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London

Classic red London phone booths

Practical Info about London

Time

GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to Saturday before last Sunday in October).

Electricity

The electrical current in the UK is 230 volts, 50Hz. Flat three-pin plugs are standard.

Currency

The currency is the British Pound (GBP), which is divided into 100 pence. ATMs are available in all towns and Visa, MasterCard and American Express are widely accepted; visitors with other cards should check with their credit card companies in advance. Foreign currency can be exchanged at bureaux de change and large hotels, however better exchange rates are likely to be found at banks.

Communication

The international country dialling code for the UK is +44. Mobile phone coverage is extensive using GSM 1800 networks, which may not be compatible with some dual-band US cell phones. Internet cafes are available in all major towns and cities, train stations and airports.

Emergency number

Emergencies: 999/112

Visa and health information

Everything about visa and health information

Public holidays

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2014 2015
New Years Day 1 Jan 1 Jan
Good Friday 18 Apr 3 Apr
Easter Monday 21 Apr 6 Apr
May Day 5 May 4 May
Spring Bank Holiday 26 May 25 May
Summer Bank Holiday 25 Aug 31 Aug
Christmas 25 Dec 25 Dec
Boxing Day 26 Dec 26 Dec

Climate

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London has a temperate climate without the extremes found in continental Europe. There are four distinct seasons, although the weather can be unpredictable, with out-of-season storms, icy spells, and even heat waves. London is a great city to visit whatever the weather, but most visitors prefer to visit between April and October, when the temperature is usually warm and the days are long.

Getting around the city

London's legendary Tube network remains the quickest and easiest way to get around the city, though it is best avoided during rush hour. The famous red buses are a more pleasant, if slower, way to get around. The ubiquitous black cabs are excellent, or you can use private hire minicabs which must be ordered in advance. Unlicensed minicabs are often the only option late at night but should not be taken by single women or those who don't know the way home. London's main attractions are fairly close to one another: if the weather is nice, walking or taking a riverboat are good options. Driving is not a good option in central London, as parking is difficult to find and very expensive. A 'congestion charge' is also payable by those driving into central London from Monday to Friday 7am-6:30pm.

London Heathrow Airport

www.heathrowairport.com

Getting to the city

The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station, takes 15 minutes, and costs £21 if booked online or £26 on-board. Paddington has good connections to the other London railway stations and all parts of London via the London Underground. Heathrow is also on the Piccadilly underground line, which takes passengers into central London in around 50 minutes and costs £5.50. The National Express coach service runs to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK. The N9 night bus departs to central London every 30 minutes.

Car rental

Car rental options include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.

Airport taxi's

London's black taxis service Heathrow Airport; the journey time to central London is around 30-60 minutes, depending on traffic. Taxis are metered and fares to central London start from £50. Taxis are available from outside each terminal.

Transfer between terminals

Terminals 1 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time. Alternatively, Terminal 4 can be reached via the 555 bus, leaving every 19 minutes, while Terminal 5 is serviced by the 441 and 724 buses, which take 10 and 20 minutes respectively. Terminal 5 can also be reached via the N9 night bus between 23:55pm and 4:55am.

Facilities

There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, left luggage facilities and postal services in all terminals. A pharmacy is available in Terminal 1, and a spa offering massages is located in Terminal 5. There are VIP Lounges in Terminals 1-4. There are multi-faith prayer rooms in each terminal, and St George's Chapel is located between Terminals 1 and 3, near the central bus station. There are shower facilities located in Terminal 4.

Parking

Short-term parking is available adjacent to the airport. A free shuttle service links the terminals and the long-term and business car parks. Valet parking is also available at all terminals.

Internet

Free wifi is available for the first 45 minutes; thereafter charges apply.

Airports nearby