The UK capital is a multifaceted metropolis that offers something for all. Where fashion, finance and culture are concerned, it’s no secret that London is a world leader. But beyond the soaring skyscrapers of The City, this is the place for delving into neighbourhoods of all shape, size and flavour, each filled with its own fascinating blend of communities from across the globe.
London's sprawling public transport network covers almost every kilometre of the capital. The Tube is extremely efficient, although first-timers and those with children are advised to avoid rush hours. The red double-decker bus is one of London’s most iconic residents, with regular routes often running around the clock. Equally as familiar, black taxis make traversing the city a cinch for those with the cash to splash.
London's landmarks leave you spoilt for choice. The majority of them are based on or near the River Thames, including Westminster heavyweight Big Ben, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London, which contains the crown jewels, Buckingham Palace, London Eye and St Paul's Cathedral.
The city's museums are amongst the very best on the planet, and most of them are free to enter. The British Museum contains an incredible collection of artefacts from across the globe, while the National Gallery on Trafalgar Square has some of the most prized paintings anywhere from 1300 to 1900. The Tate Modern is a thrilling alternative dedicated to contemporary art, including edgy installations, while the National History Museum's collection of dinosaur remains is popular with all the family.
In terms of areas to visit, the former red-light district of Soho is today a buzzing zone full of creative types, as well as boutiques and trendy restaurants, while bohemian Camden Town has long enthralled for its pretty waterways and hip market. For high-end shopping and the finest restaurants, head to Kensington.
For such an urbanised, traffic-choked metropolis, London is surprisingly green thanks to the likes of Hyde Park, Regent's Park and the enormous Richmond Park on the western periphery.
A city known for its local markets, London's less touristy areas often bustle with slices of classic life. Head to Broadway Market in Hackney whose old shops and cafe culture lend it a real village feel. Known for the Cutty Sark, the world's only surviving tea clipper, Greenwich feels like another town altogether with its traditional market for independent traders, old pubs and shops.
Most Londoners are familiar with Hampstead Heath, an extraordinary wilderness in the heart of London, but few visitors come to explore it. Scattered on and around the vast grounds are ponds, historic pubs and the stately Kenwood House.
London is a culinary powerhouse. Some of the world's finest restaurants can be found in venerable hotels and historic parts of the city, while its intense multiculturalism means that almost any country's cooking is on the menu – eat everything from authentic Vietnamese fare to stylish takes on Peruvian. Curry has long since been adopted as a national dish, and there are countless eateries offering rich South Asian food. Pubs serve a varying standard of food – everything from pork pies to gastronomic-standard pub food – while London has been vital in leading a revolution in artisanal beers from micro-breweries.