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-6pm.
GMT (GMT +1 from last Sunday in March to the last Sunday in October).
The electrical current in the UK is 230 volts, 50Hz. Flat three-pin plugs are standard.
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.
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 and wifi is widely available.
|New Years Day||1 Jan||1 Jan|
|New Years Holiday (Scotland only)||2 Jan||2 Jan|
|St Patricks Day (Northern Ireland only)||17 Mar||17 Mar|
|Good Friday||3 Apr||25 Mar|
|Easter Monday||6 Apr||28 Mar|
|May Day||4 May||2 May|
|Spring Bank Holiday||25 May||30 May|
|Orangemens Day (Northern Ireland only)||12 Jul||12 Jul|
|Summer Bank Holiday||31 Aug||29 Aug|
|St Andrews Day (Scotland only)||30 Nov||30 Nov|
|Christmas||25 Dec||25 Dec|
|Boxing Day||26 Dec||26 Dec|
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 heatwaves. July is the hottest summer month, averaging 66°F (19°C), and January is the coldest winter month, averaging 44°F (7°C). 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 and frequently sunny.
The quickest way into London is on the Heathrow Express train, which leaves every 15 minutes for Paddington station, takes 15 minutes, and costs £21.50 if booked online or £26.50 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 £5.70. The National Express coach service runs to central London and other towns and cities throughout the UK.
Car rental options include Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, National and Sixt.
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.
Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are within walking distance of each other, with an average walking time of 11 minutes from one end to the other. Terminals 4 and 5 are connected via the free Heathrow Express train. Allow around 15 minutes for the journey time between terminals. Alternatively, Terminal 4 and 5 can be reached via the 490 and 482 busses, which take about 20 minutes.
There are numerous shops, bars and restaurants, ATMs, currency exchange facilities, left luggage facilities, pharmacies and postal services in all terminals. A spa offering massages is located in Terminal 5. There are VIP Lounges in Terminals 2 and 3. 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 3.
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.
Free wifi is available for four hours; sign up with Heathrow Rewards to get another four hours.