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Geography of London:
Culture of London:
A variety of landmarks and objects are cultural icons associated with London, such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and the tube map. Many other British cultural icons are strongly associated with London in the minds of visiting tourists, including the red telephone box, the routemaster bus, the black taxi and the Union Flag.
The city is home to more than 300 nationalities, and the diversity of cultures have shaped the city's culture over time.
London Attractions | London Sightseeing |Tourism in London:
London is the world's leading tourism destination, and the city is home to an array of famous tourist attractions. London attracts 20 million international visitors per year, making it the world's most visited in terms of international visits. The Tourist Board for London is called Visit London. The Britain and London Visitor Centre is located on Lower Regent Street, near Piccadilly Circus.
The British Museum was established in 1753, largely based on the collections of the physician and scientist Sir Hans Sloane. The museum first opened to the public on 15 January 1759 in Montagu House in Bloomsbury, on the site of the current museum building. Its expansion over the following two and a half centuries was largely a result of an expanding British colonial footprint and has resulted in the creation of several branch institutions, the first being the British Museum (Natural History) in South Kensington in 1887. Some objects in the collection, most notably the Elgin Marbles from the Parthenon, are the objects of intense controversy and of calls for restitution to their countries of origin.
Until 1997, when the British Library (previously centred on the Round Reading Room) moved to a new site, the British Museum was unique in that it housed both a national museum of antiquities and a national library in the same building. The museum is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, and as with all other national museums in the United Kingdom it charges no admission fee. Since 2002 the director of the museum has been Neil MacGregor.
Unlike comparable art museums in continental Europe, the National Gallery was not formed by nationalising an existing royal or princely art collection. It came into being when the British government bought 38 paintings from the heirs of John Julius Angerstein, an insurance broker and patron of the arts, in 1824. After that initial purchase the Gallery was shaped mainly by its early directors, notably Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, and by private donations, which comprise two thirds of the collection. The resulting collection is small in size, compared with many European national galleries, but encyclopaedic in scope; most major developments in Western painting "from Giotto to Cézanne" are represented with important works. It used to be claimed that this was one of the few national galleries that had all its works on permanent exhibition, but this is no longer the case.
Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London, England. It is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group (together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool, Tate St Ives and Tate Online). It is the most-visited modern art gallery in the world, with around 4.7 million visitors per year. It is based in the former Bankside Power Station, in the Bankside area of Central London.
Natural History Museum:
The museum is home to life and earth science specimens comprising some 70 million items within five main collections: Botany, Entomology, Mineralogy, Palaeontology and Zoology. The museum is a world-renowned centre of research, specialising in taxonomy, identification and conservation. Given the age of the institution, many of the collections have great historical as well as scientific value, such as specimens collected by Darwin. The Natural History Museum Library contains extensive books, journals, manuscripts, and artwork collections linked to the work and research of the scientific departments. Access to the library is by appointment only.
Originating from collections within the British Museum, the landmark Alfred Waterhouse building was built and opened by 1881, and later incorporated the Geological Museum. The Darwin Centre is a more recent addition, partly designed as a modern facility for storing the valuable collections.
Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Natural History Museum does not levy an admission charge.
It is the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe, and the most popular paid tourist attraction in the United Kingdom, visited by over 3.5 million people annually. When erected in 1999, it was the tallest Ferris wheel in the world, until surpassed first by the 160 m (520 ft) Star of Nanchang in 2006, and then the 165 m (541 ft) Singapore Flyer in 2008. It is still described by its operators as "the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel" (as the wheel is supported by an A-frame on one side only, unlike the Nanchang and Singapore wheels).
The London Eye is located at the western end of Jubilee Gardens, on the South Bank of the River Thames in the London Borough of Lambeth, between Westminster Bridge and Hungerford Bridge. The site is adjacent to that of the former Dome of Discovery, which was built for the Festival of Britain in 1951.
Like other publicly funded national museums in the United Kingdom, the Science Museum does not levy an admission charge. Temporary exhibitions, however, do usually incur an admission fee.
Tower of London:
The Tower of London has played a prominent role in English history. It was besieged several times and controlling it has been important to controlling the country. The Tower has served variously as an armoury, a treasury, a menagerie, the home of the Royal Mint, a public records office, and the home of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. From the early 14th century until the reign of Charles II, a procession would be led from the Tower to Westminster Abbey on the coronation of a monarch. In the absence of the monarch, the Constable of the Tower is in charge of the castle. This was a powerful and trusted position in the medieval period. In the late 15th century the castle was the prison of the Princes in the Tower. Under the Tudors, the Tower became used less as a royal residence, and despite attempts to refortify and repair the castle its defences lagged behind developments to deal with artillery.
National Maritime Museum:
Victoria and Albert Museum:
The holdings of ceramics, glass, textiles, costumes, silver, ironwork, jewellery, furniture, medieval objects, sculpture, prints and printmaking, drawings and photographs are among the largest and most comprehensive in the world. The museum possesses the world's largest collection of post-classical sculpture, the holdings of Italian Renaissance items are the largest outside Italy. The departments of Asia include art from South Asia, China, Japan, Korea and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections are among the best in Europe, with particular strengths in ceramics and metalwork, while the Islamic collection, alongside the Musée du Louvre and Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, is amongst the largest in the world.
Alongside other neighbouring institutions, including the Natural History Museum and Science Museum, the V&A is located in what is termed London's "Albertopolis", an area of immense cultural, scientific and educational importance. Since 2001, the Museum has embarked on a major £150m renovation programme which has seen a major overhaul of the departments including the introduction of newer galleries, gardens, shops and visitor facilities. Following in similar vein to other national UK museums, entrance to the museum has been free since 2001.
The river gives its name to several geographical and political entities including the Thames Valley, a region of England centred around the river between Oxford and west London, the Thames Gateway, the area centred around the tidal Thames, and the Thames Estuary to the east of London.
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, England, over the River Thames. It is close to the Tower of London, from which it takes its name. It has become an iconic symbol of London.
Tower Bridge is sometimes mistakenly referred to as London Bridge, which is the next bridge upstream.
The nearest London Underground station is Tower Hill on the Circle and District Lines, and the nearest Docklands Light Railway station is Tower Gateway.
It was the only bridge over the Thames downstream from Kingston until Putney Bridge opened in 1729. The current bridge opened on 17 March 1973 and is the latest in a succession of bridges to occupy the spot and claim the name.
The bridge carries part of the A3 road, which is maintained by the Greater London Authority; the bridge itself is owned and maintained by the Bridge House Estates, an independent charity overseen by the City of London Corporation. The area between London Bridge and Tower Bridge on the south side of the Thames is a business improvement district (BID) and is managed by Team London Bridge.
The name London Bridge is often mistakenly applied to Tower Bridge, which is the next bridge downstream.
The name commemorates the Battle of Trafalgar (1805), a British naval victory of the Napoleonic Wars over France. The original name was to have been "King William the Fourth's Square", but George Ledwell Taylor suggested the name "Trafalgar Square".
Trafalgar Square is owned by the Queen in Right of the Crown, and managed by the Greater London Authority, while Westminster City Council owns the roads around the square, including the pedestrianised area of the North Terrace.
It is managed under the aegis of the Zoological Society of London (established in 1826), and is situated at the northern edge of Regent's Park, on the boundary line between City of Westminster and Camden (the Regent's Canal runs through it). The Society also has a more spacious site at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo in Bedfordshire to which the larger animals such as elephants and rhinos have been moved. As well as being the first scientific zoo, ZSL London Zoo also opened the first Reptile house (1849), first public Aquarium (1853), first insect house (1881) and the first children's zoo (1938).
ZSL receives no state funding and relies on 'Fellows', 'Friends','Members', entrance fees and sponsorship to generate income.
Originally known as Buckingham House, the building which forms the core of today's palace was a large townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1705 on a site which had been in private ownership for at least 150 years. It was subsequently acquired by George III in 1761 as a private residence for Queen Charlotte, and known as "The Queen's House". During the 19th century it was enlarged, principally by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, forming three wings around a central courtyard. Buckingham Palace finally became the official royal palace of the British monarch on the accession of Queen Victoria in 1837. The last major structural additions were made in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including the East front which contains the well-known balcony on which the Royal Family traditionally congregate to greet crowds outside. However, the palace chapel was destroyed by a German bomb in World War II; the Queen's Gallery was built on the site and opened to the public in 1962 to exhibit works of art from the Royal Collection.
The state rooms, used for official and state entertaining, are open to the public each year for most of August and September, as part of the Palace's Summer Opening.
responsibility for the London Underground, trams and buses. The public transport network is administered by Transport for London (TfL) and is one of the most extensive in the world. Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London. The London Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision.
The lines that formed the London Underground, as well as trams and buses, became part of an integrated transport system in 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) or London Transport was created. Transport for London (TfL), is now the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, and is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London.
London Southend Airport, east of London in Essex, is a smaller, regional airport that mainly caters for low-cost short-haul flights. It recently went through a large redevelopment project including a brand new terminal, extended runway and a new train station offering fast links into the capital.
Buses and trams:
London has a modern tram network, known as Tramlink, based in Croydon in South London. The network has 39 stops, three routes and carried 26.5 million people in 2008. Since June 2008 Transport for London has completely owned Tramlink and plans to spend £54m by 2015 on maintenance, renewals, upgrades and capacity enhancements. Since April 2009 all trams have been refurbished.
Over one million Londoners own bicycles but as of 2008 only around 2 per cent of all journeys in London are made by bike: this compares poorly to other major European cities such as Berlin (5 per cent), Munich (12 per cent), and Amsterdam (28 per cent) and Copenhagen (36 per cent). Nevertheless this is an 83 per cent increase compared to that in 2000. There are currently an estimated 480,000 cycle journeys each day in the capital.
The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme, launched 30 July 2010, aims to provide 6,000 bicycles for rental. Bikes are available at a number of docking stations in central London.
From being the largest port in the world, the Port of London is now only the second-largest in the United Kingdom, handling 45 million tonnes of cargo each year. Most of this actually passes through the Port of Tilbury, outside the boundary of Greater London.
Over three million journeys are made every day on the Underground network, over 1 billion each year. An investment programme is attempting to address congestion and reliability problems, including £7 billion (€10 billion) of improvements planned for the 2012 Summer Olympics. London has been commended as the city with the best public transport. The Docklands Light Railway, which opened in 1987, is a second, more local metro system using smaller and lighter tram-type vehicles which serve Docklands and Greenwich.
Since 2007 high-speed Eurostar trains link St. Pancras International with Lille, Paris, and Brussels. Journey times to Paris and Brussels of two-and-a-quarter hours and one hour 50 minutes respectively make London closer to continental Europe than the rest of Britain by virtue of the High Speed 1 rail link to the Channel Tunnel while the first high speed domestic trains started in June 2009 linking Kent to London.
A plan for a comprehensive network of motorways throughout the city (the Ringways Plan) was prepared in the 1960s but was mostly cancelled in the early 1970s. In 2003, a congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic volumes in the city centre. With a few exceptions, motorists are required to pay £10 per day to drive within a defined zone encompassing much of congested central London. Motorists who are residents of the defined zone can buy a vastly reduced season pass which is renewed monthly and is cheaper than a corresponding bus fare. London is notorious for its traffic congestion, with the M25 motorway the busiest stretch in the country. The average speed of a car in the rush hour is 10.6 mph (17.1 km/h).
5 Star Hotels in London:
The Langham London
Sheraton Park Tower
Royal Garden Hotel
The Waldorf Hilton
London City Suites
Jumeirah Carlton Tower
The Marble Arch London
London Hilton on Park Lane
Radisson Edwardian Hampshire
London Marriott Hotel Park Lane
Wyndham Grand London Chelsea Harbour
4 Star Hotels in London:
The Mandeville Hotel
The Hotel Russell
Blakemore Hyde Park
Corus Hotel Hyde Park
Park Plaza County Hall
Citadines London Holborn
Radisson Blu Portman Hotel
Harrington Court Apartments
Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
The Park Grand London Paddington
Budget Hotels in London:
Euro Wembley (Elm Hotel)
Holly House Hotel
Belgrave House Hotel
St. Athans Hotel
City View Hotel
Windsor House Hotel
Kings Head Guest House
Budget Guest House
Oakwood Bed and Breakfast