Before you visit London, you'll need to know the basics. Here are some useful facts and tips to help you plan your trip.
Capital of Britain
London is the political, economic and cultural capital of Britain. You can visit the Queen's official residence at Buckingham Palace and tour the Houses of Parliament, historic home of the UK government.
London is incredibly well-connected, with five international airports and the high-speed Eurostar rail link. More than 50 countries are within a three-hour flight time and upwards of 300 international destinations have direct links to London.
London is a city at the centre of the world – and a world in one city. Around 230 languages are spoken here and you'll find a wealth of different cultures and communities throughout the capital.
London's history stretches back over thousands of years, and the city boasts four World Heritage Sites: the Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Maritime Greenwich and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
London's world-class tourist attractions are renowned across the globe. Many of the most famous attractions are free to visit, for example Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The river Thames runs through the heart of London, from Richmond in the west, through the central London borough of Westminster, to Greenwich in the east. London river cruises and river buses are a great way to see the city.
About one third of London is devoted to parks and open spaces, so there are plenty of places to relax on fine days. Make sure you visit The Royal Parks as well as Hampstead Heath in North London, which offers amazing views over the city.
There are more than 6,000 restaurants in London so you'll never be short of new places to eat. London boasts 65 Michelin-starred restaurants and many celebrity chefs are based here, and there are plenty of good, cheaper options too.
According to the Globe Shopper City Index, London is Europe's best shopping destination. Whether you head to the West End, Westfield Stratford City or a quirky London market, there's a huge range of places to buy gifts, fashion and food.
Want to bring your kids to London? They'll have a great time. London is full of child-friendly attractions, and many – including the Science Museum and Natural History Museum – are free to visit. See our Family Activities section for more ideas.
Whether you want to stay in a well-known 5-star hotel, a cosy bed and breakfastor a cheap backpackers' hostel, London offers a wide range of quality accommodation. You can browse and book accommodation in our Where to Stay section.
London's fantastic transport system, with its Tube, red buses and black taxis, will enable you to get around the city quickly and easily. Why not buy an Oyster Cardin advance and download a free Tube map to help you plan your days out?
London's facilities for disabled visitors are constantly improving, with more accessible attractions, restaurants, tours and transport. For more details visit our Accessible London pages or the DisabledGo website.