London, the capital city of the United Kingdom, has a rich history dating back over 2,000 years. Founded by the Romans in AD 43, it was originally named Londinium.
During the Middle Ages, London established itself as a prominent trade and economic hub. It saw significant growth during the Industrial Revolution in the 18th and 19th centuries, becoming the world's largest city and the centre of the British Empire.
Despite the Great Fire of London in 1666 and the devastating impacts of both World Wars in the 20th century, London remains a symbol of resilience, constantly evolving, and is now one of the world's most multicultural and influential cities.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best way to get there?
Direct flights from most international cities are available to one of London’s five airports, with Heathrow being the busiest and most accessible.
Do I need a visa?
This depends on your nationality. Many countries are visa-exempt for short stays but always check with your local British embassy or consulate.
When is the best time to visit?
The best time to visit London is in the spring (late April to June), or autumn (September to November) when the weather is mild, and the city’s parks are beautiful and blooming.
Are there local customs I should know?
Drinking – It’s customary to buy a ’round’ of drinks in pubs. Greetings – A handshake is a common form of greeting. Use first names, and remember that British reserve is common. Public transit – Always stand on the right on escalators and let others pass on the left.
What is the time zone?
London operates on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) or British Summer Time (BST, GMT+1) in the summer.
What are the voltage/plug types?
The standard voltage is 230 V, and the standard frequency is 50 Hz. The power plugs and sockets are of type G.
What is the currency?
The currency in London is the British Pound (£).
Are ATMs readily accessible?
Yes, ATMs, often called cash machines, are widely available throughout the city.
Are credit cards widely accepted?
Yes, most places in London accept major credit cards, although small shops may have a minimum spend.
Can you use ApplePay and Google Pay?
Yes, both ApplePay and Google Pay are commonly accepted in most shops, restaurants, and on public transportation in London. It’s always a good idea to have a backup payment option just in case, especially in smaller businesses or outdoor markets.
How much do I tip?
Restaurants/bars – 10-15% is customary in restaurants. It’s not necessary to tip in bars. Hotels – Tip porters around £1-2 per bag. Taxis – A 10-15% tip is appreciated. Tour guides – Tip based on your satisfaction with the tour, usually around £10.