Destination Guide  : Europe : London

About Biman London is a leading global city with all the associated trappings, delights and sights. Built on Roman and Medieval foundations, cut by the River Thames, it is now a vast home to more than 8 million where 300 languages are spoken. London tourism continues to be a stalwart of the local economy. A thriving capital of culture, trade, finance, politics and fashion, the city – as opposed to The City – comprises 32 boroughs, all of which have a distinctive character. Linked by 5 international airports, getting a cheap flight to London is easier than ever.

Top Attractions

This city has its share of icons and attractions; things to do in London are innumerable, but here's a tiny selection for your time in the capital. Make the most of free visits to the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery and the city's grand parks. Ride the London Eye, climb to the top of St Paul's Cathedral dome, marvel at Westminster Abbey, grab discounted theater tickets in Covent Garden for same night shows. You're not a real visitor until you've caught The Tube in the wrong direction at least once or had afternoon tea at The Ritz.

Eat and Drink

Straddling the gamut of traditional English pubs, 'greasy spoons', Michelin-star restaurants and street food stalls, you can really find anything you fancy here. Some areas are known for a food, for example Brick Lane is the place to find fine curry and Finsbury Park will dish up great Greek, but London restaurants number in their tens of thousands. Here's a few quirky ones to consider: tuck into chocolate-covered scorpions at Archipelago; queue for upmarket burgers at Meatliquor; order from a 3-D menu and select your virtual tablecloth at Inamo (it's Oriental fusion and yes, the food is real. Finally, eat well and sip cocktails amid a world of glamour, escapism and trapeze artists at Covent Garden's Circus Restaurant.

Where to Stay

London accommodation options are as vast as the city itself. You could easily spend between GBP20 and GBP200, depending on where you'd like to be. The heart of the West End has many 4- and 5-star hotels and their tariff reflects their (tourist-primed) location. At the other end of the spectrum, hostels are plentiful – Earls Court is a popular Aussie haunt – and mid-range options can sometimes be secured by either booking well in advance or via last-minute deals. Bed and breakfasts are often tucked into historic buildings and serviced apartments may be a more suitable self-catering option if you're travelling with family.


Markets, luxury goods, vintage fashion, quirky boutiques, high-end department stores, food, toys, crafts, electronics. If the world makes it, London sells it somewhere. London shopping can be pleasurable or mayhem, depending on when and where you go. Harrods and Fortnum & Mason are synonymous with established finery; a handful of well-known markets are at Portobello Road, Camden, Greenwich, Brick Lane and Borough. West End's Oxford Street has more than 300 shops and the footpaths almost permanently swell with bargain-hunting throngs seeking out big brand stores. King's Road, Saville Row, Carnaby Street and Mayfair are also distinctive shopping areas.

London like a Local

If you're going to be in London for more than a few days, it's worth getting an Oyster card. This is a pass enabling travel across the public transport network that you can top up as you need to. Keep it in your wallet and just swipe the card over the yellow readers at transport access points. This city is foodie heaven and locals have their favorite restaurant and aren't shy about making reservations months in advance. If you find somewhere you'd love to eat – book it. It's easier to cancel than regret not making the call. Do some research beforehand to avoid a faux pas on the ground too. For example, you won't get to Leeds Castle by catching a train to Leeds. It's in Maidstone, Kent.