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The Great British Summer has a reputation for being slightly damp so pack a rain jacket if you're taking flights to London during July and August. Summer temperatures can hit 30 degrees and rarely do winter temperatures plummet to zero. London is generally warmer than the rest of the UK and spring and autumn temperatures are pleasant.Getting from the Airport to the CityHeathrow Airport (LHR) Heathrow Airport is located some 15 miles west of London in Hounslow You can reach downtown by the underground (tube), which takes just over an hour, or by the designated Heathrow Express trains (15 mins). There are hotel shuttles which run from the airport to some London hotels. There are also taxis and coach services.Gatwick Airport (LGW) Gatwick is only a 30-minute train ride to the center of London. From Gatwick, the fastest way to get to London is by the Gatwick Express trains. There are also bus services from Gatwick to Victoria Coach Station. Taxis are available, but you should negotiate a fare with the driver before you enter the cab.Stansted Airport (STN)Stansted is the hub for low-cost airlines located some 30 miles northeast of London. It is a 45-minute train ride to London on the Stansted Express. There are also shuttle buses, which are much cheaper but take around two hours connecting Stansted to the city. Taxis are available, but be aware that they will be very expensive.London City Airport (LCY)The Docklands Light Rail departs London City Airport every 8 to 15 minutes, whizzing to Stratford International (for the Olympic Village) in less than 20 minutes. Buses (Transport for London) travel to a couple of points in East London from where there are connections throughout the city. Taxis are also available.
Getting around London
There's only one way to get around London cheaply and that's by buying an Oyster card. Cash fares on public transport are expensive but you can save some money with an Oyster card. Boris Bikes, named in honour of the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, are available to visitors (as long as they have a credit card). Docking stations are plentiful across the capital and you can rent a bike for up to 24 hours.
However, to really get the measure of London, start walking. From Buckingham Palace to Dalston, the Bank of England to Stratford it's the best way to explore the city.
London insider information
- Afternoon tea is a classic British tradition and there's no shortage of places to enjoy a cucumber sandwich and a slice of cake. Some of the most highly rated are: The Langham on Oxford Street, The Goring in Grosvenor Gardens, The Lanesborough in Knightsbridge, The Milestone Hotel in Kensington.
- London is renowned for its High Street fashion. Top Shop at Oxford Circus is a magnet for the fashion conscious, Primark (Oxford Street) for those on a budget and Selfridges for investment dressing. Camden Market might be good for tie-dyed and slogan t-shirts but visit Covent Garden, Neal Street and Seven Dials for a bustling swirl of fashionable shops. Shoreditch and Brick Lane are great for vintage and quirky fashions.
- The markets in London are amazing and hugely popular. Put aside your personal space for a couple of hours. Columbia Road Flower Market in East London is a riot of colour at the weekend. Borough Market in South London is a foodie's delight: it's home to some of the country's best food producers. Brick Lane is great for a rummage through the stalls and a freshly baked bagel (salt beef or smoked salmon and cream cheese).
- London is an expensive city but there are lots of free museums and galleries. The big hitters are the Imperial War Museum, Science Museum, V&A and National Portrait Gallery, but there are plenty of quirky - and free to enter - spaces to explore such as the Geffrye Museum (a series of rooms decorated in period style from 1600 to present - IKEA - day), the Bank of England Museum (not as dry as it sounds), Ragged School Museum (school - Victorian style) and Sir John Soane’s Museum (stuffed with curios).
- When the sun goes down the hottest clubs are under ... railway arches and in car parks. Great Suffolk Street Warehouse near London Bridge attracts the ravers, out-of-towners, Techno and House crowd. Dalston Superstore in E8 brings in the hip and gay crowd. Corsica Studios in the railway arches of Elephant & Castle is a magnet for locals, art students and techno heads.
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- Return flights to London aren’t the only option – London is also your gateway to wider travels in England.
- For posh nosh treat yourselves to a traditional English afternoon tea at The Ritz, The Wolseley or Claridges.
- Direct flights to London operate frequently with all the major airlines to London Gatwick and Heathrow.
- See London’s finest historic landmarks on a tour of St Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben.
- Discover London in style and enjoy a spectacular view across the city by taking a whirl on the London Eye.
- Sample the very best of the city’s liveliest bars in Soho and Shoreditch or the upmarket clubs of Mayfair.
- Don’t miss out on last minute flights to London – pick up great bargains to make your holiday money go further.
- Enjoy a picnic with Pimms, take a pedalo ride on the lake, or simply watch the world go by in Regent’s Park.