Londonis the capital of England and the most populous city of both England and the United Kingdom. Its history stretches back 2000 years to when the Romans first founded the city. London is the most visited city based on international arrivals, and with its vibrant atmosphere, intriguing history, and world famous landmarks, it is easy to see why.
With the number of international visitors that London receives, it is no wonder that it has 5 airports (City, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, and Stansted airports). Heathrow Airport still serves as the primary airport welcoming the majority of international arrivals. Heathrow Airport is connected to the city via trains such as the Heathrow Express/Connect, the London Underground, bus shuttles, and taxis. There are over 8 daily direct flights from Hong Kong International Airport to London Heathrow Airport and flights are operated by airlines such as Cathay Pacific, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. A visa is not required for Hong Kong citizens to visit the United Kingdom for 6 months or less.
One of the best way to get around and see London is on foot, this is especially so for the historic areas at the centre of London. Iconic attractions such as the London Eye, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Horse Guards Parade, Buckingham Palace, Covent Gardens, to name a few, are clustered within easy walking distance of each other along the banks of the River Thames. Public transport such as the Underground (commonly referred to as the Tube by Londoners) and buses are also economical and convenient ways to get around. The Tube is a quick way to get around without any of London’s infamous traffic; however, buses will be more scenic. Whichever choice you make, be sure to purchase an Oyster Card (London’s version of an Octopus card) to get around as single trip fares are significantly more expensive.
For travellers who are more active, there is also London’s public bike sharing scheme, Santander Cycles (or also “Boris” bikes), which has over 700 bike docking stations spread all over London. All you need is a credit card to get access to the bikes. It costs £2 (approximately HK$25) for 24-hour access and journeys below 30 minutes do not incur any additional charges. Journeys over 30 minutes will be charged £2 for each 30-minute block so do try to return the bike to a docking station when you do not require it. Another alternative would be the iconic London Black Cabs that can be hailed on the street. Drivers are professional and knowledgeable about the main London attractions.
London is situated in the Northern hemisphere and has 4 seasons. Spring and summer are usually the most popular times to visit London, as temperatures are cool and comfortable. Winters can be chilly with temperatures dropping to 0 degree Celsius at its lowest. Nevertheless, many visitors still come during the festive period as the twinkling lights and Christmas decorations make it a very special experience not to be missed (not to mention the Christmas sales for those who love to shop). London’s rich history is best soaked up through its iconic buildings such as Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, and the Tower of London (where you can view the crown jewels and join a Beefeater tour). Museums in London often have free admission and are a great way to appreciate the art and culture of the city. The British Museum showcases manmade works from prehistoric times to present (e.g. the Rosetta stone and the Parthenon sculptures). The National Gallery is home to priceless paintings by masters such as van Gogh, da Vinci, and Renoir. Finally, there is also the Victoria and Albert Museum, which features a stunning Jewellery gallery, and a Medieval Renaissance exhibit celebrating 3000 years of art and design.
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Airports near London
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