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Travel guide - London

London is one of the most multicultural cities in Europe, with a unique atmosphere that is reflected in Londoners’ clothing, music and food. In this vibrant city, culture and history mix with a modern feel and stunning green spaces.

The capital of the British monarchy and home to King Charles III, London is also home to many famous British icons, including double-decker buses, red phone boxes and policemen in traditional uniforms. London’s long history is also represented in buildings throughout the city.

No matter what time of year you visit, there’s always something to explore, from the vibrant theatre scene to authentic food from all around the world.

Walking alongside the River Thames is one of the best ways to catch a glimpse of many of London’s most famous sights.

Views of London – for spectacular views of the city, go to Primrose Hill, Parliament Hill, The Hilton Park Lane or The Shard. These are all located in different parts of the city, giving you the chance to see its many different sides. Sit down, have a snack and just enjoy the view.

Buckingham Palace – the Queen’s home is almost a must-see for any visitor to London. The palace is open to the public in August and September; during the rest of the year you can visit The Queens Gallery, which features items from the royal collections. The changing of the Guard is also not to be missed. The ceremony takes place either on even or odd days (depending on the month) and is accompanied by a Guards band playing traditional marches or other popular music.

London has several museums worth visiting. As well as historical museums such as the British Museum, the National History Museum and the Science Museum, there are also contemporary museums like Tate Modernand the Victoria and Albert Museum.

West End theatres and musicals – where the most important and popular musicals are playing.

Parks – visit a park for relaxation, exercise or fun activities; Hyde Park, Green Park, Kensington Gardens, Greenwich Park, Observatory Gardens, Regent’s Park and Kew Gardens are all great options that are always within easy reach.

Football is a big sport in London, which is home to teams like Chelsea, Arsenal, West Ham, Crystal Palace and Tottenham. The atmosphere at a London team’s home game can be truly unforgettable.

London nightlife – for an exclusive VIP-style night out, head to West London’s clubs, where the famous and beautiful gather. East London provides a more hip and local clubbing scene.

Oxford and Cambridge – easily accessible from London by train. Traditional university cities with beautiful surroundings and gardens, and unique architecture.

Brighton – a seaside city with hippie flair, where you can spend a day on the beach.

London offers everything from shopping streets to malls and markets; perfect for those who feel tempted to treat themselves to something nice.

Oxford Street is one of the city’s famous shopping streets, filled with shops like Primark, Miss Selfridge, Topshop and Urban Outfitters. You can easily spend hours here browsing the huge selection that each store has to offer.

In department stores like SelfridgesHarvey Nichols or Harrods you’ll find brand-name products on every floor. Also, the gigantic Hamley’s toy store on Regent’s Street is a pleasure to visit both for kids and adults.

Portobello – a famous market situated in Notting Hill with quirky clothes, antiques, jewellery, toys and flowers.

Camden Lock market – lots of second-hand goods and music; located in north-west London, about 10 minutes away from the city centre by metro (known locally as ‘The Tube’).

London - food

Fish and chips – battered cod (or haddock), served with chips and mushy peas

English breakfast – including toast, bacon, mushrooms, eggs, sausage and baked beans

Afternoon tea – tea with sandwiches, cakes or scones

Sunday roast – classic oven-roasted meat with gravy, potatoes, Yorkshire pudding and roasted vegetables

Indian curry – nowadays probably the most common meal in British homes

Shepherd’s pie – a pie with a filling of lamb and vegetables, covered with mashed potatoes

Trifle – a dessert made of sponge cake, fruit, jelly and custard, topped with whipped cream

Tea – a classic hot beverage in the morning, during the day or after a nice dinner

Beer – a great variety of beers is available in a range of traditional or modern pubs

Cocktails – London is filled with cocktail bars serving innovative drinks

Underground (The Tube) – the metro system serving the Greater London area and one of the first subways in the world.

Taxi – it’s easy to hail a taxi in the street, but be prepared to pay cash. London’s black cabs are an institution – always pick an official one. If you use a smartphone, private Uber taxi drivers provide an excellent option to black cabs. There are also a large number of mini-cab (private hire) companies – ask the locals for details.

Bus – these iconic red double-deckers will take you around the city centre and suburbs.

From London Heathrow – the Tube (Piccadilly line) from Heathrow will take you to the city centre in about an hour. Another option is the Heathrow Express, with a journey time of about 15 minutes to Paddington Station.

Currency – British Pound (£)

Electricity – 230 volts, bring an adapter since the sockets are different from the ones at home

Payment – most places accept payment by card

Tip – feel free to tip around 10% at restaurants if the service charge is not included in the bill

Time zone – London (United Kingdom) UTC/GMT +0 hours

Emergencies – call 999 or 112 if you need to get in contact with the emergency services

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

The airport is located 22km west of London.

  • Finnair flights: Terminal 3
  • Check-in opens 2 hours before departure
  • Check-in closes 45 minutes before departure

Check-in is also possible at the check-in kiosk at the Paddington railway station in London.

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