Travel guide to London

Facts

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Local name
London
Inhabitants
7,074,300
Timezone
England follows GMT (Greenwich Mean Time). If you should like to see that with your own eyes, Greenwich park in South London keeps the GMT time-line ready for inspection all day round. In spring the clocks are moved forward one hour, and moved back one hour in autumn in line with daylight saving. This means when it is 12.00pm (noon) GMT it is: 4.00am in LA, 2.00pm in Cape Town and 10.00pm in Sydney

Best time to visit

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England's weather varies dramatically throughout the year. The winters can be bitterly cold and wet (-4 to about 9 degrees on average). June and July are the best months to travel because it tends to be warmer and drier (usually between 12 and 21 degrees), although English weather is never very predictable. The south coast usually sees the best weather, being milder throughout the year, whilst the North experiences cooler conditions. Despite this, the difference in temperature from the north to the south is never more than a few degrees. Being a metropolis, London is a good place to visit all year round. Obviously there are a lot more tourists in the summer, but the prices stay pretty much the same throughout the year.

Literature

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Lonely Planet Guide To London, The London Mini Rough Guide, London Life, and London On Line.

Culture and entertainment

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This is London's by-word. There is club culture, café culture, music culture, street culture as well as every other kind of happening that the international 'culture vulture' could wish for. London is a 24-hour city, so it can be enjoyed at any time of the day or night. In it's fabled West-End, you will find around 50 theatres 20 cinemas, endless restaurants and nightclubs for all tastes. Covent Garden boasts a lively environment with it's various street entertainments often going on well into the night. Soho has many bars, 24-hour coffee shops and its own 'red light district' so if you have the money, Soho really is your oyster.

Accommodation / Hotel

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A place to stay in London isn't hard to find, but in keeping with everything else, the price you pay is generally over the odds. Hotel prices go right across the board and the hostels here are amongst the most expensive in the world (although there lots of them). The cheaper places to stay are found around the larger railway stations such as Paddington, Victoria and Earls Court, whereas the West-End areas and the Knightsbridge area are likely to be much more expensive. The further from the centre you are, the less you can expect to pay. Book your hotel in London here

Local transport

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Taxi

Flag down a famous London Taxi from any busy street at any time of the day or night. The fares are expensive in both black cabs and minicabs, but the black cabs are more spacious and more reliable. Try to avoid being hustled into hiring any of the un-licensed mini cabs you will be offered on the street (for obvious reasons). Mini cab numbers can be picked up in most hotels and restaurants and licensed ranks are found on many streets.

Other transport

London Transport really needs no introduction. Double Decker buses are efficient as are their modern counterparts. Bus fares have also recently been localised so that you either pay £1 for any journey from the centre, or 70p from the outer areas. The fastest way to get around is by tube. For multiple journeys, buying a Travelcard works out far cheaper and covers you on buses, tubes and trains, within the given zones. Tickets are available at all underground stations as well as maps and guides. Be careful to avoid travelling during the 'rush hours' (8.30am - 9.30am and 5pm - 7pm on weekdays) unless absolutely necessary, as overcrowding is rife at these times.
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