Entertainment in London


Tourism and Sightseeing in London


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London is a destination for people around the world with over 30 million international visitors per year. World-class sights, premiere entertainment, and experiences like no other place on earth.

Tourist Office

Local tourist offices provide information about the city, maps, hotel and hostel bookings, information about getting around on public transport, tours, and how to find the best deals. The official tourism site for England is: http://www.visitbritain.com
and for London it is: http://www.visitlondon.com.

Offices

Offices can be found through the visitlondon.com site.

The British Tourist Authority
The BTA can provide you with information on tourism in London as well as anywhere in the UK.
Tel: +44 (0)20 01 8846 9000

London Tourist Board and Convention Bureau
26 Grosvenor Gardens, Victoria, SW1
Tel: 44 (0)20 7971 0027

British Travel Centre
12 Lower Regent Street, SW1
Tube: Piccadilly Circus

Corporation of London Tourism Centre
St. Paul's Churchyard, EC4
Tel: +44 (0)20 7323 1456

Liverpool Street station
The City, EC2
Tube: Liverpool Street

Sightseeing

England is proud of its history and monuments and most historic sites are maintained by the National Trust of England. Membership can be obtained which offers free priority access and discounts for a year or a lifetime. Membership also contributes to the sites's preservation and new acquisitions.

Tower of London
Nearest station: Tower Hill underground station
Tel.: 0844 482 7799 (from the UK) or +44 (0)20 3166 6000 (from outside the UK)
Admission: Adult £19.80, Children £10.45
Hours: Tuesday - Saturday 09:00 - 16:30; Sunday - Monday 10:00 - 16:30
One of the most popular tourist attractions in London, "Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress" is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames. Built by William the Conqueror in 1078, the castle has an illustrious history as prison, palace, home of the iconic Beefeaters, the Crown Jewels and the Royal Armouries. A visit to the Tower is a must for all visitors to London.

Tower Bridge Exhibition
Address: Tower Bridge Road, London, SE1 2UP, United Kingdom
Tel.: +44 (0) 20 7403 3761
Admission: Adults £8.00, Children £3.40
Hours: Tuesdays and Thursdays; duration 1 hour and 30 minutes
This iconic bridge is often mistaken for London Bridge which lies further along the river. The museum offers the history of the bridge and breathtaking views of London.

St Paul's Cathedral
Address: St Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
Admission: Adults £14.50, Children £5.50
Hours: Monday to Saturday between 8.30 - 16:00
This cathedral is home to the tombs of great historical figures such Lord Nelson and the Duke of Wellington. Visitors can climb the 530 steps from the cathedral floor to the Golden Gallery, also known as the Whispering Gallery, for panoramic views of London.

Houses of Parliament & Big Ben
Address: Norman Shaw South, Victoria Embankment, City of London, Greater London
Tel.: 020 7219 4272
Admission: Adults £15; Children £10
Hours: Tours run from Monday to Saturday inclusive, but not on Sundays or Bank Holidays. Overseas visitors can only tour Parliament on Saturdays and during the Summer Opening when paid-for tickets can be purchased. Tours take about 75 minutes.
The Houses of Parliament is where laws governing British life are debated and enacted. The building originates from 1840 after a fire destroyed the previous building. "Big Ben" is the large bell tower that strikes on the quarter hour and is a highlight of the skyline.

Buckingham Palace
Address: Buckingham Palace, SW1A 1AA
Admission: Complete tour, £31.95; State Rooms including audio £18.00
Hours: 31 July - 30 September, 09:45-18:30 (last admission 15:45)
Sometimes informally referred to as "Buck House", this is the Monarch`s permanent London residence since the accession of Queen Victoria. It is the largest private house in London with more than 660 rooms.
Changing the Guard - Taking place in font of Buckingham Palace, this ceremony takes place at 11:30. The ceremony lasts about 40 min. and takes place inside the railings of the palace. A separate ceremony also takes place daily throughout the year at Horse Guards Parade in Whitehall at 11am Mon-Sat and 10:00 on Sun.

London Eye - Millennium Wheel
Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London SE1 7PB
Tel.: 44 (0)871 781 3000
Admission: Adults £18.90; children £9.90; online discounts
Hours: January - March 10:00 - 20:30; April to June 10:00 - 21:00; July and August 10:00 - 21:30; September to December 10:00 - 20:30
The London Eye sits on the bank of the River Thames and can be seen from around the city. Appearing as a giant ferris wheel, it is actually the biggest observation wheel in the world. A circuit takes over 30 minutes and offers spectacular views of London.

Trafalgar Square
The statue of Admiral Lord Nelson dominates this popular square. The square was laid out in 1830 and is a popular venue for political rallies and used to be home to thousands of pigeons. Pigeon food sellers have now been banned, but people still fed the legions of pigeons here.

Windsor Castle
Address: Windsor, Berkshire, SL4 1NJ
Tel.: 44 020 7766 7304
Admission: Adult £17, Children £10.20
Hours: March to October 09:45-17:15 (last admission 16:00); November to February 09:45-16:15 (last admission 15:00).
Located just outside of London, it is the oldest and largest occupied castle in the world. It has been the official residence of the British sovereign for over 900 years and the amazing State Apartments are a favourite with London tourists.

Abbey Road
Address: thoroughfare located in the borough of Camden and the City of Westminster in London
The world famous band, the Beatles, lived in London during the 1960s and anything they touched has become a mecca for fans. The Abbey Road zebra crossing featured on the album cover is , located near the EMI studios, where the group recorded most of their albums. To get there, walk up Grove End Road, which runs along the west side of Lord`s cricket ground, until you come to the junction where it turns into Abbey Rd. Do not forget to bring your friends, cameras and to put your signature on the wall in front of the studios (everybody else does it, and you are perfectly safe to do it).

Brick Lane
Locate in East London, this was once the main location for the brick kilns which helped rebuild the City of London after the Great Fire. Today, Brick Lane is home to the Bengali community. Numerous cafes and restaurants offer the best of India and the neighborhood hosts a young, vibrant vibe.

Camden
Camden Town is an alternative neighborhood with deep historical roots. Best known for its multiple street markets, it also has a unique musical subcultures including goth, indie, metal and punk. There are traditional pubs, bars, art galleries and comedy venues, and some of the best clubbing in London.

Piccadilly Circus
This road junction is a public space in London's West End. Built in 1819, it connects Regent Street with the major shopping street of Piccadilly. In this context, a circus, from the Latin word meaning "circle", is a round open space at a street junction. Nightlife is in abundance here.

St Paul's Cathedral
Address: St Paul's Churchyard, London, EC4M 8AD
Telephone: 0207 236 4128
Admission: Adults £14.50
Hours: Monday to Saturday 8:30 - 16:00
This cathedral is the fifth to be built on the site. The weddings of the Prince and Princess of Wales, the funeral of Sir Winston Churchill and many other occasions have graced this spiritual centre. The dome rises 365 feet and has Great Paul, the largest bell in England.

Tours

There is a range of tours with different focuses, price points, and modes of transportation.

Day Tours

Many day tours focus on an overview of the city, though there are many different options focusing on particular aspects like architecture history. There are also tours focusing on the dining scene, raucous pub tours, and tours of particular attractions.

Tours can last as little as an hour, with many in a 2-4 hour range. Free tours have become quite popular and advertised in most cities. While it is true that these tours are without a fee, it is customary to pay at least 5 euro as the tour guide must pay a percentage of their tips to the company.

How to Find a Tour

Many of these types of tours meet at tourist attractions, transportation hubs, or at large hostels. Look out for flyers at cafes, bars, and restaurants and investigate the scene before arrival through forums.

    Tours in London
  • London Walks - The oldest established walking-tour company in London. Offers a range of guided walks such as a daily Jack the Ripper walk, Shakespeare's and Dickens's London, The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour, and Hidden London.
  • Context - Small groups are led by experts on intensive tours entitled "London: Portrait of a City".
  • City Guides - These inexpensive walks are based in and around the Square Mile, concentrating on the "City's Gardens," "Dr. Johnson," or tours of such places as All-Hallows-by-the-Tower Church.
  • BBC Tours - Visits get a first-hand look at the BBC in the West End. The tour includes a trip to the BBC newsroom, radio center, and the BBC Radio Theatre.
  • The Original London Sightseeing Tour - This bus tour passes by the major sights in a traditional double-decker bus. Service is hop on and off with a river cruise and a choice of guided walks are included in your ticket price. There are individual and family tickets.
  • Big Bus Tours - There are 2-hour tours that hit about 40 sites around the center. Service is hop on and off with a river cruise and a choice of guided walks are included in your ticket price. There are individual and family tickets.
  • London Bicycle Tour Company - Bicycle groups take 3 separate circuits of the capital, originating from its home-base at Gabriel's Wharf. Book ahead during the high season between November and March and ride hybrid bikes.
  • Fat Tire Bike Tours - Offers 4-hour tour of Royal London originating from Queensway Tube station and a 5-hour River Thames Tour starting from Waterloo Road.
  • Thames River Services - Tours along the Thames are quite popular.
  • Westminster Passenger Service Association - Offers the only riverboat service upstream to Kew, Richmond, and Hampton Court.

Festivals

London is a town for parties and a festival can be found practically every weekend, all year round. Watch for local community center announcements for small local events, but here is a list of some of the major festivals.

January

London Art Fair - Held each year in January, this festival provides the latest in modern and contemporary British art.

London Boat Show - The London Boat show is held in January each year.

March

St Patrick's Day - London's Irish Community is the largest minority group in London with approximately 400,000 people of Irish descent.

July

City of London Festival - The City of London Festival held in June and July is a celebration of music, art, architecture and film. From world music to jazz, from classical to contemporary, the festival promotes a wide range of music styles performed by some of the world's leading artists.

SouthWestFest - Events in the Pimlico and SW1 area, which culminate in a one-day festival finale in July.

August

Notting Hill Carnival - The Notting Hill Carnival is an began in 1964. Now Europe's largest street festival, it's held every August bank holiday for up to 2 million travelers.

Carnaval del Pueblo - The largest Latin American Festival in the UK features the very best in Latin American music, held in Burgess Park in August. With artists flown in from South America, this massive event is attended by over 60,000 people.

September

The Mayor's Thames Festival - A free event celebrating the Thames, this event is held over a weekend in September. Street arts, animations, and a firework finale mark the event.

Open House London Weekend - The whole city opens up for this weekend. Usually held on the third weekend of September, several hundred buildings which are not normally open to the public are opened up.

November

Lord Mayor's Show - Created in 1215, this holiday recognizes the City's citizens to elect their own mayor. The Charter stipulated that the new Mayor must be presented to the Sovereign for approval and to swear fealty to the Crown, so each year the newly elected Mayor had to travel from the City to Westminster to pledge allegiance. The show honors the history on the second Saturday in November with approximately 5,500 participants.

December

London Parade - One of the greatest street festival in Europe, this parade occurs on New Years Day. It features more than 10,000 performers and represents over a dozen countries worldwide.

Discounts

There are several passes that offer visitors to England substantial savings.

London Pass
Offers entry to 27 of London's top attractions, a 90-page guidebook, retail and restaurant offers, free public transport, and airport transfers. Can be purchased online or at Tourist Information Centres.
1-day pass 46 £
2-day pass 61 £
3-day pass 66,60 £

Historic England Membership
This membership provides unlimited access to about 70 sites in England, including London's Castle and Craigmillar Castle. There are also discounts for shops, a quarterly magazine, and 50 percent off all English, Welsh and Manx historical sites.
Passes last for a year and cost about 40 GBP for adults (30 GBP for students, elderly, etc.)

Update 10/05/2012



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