccadilly Circus was soon destroyed by the construction of Shaftsbury Avenue. In 1893 the famous well with the Eros statue, which was designed by Alfred Gilbert, was unsealed. Also at Piccadilly Circus there is the Criterion Theatre and the London Pavilion.
Houses of Parliament
The Houses of Parliament were built due to the destruction of the Palace of Westminster by a fire in 1834. The architect Charles Barry and the eccentric genie Augustus Pugin were asked to build a new Parliament building in a gothic or Elizabethan style. The building consists of gold brown York stone and includes the two towers Big Ben and Victoria Tower. Inside the building there are numerous impressive halls such as the Westminster Hall where big court cases were handled. Here Charles I. and Guy Fawkes were sentenced to death. The House of Lords, the master piece of Pugins, is still preserved in its original state. The Common’s Lobby and the House of Commons were built later in 1950 because this part of the building was destroyed in 1941. The debates of the House of Lords and the House of Commons is open for visitors which have an entrance ticket for the “Visitor’s Gallery”. Opening times: Mo, Tues, Thurs 2.30 pm – 10.30 pm, wed and Fr 9.30 am – 2 pm Debates: Mo, Tues, wed from 2.30 pm, Thurs from 3 pm, Fr from 11 am Tel.: House of Commons +44 (0)171 2194272, House of Lords +44 (0)171 2193107
Downing Street No 10
…is the unimposing living and office room of the English Premier. Robert Walpole, the first English Premier was the first who moved into the house with the unimpressive façade in 1735. Since then all acting premiers have been living in No. 10 in this tiny street between Whitehall and St. James’s Park. The name comes from Sir George Downing, a diplomat and construction speculator who bought land in Whitehall where he built some houses that he later sold to the king. But the first impression is deceiving as the house has more than a hundred rooms, including a meeting room of the cabinet on the ground floor and different best rooms. The living rooms are on the second and third floor. No. 11 is inhabited by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. Both houses are connected to each other. Also No. 12 belongs to the government. There the office of the “Party Whip” is located.
Trafalgar Square
This famous place with the Nelson’s pillar devoted to the greatest naval hero of all times: Admiral Horatio Viscount Nelson (1758 – 1805) which was killed in the Battle of Trafalgar. The Square itself was designed by John Nash and built by Charles Barry, the constructor of the Houses of Parliament. The two wells were redesigned in 1939 by Sir Edwin Lutytens and were ornamented with tritons after the war. Especially at New Year’s Eve the square is packed with people who are celebrating the beginning of the New Year.
Covent Garden
Covent Garden ranges between Shaftsbury Avenue, Charing Cross Road and Kingsway. Usually it was meant to be a monastery garden of the Benedictines which fell into the possession of the Russell family after secularisation where it remained over 400 years. In 1630 the 3rd Earl of Bedford assigned the rearrangement of the area to the architect Inigo Jones, who designed spacious buildings with classical Italian arcades, a piazza and a church in Italian style. All buildings in the environment were inhabited by gentlemen or men of ability. In 1670 a market hall was built on the piazza which was renovated in 1828 and presents itself today as an airy Victorian construction made from iron, glass and stone. The arcades in the inside host a lot of small shops, galleries, museums and cafes. In front of the St.Paul’s Cathedral there are a lot of performing actors who revive the atmosphere of an intended south European quarter.
Leicester Square
The name of this square is one of the best known in the whole city and goes back to Robert Sidney, the 2nd Earl of Leicester, who had the most expensive houses of the period of the Stuarts built over there. He liked parties in good company and soon had a place designed and built. In the middle of the 19th century 4 big Victorian theatre were established which made Leicester Square to the centre of the West End entertainment. Today most of the theatres are home to the glamorous world of movies. Here is “The Half Price Ticket Booth” where you can buy cheaper tickets for musical and theatre performances on the same night.
Regent Street
The Regent Street is a representative shopping street which leads from the Carlton House Terrace the Regent’s Park, passing Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Circus, Langham Place and Portland Place. This street originates from the legendary John Nash who built it as a sort of “Via Triumphalis” for George IV. Regent Street is one of the most beautiful streets in London with an elegant design and well known shops such as the department store “Liberty”.
Oxford Street
Oxford Street got its name from Edward Harley, the 2nd Earl of Oxford which had bought the street and the whole land north of it in 1713. It was used as a living area but soon theatres and other entertainment sites found their way into the area. At the end of the 19th century it was transformed into a strict shopping and office street which is bordered by St. Giles Circus in the east and Marble Arch in the west. Nearly every day the street is packed with people, busses and taxis. Marks & Spencers, Debenham’s and Selfridges, to name only a few, are located over here.
Big Ben
Big Ben is without doubt London’s the most famous landmark which symbolizes for many people the heartbeat of the city or even the symbol of British democracy. Actually, not the tower itself but only the 16t heavy bell of the tower was called Big Ben. Besides the Big Ben bell the tower has four other bells. Their famous glockenspiel goes back to the aria “I know that my Redeemer liveth” from George Friedrich Händels “Messias”.
St. James’s Palace
The St. James’s Palace was built for Henry VIII. as hunting lodge close to his residence Whitehall Palace. More than 100 hectares of land were annexed to the palace; the today’s St James’s Park. The planning of the construction was in the hands of Hans Holbein d. J., who designed a brick building in Tudor style which was built in 1532. Today only the Gatehouse with its octagonal towers is intact. After the Palace of Whitehall was destroyed by a fire in 1698, the entire court moved into the St James’s Palace. For nearly 300 years the palace was the linchpin of the courtly life, until Queen Victoria moved to the Buckingham Palace. Today St. James’s is inhabited by members of the Royal Family and some relatives of the Royal bodyguards.
Victoria Memorial
The memorial is a tribute to the extraordinary Queen Victoria and the era she influenced and shaped. It was designed by Sir Aston Webb and presents itself as a luxurious and pompous ending of a boulevard. Its nickname “The Wedding Cake” comes from its shape, which was chiselled from a gigantic marble block on which thrones a 4.30 m high Queen Victoria. In the back of the Queen you have Buckingham Palace; in the front the memorial overlooks the Memorial Gardens and the Mall which is surrounded by allegoric figures that symbolize Victorian values such as bravery, endurance, truthfulness, justice and mercy. They are completed by the Bronze statues that stand for peace and progress, art and science, agriculture and industry as well as marine and army.
Buckingham Palace
Queen Victoria was the first Queen of England who moved into the Buckingham Palace in 1837. Since then the Palace is the city residence of the respective monarch whose presence is displayed by the Royal pennant. James I. originally had a garden for extraction of silk built. As the project failed, John Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, had a simple brick building constructed which was bought by George II, for his wife Charlotte. The house was transformed into a palace whose construction cost vast sums of money. The palace consists of 600 rooms but the actual Queen and her husband inhabit only a 12 room suite in the north wing overlooking the Green Park. The Royals use a special entrance to get into the building. From April to June there is the daily “Changing of the Guards” at 11.30 am. From August to April this ceremony takes place only every second day. The Queen’s Gallery in the south wing of the palace is open for the public throughout the whole year. Here you can observe objects from the Queen’s rich private collection.
Tower Bridge
A Victorian bridge over the Thames with an amazing view over the city and the docklands. It was built between 1186 and 1894 after the drawings of Sir Horace Jones. It belongs to the most important landmarks of London. The iron bridge is covered with stone in order to become a unit with the close-by Tower of London. The bridge is a technical master piece, an enormous draw bridge consisting of two parts which can be opened within 90 seconds to let big ships pass. This sort of spectacle is today very rare. In the north tower the entrance to the “Tower Bridge Experience” is located, which displays the history of the bridge. Opening times “Tower Bridge Experience”: Apr – Oct: 10 am – 6.30 Nov – Mar: 9.30 am – 5.15 pm
The Monument
The biggest free-standing stone pillar reminds of the Fire of London in 1666. Four fifth of the city had been destroyed completely by the fire that started on the 2nd September 1666 and lasted for 4 days and 4 nights. More than 13.000 houses were burned down. The concept of the white Portland stone pillar goes back to Sir Christopher Wren, the Royal master builder. The height of 61,5 m corresponds to the exact place where the fire started. Over a staircase you can go the viewing balcony which presents an astonishing view over the city. The end of the pillar is marked by of 14 m high urn from which climbs up a golden ball of flames.
Marble Arch
This triumphal arch at the north east side of Hyde Park was constructed after a draft of John Nash and should resemble the Constantine’s Arch in Rome. Initially it was meant to be the entrance gate to Buckingham Palace. But when the constructions ended it was noticed that the passage was too small for the state cars. For this reason the Marble Arch was relocated in 1851 to its present place which used to be the position of the London Gallows.
Kensington Palace
This brick building in Jacobean style does not seem very pompous or elegant. Until the death of George II., Kensington Palace was used as the Royal city residence. Queen Anne had an Orangery established and Caroline von Ansbach, the wife of Georeg II. took care of the gardens. Only the State Apartments in the east wing of the palace are open to the public. Furthermore, the former private rooms of the queens Anne, Mary and Victoria can be visited. They are equipped with a lot of personal items of the previous inhabitants. Opening times: Wed – Sun 10 am – 3 pm
Westminster Abbey
This coronation church is officially named “The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster”. It is devoted to the Holy Petri and one of the 12 Royal Peculiars that is not directly responsible to a bishop but to the Royal Dynasty. In the 11th century Edward the Confessor ordered the construction of a new monastery church. William the Conqueror was crowned in 1066 as all British monarchs after him. Additionally, most of the Royal weddings and burial festivities take place in Westminster Abbey. Opening times: Main nave and cloister: Mo – Fr 8 am – 6 pm King’s Chapels: Mo – Fr 9 am – 4 pm, Sat 9 am – 2 pm and 3.45 pm – 5 pm Chapter House, Chapel of the Pyx and Abbey Museum: daily 10.30 am – 4 pm
St. Paul’s Cathedral
This master piece which used to be the highest point of the “Square Mile”, is today surrounded by high office buildings. As many churches before the cathedral is devoted to St. Paul and is the only English church with a cupola which is characteristic for it. The cathedral belongs to the Bishop of London and is responsible for the whole Commonwealth. The main attraction is the ascent to the galleries (Whispering Gallery, Stone Gallery and Golden Gallery) and the cupola. Opening times: Mo – Sat 8.30 am – 4 pm Galleries and crypt: Mo – Sat 10 am – 4 pm
Southwark Cathedral
This cathedral is the most impressive and most interesting sacral building after Westminster Abbey. The church was built in 1212 after a fire had destroyed the Norman stone church St. Mary Overie. Between 1890 and 1896 the church was restored and rebuilt by Sir Arthur Bloomfield. In 1905 it was promoted to a cathedral and since then carries the official name “The Cathedral Church of St. Saviour & St. Mary Overie Southwark. Since 1988 the cathedral has a modern Chapter House which was built at the same position of the medieval abbey and today owns a public restaurant.
St. Martin-in-the-Fields
This distinctive church at Trafalgar Square was built between 1722 and 1726. The previous church from 1222 was indeed “in the fields”. It was transformed into St. Martin under Henry VIII. and now combines baroque and classical elements. With the construction of the Trafalgar Square the previously constricted church received more attention through the open space. Nice to see are the emblem of the Royal Family in the entrance hall, the Italian stucco ceiling and the Venetian choral windows. Inside there are many graves of important people.
St. Margaret’s Church
St. Margaret’s is a parish church of the members of the House of Commons which is located next to Westminster Abbey. The church from the 16th century was rebuilt and restored a couple of times during the centuries. When the head of the House of Commons preferred the service in St. Margaret’s to the one in Westminster Abbey in 1614, due to the growing Puritanism of the assemblymen, many “Commons” followed him. Since then St. Margaret’s advanced to the church of the House of Commons where the first benches are reserved for the Mr. Speaker. A special attraction of the church is the East window with masterly Flemish glass paintings which was a gift from the Spanish royal couple Isabella and Ferdinand.
Hyde Park
The green lungs of London! Thanks to the hunting pleasures of Henry VIII. London owns this beautiful park which builds the biggest green space in the city when combined with the Kensington Gardens. In 1635 the park was opened for the public under Charles I. and soon became one of the most popular spots for Sunday walks and family excursions. Today you can have a swim in the Lido, one of the few open air swimming pools of London or hire a rowing boat. At the south east end of the park is the Hyde Park Corner where the monumental Wellington Arch thrones lonely. Close by stands the Achilles Statue. Both of them were devoted to the war hero Wellington.
Kensington Gardens
Kensington Gardens belong to the numerous Royal gardens in London. It lies close to the Hyde Park and is therefore sometimes mistaken as a part of it. The street West Carriage Drive divides the two parks. The bridge over the artificial lake “The Serpentine” is part of this division border. The biggest part lies in the city of Westminster and a small part in the west belongs to the boroughs of Kensington and Chelsea. A pavilion from 1934 hosts the “Serpentine Gallery” which is specialized in modern art. Another attraction is the statue of Peter Pan.
Regent’s Park
In 1812 John Nash began with the transformation of the former Royal hunting area into a posh garden city with pompous villas and elegant terraces. His plans could not be totally actualized but nevertheless, with his attempts the most attractive and beautiful park of London was built. It contains and Inner and an Outer circle. Latter is still framed by diverse terraces of elegant buildings for example York Terrace, Chester Terrace and Chumberland Terrace. The park also includes a Boating lake where you can rent boats for a rowing trip, tennis and cricket courts and some deckchairs to relax. The biggest attraction of the par is, without doubt, the London Zoo which can be reached by canal boat.
St. James’s Park
St. James’s Park is the oldest Royal park of London. Charles I. decided to open it for the public. In 1660 he enlarged the area and which process the charming canal was built. The “beau monde” of London populated the park which, unfortunately, decayed at the beginning of the 18th century. The later reconstruction under George IV. was lead by the legendary John Nash. The former park in strictly French style got a new informal form: intricate paths, wild bushes and curvy shores of the canal. The prototype of the public Victorian park was created. More than ever, St. James’s Park is an oasis of silence within the hectic life of the city.
Green Park
Crossing the Mall at the North West corner of the St James’s Park finds himself in Green Park. This green triangle goes up to Piccadilly and is bordered in the west by Hyde Park Corner. It used to be a plain green land on which yellow narcissuses blossomed year for year. Henry VIII. bordered the land and Charles II. established a pompous Royal park.
Richmond Park
With 10 km² Richmond Park is the biggest of the Royal parks in London. It is located in Richmond upon Thames and Kingston. Initially, the park was used as a hunting area by Edward I. Main attractions are a herd of loose deer, the Isabella Plantations which is a place with many rare plants. In the North West of the park the hill of Henry VIII.’s Moud is located. From here you have an amazing view over St. Paul’s Cathedral. Richmond Park is a location of high interest for natural sciences, a natural reservoir and a refuge for stag beetles. Some streets lead through the park but driving is only allowed during the day and with a speed limit of 32 km/h. The whole park is surrounded by high walls and various gates.
Greenwich Park
The Greenwich Park lies in the borough of Greenwich in South East London. In the north lies the National Maritime Museum and the Queen’s House, a former Royal Palace. In the middle of the park is the Royal Greenwich Observatory. The Park includes several entertainment sites such as a playground for children, a boating lake, an herbal garden a flower garden with a duck lake, some tennis and cricket courts, a music pavilion and a small animal park.
Tower of London
The Tower of London is the most visited attraction and the historically most important site of London. For centuries this impressive building was not only used as a palace and fortress but also as a prison and place for executions. The tower goes back to William the Conqueror who built a wooden fort not only for security reasons but also to demonstrate his power. 11 years later the wood was replaced by stone. Visitors enter the area at the south west corner. The outside ring is the former oat, which is followed by the two mural rings with its towers. Highlight of a visit to the tower are the Waterloo Barracks where the Crown Jewels are kept. The sparkling and twinkling has an enormous and immeasurable value. Displayed are for example the St. Edward’s Crown which was created for Charles II. or the exuberantly jewelled Imperial State Crown which was worn by Queen Victoria on the day of her coronation. But there are no really old pieces as Oliver Cromwell had them confiscated and melted. Opening times: Mar – Oct: Mo – Sat 9 am – 6 pm, Sun 10 am – 6 pm Nov – Feb: Tues – Sat 9 am – 5 pm, Sun – Mo 10 am – 5 pm Entrance prices: Adults £11.30, Concession £8.50, Children 5 -15 £7.50, Family (up to 2 adults and 3 children) £34.00
Millennium Bridge
The best way to get from two prime sites: Christopher Wren's glorious St Paul's Cathedral to the impressive Tate Modern. Now the ''wobbling bridge'' has been made safe, it is worth walking across the Thames to admire the riverside views across the river. There are no charges for crossing the bridge.
The London Eye
Not for the faint hearted or sufferers of vertigo, this high tech Ferris wheel offers one of the best and highest views of London. Built to coincide with the Millennium celebrations, and apparently not welcomed by the government, as the wheel looks down on their ornate 19th Century offices. So, if you want to lord it over those in power and view the elected British MP's down below, you can climb to a great height and gaze for thirty minutes on the city rooftops and spires. A thrilling ride in a glass pod above central London. Opening times: Oct – Dec 9.30 am – 8 pm except for Wed mornings when the Eye is closed until 11 am Entrance prices: Prices range from £5 for children to £10.50 for adults. Disabled visitors can bring one carer for free and pay only £8.50 Tel.: +44 (0)870 5000 600 for advance bookings