- London Guide
London is the capital and largest urban area in the United Kingdom. Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly. London is one of the world's leading business, financial and cultural centres, and its influence in politics, education, entertainment, media, fashion and the arts contribute to its status as a major global city. London's population draws from a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and over 300 languages are spoken within the city. As of 2006, it had an official population of 7,512,400 within the boundaries of Greater London and is the most populous municipality in the European Union. As of 2001, the Greater London Urban Area had a population of 8,278,251 and the metropolitan area is estimated to have a total population of between 12 and 14 million.
Camden Market is held north of Camden Town tube at weekends is quite an experience. It overflows with a variety of colourful markets, shops, restaurants, bars, pubs, clubs, theatres and cinemas. It's a huge vanity fair, virtually everything is on sale there from clothing, music, antiques, collectibles, ethnic art, rugs till kelims, food and drink. Camden Lock Market, by the canal, was the original craft market established in 1974 but now has a much wider spectrum of goods on sale. Both this and the ever popular Camden Stables Market - centre of the alternative fashion scene, Camden (Buck Street) Market and Inverness Street Market.
Soho is an area in the centre of the West End of London, in the City of Westminster. It is known for being the center of London’s gay district and red light district (various adult shops and strip clubs are sprinkled around the whole area). To the west is Carnaby St. which was the centre of swinging London' in the 60's is nowadays quite tacky, but the area just to the east and south of the street itself is very pleasant with interesting boutiques, restaurants and record shops.
Covent Garden is more of a trendy shopping area within London that is actually dated at the Medieval ages. Now it has lot of great designers stores and little boutiques. You can make a nice break from shopping in one of the make quaint cafés and restaurants that are all over the area. It is famous for the live street entertainment.
Oxford Street is a massively busy area of London and has one of the highest concentrations of shops in the world. It is visited by more than 200 million visitors per year! You will find many of the high street stores here - Marks and Spencer, John Lewis and the great HMV record store.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace and on Horse Guards Parade are free displays of colourful Royal pageantry. In August and September Buckingham Palace itself is open to visitors. Take a look at the Houses of Parliament and the famous clocktower that houses Big Ben. Other must-see London sights include the London Bridge and nearby Tower of London with its colourful 'Beefeaters', British Museum, Princess of Diana's memorial and Madame Tussauds. Of course, you have to ride the London Eye - the new landmark for London! London has also some of the finest parks in the world.
There's a fantastic amount of art in London and it's virtually all free such as National Gallery which is located on the north side of Trafalgar Square, with an impressive collection of Western European art from the middle ages to the early 20th century. Also Tate Modern situated on the South Bank of the Thames a former power station has been converted into the world's biggest collection of Modern Art. You can also visit the National Portrait Gallery with its large collection of portraits, Somerset House Galleries which is based in a large impressive neo-classical building overlooking the South Bank alongside Waterloo Bridge or the schizophrenic exhibition space, displaying major international art that's home a couple of times a year to the efforts of untalented wannabees, Royal Academy.
You can find more information about accommodation in London here.