London Records compilation albums
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

London is the capital and largest city of
England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
and the
United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental mainland. It comprises England, Scotlan ...
, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and th ...
in south-east England at the head of a
estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river environments and maritime environment ...
down to the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
, and has been a major settlement for two millennia. The
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
, its ancient core and
financial centre A financial centre (British English, BE), financial center (American English, AE), or financial hub, is a location with a concentration of Global financial system#Participants, participants in banking, asset management, insurance or financial ...
, was founded by the Romans as ''
Londinium Londinium, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key cross ...
'' and retains its medieval boundaries.See also: Independent city § National capitals The
City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British government. It occupies a large area of cent ...
, to the west of the City of London, has for centuries hosted the national
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. Government ...
and
parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
. Since the 19th century, the name "London" has also referred to the
metropolis A metropolis () is a large city or conurbation which is a significant economic, political, and cultural center for a country or region, and an important hub for regional or international connections, commerce, and communications. A big ci ...
around this core, historically split between the
counties A county is a geographic region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...
of
Middlesex Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England, southeast England. Its area is almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London and mostly within the Ceremonial counties of ...
,
Essex Essex () is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the East of England. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, the North Sea to the east, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the Riv ...
,
Surrey Surrey () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county, non-metropolitan counties of England, county in South East England, bordering Greater London to the south west. Surrey has a large rural area, and several significant ur ...
,
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River ...
, and
Hertfordshire Hertfordshire ( or ; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England. It borders Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For govern ...
, which largely comprises
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
, governed by the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
.The Greater London Authority consists of the
Mayor of London The mayor of London is the chief executive of the Greater London Authority. The role was created in 2000 after the 1998 Greater London Authority referendum, Greater London devolution referendum in 1998, and was the first Directly elected may ...
and the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
. The London Mayor is distinguished from the
Lord Mayor of London The Lord Mayor of London is the Mayors in England, mayor of the City of London and the Leader of the council, leader of the City of London Corporation. Within the City, the Lord Mayor is accorded Order of precedence, precedence over all individu ...
, who heads the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
running the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
.
As one of the world's major global cities, London exerts a strong influence on its arts, entertainment,
fashion Fashion is a form of Self-expression values, self-expression and autonomy at a particular period and place and in a specific context, of clothing, footwear, Lifestyle (sociology), lifestyle, Fashion accessory, accessories, makeup, hairstyle, and ...
, commerce and finance, education, health care,
media Media may refer to: Communication * Media (communication), tools used to deliver information or data ** Advertising media, various media, content, buying and placement for advertising ** Broadcast media, communications delivered over mass el ...
, science and technology,
tourism Tourism is travel for pleasure or business; also the theory and practice of touring (disambiguation), touring, the business of attracting, accommodating, and entertaining tourists, and the business of operating tour (disambiguation), tours. Th ...
, and transport and communications. Its GDP (€801.66 billion in 2017) makes it the largest urban economy in Europe, and it is one of the major financial centres in the world. With Europe's largest concentration of higher education institutions, it is home to some of the highest-ranked academic institutions in the world—
Imperial College London Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unite ...
in
natural Nature, in the broadest sense, is the physics, physical world or universe. "Nature" can refer to the phenomenon, phenomena of the physical world, and also to life in general. The study of nature is a large, if not the only, part of science. ...
and
applied science Applied science is the use of the scientific method and knowledge obtained via conclusions from the method to attain practical goals. It includes a broad range of disciplines such as engineering and medicine. Applied science is often contrasted ...
s, the
London School of Economics The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a public university, public research university located in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidn ...
in
social science Social science is one of the branches of science, devoted to the study of society, societies and the Social relation, relationships among individuals within those societies. The term was formerly used to refer to the field of sociology, the o ...
s, and the comprehensive
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a Public university, public research university in London, United Kingdom. It is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federal university, fe ...
. London is the most visited city in Europe and has the busiest city airport system in the world. The
London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and He ...
is the oldest
rapid transit Rapid transit or mass rapid transit (MRT), also known as heavy rail or metro, is a type of high-capacity public transport generally found in urban areas. A rapid transit system that primarily or traditionally runs below the surface may be c ...
system in the world. London is home to the most 5-star hotels of any city. London's diverse cultures encompass over 300 languages. The mid-2018 population of Greater London of about 9 million made it Europe's third-most populous city, accounting for 13.4% of the population of the United Kingdom and over 16% of the population of England. The
Greater London Built-up Area The Greater London Built-up Area, or Greater London Urban Area, is a conurbation in south-east England that constitutes the continuous urban sprawl of London, and includes surrounding adjacent urban towns as defined by the Office for National Sta ...
is the fourth-most populous in Europe with about 9.8 million inhabitants at the 2011 census. The
London metropolitan area The London metropolitan area is the metropolitan area of London, England. It has several definitions, including the London Travel to work area, Travel to Work Area, and usually consists of the London urban area, settlements that share London's ...
is the third-most populous in Europe with about 14 million inhabitants in 2016, granting London the status of a
megacity A megacity is a very large city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edi ...
. London has four
World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
s: the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
;
Kew Gardens Kew Gardens is a botanical garden, botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botany, botanical and mycology, mycological collections in the world". Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park, its li ...
; the combined
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ...
,
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
, and St Margaret's Church; and also the historic settlement in
Greenwich Greenwich ( , ,) is a town in south-east London, England, within the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east-southeast of Charing Cross. Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for ...
, where the
Royal Observatory, Greenwich The Royal Observatory, Greenwich (ROG; known as the Old Royal Observatory from 1957 to 1998, when the working Royal Greenwich Observatory, RGO, temporarily moved south from Greenwich to Herstmonceux) is an observatory situated on a hill in G ...
defines the
prime meridian A prime meridian is an arbitrary meridian (geography), meridian (a line of longitude) in a geographic coordinate system at which longitude is defined to be 0°. Together, a prime meridian and its anti-meridian (the 180th meridian in a degree (a ...
(0°
longitude Longitude (, ) is a geographic coordinate system, geographic coordinate that specifies the east–west position of a point on the surface of the Earth, or another Celestial navigation, celestial body. It is an angular measurement, usually exp ...
) and
Greenwich Mean Time Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) is the mean solar time at the Royal Observatory in Greenwich, London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population o ...
. Other landmarks include
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is a London royal official residence, residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and roya ...
, the
London Eye The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid Tourist attractions in the United ...
, Piccadilly Circus,
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
,
Tower Bridge Tower Bridge is a Listed building#Grade I, Grade I listed combined Bascule bridge, bascule and Suspended-deck suspension bridge, suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones (architect), Horace Jones and e ...
, and
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, laid out in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. At its centre is a high column bearing a statue of Admiral Nelson commemor ...
. London has many museums, galleries, libraries and cultural venues, including the
British Museum The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the list of largest art museums, largest and most comprehens ...
,
National Gallery The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London, England. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The current Director of ...
,
Natural History Museum A natural history museum or museum of natural history is a scientific institution with natural history scientific collection, collections that include current and historical records of animals, plants, Fungus, fungi, ecosystems, geology, paleon ...
,
Tate Modern Tate Modern is an art gallery located in London. It houses the United Kingdom's national collection of international Modern art, modern and contemporary art, and forms part of the Tate group together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St ...
,
British Library The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is one of the List of largest libraries, largest libraries in the world. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million items from many countries. As a legal de ...
, and numerous West End theatres. Important sporting events held in London include the
FA Cup Final The FA Cup Final, commonly referred to in England as just the Cup Final, is the last match in the Football Association Challenge Cup. It has regularly been one of the most attended domestic football events in the world, with an official atten ...
(held annually at
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium ...
), Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the
London Marathon The London Marathon is an annual marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running ...
. In
2012 File:2012 Events Collage V3.png, From left, clockwise: The passenger cruise ship Costa Concordia lies capsized after the Costa Concordia disaster; Damage to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey as a result of Hurricane Sandy; People gather ...
, London became the first city to host three
Summer Olympic Games The Summer Olympic Games (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques d'été), also known as the Games of the Olympiad, and often referred to as the Summer Olympics, is a major international multi-sport event normally held once every four years. The inau ...
.


Toponymy

''London'' is an ancient name, already attested in the first century AD, usually in the Latinised form ; for example, handwritten Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70–80 include the word ('in London'). Over the years, the name has attracted many mythically based explanations. The earliest attested appears in
Geoffrey of Monmouth Geoffrey of Monmouth ( la, Galfridus Monemutensis, Galfridus Arturus, cy, Gruffudd ap Arthur, Sieffre o Fynwy; 1095 – 1155) was a British cleric from Monmouth, Wales and one of the major figures in the development of British historiography ...
's , written around 1136. Modern scientific analyses of the name must account for the origins of the different forms found in early sources:
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
(usually ),
Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabita ...
(usually ), and Welsh (usually ), with reference to the known developments over time of sounds in those different languages. It is agreed that the name came into these languages from Common Brythonic; recent work tends to reconstruct the lost Celtic form of the name as or something similar. This was adapted into Latin as and borrowed into Old English. The toponymy of the Common Brythonic form is debated. Prominent was
Richard Coates Richard Coates (born 16 April 1949, in Grimsby Grimsby or Great Grimsby is a port town and the administrative centre of North East Lincolnshire, Lincolnshire, England. Grimsby adjoins the town of Cleethorpes directly to the south-east fo ...
' 1998 argument that it derived from pre-Celtic Old European *, meaning "river too wide to ford". Coates suggested this was a name given to the part of the
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and th ...
that flows through London, from which the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, . However, most work has accepted a plain Celtic origin. Recent studies favour an explanation of a Celtic derivative of a
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed features have been derived by linguistic reconstruction from documented Indo-European languages. No direct record of Proto-Indo-E ...
root * ('sink, cause to sink'), combined with the Celtic suffix or (used to form place-names).
Peter Schrijver Peter Schrijver (; born 1963) is a Dutch linguist Linguistics is the science, scientific study of human language. It is called a scientific study because it entails a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise analysis of all aspec ...
has specifically suggested that the name originally meant "place that floods (periodically, tidally)". Until 1889, the name "London" applied officially only to the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
, but since then it has also referred to the
County of London The County of London was a county of England from 1889 to 1965, corresponding to the area known today as Inner London. It was created as part of the general introduction of elected county government in England, by way of the Local Government A ...
and to
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
. In writing, "London" is occasionally contracted to "LDN". Such usage originated in
SMS language Short Message Service (SMS) language, textism, or textese is the abbreviated language and slang commonly used in the late 1990s and early 2000s with mobile phone text messaging, and occasionally through Internet-based communication such as ema ...
and often appears in a social media
user profile A user profile is a collection of settings and information associated with a user. It contains critical information that is used to identify an individual, such as their name, age, portrait photograph and individual characteristics such as ...
,
suffix In linguistics, a suffix is an affix which is placed after the Stem (linguistics), stem of a word. Common examples are case endings, which indicate the grammatical case of nouns, adjectives, and verb endings, which form the Grammatical conjugation ...
ing an alias or handle.


History


Prehistory

In 1993, remains of a
Bronze Age The Bronze Age is a historic period, lasting approximately from 3300 BC to 1200 BC, characterized by the use of bronze Bronze is an alloy consisting primarily of copper, commonly with about 12–12.5% tin and often with the addition of ...
bridge were found on the south foreshore upstream from
Vauxhall Bridge Vauxhall Bridge is a Grade II* listed steel and granite deck arch bridge in central London. It crosses the River Thames in a southeast–northwest direction between Vauxhall on the south bank and Pimlico on the north bank. Opened in 1906, it r ...
. This either crossed the Thames or reached a now-lost island in it. Two of the timbers were radiocarbon dated to 1750–1285 BCE. In 2010, foundations of a large timber structure, dated to 4800–4500 BCE, were found on the Thames's south foreshore downstream from Vauxhall Bridge. The function of the
mesolithic The Mesolithic ( Greek: μέσος, ''mesos'' 'middle' + λίθος, ''lithos'' 'stone') or Middle Stone Age is the Old World archaeological period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is often used synony ...
structure is unclear. Both structures are on the south bank of the Thames, where the now-underground
River Effra The River Effra is a former set of streams in south London, England, culverted and used mainly for storm sewerage. It had been a tributary of the River Thames, Thames. Its catchment waters, where not drained to aquifer soakaways and surface wate ...
flows into the Thames.


Roman London

Despite the evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans about four years after the invasion of 43 AD. This only lasted until about 61 AD, when the
Iceni The Iceni ( , ) or Eceni were a Celtic Britons, Brittonic tribe of eastern Britain during the British Iron Age, Iron Age and early Roman Britain, Roman era. Their territory included present-day Norfolk and parts of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire, an ...
tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed it and burnt it to the ground. The next planned incarnation of
Londinium Londinium, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key cross ...
prospered, superseding
Colchester Colchester ( ) is a city status in the United Kingdom, city in Essex, in the East of England. It had a population of 122,000 in 2011. The demonym is Colcestrian. Colchester occupies the site of Camulodunum, the first Colonia (Roman), major c ...
as capital of the
Roman province The Roman provinces (Latin: ''provincia'', pl. ''provinciae'') were the administrative regions of Ancient Rome outside Roman Italy that were controlled by the Romans under the Roman Republic and later the Roman Empire. Each province was ruled ...
of
Britannia Britannia () is the national personification of United Kingdom, Britain as a helmeted female warrior holding a trident and shield. An image first used in classical antiquity, the Latin ''Britannia'' was the name variously applied to the Britis ...
in 100. At its height in the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of about 60,000.


Anglo-Saxon and Viking-period London

With the early 5th-century collapse of Roman rule, London ceased to be a capital and the walled city of
Londinium Londinium, also known as Roman London, was the capital of Roman Britain during most of the period of Roman rule. It was originally a settlement established on the current site of the City of London around AD 47–50. It sat at a key cross ...
was effectively abandoned, although Roman civilisation continued around
St Martin-in-the-Fields St Martin-in-the-Fields is a Church of England parish church at the north-east corner of Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, London. It is dedicated to Saint Martin of Tours. There has been a church on the site since at least the mediev ...
until about 450. From about 500, an
Anglo-Saxon The Anglo-Saxons were a Cultural identity, cultural group who inhabited England in the Early Middle Ages. They traced their origins to settlers who came to Britain from mainland Europe in the 5th century. However, the ethnogenesis of the Anglo- ...
settlement known as
Lundenwic The history of Anglo-Saxon London relates to the History of London, history of the city of London during the Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon period, in the 7th to 11th centuries. Romano-British ''Londinium'' had been abandoned in the late 5th ...
developed slightly west of the old Roman city. By about 680 the city had become a major port again, but there is little evidence of large-scale production. From the 820s repeated
Viking Vikings ; non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people originally from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and se ...
assaults brought decline. Three are recorded; those in 851 and 886 succeeded, while the last, in 994, was rebuffed. The
Vikings Vikings ; non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people originally from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and se ...
applied
Danelaw The Danelaw (, also known as the Danelagh; ang, Dena lagu; da, Danelagen) was the part of England England is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west a ...
over much of eastern and northern England, its boundary running roughly from London to
Chester Chester is a cathedral city and the county town of Cheshire, England. It is located on the River Dee, Wales, River Dee, close to the England–Wales border, English–Welsh border. With a population of 79,645 in 2011,"2011 Census results: Peop ...
as an area of political and geographical control imposed by the
Viking Vikings ; non, víkingr is the modern name given to seafaring people originally from Scandinavia (present-day Denmark, Norway and Sweden), who from the late 8th to the late 11th centuries raided, pirated, traded and se ...
incursions formally agreed by the Danish
warlord A warlord is a person who exercises military, economic, and political control over a region in a country without a strong national government; largely because of coercive control over the armed forces. Warlords have existed throughout much of h ...
,
Guthrum Guthrum ( ang, Guðrum, c. 835 – c. 890) was King of East Anglia in the late 9th century. Originally a native of what is now Denmark, he was one of the leaders of the "Great Summer Army" that arrived in Reading, Berkshire, Reading during April ...
and the West Saxon king
Alfred the Great Alfred the Great (alt. Ælfred 848/849 – 26 October 899) was King of the West Saxons from 871 to 886, and King of the Anglo-Saxons from 886 until his death in 899. He was the youngest son of King Æthelwulf, King of Wessex, Æthelwulf and his ...
in 886. The ''
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle The ''Anglo-Saxon Chronicle'' is a collection of annals in Old English Old English (, ), or Anglo-Saxon, is the earliest recorded form of the English language English is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language of the ...
'' records that Alfred "refounded" London in 886. Archaeological research shows this involved abandonment of
Lundenwic The history of Anglo-Saxon London relates to the History of London, history of the city of London during the Anglo-Saxon England, Anglo-Saxon period, in the 7th to 11th centuries. Romano-British ''Londinium'' had been abandoned in the late 5th ...
and a revival of life and trade within the old Roman walls. London then grew slowly until a dramatic increase in about 950. By the 11th century, London was clearly the largest town in England.
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
, rebuilt in Romanesque style by King
Edward the Confessor Edward the Confessor ; la, Eduardus Confessor , ; ( 1003 – 5 January 1066) was one of the last Anglo-Saxon English kings. Usually considered the last king of the House of Wessex, he ruled from 1042 to 1066. Edward was the son of Æthel ...
, was one of the grandest churches in Europe.
Winchester Winchester is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government Districts of England, district, at the western end of the South Downs Nation ...
had been the capital of
Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until the Norman Conquest, Norman conquest in 1066, consisted of various Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon kingdoms until 927, when ...
, but from this time London became the main forum for foreign traders and the base for defence in time of war. In the view of
Frank Stenton Sir Frank Merry Stenton, FBA (17 May 1880 – 15 September 1967) was an English historian of Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England or Early Medieval England, existing from the 5th to the 11th centuries from the end of Roman Britain until ...
: "It had the resources, and it was rapidly developing the dignity and the political self-consciousness appropriate to a
national capital A capital city or capital is the municipality holding primary status in a country, state, province, Department (country subdivision), department, or other subnational entity, usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a city ...
."


Middle Ages

After winning the
Battle of Hastings The Battle of Hastings nrf, Batâle dé Hastings was fought on 14 October 1066 between the Norman-French army of William the Conqueror, William, the Duke of Normandy, and an English army under the Anglo-Saxons, Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godw ...
, William, Duke of Normandy was crowned
King of England The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
in newly completed
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
on Christmas Day 1066. William built the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
, the first of many such in England rebuilt in stone in the south-eastern corner of the city, to intimidate the inhabitants. In 1097, William II began building
Westminster Hall The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ...
, close by the abbey of the same name. It became the basis of a new
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ...
. In the 12th century, the institutions of central government, which had hitherto followed the royal English court around the country, grew in size and sophistication and became increasingly fixed, for most purposes at
Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractions and historic landmarks, including the Palace of W ...
, although the royal treasury, having been moved from
Winchester Winchester is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government Districts of England, district, at the western end of the South Downs Nation ...
, came to rest in the
Tower A tower is a tall structure, taller than it is wide, often by a significant factor. Towers are distinguished from masts by their lack of guy-wires and are therefore, along with tall buildings, self-supporting structures. Towers are specifi ...
. While the
City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British government. It occupies a large area of cent ...
developed into a true governmental capital, its distinct neighbour, the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
, remained England's largest city and principal commercial centre and flourished under its own unique administration, the
Corporation of London The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
. In 1100, its population was some 18,000; by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000. Disaster struck in the form of the
Black Death The Black Death (also known as the Pestilence, the Great Mortality or the Plague) was a bubonic plague pandemic occurring in Western Eurasia and North Africa North Africa, or Northern Africa is a region encompassing the northern portio ...
in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population. London was the focus of the
Peasants' Revolt The Peasants' Revolt, also named Wat Tyler's Rebellion or the Great Rising, was a major uprising across large parts of England in 1381. The revolt had various causes, including the socio-economic and political tensions generated by the Black ...
in 1381. London was also a centre of England's
Jewish population As of 2020, the world's "core" Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people formed on the basis of a combination of shared features such as l ...
before their expulsion by
Edward I Edward I (17/18 June 1239 – 7 July 1307), also known as Edward Longshanks and the Hammer of the Scots, was King of England and Lord of Ireland from 1272 to 1307. Concurrently, he ruled the duchies of Duchy of Aquitaine, Aquitaine and D ...
in 1290. Violence against Jews occurred in 1190, when it was rumoured that the new king had ordered their massacre after they had presented themselves at his coronation. In 1264 during the
Second Barons' War The Second Barons' War (1264–1267) was a civil war in Kingdom of England, England between the forces of a number of barons led by Simon de Montfort, 6th Earl of Leicester, Simon de Montfort against the royalist forces of Henry III of Engla ...
, Simon de Montfort's rebels killed 500 Jews while attempting to seize records of debts.


Early modern

During the
Tudor period The Tudor period occurred between 1485 and 1603 in History of England, England and Wales and includes the Elizabethan period during the reign of Elizabeth I until 1603. The Tudor period coincides with the dynasty of the House of Tudor in Englan ...
the
Reformation The Reformation (alternatively named the Protestant Reformation or the European Reformation) was a major movement within Western Christianity in 16th-century Europe that posed a religious and political challenge to the Catholic Church and in ...
produced a gradual shift to
Protestantism Protestantism is a Christian denomination, branch of Christianity that follows the theological tenets of the Reformation, Protestant Reformation, a movement that began seeking to reform the Catholic Church from within in the 16th century agai ...
. Much of London property passed from church to private ownership, which accelerated trade and business in the city. In 1475, the
Hanseatic League The Hanseatic League (; gml, Hanse, , ; german: label=German language, Modern German, Deutsche Hanse) was a Middle Ages, medieval commercial and defensive confederation of merchant guilds and market towns in Central Europe, Central and Norther ...
set up a main trading base (''
kontor A ''kontor'' () was a foreign trading post of the Hanseatic League. In addition to the major ''kontore'' in London (the Steelyard), Bruges, Bergen, Norway, Bergen (Bryggen), and Novgorod (Peterhof), some ports had a representative merchant and ...
'') of England in London, called the ''Stalhof'' or ''
Steelyard The Steelyard, from the Middle Low German Middle Low German or Middle Saxon (autonym: ''Sassisch'', i.e. "Saxon", Standard German, Standard High German: ', Dutch language, Modern Dutch: ') is a developmental stage of Low German. It dev ...
''. It remained until 1853, when the Hanseatic cities of
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German also ), officially the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (german: Hansestadt Lübeck), is a city in Northern Germany. With around 217,000 inhabitants, Lübeck is the second-largest city on the German Baltic Sea, Baltic coast and ...
,
Bremen Bremen (Low German also: ''Breem'' or ''Bräm''), officially the City Municipality of Bremen (german: Stadtgemeinde Bremen, ), is the capital of the Germany, German States of Germany, state Bremen (state), Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (''Freie H ...
and
Hamburg (male), (female) en, Hamburger(s), Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal ...
sold the property to South Eastern Railway.
Woollen Woolen (American English) or woollen (English in the Commonwealth of Nations, Commonwealth English) is a type of yarn made from carding, carded wool. Woolen yarn is soft, light, stretchy, and full of air. It is thus a good insulator, and makes a ...
cloth was shipped undyed and undressed from 14th/15th century London to the nearby shores of the
Low Countries The term Low Countries, also known as the Low Lands ( nl, de Lage Landen, french: les Pays-Bas, lb, déi Niddereg Lännereien) and historically called the Netherlands ( nl, de Nederlanden), Flanders, or Belgica, is a coastal lowland region in N ...
, where it was considered indispensable. Yet English maritime enterprise hardly reached beyond the seas of north-west Europe. The commercial route to Italy and the
Mediterranean The Mediterranean Sea is a sea connected to the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by the Mediterranean Basin and almost completely enclosed by land: on the north by Western Europe, Western and Southern Europe and Anatolia, on the south by North Africa ...
was normally through
Antwerp Antwerp (; nl, Antwerpen ; french: Anvers ; es, Amberes) is the largest city in Belgium by area at and the capital of Antwerp Province in the Flemish Region. With a population of 530,504,
and over the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
; any ships passing through the
Strait of Gibraltar The Strait of Gibraltar ( ar, مضيق جبل طارق, Maḍīq Jabal Ṭāriq; es, Estrecho de Gibraltar, Archaism, Archaic: Pillars of Hercules), also known as the Straits of Gibraltar, is a narrow strait that connects the Atlantic Ocean to ...
to or from England were likely to be Italian or Ragusan. The reopening of the Netherlands to English shipping in January 1565 spurred a burst of commercial activity. The Royal Exchange was founded.
Mercantilism Mercantilism is an economic policy that is designed to maximize the exports and minimize the imports for an economy. It promotes imperialism, colonialism, tariffs and subsidies on traded goods to achieve that goal. The policy aims to redu ...
grew and monopoly traders such as the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
were founded as trade expanded to the
New World The term ''New World'' is often used to mean the majority of Earth's Western Hemisphere, specifically the Americas."America." ''The Oxford Companion to the English Language'' (). McArthur, Tom, ed., 1992. New York: Oxford University Press, p. 3 ...
. London became the main
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
port, with migrants arriving from England and abroad. The population rose from about 50,000 in 1530 to about 225,000 in 1605. In the 16th century,
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
and his contemporaries lived in London during
English Renaissance theatre English Renaissance theatre, also known as Renaissance English theatre and Elizabethan theatre, refers to the theatre of England between 1558 and 1642. This is the style of the play (theatre), plays of William Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe ...
. Shakespeare's
Globe Theatre The Globe Theatre was a theatre in London associated with William Shakespeare. It was built in 1599 by Shakespeare's playing company, the Lord Chamberlain's Men, on land owned by Thomas Brend and inherited by his son, Nicholas Brend, and gran ...
was constructed in 1599 in
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed d ...
. Stage performances came to a halt in London when
Puritan The Puritans were English Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to purify the Church of England of Catholic Church, Roman Catholic practices, maintaining that the Church of England had not been fully reformed and should become m ...
authorities shut down the theatres in the 1640s and 1650s. The ban on theatre was lifted during
the Restoration Restoration is the act of restoring something to its original state and may refer to: * Conservation and restoration of cultural heritage ** Audio restoration ** Film restoration ** Image restoration ** Textile conservator, Textile restoration *Re ...
in 1660, and London's oldest operating theatre,
Drury Lane Drury Lane is a street on the eastern boundary of the Covent Garden area of London, running between Aldwych and High Holborn. The northern part is in the borough of London Borough of Camden, Camden and the southern part in the City of Westmins ...
, opened in 1663 in what is now the West End theatre district. By the end of the Tudor period in 1603, London was still compact. There was an assassination attempt on
James I James I may refer to: People *James I of Aragon (1208–1276) *James I of Sicily or James II of Aragon (1267–1327) *James I, Count of La Marche (1319–1362), Count of Ponthieu *James I, Count of Urgell (1321–1347) *James I of Cyprus (1334–13 ...
in Westminster, in the
Gunpowder Plot The Gunpowder Plot of 1605, in earlier centuries often called the Gunpowder Treason Plot or the Jesuit Treason, was a failed assassination attempt against James VI and I, King James I by a group of provincial English Catholics led by Robert Cate ...
of 5 November 1605. In 1637, the government of
Charles I Charles I may refer to: Kings and emperors * Charlemagne (742–814), numbered Charles I in the lists of Holy Roman Emperors and French kings * Charles I of Anjou (1226–1285), also king of Albania, Jerusalem, Naples and Sicily * Charles I of ...
attempted to reform administration in the London area. This called for the Corporation of the city to extend its jurisdiction and administration over expanding areas around the city. Fearing an attempt by the Crown to diminish the Liberties of London, coupled with a lack of interest in administering these additional areas or concern by city guilds of having to share power, caused the Corporation's "The Great Refusal", a decision which largely continues to account for the unique governmental status of the
City A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be def ...
. In the
English Civil War The English Civil War (1642–1651) was a series of civil wars and political machinations between Parliamentarians ("Roundheads") and Royalists led by Charles I ("Cavaliers"), mainly over the manner of Kingdom of England, England's governanc ...
the majority of Londoners supported the
Parliamentary A parliamentary system, or parliamentarian democracy, is a system of democracy, democratic government, governance of a sovereign state, state (or subordinate entity) where the Executive (government), executive derives its democratic legitimacy ...
cause. After an initial advance by the Royalists in 1642, culminating in the battles of
Brentford Brentford is a suburban town in West London, England and part of the London Borough of Hounslow. It lies at the confluence of the River Brent and the River Thames, Thames, west of Charing Cross. Its economy has diverse company headquarters b ...
and
Turnham Green Turnham Green is a public park on Chiswick High Road, Chiswick, London, and the neighbourhood and Conservation area (United Kingdom), conservation area around it; historically, it was one of the four medieval villages in the Chiswick area, the ...
, London was surrounded by a defensive perimeter wall known as the
Lines of Communication A line of communication (or communications) is the route that connects an operating military unit Military organization or military organisation is the structuring of the armed forces of a State (polity), state so as to offer such military ...
. The lines were built by up to 20,000 people, and were completed in under two months. The fortifications failed their only test when the
New Model Army The New Model Army was a standing army formed in 1645 by the Roundhead, Parliamentarians during the First English Civil War, then disbanded after the Stuart Restoration in 1660. It differed from other armies employed in the 1639 to 1653 Wars ...
entered London in 1647, and they were levelled by Parliament the same year. London was plagued by disease in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague of 1665–1666, which killed up to 100,000 people, or a fifth of the population. The
Great Fire of London The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through central London from Sunday 2 September to Thursday 6 September 1666, gutting the medieval City of London inside the old London Wall, Roman city wall, while also extend ...
broke out in 1666 in Pudding Lane in the city and quickly swept through the wooden buildings. Rebuilding took over ten years and was supervised by polymath
Robert Hooke Robert Hooke Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; 18 July 16353 March 1703) was an English polymath active as a scientist, natural philosopher and architect, who is credited to be one of two scientists to discover microorganisms in 1665 using ...
as surveyor for the City of London. In 1708
Christopher Wren Sir Christopher Wren President of the Royal Society, PRS Fellow of the Royal Society, FRS (; – ) was one of the most highly acclaimed English architects in history, as well as an anatomist, astronomer, geometer, and mathematician-physicist. ...
's masterpiece,
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
, was completed. During the
Georgian era The Georgian era was a period in British history from 1714 to , named after the Hanoverian Kings George I, George II, George III and George IV. The definition of the Georgian era is often extended to include the relatively short reign of ...
, new districts such as
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. I ...
were formed in the west; new bridges over the Thames encouraged development in
South London South London is the southern part of London, England, south of the River Thames. The region consists of the Districts of England, boroughs, in whole or in part, of London Borough of Bexley, Bexley, London Borough of Bromley, Bromley, London Borou ...
. In the east, the
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban are ...
expanded downstream. London's development as an international
financial centre A financial centre (British English, BE), financial center (American English, AE), or financial hub, is a location with a concentration of Global financial system#Participants, participants in banking, asset management, insurance or financial ...
matured for much of the 18th century. In 1762,
George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in N ...
acquired Buckingham House, which was enlarged over the next 75 years. During the 18th century, London was said to be dogged by crime, and the
Bow Street Runners The Bow Street Runners were the law enforcement officers of the Bow Street Magistrates' Court in the City of Westminster. They have been called London's first professional police force. The force originally numbered six men and was founded in 1 ...
were established in 1750 as a professional police force. A total of more than 200 offences were punishable by death, including petty theft. Epidemics during the 1720s and 30s saw most children born in the city die before reaching their fifth birthday. Coffee-houses became a popular place to debate ideas, as growing
literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written form in some specific context of use. In other wo ...
and development of the
printing press A printing press is a mechanical device for applying pressure to an inked surface resting upon a printing, print medium (such as paper or cloth), thereby transferring the ink. It marked a dramatic improvement on earlier printing methods in wh ...
made news widely available, with
Fleet Street Fleet Street is a major street mostly in the City of London. It runs west to east from Temple Bar, London, Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster to Ludgate Circus at the site of the London Wall and the River Fleet from which ...
becoming the centre of the British press. The invasion of Amsterdam by Napoleonic armies led many financiers to relocate to London and the first London international issue was arranged in 1817. Around the same time, the
Royal Navy The Royal Navy (RN) is the United Kingdom's naval warfare force. Although warships were used by Kingdom of England, English and Kingdom of Scotland, Scottish kings from the early medieval period, the first major maritime engagements were foug ...
became the world's leading war fleet, acting as a major deterrent to potential economic adversaries. The repeal of the
Corn Laws The Corn Laws were tariff A tariff is a tax imposed by the government of a country or by a supranational union on imports or exports of goods. Besides being a source of revenue for the government, import duties can also be a form of ...
in 1846 was specifically aimed at weakening Dutch economic power. London then overtook Amsterdam as the leading international financial centre. According to Samuel Johnson:


Late modern and contemporary

With the onset of the
Industrial Revolution The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Great Britain, continental Europe, and the United States, that occurred during the period from around 1760 to about 1820–1840. This transition included going fr ...
in Britain, an unprecedented growth in
urbanisation Urbanization (or urbanisation) refers to the population shift from Rural area, rural to urban areas, the corresponding decrease in the proportion of people living in rural areas, and the ways in which societies adapt to this change. It is predo ...
took place, and the number of
High Street High Street is a common street name for the primary business street of a city, town, or village, especially in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Br ...
s (the primary street for retail in Britain) rapidly grew. London was the world's largest city from about 1831 to 1925, with a population density of 325 per hectare. In addition to the growing number of stores selling goods such as Harding, Howell & Co. on Pall Mall—a contender for the first
department store A department store is a retail establishment offering a wide range of consumer goods in different areas of the store, each area ("department") specializing in a product category. In modern major cities, the department store made a dramatic appea ...
—the streets had scores of
street seller A hawker is a vendor of merchandise that can be easily transported; the term is roughly synonymous with costermonger or peddler. In most places where the term is used, a hawker sells inexpensive goods, handicrafts, or food items. Whether stationa ...
s loudly advertising their goods and services. London's overcrowded conditions led to
cholera Cholera is an infection of the small intestine by some strain (biology), strains of the Bacteria, bacterium ''Vibrio cholerae''. Symptoms may range from none, to mild, to severe. The classic symptom is large amounts of watery diarrhea that last ...
epidemics, claiming 14,000 lives in 1848, and 6,000 in 1866. Rising
traffic congestion Traffic congestion is a condition in transport that is characterized by slower speeds, longer trip times, and increased vehicular Queuing theory, queueing. Traffic congestion on urban road networks has increased substantially since the 1950s. ...
led to the creation of the world's first local urban rail network. The
Metropolitan Board of Works The Metropolitan Board of Works (MBW) was the principal instrument of local government in a wide area of Middlesex, Surrey, and Kent, defined by the Metropolis Management Act 1855, from December 1855 until the establishment of the London County ...
oversaw infrastructure expansion in the capital and some surrounding counties; it was abolished in 1889 when the
London County Council London County Council (LCC) was the principal local government body for the County of London throughout its existence from 1889 to 1965, and the first London-wide general municipal authority to be directly elected. It covered the area today kno ...
was created out of county areas surrounding the capital. From the early years of the 20th century onwards, teashops were found on High Streets across London and the rest of Britain, with
Lyons Lyon,, ; Occitan language, Occitan: ''Lion'', hist. ''Lionés'' also spelled in English as Lyons, is the List of communes in France with over 20,000 inhabitants, third-largest city and Urban area (France), second-largest metropolitan area of F ...
, who opened the first of their
chain A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with an overall character similar to that of a rope in that it is flexible and curved in compression (physics), compression but line (g ...
of teashops in
Piccadilly Piccadilly () is a road in the City of Westminster, London, to the south of Mayfair, between Hyde Park Corner in the west and Piccadilly Circus in the east. It is part of the A4 road (England), A4 road that connects central London to Hammersm ...
in 1894, leading the way. The tearooms, such as the Criterion in Piccadilly, became a popular meeting place for women from the suffrage movement. The city was the target of many attacks during the
suffragette bombing and arson campaign Suffragettes in Great Britain and Ireland orchestrated a bombing and arson campaign between the years 1912 and 1914. The campaign was instigated by the Women's Social and Political Union, Women's Social and Political Union (WSPU), and was a part ...
, between 1912 and 1914, which saw historic landmarks such as
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
and
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
bombed. London was bombed by the Germans in the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
, and during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
,
the Blitz The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the World War II, Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and originated from the term , the German word meaning 'lightning wa ...
and other bombings by the German ''
Luftwaffe The ''Luftwaffe'' () was the aerial warfare, aerial-warfare branch of the German ''Wehrmacht'' before and during World War II. German Empire, Germany's military air arms during World War I, the ''Luftstreitkräfte'' of the German Army (Ge ...
'' killed over 30,000 Londoners, destroying large tracts of housing and other buildings across the city. The
1948 Summer Olympics The 1948 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XIV Olympiad and also known as London 1948) were an international multi-sport event held from 29 July to 14 August 1948 in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in t ...
were held at the original
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium ...
, while London was still recovering from the war. From the 1940s, London became home to many immigrants, primarily from
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is share ...
countries such as Jamaica, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, making London one of the most diverse cities in the world. In 1951, the
Festival of Britain The Festival of Britain was a national exhibition and fair that reached millions of visitors throughout the United Kingdom in the summer of 1951. Historian Kenneth O. Morgan says the Festival was a "triumphant success" during which people: ...
was held on the
South Bank The South Bank is an entertainment and commercial district in central London, next to the River Thames opposite the City of Westminster. It forms a narrow strip of riverside land within the London Borough of Lambeth (where it adjoins Albert E ...
. The Great Smog of 1952 led to the
Clean Air Act 1956 The Clean Air Act 1956 was an Act of Parliament, Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom enacted principally in response to London's Great Smog of London, Great Smog of 1952. It was sponsored by the Ministry of Housing and Local Government ...
, which ended the "
pea soup fog Pea soup fog (also known as a pea souper, black fog or killer fog) is a very thick and often yellowish, greenish or blackish fog caused by air pollution that contains soot Atmospheric particulate matter, particulates and the poisonous gas sulphu ...
s" for which London had been notorious and had earned it the nickname the "Big Smoke". Starting mainly in the mid-1960s, London became a centre for worldwide
youth culture Youth culture refers to the Social norm, societal norms of children, adolescence, adolescents, and young adult, young adults. Specifically, it comprises the processes and symbolic systems that are shared by the youth and are distinct from those of ...
, exemplified by the
Swinging London The Swinging Sixties was a Youth culture, youth-driven cultural revolution that took place in the United Kingdom during the mid-to-late 1960s, emphasising modernity and fun-loving hedonism, with Swinging London as its centre. It saw a flourishi ...
sub-culture associated with the
King's Road King's Road or Kings Road (or sometimes the King's Road, especially when it was the king's private road until 1830, or as a colloquialism by middle/upper class London residents), is a major street stretching through Chelsea, London, Chelsea ...
, Chelsea and
Carnaby Street Carnaby Street is a pedestrianised shopping street in Soho Soho is an area of the City of Westminster, part of the West End of London. Originally a fashionable district for the aristocracy, it has been one of the main entertainment dist ...
. The role of trendsetter revived in the
punk Punk or punks may refer to: Genres, subculture, and related aspects * Punk rock, a music genre originating in the 1970s associated with various subgenres * Punk subculture, a subculture associated with punk rock, or aspects of the subculture su ...
era. In 1965 London's political boundaries were expanded in response to the growth of the urban area and a new
Greater London Council The Greater London Council (GLC) was the top-tier local government administrative body for Greater London from 1965 to 1986. It replaced the earlier London County Council (LCC) which had covered a much smaller area. The GLC was dissolved in 198 ...
was created. During
The Troubles The Troubles ( ga, Na Trioblóidí) were an ethno-nationalist conflict in Northern Ireland that lasted about 30 years from the late 1960s to 1998. Also known internationally as the Northern Ireland conflict, it is sometimes described as an "i ...
in Northern Ireland, London was hit from 1973 by bomb attacks by the
Provisional Irish Republican Army The Irish Republican Army (IRA; ), also known as the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and informally as the Provos, was an Irish republicanism, Irish republican paramilitary organisation that sought to end British rule in Northern Ireland, fa ...
. These attacks lasted for two decades, starting with the Old Bailey bombing. Racial inequality was highlighted by the 1981 Brixton riot. Greater London's population declined in the decades after the Second World War, from an estimated peak of 8.6 million in 1939 to around 6.8 million in the 1980s. The principal ports for London moved downstream to
Felixstowe Felixstowe ( ) is a port town in Suffolk, England. The estimated population in 2017 was 24,521. The Port of Felixstowe is the largest Containerization, container port in the United Kingdom. Felixstowe is approximately 116km (72 miles) northea ...
and
Tilbury Tilbury is a port town in the borough of Thurrock, Essex, England. The present town was established as separate settlement in the late 19th century, on land that was mainly part of Chadwell St Mary. It contains a Tilbury Fort, 16th century fort ...
, with the
London Docklands London Docklands is the riverfront and former docks in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stand ...
area becoming a focus for regeneration, including the
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-eas ...
development. This was born out of London's increasing role as an international financial centre in the 1980s. The
Thames Barrier The Thames Barrier is a retractable Flood barrier, barrier system built to protect the floodplain of most of Greater London from exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. It has been operational since 1982. When n ...
was completed in the 1980s to protect London against tidal surges from the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986, leaving London with no central administration until 2000 and the creation of the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
. To mark the 21st century, the
Millennium Dome The Millennium Dome was the original name of the large dome-shaped building on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East (London sub region), South East London, England, which housed a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millenn ...
,
London Eye The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid Tourist attractions in the United ...
and Millennium Bridge were constructed. On 6 July 2005 London was awarded the
2012 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad and also known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. The first event, the ...
, as the first city to stage the
Olympic Games The modern Olympic Games or Olympics (french: link=no, Jeux olympiques) are the leading international sporting events featuring summer and winter sports competitions in which thousands of athletes from around the world participate in a var ...
three times. On 7 July 2005, three
London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and He ...
trains and a double-decker bus were bombed in a series of terrorist attacks. In 2008, ''
Time Time is the continued sequence of existence and event (philosophy), events that occurs in an apparently irreversible process, irreversible succession from the past, through the present, into the future. It is a component quantity of various me ...
'' named London alongside New York City and Hong Kong as Nylonkong, hailing them as the world's three most influential global cities. In January 2015, Greater London's population was estimated to be 8.63 million, its highest since 1939.Alt URL
/ref> During the Brexit referendum in 2016, the UK as a whole decided to leave the European Union, but most London constituencies voted for remaining.


Administration


Local government

The administration of London is formed of two tiers: a citywide, strategic tier and a local tier. Citywide administration is coordinated by the
Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, regional governance body of Greater London. It consists of two political branches: the exec ...
(GLA), while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities. The GLA consists of two elected components: the
mayor of London The mayor of London is the chief executive of the Greater London Authority. The role was created in 2000 after the 1998 Greater London Authority referendum, Greater London devolution referendum in 1998, and was the first Directly elected may ...
, who has executive powers, and the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority, that scrutinises the activities of the Mayor of London and has the power, with a two-thirds super-majority, to amend the Mayor's annual budget and to rejec ...
, which scrutinises the mayor's decisions and can accept or reject the mayor's budget proposals each year. The headquarters of the GLA is
City Hall In local government, a city hall, town hall, civic centre (in the United Kingdom, UK or Australia), guildhall, or a municipal building (in the Philippines), is the chief administration (government), administrative building of a city, tow ...
, Newham. The mayor since 2016 has been
Sadiq Khan Sadiq Aman Khan (; born 8 October 1970) is a British politician serving as Mayor of London since 2016. He was previously Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Tooting (UK Parliament constituency), Tooting from ...
, the first
Muslim Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
mayor of a major Western capital. The mayor's statutory planning strategy is published as the
London Plan The London Plan is the statutory spatial planning, spatial development strategy for the Greater London area in the United Kingdom that is written by the Mayor of London and published by the Greater London Authority. The regional planning docu ...
, which was most recently revised in 2011. The local authorities are the councils of the 32
London borough The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that together with the City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government dis ...
s and the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
. They are responsible for most local services, such as local planning, schools,
social services Social services are a range of public services intended to provide support and assistance towards particular groups, which commonly include the disadvantaged. They may be provided by individuals, Organization, private and independent organisations, ...
, local roads and refuse collection. Certain functions, such as
waste management Waste management or waste disposal includes the processes and actions required to manage waste from its inception to its final disposal. This includes the Waste collection, collection, transport, treatment and disposal of waste, togeth ...
, are provided through joint arrangements. In 2009–2010 the combined revenue expenditure by London councils and the GLA amounted to just over £22 billion (£14.7 billion for the boroughs and £7.4 billion for the GLA). The
London Fire Brigade The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is the Fire department, fire and rescue service for London, the capital of the United Kingdom. It was formed by the Metropolitan Fire Brigade Act 1865, under the leadership of superintendent Eyre Massey Shaw. It ha ...
is the
statutory A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contraste ...
fire and rescue service for Greater London, run by the
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority The London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority (LFEPA) was a functional body of the Greater London Authority (GLA), established under the Greater London Authority Act 1999. Its principal purpose was to run the London Fire Brigade. The 17 members ...
. It is the third largest fire service in the world.
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
ambulance services are provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust, the largest free-at-the-point-of-use emergency ambulance service in the world. The London Air Ambulance charity operates in conjunction with the LAS where required.
Her Majesty's Coastguard His Majesty's Coastguard (HMCG) is a section of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) is an executive agency An executive agency is a part of a government department that is treated as manageriall ...
and the
Royal National Lifeboat Institution The Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) is the largest charity that saves lives at sea around the coasts of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) o ...
operate on the
River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and th ...
, which is under the jurisdiction of the
Port of London Authority The Port of London Authority (PLA) is a self-funding public trust established on 31 March 1909 in accordance with the Port of London Act 1908 to govern the Port of London. Its responsibility extends over the Tideway of the River Thames and its ...
from
Teddington Lock Teddington Lock is a complex of three lock (water transport), locks and a weir on the River Thames between Ham, London, Ham and Teddington in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, England. Historically in Middlesex, it was first buil ...
to the sea.


National government

London is the seat of the
Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas a Shoilse gd, Riaghaltas a Mhòrachd , image = HM Government logo.svg , image_size = 220px , image2 = Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (HM Government).svg , image_size2 = 180px , caption = Royal coat of arms of t ...
. Many government departments, as well as the prime minister's residence at
10 Downing Street 10 Downing Street in London, also known colloquially in the United Kingdom as Number 10, is the official residence and executive office of the First Lord of the Treasury, first lord of the treasury, usually, by convention, the Prime Minister of ...
, are based close to the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ...
, particularly along
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...
. There are 73 members of Parliament (MPs) from London, elected from local parliamentary
constituencies An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, or (election) precinct is a subdivision of a larger state (a country A country is a distinct part o ...
in the national
Parliament In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
. , 49 are from the Labour Party, 21 are
Conservatives Conservatism is a Philosophy of culture, cultural, Social philosophy, social, and political philosophy that seeks to promote and to preserve traditional institutions, practices, and values. The central tenets of conservatism may vary in r ...
, and three are Liberal Democrats. The ministerial post of minister for London was created in 1994. The current Minister for London is Paul Scully MP.


Policing and crime

Policing in Greater London, with the exception of the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
, is provided by the
Metropolitan Police The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), formerly and still commonly known as the Metropolitan Police (and informally as the Met Police, the Met, Scotland Yard, or the Yard), is the Territorial police force#United Kingdom, territorial police f ...
("The Met"), overseen by the mayor through the
Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime The Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC) is a functional body of the Greater London Authority responsible for oversight of the Metropolitan Police. It came into being on 16 January 2012 at midnight, replacing the Metropolitan Police Autho ...
(MOPAC). The Met is also referred to as
Scotland Yard Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the territorial police force responsible for policing Greater London, Greater London's London boroughs, 32 boroughs, but not the City of London, the s ...
after the location of its original headquarters in a road called
Great Scotland Yard Great Scotland Yard is a street in the St. James's district of Westminster, London, connecting Northumberland Avenue and Whitehall. By the 16th century, this 'yard', which was then an open space for the Palace of Whitehall, was fronted by build ...
in Whitehall. The City of London has its own police force – the
City of London Police The City of London Police is the territorial police force#United Kingdom, territorial police force responsible for law enforcement within the City of London, including the Middle Temple, Middle and Inner Temple, Inner Temples. The force responsi ...
. The
British Transport Police , nativename = , abbreviation = BTP , patch = , patchcaption = , logo = British Transport Police Logo.svg , logocaption = Logo of the British Transport Police , badge = , badgecaption = , f ...
are responsible for police services on
National Rail National Rail (NR) is the trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), previously the Association of Train Operating Companies, is the Rail transport in Great Britain, British rail industry me ...
,
London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and He ...
,
Docklands Light Railway The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is an automated medium-capacity rail system, light metro system serving the redeveloped London Docklands, Docklands area of London, England and provides a direct connection between London's two major financial ...
and
Tramlink London Trams, previously Tramlink and Croydon Tramlink, is a light rail tram system serving Croydon and surrounding areas in South London, England. It began operation in 2000, the first tram system in the London region since 1952. It is managed ...
services. The
Ministry of Defence Police The Ministry of Defence Police (MDP) is a civilian special police force#United Kingdom, special police force which is part of the United Kingdom's Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom), Ministry of Defence. The MDP's primary responsibilities are ...
is a special police force in London, which does not generally become involved with policing the general public. Crime rates vary widely across different areas of London. Crime figures are made available nationally at
Local Authority Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration within a particular sovereign state. This particular usage of the word government refers specifically to a level of administration that is both geographically-loca ...
and Ward level. In 2015, there were 118 homicides, a 25.5% increase over 2014. The Metropolitan Police have made detailed crime figures, broken down by category at borough and ward level, available on their website since 2000. Recorded crime has been rising in London, notably violent crime and murder by stabbing and other means have risen. There were 50 murders from the start of 2018 to mid April 2018. Funding cuts to police in London are likely to have contributed to this, though other factors are also involved.


Geography


Scope

London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a estuary dow ...
, also known as Greater London, is one of nine
regions of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no ...
and the top subdivision covering most of the city's metropolis.London is not a city in the usual UK sense of having
city status City status is a symbolic and legal designation given by a national or subnational government. A municipality may receive city status because it already has the qualities of a city, or because it has some special purpose. Historically, city status ...
granted by the Crown.
The
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
at its core once comprised the whole settlement, but as its urban area grew, the
Corporation of London The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
resisted attempts to amalgamate the City with its
suburbs A suburb (more broadly suburban area) is an area within a metropolitan area, which may include Commercial area, commercial and mixed-use development, mixed-use, that is primarily a residential area. A suburb can exist either as part of a ...
, causing "London" to be defined several ways. Forty per cent of Greater London is covered by the London post town, in which 'LONDON' forms part of postal addresses. The London telephone
area code A telephone numbering plan is a type of numbering scheme used in telecommunication to assign telephone numbers to subscriber telephones or other telephony endpoints. Telephone numbers are the addresses of participants in a telephone network, reac ...
(020) covers a larger area, similar in size to Greater London, although some outer districts are excluded and some just outside included. The Greater London boundary has been aligned to the M25 motorway in places. Further urban expansion is now prevented by the
Metropolitan Green Belt The Metropolitan Green Belt is a statutory Green belt (United Kingdom), green belt around London, England. It comprises parts of Greater London, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey, parts of two of the three dist ...
, although the built-up area extends beyond the boundary in places, producing a separately defined
Greater London Urban Area The Greater London Built-up Area, or Greater London Urban Area, is a conurbation A conurbation is a region comprising a number of metropolises, cities, large towns, and other urban areas which through population growth and physical expansion, ...
. Beyond this is the vast
London commuter belt The London metropolitan area is the metropolitan area of London, England. It has several definitions, including the London Travel to work area, Travel to Work Area, and usually consists of the London urban area, settlements that share London's ...
. Greater London is split for some purposes into
Inner London Inner London is the name for the group of London boroughs which form the interior part of Greater London and are surrounded by Outer London. With its origins in the bills of mortality, it became fixed as an area for statistics in 1847 and was used ...
and
Outer London Outer London is the name for the group of London boroughs that form a ring around Inner London. Together, the inner and outer boroughs form London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. These were areas that were not part of the County of Londo ...
, and by the River Thames into
North North is one of the four compass points or cardinal directions. It is the opposite of south and is perpendicular to east and west. ''North'' is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating Direction (geometry), direction or geography. Etymology T ...
and
South South is one of the cardinal directions or Points of the compass, compass points. The direction is the opposite of north and is perpendicular to both east and west. Etymology The word ''south'' comes from Old English ''sūþ'', from earlier Pro ...
, with an informal
central London Central London is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning several London borough, boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of Central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. ...
area. The coordinates of the nominal centre of London, traditionally the original
Eleanor Cross The Eleanor crosses were a series of twelve tall and lavishly decorated stone monuments topped with crosses erected in a line down part of the east of England. Edward I of England, King Edward I had them built between 1291 and about 1295 in mem ...
at
Charing Cross Charing Cross ( ) is a junction in Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area, which extends from the River Thames to Oxford Street, has many Tourism in London, visitor attractio ...
near the junction of
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, laid out in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. At its centre is a high column bearing a statue of Admiral Nelson commemor ...
and
Whitehall Whitehall is a road and area in the City of Westminster, Central London. The road forms the first part of the A roads in Zone 3 of the Great Britain numbering scheme, A3212 road from Trafalgar Square to Chelsea, London, Chelsea. It is the main ...
, are about . Based on the centre of gravity of its map, the geographical centre of London is in the
London Borough of Lambeth Lambeth () is a London boroughs, London borough in South London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as ''Lambehitha'' ("landing place for lambs") and in 1255 as ''Lambeth''. The geographical centre of London ...
, to the north-east of
Lambeth North tube station Lambeth North is a London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, ...
.


Status

Within London, both the City of London and the
City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British government. It occupies a large area of cent ...
have
city status City status is a symbolic and legal designation given by a national or subnational government. A municipality may receive city status because it already has the qualities of a city, or because it has some special purpose. Historically, city status ...
and both the City of London and the remainder of Greater London are counties for the purposes of lieutenancies. The area of
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
includes areas that are part of the historic counties of
Middlesex Middlesex (; abbreviation: Middx) is a Historic counties of England, historic county in South East England, southeast England. Its area is almost entirely within the wider urbanised area of London and mostly within the Ceremonial counties of ...
, Kent,
Surrey Surrey () is a ceremonial county, ceremonial and non-metropolitan county, non-metropolitan counties of England, county in South East England, bordering Greater London to the south west. Surrey has a large rural area, and several significant ur ...
, Essex and
Hertfordshire Hertfordshire ( or ; often abbreviated Herts) is one of the home counties in southern England. It borders Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire to the north, Essex to the east, Greater London to the south, and Buckinghamshire to the west. For govern ...
. London's status as the capital of England, and later the United Kingdom, has never been granted or confirmed by statute or in written form. Its status as a capital was established by constitutional convention, which means its status as ''de facto'' capital is a part of the UK's uncodified constitution. The capital of England was moved to London from
Winchester Winchester is a City status in the United Kingdom, cathedral city in Hampshire, England. The city lies at the heart of the wider City of Winchester, a local government Districts of England, district, at the western end of the South Downs Nation ...
as the
Palace of Westminster The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons of the United Kingdom, House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Informally known as the Houses of Parli ...
developed in the 12th and 13th centuries to become the permanent location of the
royal court A royal court, often called simply a court when the royal context is clear, is an extended royal household in a monarchy, including all those who regularly attend on a monarch, or another central figure. Hence, the word "court" may also be appli ...
, and thus the political capital of the nation. More recently, Greater London has been defined as a
region of England The regions, formerly known as the government office regions, are the highest tier of sub-national division in England, established in 1994. Between 1994 and 2011, nine regions had officially devolved functions within government. While they no ...
and in this context is known as ''London''.


Topography

Greater London encompasses a total area of an area which had a population of 7,172,036 in 2001 and a population density of . The extended area known as the London Metropolitan Region or the London Metropolitan Agglomeration, comprises a total area of has a population of 13,709,000 and a population density of . Modern London stands on the
Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the The Isis, River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London. At , it is the longest river entirely in England and the Longest rivers of the United Kingdom, se ...
, its primary geographical feature, a
navigable A body of water, such as a river, canal or lake, is navigable if it is deep, wide and calm enough for a water vessel (e.g. boats) to pass safely. Such a navigable water is called a ''waterway'', and is preferably with few obstructions against dir ...
river which crosses the city from the south-west to the east. The
Thames Valley The Thames Valley is an informally-defined sub-region of South East England South East England is one of the nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, I ...
is a
flood plain A floodplain or flood plain or bottomlands is an area of land adjacent to a river which stretches from the banks of its channel to the base of the enclosing valley walls, and which experiences flooding during periods of high discharge.Goudi ...
surrounded by gently rolling hills including
Parliament Hill Parliament Hill (french: Colline du Parlement, colloquially known as The Hill, is an area of Crown land on the southern banks of the Ottawa River in downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Its Gothic revival suite of buildings, and their architectu ...
, Addington Hills, and
Primrose Hill Primrose Hill is a Listed building, Grade II listed public park located north of Regent's Park in London, England, first opened to the public in 1842.Mills, A., ''Dictionary of London Place Names'', (2001) It was named after the natural hill i ...
. Historically London grew up at the lowest bridging point on the Thames. The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive
marsh A marsh is a wetland that is dominated by Herbaceous plant, herbaceous rather than woody plant species.Keddy, P.A. 2010. Wetland Ecology: Principles and Conservation (2nd edition). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. 497 p Marshes can ...
lands; at high tide, its shores reached five times their present width. Since the
Victorian era In the history of the United Kingdom and the British Empire, the Victorian era was the period of Queen Victoria's reign, from 20 June 1837 until her death on 22 January 1901. The era followed the Georgian era, Georgian period and preceded ...
the Thames has been extensively embanked, and many of its London
tributaries A tributary, or affluent, is a stream or river that flows into a larger stream or main stem (or parent) river or a lake. A tributary does not flow directly into a sea or ocean. Tributaries and the main stem river drain the surrounding drainage b ...
now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding. The threat has increased over time because of a slow but continuous rise in high water level caused by
climate change In common usage, climate change describes global warming—the ongoing increase in global average temperature—and its effects on Earth's climate system. Climate variability and change, Climate change in a broader sense also includes ...
and by the slow 'tilting' of the British Isles (up in Scotland and Northern Ireland and down in southern parts of England, Wales and Ireland) as a result of
post-glacial rebound Post-glacial rebound (also called isostatic rebound or crustal rebound) is the rise of land masses after the removal of the huge weight of ice sheets during the last glacial period, which had caused isostatic depression. Post-glacial rebound an ...
. In 1974 a decade of work began on the construction of the
Thames Barrier The Thames Barrier is a retractable Flood barrier, barrier system built to protect the floodplain of most of Greater London from exceptionally high tides and storm surges moving up from the North Sea. It has been operational since 1982. When n ...
across the Thames at
Woolwich Woolwich () is a district in South London, southeast London, England, within the Royal Borough of Greenwich. The district's location on the River Thames led to its status as an important naval, military and industrial area; a role that was ma ...
to deal with this threat. While the barrier is expected to function as designed until roughly 2070, concepts for its future enlargement or redesign are already being discussed. London has had a small number of earthquakes over the years, notably those of 1750 which macroseismic information indicates had their epicentres directly under the city. In 2018, two active faults were discovered running parallel to each other, directly under the centre of the city. Furthermore, the city has been damaged at least twice (with fatalities) in the earthquakes of 1382 and 1580. Those earthquakes had their epicentres under the
English Channel The English Channel, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or ( Jèrriais), ( Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Ka ...
. London's building code is being redrawn so that every new structure must be able to withstand an earthquake of at least 6.5 on the Richter scale.


Climate

London has a temperate
oceanic climate An oceanic climate, also known as a marine climate, is the humid temperate climate sub-type in Köppen climate classification, Köppen classification ''Cfb'', typical of west coasts in higher middle latitudes of continents, generally featuring ...
( Köppen: ''Cfb''). Rainfall records have been kept in the city since at least 1697, when records began at Kew. At Kew, the most rainfall in one month is in November 1755 and the least is in both December 1788 and July 1800. Mile End also had in April 1893. The wettest year on record is 1903, with a total fall of and the driest is 1921, with a total fall of . The average annual precipitation amounts to about 600 mm, which is half the annual rainfall of
New York City New York, often called New York City or NYC, is the List of United States cities by population, most populous city in the United States. With a 2020 population of 8,804,190 distributed over , New York City is also the L ...
, but also lower than
Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan city of Capital Rome, region Lazio, Italy).svg ...
,
Lisbon Lisbon (; pt, Lisboa ) is the capital and largest city of Portugal, with an estimated population of 544,851 within its administrative limits in an area of 100.05 km2. Grande Lisboa, Lisbon's urban area extends beyond the city's administr ...
, and
Sydney, Australia Sydney ( ) is the capital city of the States and territories of Australia, state of New South Wales, and the most populous city in both Australia and List of cities in Oceania by population, Oceania. Located on Australia's east coast, the metro ...
. Despite its relatively low annual precipitation, London still receives 109.6 rainy days on the 1.0 mm threshold annually. However, London is vulnerable to
climate change in the United Kingdom Climate change in the United Kingdom is impacting the country's environment and human population in many ways. The country's climate is becoming warmer, with drier summers and wetter winters. The frequency and intensity of storms, floods, droug ...
, and there is increasing concern among
hydrological Hydrology () is the scientific study of the movement, distribution, and management of water on Earth and other planets, including the water cycle, water resources, and environmental watershed sustainability. A practitioner of hydrology is calle ...
experts that London households may run out of water before 2050. Temperature extremes in London range from at Heathrow on 19 July 2022 down to at Northolt on 1 January 1962. Records for
atmospheric pressure Atmospheric pressure, also known as barometric pressure (after the barometer), is the pressure within the atmosphere of Earth. The Standard atmosphere (unit), standard atmosphere (symbol: atm) is a unit of pressure defined as , which is equival ...
have been kept at London since 1692. The highest pressure ever reported is on 20 January 2020. Summers are generally warm, sometimes hot. London's average July high is 23.5 °C (74.3 °F). On average each year, London experiences 31 days above and 4.2 days above . During the
2003 European heat wave The 2003 European heat wave saw the hottest summer recorded in Europe since at least 1540. France was hit especially hard. The heat wave led to health crises in several countries and combined with drought to create a crop shortfall in parts of S ...
prolonged heat led to hundreds of heat-related deaths. There was also a previous spell of 15 consecutive days above in England in 1976 which also caused many heat related deaths. A previous temperature of in August 1911 at the Greenwich station was later disregarded as non-standard. Droughts can also, occasionally, be a problem, especially in summer, most recently in summer 2018, and with much drier than average conditions prevailing from May to December. However, the most consecutive days without rain was 73 days in the spring of 1893. Winters are generally cool with little temperature variation. Heavy snow is rare but snow usually falls at least once each winter. Spring and autumn can be pleasant. As a large city, London has a considerable
urban heat island An urban heat island (UHI) is an urban area, urban or metropolitan area that is significantly warmer than its surrounding rural areas due to human impact on the environment, human activities. The temperature difference is usually larger at nigh ...
effect, making the centre of London at times warmer than the suburbs and outskirts. This can be seen below when comparing London Heathrow, west of London, with the London Weather Centre.


Districts

Places within London's vast urban area are identified using district names, such as
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. I ...
,
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed d ...
,
Wembley Wembley () is a large suburbIn British English, "suburb" often refers to the secondary urban centres of a city. Wembley is not a suburb in the American sense, i.e. a single-family residential area outside of the city itself. in north-west Londo ...
, and
Whitechapel Whitechapel is a district in East London and the future administrative centre of the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. It is a part of the East End of London, east of Charing Cross. Part of the Historic counties of England, historic county of Mi ...
. These are either informal designations, reflect the names of villages that have been absorbed by sprawl, or are superseded administrative units such as parishes or former boroughs. Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a local area with its own distinctive character, but without official boundaries. Since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32
London borough The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that together with the City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government dis ...
s in addition to the ancient City of London. The City of London is the main financial district, and
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-eas ...
has recently developed into a new financial and commercial hub in the Docklands to the east. The West End is London's main entertainment and shopping district, attracting tourists.
West London West London is the western part of London, England, north of the River Thames, west of the City of London, and extending to the Greater London boundary. The term is used to differentiate the area from the other parts of London: North London ...
includes expensive residential areas where properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds. The average price for properties in Kensington and Chelsea is over £2 million with a similarly high outlay in most of central London. The
East End The East End of London, often referred to within the London area simply as the East End, is the historic core of wider East London, east of the Roman and medieval walls of the City of London and north of the River Thames. It does not have univ ...
is the area closest to the original
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban are ...
, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding
East London East London refers to the part of London, England, east of the ancient City of London and north of the River Thames. It consists of areas in the Historic counties of England, historic counties of Essex and Middlesex. The East End of London i ...
area saw much of London's early industrial development; now,
brownfield In urban planning Urban planning, also known as town planning, city planning, regional planning, or rural planning, is a technical and political process that is focused on the development and design of land use and the built environment, ...
sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the
London Riverside The London Riverside is a redevelopment area on the north side of the River Thames in East London, England and part of the larger Thames Gateway redevelopment zone. The London Riverside area forms part of the Green Enterprise District, a project ...
and
Lower Lea Valley The Lower Lea Valley is the southern end of the Lea Valley which surrounds the River Lea The River Lea ( ) is in South East England. It originates in Bedfordshire, in the Chiltern Hills, and flows southeast through Hertfordshire, along the ...
, which was developed into the
Olympic Park An Olympic Park is a sports campus A campus is traditionally the land on which a college A college (Latin: ''collegium'') is an educational institution or a University system, constituent part of one. A college may be a academi ...
for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.


Architecture

London's buildings are too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, partly because of their varying ages. Many grand houses and public buildings, such as the
National Gallery The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London, England. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The current Director of ...
, are constructed from
Portland stone Portland stone is a limestone from the Tithonian stage of the Jurassic period Quarry, quarried on the Isle of Portland, Dorset. The quarries are cut in beds of white-grey limestone separated by chert beds. It has been used extensively as a buil ...
. Some areas of the city, particularly those just west of the centre, are characterised by white
stucco Stucco or render is a construction material made of Construction aggregate, aggregates, a binder (material), binder, and water. Stucco is applied wet and hardens to a very dense solid. It is used as a decorative coating for walls and ceilings, ...
or whitewashed buildings. Few structures in central London pre-date the Great Fire of 1666, these being a few trace
Roman Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome, the capital city of Italy *Ancient Rome, Roman civilization from 8th century BC to 5th century AD *Roman people, the people of ancient Rome *''Epistle to the Romans'', shortened to ''Romans'', a letter ...
remains, the
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
and a few scattered Tudor survivors in the city. Further out is, for example, the Tudor-period
Hampton Court Palace Hampton Court Palace is a Listed building, Grade I listed royal palace in the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames, southwest and upstream of central London on the River Thames. The building of the palace began in 1514 for Cardinal Thomas Wo ...
, England's oldest surviving Tudor palace, built by Cardinal
Thomas Wolsey Thomas Wolsey ( – 29 November 1530) was an English statesman and Catholic bishop. When Henry VIII became King of England in 1509, Wolsey became the king's Lord High Almoner, almoner. Wolsey's affairs prospered and by 1514 he had become the ...
in about 1515. Part of the varied architectural heritage are the 17th-century churches by
Wren Wrens are a family of brown passerine birds in the predominantly New World family (biology), family Troglodytidae. The family includes 88 species divided into 19 genus, genera. Only the Eurasian wren occurs in the Old World, where, in Anglophone ...
, neoclassical financial institutions such as the Royal Exchange and the
Bank of England The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694 to act as the Kingdom of England, English Government's banker, and still one of the bankers fo ...
, to the early 20th century
Old Bailey The Central Criminal Court of England and Wales, commonly referred to as the Old Bailey after the street on which it stands, is a criminal court building in central London, one of several that house the Crown Court of England and Wales. The s ...
and the 1960s
Barbican Estate The Barbican Estate, or Barbican, is a residential complex of around 2,000 flats, maisonettes, and houses in central London, England, within the City of London. It is in an area once devastated by World War II bombings and densely populated b ...
. The 1939
Battersea Power Station Battersea Power Station is a decommissioned Grade II* listed Fossil fuel power plant, coal-fired power station, located on the south bank of the River Thames, in Nine Elms, Battersea, in the London Borough of Wandsworth. It was built by the Lo ...
by the river in the south-west is a local landmark, while some railway termini are excellent examples of
Victorian architecture Victorian architecture is a series of Revivalism (architecture), architectural revival styles in the mid-to-late 19th century. ''Victorian'' refers to the reign of Queen Victoria (1837–1901), called the Victorian era, during which period the st ...
, most notably St. Pancras and
Paddington Paddington is an List of areas of London, area within the City of Westminster, in Central London. First a medieval parish then a Metropolitan Borough of Paddington, metropolitan borough, it was integrated with Westminster and Greater London in ...
. The density of London varies, with high employment density in the central area and
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-eas ...
, high residential densities in
inner London Inner London is the name for the group of London boroughs which form the interior part of Greater London and are surrounded by Outer London. With its origins in the bills of mortality, it became fixed as an area for statistics in 1847 and was used ...
, and lower densities in
Outer London Outer London is the name for the group of London boroughs that form a ring around Inner London. Together, the inner and outer boroughs form London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. These were areas that were not part of the County of Londo ...
. The Monument in the City of London provides views of the surrounding area while commemorating the
Great Fire of London The Great Fire of London was a major conflagration that swept through central London from Sunday 2 September to Thursday 6 September 1666, gutting the medieval City of London inside the old London Wall, Roman city wall, while also extend ...
, which originated nearby.
Marble Arch The Marble Arch is a 19th-century white marble-faced triumphal arch in London, England. The structure was designed by John Nash (architect), John Nash in 1827 to be the state entrance to the cour d'honneur of Buckingham Palace; it stood near th ...
and Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of
Park Lane Park Lane is a dual carriageway road in the City of Westminster in Central London. It is part of the London Inner Ring Road and runs from Hyde Park Corner in the south to Marble Arch in the north. It separates Hyde Park, London, Hyde Park to ...
, respectively, have royal connections, as do the
Albert Memorial The Albert Memorial, directly north of the Royal Albert Hall in Kensington Gardens, London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just un ...
and
Royal Albert Hall The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. One of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings, it is held in trust for the nation and managed by a registered charity which receives no governm ...
in
Kensington Kensington is a district in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea in the West End of London, West of Central London. The district's commercial heart is Kensington High Street, running on an east–west axis. The north-east is taken up b ...
.
Nelson's Column Nelson's Column is a monument in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, Central London, built to commemorate Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson's decisive victory at the Battle of Trafalgar over the combined French and Spanish navies, during whic ...
(built to commemorate Admiral Horatio Nelson) is a nationally recognised monument in
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, laid out in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. At its centre is a high column bearing a statue of Admiral Nelson commemor ...
, one of the focal points of central London. Older buildings are mainly brick built, most commonly the yellow London stock brick or a warm orange-red variety, often decorated with carvings and white plaster mouldings. In the dense areas, most of the concentration is via medium- and high-rise buildings. London's skyscrapers, such as
30 St Mary Axe 30 St Mary Axe (previously known as the Swiss Re Building and informally known as the Gherkin) is a commercial skyscraper in London's primary financial district, the City of London. It was completed in December 2003 and opened in April 2004. W ...
,
Tower 42 Tower 42, commonly known as the NatWest Tower, is a skyscraper in the City of London. It is the fifth-tallest tower in the City of London, having been overtaken as the tallest in 2010 by the Heron Tower. It is the fifteenth-List of tallest ...
, the Broadgate Tower and
One Canada Square One Canada Square is a skyscraper in Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just unde ...
, are mostly in the two financial districts, the City of London and
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-eas ...
. High-rise development is restricted at certain sites if it would obstruct protected views of
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
and other historic buildings. This protective policy, known as 'St Paul’s Heights', has been in operation by the City of London since 1937. Nevertheless, there are a number of tall skyscrapers in central London (see
Tall buildings in London St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest poi ...
), including the 95-storey
Shard London Bridge The Shard, also referred to as the Shard of Glass, Shard London Bridge, and formerly London Bridge Tower, is a 72-storey skyscraper, designed by the Italian architect Renzo Piano, in Southwark, London, that forms part of The Shard Quarter dev ...
, the tallest building in the United Kingdom. Other notable modern buildings include The Scalpel, originally a nickname coined by the ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
'' due to its distinctive angular design but subsequently designated as its official name,
20 Fenchurch Street 20 Fenchurch Street is a commercial skyscraper in London that takes its name from its address on Fenchurch Street, in the historic City of London financial district. It has been nicknamed "The Walkie-talkie, Walkie-Talkie" because of its disti ...
, dubbed "The Walkie-Talkie" because of its distinctive shape that resembles a
two-way radio A two-way radio is a radio Radio is the technology of signaling and telecommunication, communicating using radio waves. Radio waves are electromagnetic waves of frequency between 30 hertz (Hz) and 300 gigahertz (GHz). They are ge ...
handset, the former
City Hall In local government, a city hall, town hall, civic centre (in the United Kingdom, UK or Australia), guildhall, or a municipal building (in the Philippines), is the chief administration (government), administrative building of a city, tow ...
in
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed d ...
with its distinctive oval shape, the
Art Deco Art Deco, short for the French ''Arts Décoratifs'', and sometimes just called Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture, and product design, that first appeared in France in the 1910s (just before World War I World War I (28 Jul ...
BBC Broadcasting House Broadcasting House is the headquarters of the BBC #REDIRECT BBC Here i going to introduce about the best teacher of my life b BALAJI sir. He is the precious gift that I got befor 2yrs . How has helped and thought all the concept and made my s ...
plus the
Postmodernist Postmodernism is an intellectual stance or Rhetorical modes, mode of discourseNuyen, A.T., 1992. The Role of Rhetorical Devices in Postmodernist Discourse. Philosophy & Rhetoric, pp.183–194. characterized by philosophical skepticism, skepticis ...
British Library The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is one of the List of largest libraries, largest libraries in the world. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million items from many countries. As a legal de ...
in Somers Town/ Kings Cross and
No 1 Poultry No 1 Poultry is a building in the City of London, allocated to office and commercial use. It occupies the apex where the eastern ends of Poultry, London, Poultry and Queen Victoria Street, London, Queen Victoria Street meet at Mansion House Stree ...
by James Stirling. What was formerly the
Millennium Dome The Millennium Dome was the original name of the large dome-shaped building on the Greenwich Peninsula in South East (London sub region), South East London, England, which housed a major exhibition celebrating the beginning of the third millenn ...
, by the Thames to the east of Canary Wharf, is now an entertainment venue called the O2 Arena.


Cityscape


Natural history

The London Natural History Society suggests that London is "one of the World's Greenest Cities" with more than 40 per cent green space or open water. They indicate that 2000 species of flowering plant have been found growing there and that the tidal Thames supports 120 species of fish. They also state that over 60 species of bird nest in
central London Central London is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning several London borough, boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of Central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. ...
and that their members have recorded 47 species of butterfly, 1173 moths and more than 270 kinds of spider around London. London's
wetland A wetland is a distinct ecosystem that is flooded or saturated by water, either permanently (for years or decades) or seasonally (for weeks or months). Flooding results in oxygen-free (Anoxic waters, anoxic) processes prevailing, especially in t ...
areas support nationally important populations of many water birds. London has 38
Sites of Special Scientific Interest A Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in Great Britain or an Area of Special Scientific Interest (ASSI) in the Isle of Man and Northern Ireland is a conservation designation denoting a protected area in the United Kingdom and Isle of ...
(SSSIs), two national nature reserves and 76 local nature reserves.
Amphibians Amphibians are tetrapod, four-limbed and ectothermic vertebrates of the Class (biology), class Amphibia. All living amphibians belong to the group Lissamphibia. They inhabit a wide variety of habitats, with most species living within terres ...
are common in the capital, including smooth newts living by the
Tate Modern Tate Modern is an art gallery located in London. It houses the United Kingdom's national collection of international Modern art, modern and contemporary art, and forms part of the Tate group together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St ...
, and
common frog The common frog or grass frog (''Rana temporaria''), also known as the European common frog, European common brown frog, European grass frog, European Holarctic true frog, European pond frog or European brown frog, is a semi-aquatic amphibian ...
s,
common toad The common toad, European toad, or in Anglophone parts of Europe, simply the toad (''Bufo bufo'', from Latin ''bufo'' "toad"), is a frog found throughout most of Europe (with the exception of Ireland, Iceland, and some List of islands in the Medi ...
s,
palmate newt The palmate newt (''Lissotriton helveticus'') is a species of newt A newt is a salamander in the subfamily Pleurodelinae. The terrestrial juvenile phase is called an eft. Unlike other members of the family Salamandridae, newts are semiaquat ...
s and
great crested newt The northern crested newt, great crested newt or warty newt (''Triturus cristatus'') is a newt species native to Great Britain, northern and central continental Europe and parts of Western Siberia. It is a large newt, with females growing up to ...
s. On the other hand, native reptiles such as slowworms, common lizards,
barred grass snake The barred grass snake (''Natrix helvetica'') is a non-Snake venom, venomous colubrid snake from Western Europe, living in and close to water. It was included within the grass snake species, ''Natrix natrix'', until August 2017, when genetic anal ...
s and adders, are mostly only seen in
Outer London Outer London is the name for the group of London boroughs that form a ring around Inner London. Together, the inner and outer boroughs form London, the capital city of the United Kingdom. These were areas that were not part of the County of Londo ...
. Among other inhabitants of London are 10,000
red fox The red fox (''Vulpes vulpes'') is the largest of the true foxes and one of the most widely distributed members of the Order (biology), order Carnivora, being present across the entire Northern Hemisphere including most of North America, Europe ...
es, so that there are now 16 foxes for every square mile (6 per square kilometre) of London. These urban foxes are noticeably bolder than their country cousins, sharing the pavement with pedestrians and raising cubs in people's backyards. Foxes have even sneaked into the
Houses of Parliament The Palace of Westminster serves as the meeting place for both the House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the ...
, where one was found asleep on a filing cabinet. Another broke into the grounds of
Buckingham Palace Buckingham Palace () is a London royal official residence, residence and the administrative headquarters of the monarch of the United Kingdom. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is often at the centre of state occasions and roya ...
, reportedly killing some of Queen Elizabeth II's prized pink flamingos. Generally, however, foxes and city folk appear to get along. A survey in 2001 by the London-based Mammal Society found that 80 per cent of 3,779 respondents who volunteered to keep a diary of garden mammal visits liked having them around. This sample cannot be taken to represent Londoners as a whole. Other mammals found in
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
are
hedgehog A hedgehog is a spiny mammal of the subfamily Erinaceinae, in the eulipotyphlan family (biology), family Erinaceidae. There are seventeen species of hedgehog in five genus, genera found throughout parts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and in Ne ...
,
brown rat The brown rat (''Rattus norvegicus''), also known as the common rat, street rat, sewer rat, wharf rat, Hanover rat, Norway rat, Norwegian rat and Parisian rat, is a widespread species of common rat. One of the largest Muroidea, muroids, it is a ...
, mice,
rabbit Rabbits, also known as bunnies or bunny rabbits, are small mammals in the family (biology), family Leporidae (which also contains the hares) of the order (biology), order Lagomorpha (which also contains the pikas). ''Oryctolagus cuniculus'' i ...
,
shrew Shrews (Family (biology), family Soricidae) are small Mole (animal), mole-like mammals classified in the Order (biology), order Eulipotyphla. True shrews are not to be confused with treeshrews, otter shrews, elephant shrews, West Indies shrews, ...
,
vole Voles are small rodents that are relatives of lemmings and hamsters, but with a stouter body; a longer, hairy tail; a slightly rounder head; smaller eyes and ears; and differently formed molar (tooth), molars (high-crowned with angular cusps i ...
, and
grey squirrel The eastern gray squirrel (''Sciurus carolinensis''), also known, particularly outside of North America, as simply the grey squirrel, is a tree squirrel in the genus ''Sciurus''. It is native to eastern North America, where it is the most prodi ...
. In wilder areas of Outer London, such as
Epping Forest Epping Forest is a area of ancient woodland, and other established habitats, which straddles the border between Greater London and Essex. The main body of the forest stretches from Epping in the north, to Chingford on the edge of the Lo ...
, a wide variety of mammals are found, including
European hare The European hare (''Lepus europaeus''), also known as the brown hare, is a species of hare native to Europe and parts of Asia. It is among the largest hare species and is adapted to temperate, open country. Hares are herbivorous and feed mainly ...
,
badger Badgers are short-legged omnivores in the family Mustelidae (which also includes the otters, wolverines, martens, minks, polecats, weasels, and ferrets). Badgers are a polyphyletic rather than a natural taxonomic grouping, being united by the ...
, field,
bank A bank is a financial institution that accepts deposits from the public and creates a demand deposit while simultaneously making loans. Lending activities can be directly performed by the bank or indirectly through capital markets. Beca ...
and water vole, wood mouse, yellow-necked mouse, mole, shrew, and
weasel Weasels are mammals of the genus ''Mustela'' of the family (biology), family Mustelidae. The genus ''Mustela'' includes the least weasels, polecats, stoats, ferrets and European mink. Members of this genus are small, active predators, with lon ...
, in addition to red fox, grey squirrel and hedgehog. A dead
otter Otters are carnivorous mammals in the Rank (zoology), subfamily Lutrinae. The 13 extant otter species are all semiaquatic, aquatic animal, aquatic, or Marine ecology, marine, with diets based on fish and invertebrates. Lutrinae is a branch of ...
was found at The Highway, in
Wapping Wapping () is a district in East London in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Wapping's position, on the north bank of the River Thames, has given it a strong maritime character, which it retains through its riverside public houses and steps, ...
, about a mile from the
Tower Bridge Tower Bridge is a Listed building#Grade I, Grade I listed combined Bascule bridge, bascule and Suspended-deck suspension bridge, suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894, designed by Horace Jones (architect), Horace Jones and e ...
, which would suggest that they have begun to move back after being absent a hundred years from the city. Ten of England's eighteen species of bats have been recorded in Epping Forest:
soprano A soprano () is a type of classical female singing voice and has the highest vocal range Vocal range is the range of pitch (music), pitches that a human voice can Phonation, phonate. A common application is within the context of singing, whe ...
, Nathusius' and
common pipistrelle The common pipistrelle (''Pipistrellus pipistrellus'') is a small pipistrellus, pipistrelle microbat whose very large range extends across most of Europe, North Africa, South Asia, and may extend into Korea. It is one of the most common bat speci ...
s,
common noctule The common noctule (''Nyctalus noctula'') is a species of Insectivore, insectivorous bat common throughout Europe, Asia, and North Africa. Description The common noctule's short fur is dark brown after moulting in June (males) or July/August (f ...
, serotine, barbastelle, Daubenton's, brown long-eared, Natterer's and Leisler's. Among the strange sights in London have been a whale in the Thames, while the BBC Two programme ''Natural World: Unnatural History of London'' shows
feral pigeon Feral pigeons (''Columba livia domestica'' or ''Columba livia forma urbana''), also called city doves, city pigeons, or street pigeons,Nagy, Kelsi, and Johnson, Phillip David. ''Trash animals: how we live with natures filthy, feral, invasive, an ...
s using the
London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and He ...
to get around the city, a
seal Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic, mostly marine mammal, mar ...
that takes fish from
fishmonger A fishmonger (historically fishwife for female practitioners) is someone who sells raw fish and seafood. Fishmongers can be wholesalers or retailers and are trained at selecting and purchasing, handling, gutting, boning, fillet (cut), filleting, d ...
s outside
Billingsgate Fish Market Billingsgate Fish Market is located in Canary Wharf in London. It is the United Kingdom's largest inland fish market. It takes its name from Billingsgate, a ward in the south-east corner of the City of London, where the riverside market was origi ...
, and foxes that will "sit" if given sausages. Herds of
red Red is the color at the long wavelength end of the visible spectrum of light, next to orange and opposite violet. It has a dominant wavelength of approximately 625–740 nanometre 330px, Different lengths as in respect to the molecula ...
and
fallow deer ''Dama'' is a genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biological cl ...
also roam freely within much of Richmond and Bushy Park. A cull takes place each November and February to ensure numbers can be sustained. Epping Forest is also known for its
fallow deer ''Dama'' is a genus Genus ( plural genera ) is a taxonomic rank used in the biological classification of extant taxon, living and fossil organisms as well as Virus classification#ICTV classification, viruses. In the hierarchy of biological cl ...
, which can frequently be seen in herds to the north of the Forest. A rare population of
melanistic The term melanism refers to black pigment and is derived from the gr, μελανός. Melanism is the increased development of the dark-colored pigment melanin in the skin or hair. Pseudomelanism, also called abundism, is another variant of pi ...
, black fallow deer is also maintained at the Deer Sanctuary near Theydon Bois.
Muntjac deer Muntjacs ( ), also known as the barking deer or rib-faced deer, (URL is Google Books) are small deer of the genus ''Muntiacus'' native to South Asia and Southeast Asia. Muntjacs are thought to have begun appearing 15–35 million years ago, ...
, which escaped from deer parks at the turn of the 20th century, are also found in the forest. While Londoners are accustomed to wildlife such as birds and foxes sharing the city, more recently urban deer have started becoming a regular feature, and whole herds of fallow deer come into residential areas at night to take advantage of London's green spaces.


Demography

The 2021 census recorded that 3,575,739 people or 40.6% of London's population were foreign-born making it the city with the second largest immigrant population after New York, in terms of absolute numbers. About 69% of children born in London in 2015 had at least one parent who was born abroad. The table to the right shows the commonest countries of birth of London residents. Note that some of the German-born population, in 18th position, are British citizens from birth born to parents serving in the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
in Germany. Increasing industrialisation swelled London's population throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and for some time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries it was the most populous city in the world. It peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939, just before the outbreak of the Second World War, but had declined to 7,192,091 by the 2001 Census. However, the population then grew by just over a million between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, to reach 8,173,941 in the latter. However, London's continuous urban area extends beyond Greater London and numbered 9,787,426 people in 2011, while its wider
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region that consists of a densely populated urban area, urban agglomeration and its surrounding territories sharing Industry (economics), industries, commercial areas, Transport infrastructure, transport net ...
had a population of 12–14 million, depending on the definition used. According to
Eurostat Eurostat ('European Statistical Office'; DG ESTAT) is a Directorate-General of the European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, ...
, London is the second most populous
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region that consists of a densely populated urban area, urban agglomeration and its surrounding territories sharing Industry (economics), industries, commercial areas, Transport infrastructure, transport net ...
in Europe. A net 726,000 immigrants arrived there in the period 1991–2001. The region covers , giving a population density of more than ten times that of any other British region. In population terms, London is the 19th largest city and the 18th largest metropolitan region.


Age structure and median age

Children younger than 14 constituted 20.6% of the population in Outer London in 2018, and 18% in Inner London. The 15–24 age group was 11.1% in Outer and 10.2% in Inner London, those aged 25–44 years 30.6% in Outer London and 39.7% in Inner London, those aged 45–64 years 24% and 20.7% in Outer and Inner London respectively. Those aged 65 and over are 13.6% in Outer London, but only 9.3% in Inner London. The median age of London in 2018 was 36.5, which was younger than the UK median of 40.3.


Ethnic groups

According to the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the UK Parliament. Overview The ONS is responsible for ...
, based on 2011 Census estimates, 59.8 per cent of the 8,173,941 inhabitants of London were
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
, with 44.9%
White British White British is an Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom, ethnicity classification used for the native White people, white population identifying as English people, English, Scottish people, Scottish, Welsh people, Welsh, Cornish p ...
, 2.2%
White Irish } White Irish is an Classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom, ethnicity classification used in the United Kingdom Census 2011, 2011 United Kingdom Census. In the 2011 census, the White Irish population was 1,105,673 or 1.7% of the UK t ...
, 0.1%
gypsy The Romani (also spelled Romany or Rromani , ), colloquially known as the Roma, are an Indo-Aryan peoples, Indo-Aryan ethnic group, traditionally nomadic Itinerant groups in Europe, itinerants. They live in Europe and Anatolia, and have Ro ...
/
Irish traveller Irish Travellers ( ga, an lucht siúil, meaning "the walking people"), also known as Pavees or Mincéirs (Shelta Shelta (; Gaeilge, Irish: ''Seiltis'') is a language spoken by Rilantu Mincéirí (Irish Travellers), particularly in Republ ...
and 12.1% classified as
Other White The term Other White is a classification of ethnicity in the United Kingdom and has been used in documents such as the 2011 UK Census to describe people who self-identify as White people, white (chiefly Ethnic groups in Europe, European) persons ...
."2011 Census: Key Statistics for Local Authorities in England and Wales"
ONS. Retrieved 3 July 2014
Meanwhile 20.9% of Londoners were of Asian and mixed-Asian descent, 19.7% being of full Asian descents and those of mixed-Asian heritage 1.2% of the population.
Indians Indian or Indians may refer to: Peoples South Asia * Indian people Indians or Indian people are the Indian nationality law, citizens and nationals of India. In 2022, the population of India stood at over 1.4 billion people, making it ...
accounted for 6.6%, followed by
Pakistanis Pakistanis ( ur, , translit=Pākistānī Qaum, ) are the citizens and nationals of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. According to the 2017 Pakistani national census, the population of Pakistan stood at over 213 million people, making it the ...
and
Bangladeshis Bangladeshis ( bn, বাংলাদেশী ) are the citizens of Bangladesh Bangladesh (}, ), officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh, is a country in South Asia. It is the List of countries and dependencies by populatio ...
at 2.7% each. Chinese peoples accounted for 1.5% and
Arabs The Arabs (singular: Arab; singular ar, عَرَبِيٌّ, DIN 31635: , , plural ar, عَرَب, DIN 31635: , Arabic pronunciation: ), also known as the Arab people, are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping o ...
for 1.3%. A further 4.9% were classified as "Other Asian". 15.6% of London's population were of
Black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromagnetic radiation), absorption of visible spectrum, visible light. It is an achromatic color, without hue, like white and grey. It is often used symbolically or fi ...
and mixed-Black descent. 13.3% of full Black descent, with mixed-Black heritage comprising 2.3%. Black Africans accounted for 7.0% of London's population, with 4.2% as Black Caribbean and 2.1% as "Other Black". 5.0% were of
mixed race Mixed race people are people of more than one race (human categorization), race or ethnicity. A variety of terms have been used both historically and presently for mixed race people in a variety of contexts, including ''multiethnic'', ''polyeth ...
. The history of African presence in London extends back to the
Roman period The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
. As of 2007, one fifth of primary school across London were from ethnic minorities. Altogether at the 2011 census, of London's 1,624,768 population aged 0 to 15, 46.4% were White, 19.8% Asian, 19% Black, 10.8% Mixed and 4% another ethnic group. In January 2005, a survey of London's ethnic and religious diversity claimed that more than 300 languages were spoken in London and more than 50 non-indigenous communities had populations of more than 10,000. Figures from the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the UK Parliament. Overview The ONS is responsible for ...
show that , London's foreign-born population was 2,650,000 (33%), up from 1,630,000 in 1997. The 2011 census showed that 36.7% of
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
's population were born outside the UK. Some of the German-born population were likely to be British nationals born to parents serving in the
British Armed Forces The British Armed Forces, also known as His Majesty's Armed Forces, are the military, military forces responsible for the defence of the United Kingdom, its British Overseas Territories, Overseas Territories and the Crown Dependencies. They al ...
in Germany. Estimates by the
Office for National Statistics The Office for National Statistics (ONS; cy, Swyddfa Ystadegau Gwladol) is the executive office of the UK Statistics Authority, a non-ministerial department which reports directly to the UK Parliament. Overview The ONS is responsible for ...
indicate that the five largest foreign-born groups living in London in the period July 2009 to June 2010 were born in India, Poland, the Republic of Ireland, Bangladesh and Nigeria. The figure given was the central estimate. See the source for 95%
confidence interval In frequentist statistics, a confidence interval (CI) is a range of estimates for an unknown Statistical parameter, parameter. A confidence interval is computed at a designated ''confidence level''; the 95% confidence level is most common, but ...
s.
In the 2021 census 40.6% of London residents were foreign-born. The ethnic demographics of the 2021 census were reported as 53.8% White, with White British reported at 36.8%, Asian or Asian British at 20.8%, Black or Black British , 13.5%, mixed 5.7% and other at 6.3%.


Religion

According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious groupings were
Christians Christians () are people who follow or adhere to Christianity Christianity is an Abrahamic religions, Abrahamic Monotheism, monotheistic religion based on the Life of Jesus in the New Testament, life and Teachings of Jesus, teachings of ...
(48.4%), followed by those of no religion (20.7%),
Muslims Muslims ( ar, المسلمون, , ) are people who adhere to Islam Islam (; ar, ۘالِإسلَام, , ) is an Abrahamic monotheistic religion centred primarily around the Quran, a religious text considered by Muslims to be the ...
(12.4%), no response (8.5%),
Hindus Hindus (; ) are people who religiously adhere to Hinduism.Jeffery D. Long (2007), A Vision for Hinduism, IB Tauris, , pages 35–37 Historically, the term has also been used as a geographical, cultural, and later religious identifier for ...
(5.0%), Jews (1.8%),
Sikhs Sikhs ( or ; pa, ਸਿੱਖ, ' ) are people who adhere to Sikhism, Sikhism (Sikhi), a Monotheism, monotheistic religion that originated in the late 15th century in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent, based on the revelation of Gu ...
(1.5%),
Buddhists Buddhism ( , ), also known as Buddha Dharma and Dharmavinaya (), is an Indian religions, Indian religion or Indian philosophy#Buddhist philosophy, philosophical tradition based on Pre-sectarian Buddhism, teachings attributed to the Buddha. ...
(1.0%) and other (0.6%). London has traditionally been Christian, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known
St Paul's Cathedral St Paul's Cathedral is an Anglicanism, Anglican cathedral in London and is the seat of the Bishop of London. The cathedral serves as the mother church of the Diocese of London. It is on Ludgate Hill at the highest point of the City of London ...
in the City and
Southwark Cathedral Southwark Cathedral ( ) or The Cathedral and Collegiate Church of St Saviour and St Mary Overie, Southwark, London, lies on the south bank of the River Thames close to London Bridge. It is the mother church of the Anglican Diocese of Southwark. ...
south of the river are
Anglican Anglicanism is a Western Christian tradition that has developed from the practices, liturgy, and identity of the Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, ...
administrative centres, while the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained clergy member who is entrusted with a position of Episcopal polity, authority and oversight in a religious institution. In Christianity, bishops are normally resp ...
, principal bishop of the
Church of England The Church of England (C of E) is the State religion, established List of Christian denominations, Christian church in England and the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church record ...
and worldwide
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion after the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more than 85 million members within the Church of England T ...
, has his main residence at
Lambeth Palace Lambeth Palace is the official London residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is situated in north Lambeth, London, on the south bank of the River Thames, south-east of the Palace of Westminster, which houses Parliament, on the opposite ...
in the
London Borough of Lambeth Lambeth () is a London boroughs, London borough in South London, England, which forms part of Inner London. Its name was recorded in 1062 as ''Lambehitha'' ("landing place for lambs") and in 1255 as ''Lambeth''. The geographical centre of London ...
. Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul's and
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
. The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby
Westminster Cathedral Westminster Cathedral is the mother church of the Catholic Church in England and Wales. It is the largest Catholic Church, Catholic church in the UK and the seat of the Archbishop of Westminster. The site on which the cathedral stands ...
, which is the largest
Roman Catholic Roman or Romans most often refers to: *Rome , established_title = Founded , established_date = 753 BC , founder = King Romulus (Romulus and Remus, legendary) , image_map = Map of comune of Rome (metropolitan c ...
cathedral in
England and Wales England and Wales () is one of the three legal jurisdictions of the United Kingdom. It covers the constituent countries England and Wales and was formed by the Laws in Wales Acts 1535 and 1542. The substantive law of the jurisdiction is Engli ...
. Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, observance is low within the denomination. Church attendance continues a long, steady decline, according to Church of England statistics. Notable mosques include the
East London Mosque The East London Mosque (ELM) is situated in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets between Whitechapel and Aldgate East. Combined with the adjoining London Muslim Centre and Maryam Centre, it is one of the largest mosques in Europe accommodating m ...
in Tower Hamlets, which is allowed to give the Islamic call to prayer through loudspeakers, the London Central Mosque on the edge of
Regent's Park Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It occupies of high ground in north-west Inner London, administratively split between the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, Borough of Camden ...
and the Baitul Futuh of the
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Ahmadiyya (, ), officially the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community or the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (AMJ, ar, الجماعة الإسلامية الأحمدية, al-Jamāʿah al-Islāmīyah al-Aḥmadīyah; ur, , translit=Jamā'at Aḥmadiyyah Musl ...
. After the oil boom, increasing numbers of wealthy
Middle-East The Middle East ( ar, الشرق الأوسط, ISO 233: ) is a geopolitical region commonly encompassing Arabian Peninsula, Arabia (including the Arabian Peninsula and Bahrain), Anatolia, Asia Minor (Asian part of Turkey except Hatay Pro ...
ern Arab Muslims based themselves around
Mayfair Mayfair is an affluent area in the West End of London towards the eastern edge of Hyde Park, in the City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. I ...
, Kensington and
Knightsbridge Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in central London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End. Toponymy Knightsbridge is an ancie ...
in West London. There are large
Bengali Muslim Bengali Muslims ( bn, বাঙালি মুসলমান; ) are adherents of Islam who ethnically, linguistically and genealogically identify as Bengalis. Comprising about two-thirds of the global Bengali population, they are the sec ...
communities in the eastern boroughs of Tower Hamlets and
Newham The London Borough of Newham is a London boroughs, London borough created in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. It covers an area previously administered by the Essex county boroughs of County Borough of West Ham, West Ham and County Bor ...
. Large Hindu communities are found in the north-western boroughs of Harrow and Brent, the latter hosting what was until 2006, Europe's largest
Hindu temple A Hindu temple, or ''mandir'' or ''koil'' in Indian languages, is a house, seat and body of divinity for Hindus. It is a structure designed to bring human beings and Hindu deities, gods together through worship, sacrifice, and devotion.; Q ...
, Neasden Temple. London is also home to 44 Hindu temples, including the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir London. There are Sikh communities in East and West London, particularly in Southall, home to one of the largest Sikh populations and the largest Sikh temple outside India. The majority of
British Jews British Jews (often referred to collectively as British Jewry or Anglo-Jewry) are British people, British citizens who identify as Jews, Jewish. The number of people who identified as Jews in the United Kingdom rose by just under 4% between 2001 ...
live in London, with notable Jewish communities in
Stamford Hill Stamford Hill is an area in Inner London, England, about 5.5 miles north-east of Charing Cross Charing Cross ( ) is a junction in Westminster Westminster is an area of Central London, part of the wider City of Westminster. The area ...
,
Stanmore Stanmore is part of the London Borough of Harrow in London. It is centred northwest of Charing Cross, lies on the outskirts of the London urban area and includes Stanmore Hill, one of the List of highest points in London, highest points of Lond ...
,
Golders Green Golders Green is an area in the London Borough of Barnet in England. A smaller suburban linear settlement, near a farm and public grazing area green of medieval origins, dates to the early 19th century. Its bulk forms a late 19th century and ...
,
Finchley Finchley () is a large district of north London, England, in the London Borough of Barnet. Finchley is on high ground, north of Charing Cross. Nearby districts include: Golders Green, Muswell Hill, Friern Barnet, Whetstone, London, Whetston ...
,
Hampstead Hampstead () is an area in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-ea ...
,
Hendon Hendon is an urban area in the London Borough of Barnet, Borough of Barnet, North-West London northwest of Charing Cross. Hendon was an ancient Manorialism, manor and parish in the county of Middlesex and a former borough, the Municipal Borough ...
and
Edgware Edgware () is a suburban town in northern Greater London, mostly in the London Borough of Barnet but with small parts falling in the London Borough of Harrow and in the London Borough of Brent. Edgware is centred north-northwest of Charing Cros ...
in
North London North London is the northern part of London, England, north of the River Thames. It extends from Clerkenwell and Finsbury, on the edge of the City of London financial district, to Greater London, Greater London's boundary with Hertfordshire. T ...
. Bevis Marks Synagogue in the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
is affiliated to London's historic
Sephardic Sephardic (or Sephardi) Jews (, ; lad, Djudíos Sefardíes), also ''Sepharadim'' , Modern Hebrew: ''Sfaradim'', Tiberian: Səp̄āraddîm, also , ''Ye'hude Sepharad'', lit. "The Jews of Spain", es, Judíos sefardíes (or ), pt, Judeus sefa ...
Jewish community. It is the only synagogue in Europe to have held regular services continually for over 300 years. Stanmore and Canons Park Synagogue has the largest membership of any Orthodox synagogue in Europe, overtaking Ilford synagogue (also in London) in 1998. The London Jewish Forum was set up in 2006 in response to the growing significance of devolved London Government.


Accents

Cockney Cockney is an accent and dialect of English, mainly spoken in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It s ...
is an accent heard across London, mainly spoken by
working-class The working class (or labouring class) comprises those engaged in manual labour, manual-labour occupations or industrial work, who are remunerated via wage, waged or salary, salaried contracts. Working-class occupations (see also "Designation ...
and lower-middle class Londoners. It is mainly attributed to the East End and wider East London, having originated there in the 18th century, although it has been suggested that the Cockney style of speech is much older. Some features of Cockney include, ''Th''-fronting (pronouncing "th" as "f"), example, "some fings in life are bad" (heard in opening of " Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" in
Monty Python Monty Python (also collectively known as the Pythons) were a British comedy troupe who created the sketch comedy television show ''Monty Python's Flying Circus'', which first aired on the BBC in 1969. Forty-five episodes were made over four ...
's ''
Life of Brian ''Monty Python's Life of Brian'' (also known as ''Life of Brian'') is a 1979 British comedy film starring and written by the comedy group Monty Python (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones and Michael Palin). It wa ...
''), "th" inside a word is pronounced with a "v" (brother becomes bruvva), ''H''-dropping, example 'Ampshire for Hampshire (as
Eliza Doolittle Eliza Doolittle is a fictional character and the protagonist in George Bernard Shaw George Bernard Shaw (26 July 1856 – 2 November 1950), known at his insistence simply as Bernard Shaw, was an Irish playwright, critic, polemicist and ...
said in ''My Fair Lady''), and, like most English accents, a Cockney accent drops the "r" after a vowel, for example, "car" is pronounced "cah". John Camden Hotten, in his ''Slang Dictionary'' of 1859, makes reference to Cockney "use of a peculiar slang language" (
Cockney rhyming slang Rhyming slang is a form of slang word construction in the English language. It is especially prevalent among Cockneys in England, and was first used in the early 19th century in the East End of London; hence its alternative name, Cockney rhymin ...
) when describing the
costermonger A costermonger, coster, or costard is a street seller of fruit and vegetables in British towns. The term is derived from the words ''Costard (apple), costard'' (a medieval variety of apple) and ''monger'' (seller), and later came to be used to des ...
s of the East End. Examples include: using the word "treacle" to mean sweetheart (rhymes with Treacle tart), and "porkies" to mean lies (rhymes with Pork pies). Since the start of the 21st century the Cockney dialect is less common in parts of the East End itself, with modern strongholds including other parts of London and suburbs in the home counties. Estuary English is an intermediate accent between Cockney and Received Pronunciation. It is widely spoken by people of all classes in London and south-eastern England, associated with the River Thames and its estuary. Multicultural London English (MLE) is a multiethnolect becoming increasingly common in multicultural areas amongst young, working-class people from diverse backgrounds. It is a fusion of an array of ethnic accents, in particular Afro-Caribbean and South Asian, with a significant Cockney influence. Received Pronunciation (RP) is the accent traditionally regarded as the standard for British English. It has no specific geographical correlate, although it is also traditionally defined as the standard speech used in London and south-eastern England. It is mainly spoken by Upper class, upper-class and Upper middle class, upper-middle class Londoners.


Economy

London's gross regional product in 2019 was £503 billion, around a quarter of Economy of the United Kingdom, UK GDP. London has five major business districts: the city, Westminster, Canary Wharf, Camden & Islington and Lambeth & Southwark. One way to get an idea of their relative importance is to look at relative amounts of office space: Greater London had 27 million m2 of office space in 2001, and the City contains the most space, with 8 million m2 of office space. London has some of the highest real estate prices in the world. London is the world's most expensive office market according to world property journal (2015) report. the residential property in London is worth $2.2 trillion – the same value as that of Brazil's annual GDP. The city has the highest property prices of any European city according to the Office for National Statistics and the European Office of Statistics. On average the price per square metre in central London is €24,252 (April 2014). This is higher than the property prices in other G8 European capital cities; Berlin €3,306, Rome €6,188 and Paris €11,229.


The City of London

London's finance industry is based in the
City of London The City of London is a City status in the United Kingdom, city, Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county and local government district that contains the historic centre and constitutes, alongside Canary Wharf, the primary central bu ...
and
Canary Wharf Canary Wharf is an area of London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-eas ...
, the two major Central business district, business districts in London. London is one of the pre-eminent
financial centre A financial centre (British English, BE), financial center (American English, AE), or financial hub, is a location with a concentration of Global financial system#Participants, participants in banking, asset management, insurance or financial ...
s of the world as the most important location for international finance. London took over as a major financial centre shortly after 1795 when the Dutch Republic collapsed before the Napoleonic armies. For many bankers established in Amsterdam (e.g. Hope, Baring), this was only time to move to London. Also, London's market-centred system (as opposed to the bank-centred one in Amsterdam) grew more dominant in the 18th century. The London financial elite was strengthened by a strong Jewish community from all over Europe capable of mastering the most sophisticated financial tools of the time. This unique concentration of talents accelerated the transition from the Commercial Revolution to the Industrial Revolution. Writing about capitalism and the utility of diversity in his book on English society, French philosopher Voltaire expounded upon why England at that time was more prosperous in comparison to the country's less religiously tolerant European neighbours: By the mid-19th century, London was the leading financial centre, and at the end of the century over half the world's trade was financed in British currency. Still, London tops the world rankings on the Global Financial Centres Index (GFCI), and it ranked second in A.T. Kearney's 2018 Global Cities Index. London's largest industry is finance, and its financial exports make it a large contributor to the UK's balance of payments. Around 325,000 people were employed in financial services in London until mid-2007. London has over 480 overseas banks, more than any other city in the world. It is also the world's biggest currency trading centre, accounting for some 37 per cent of the $5.1 trillion average daily volume, according to the BIS. Over 85 per cent (3.2 million) of the employed population of greater London works in the services industries. Because of its prominent global role, London's economy had been affected by the financial crisis of 2007–2008. However, by 2010 the city had recovered, put in place new regulatory powers, proceeded to regain lost ground and re-established London's economic dominance. Along with professional services headquarters, the City of London is home to the
Bank of England The Bank of England is the central bank of the United Kingdom and the model on which most modern central banks have been based. Established in 1694 to act as the Kingdom of England, English Government's banker, and still one of the bankers fo ...
, London Stock Exchange, and Lloyd's of London insurance market. Over half the UK's top 100 listed companies (the FTSE 100) and over 100 of Europe's 500 largest companies have their headquarters in central London. Over 70 per cent of the FTSE 100 are within London's metropolitan area, and 75 per cent of Fortune 500 companies have offices in London. In a 1992 report commissioned by the London Stock Exchange, Sir Adrian Cadbury, chairman of his family's confectionery company Cadbury, produced the Cadbury Report, a code of best practice which served as a basis for reform of corporate governance around the world.


Media and technology

Media companies are Media in London, concentrated in London, and the media distribution industry is London's second most competitive sector. The BBC is a significant employer, while other broadcasters also have headquarters around the city. Many List of newspapers in the United Kingdom, national newspapers are edited in London; the term
Fleet Street Fleet Street is a major street mostly in the City of London. It runs west to east from Temple Bar, London, Temple Bar at the boundary with the City of Westminster to Ludgate Circus at the site of the London Wall and the River Fleet from which ...
(where most national newspapers operated) remains a metonym for the British national press. London is a major retail centre and in 2010 had the highest non-food retail sales of any city in the world, with a total spend of around £64.2 billion. The
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban are ...
is the second largest in the UK, handling 45 million tonnes of cargo each year. A growing number of technology companies are based in London, notably in East London Tech City, also known as Silicon Roundabout. In 2014 the city was among the first to receive a geoTLD. In February 2014 London was ranked as the European City of the Future in the 2014/15 list by ''fDi Intelligence''. Computer science pioneer Alan Turing hails from Maida Vale, west London. A museum in Bletchley Park, where Turing was based during World War II, is in Bletchley, north of central London, as is The National Museum of Computing. The gas and electricity distribution networks that manage and operate the towers, cables and pressure systems that deliver energy to consumers across the city are managed by National Grid plc, SGN (company), SGN and UK Power Networks.


Tourism

London is one of the leading tourist destinations in the world and in 2015 was ranked as the most visited city in the world with over 65 million visits. It is also the top city in the world by visitor cross-border spending, estimated at US$20.23 billion in 2015. Tourism is one of London's prime industries, employing 700,000 full-time workers in 2016, and contributes £36 billion a year to the economy. The city accounts for 54% of all inbound visitor spending in the UK. London was the world top city destination as ranked by TripAdvisor users. In 2015 the top most-visited attractions in the UK were all in London. The top 10 most visited attractions were: (with visits per venue) #
British Museum The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the list of largest art museums, largest and most comprehens ...
: 6,820,686 #
National Gallery The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London, England. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The current Director of ...
: 5,908,254 #
Natural History Museum A natural history museum or museum of natural history is a scientific institution with natural history scientific collection, collections that include current and historical records of animals, plants, Fungus, fungi, ecosystems, geology, paleon ...
(South Kensington): 5,284,023 #Southbank Centre: 5,102,883 #
Tate Modern Tate Modern is an art gallery located in London. It houses the United Kingdom's national collection of international Modern art, modern and contemporary art, and forms part of the Tate group together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St ...
: 4,712,581 #Victoria and Albert Museum (South Kensington): 3,432,325 #Science Museum, London, Science Museum: 3,356,212 #Somerset House: 3,235,104 #
Tower of London The Tower of London, officially His Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress of the Tower of London, is a historic castle on the north bank of the River Thames in central London. It lies within the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, which is separa ...
: 2,785,249 #National Portrait Gallery, London, National Portrait Gallery: 2,145,486 The number of hotel rooms in London in 2015 stood at 138,769, and is expected to grow over the years.


Transport

Transport is one of the four main areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London, but the mayor's financial control does not extend to the longer-distance rail network that enters London. In 2007 the Mayor of London assumed responsibility for some local lines, which now form the London Overground network, adding to the existing responsibility for the London Underground, trams and buses. The public transport network is administered by Transport for London (TfL). The lines that formed the London Underground, as well as trams and buses, became part of an integrated transport system in 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board or ''London Transport (brand), London Transport'' was created. Transport for London is now the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, and is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the
Mayor of London The mayor of London is the chief executive of the Greater London Authority. The role was created in 2000 after the 1998 Greater London Authority referendum, Greater London devolution referendum in 1998, and was the first Directly elected may ...
.


Aviation

London is a major international air transport hub with the World's busiest city airport systems by passenger traffic, busiest city airspace in the world. Eight airports use the word ''London'' in their name, but most traffic passes through six of these. Additionally, Airports of London, various other airports also serve London, catering primarily to general aviation flights. *Heathrow Airport, in London Borough of Hillingdon, Hillingdon, West London, was for many years the World's busiest airport, busiest airport in the world for international traffic, and is the major hub of the nation's flag carrier, British Airways. In March 2008 its fifth terminal was opened. In 2014, Dubai International Airport, Dubai gained from Heathrow the leading position in terms of international passenger traffic. *Gatwick Airport, south of London in West Sussex, handles flights to more destinations than any other UK airport and is the main base of easyJet, the UK's largest airline by number of passengers. *Stansted Airport, north-east of London in
Essex Essex () is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the East of England. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, the North Sea to the east, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the Riv ...
, has flights that serve the greatest number of European destinations of any UK airport and is the main base of Ryanair, the world's largest international airline by number of international passengers. *Luton Airport, to the north of London in Bedfordshire, is used by several budget airlines (especially easyJet and Wizz Air) for short-haul flights. *London City Airport, the most central airport and the one with the shortest runway, in
Newham The London Borough of Newham is a London boroughs, London borough created in 1965 by the London Government Act 1963. It covers an area previously administered by the Essex county boroughs of County Borough of West Ham, West Ham and County Bor ...
, East London, is focused on business travellers, with a mixture of full-service short-haul scheduled flights and considerable business jet traffic. *Southend Airport, east of London in
Essex Essex () is a Ceremonial counties of England, county in the East of England. One of the home counties, it borders Suffolk and Cambridgeshire to the north, the North Sea to the east, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent across the estuary of the Riv ...
, is a smaller, regional airport that caters for short-haul flights on a limited, though growing, number of airlines. In 2017, international passengers made up over 95% of the total at Southend, the highest proportion of any London airport.


Rail


Underground and DLR

The
London Underground The London Underground (also known simply as the Underground or by its nickname the Tube) is a rapid transit system serving Greater London and some parts of the adjacent ceremonial counties of England, counties of Buckinghamshire, Essex and He ...
, commonly referred to as the Tube or just the Underground, is the oldest and third longest rapid transit, metro system in the world. The system serves List of London Underground stations, 272 stations. and was formed from several private companies, including the world's first underground electric line, the City and South London Railway. It dates from 1863. Over four million journeys are made every day on the Underground network, over 1 billion each year. An investment programme is attempting to reduce congestion and improve reliability, including £6.5 billion (€7.7 billion) spent before the
2012 Summer Olympics The 2012 Summer Olympics (officially the Games of the XXX Olympiad and also known as London 2012) was an international multi-sport event held from 27 July to 12 August 2012 in London, England, United Kingdom. The first event, the ...
. The Docklands Light Railway, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which opened in 1987, is a second, more medium-capacity rail transport system, local metro system using smaller and lighter tram-type vehicles that serve the Docklands,
Greenwich Greenwich ( , ,) is a town in south-east London, England, within the Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county of Greater London. It is situated east-southeast of Charing Cross. Greenwich is notable for its maritime history and for ...
and Lewisham.


Suburban

There are List of London railway stations, 368 railway stations in the London fare zones, London Travelcard Zones on an extensive above-ground suburban railway network. South London, particularly, has a high concentration of railways as it has fewer Underground lines. Most rail lines terminate around the centre of London, running into London station group, eighteen terminal stations, with the exception of the Thameslink (route), Thameslink trains connecting Bedford in the north and Brighton in the south via London Luton Airport, Luton and Gatwick Airport, Gatwick airports. London has Britain's busiest station by number of passengers—London Waterloo station, Waterloo, with over 184 million people using the interchange station complex (which includes London Waterloo East railway station, Waterloo East station) each year. is the busiest station in Europe by the number of trains passing. With the need for more rail capacity in London, the Elizabeth line, Elizabeth Line (also known as Crossrail) opened in May 2022. It is a new railway line running east to west through London and into the Home Counties with a branch to Heathrow Airport. It was Europe's biggest construction project, with a £15 billion projected cost.


Inter-city and international

London is the centre of the
National Rail National Rail (NR) is the trading name licensed for use by the Rail Delivery Group The Rail Delivery Group (RDG), previously the Association of Train Operating Companies, is the Rail transport in Great Britain, British rail industry me ...
network, with 70 per cent of rail journeys starting or ending in London. London King's Cross railway station, King's Cross station and Euston railway station, Euston station, which are both in London, are the starting points of the East Coast Main Line and the West Coast Main Line – the two main railway lines in Britain. Like suburban rail services, regional and inter-city trains depart from several termini around the city centre, directly linking London with most of Great Britain's major cities and towns. Some international railway services to Continental Europe were operated during the 20th century as boat trains, such as the ''Admiraal de Ruijter (train), Admiraal de Ruijter'' to Amsterdam and the ''Night Ferry'' to Paris and Brussels. The opening of the Channel Tunnel in 1994 connected London directly to the continental rail network, allowing Eurostar services to begin. Since 2007, high-speed trains link St Pancras railway station, St. Pancras International with Lille, Calais, Paris, Disneyland Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam and other European tourist destinations via the High Speed 1 rail link and the Channel Tunnel. The first Southeastern (train operating company), high-speed domestic trains started in June 2009 linking
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River ...
to London. There are plans for a High Speed 2, second high speed line linking London to the Midlands, North West England, and Yorkshire.


Freight

Although rail freight levels are far down compared to their height, significant quantities of cargo are also carried into and out of London by rail; chiefly building materials and landfill waste. As a major hub of the British railway network, London's tracks also carry large amounts of freight for the other regions, such as containerisation, container freight from the Channel Tunnel and
English Channel The English Channel, "The Sleeve"; nrf, la Maunche, "The Sleeve" ( Cotentinais) or ( Jèrriais), ( Guernésiais), "The Channel"; br, Mor Breizh, "Sea of Brittany"; cy, Môr Udd, "Lord's Sea"; kw, Mor Bretannek, "British Sea"; nl, Het Ka ...
ports, and nuclear waste for nuclear reprocessing, reprocessing at Sellafield.August 2007
Rail Freight Strategy
London Rail


Buses, coaches and trams

London's London Buses, bus network runs 24 hours a day with about 9,300 vehicles, over 675 bus routes and about 19,000 bus stops. In 2019 the network had over 2 billion commuter trips per year. Since 2010 an average of £1.2 billion is taken in revenue each year. London has one of the largest wheelchair-accessible networks in the world and from the third quarter of 2007, became more accessible to hearing and visually impaired passengers as audio-visual announcements were introduced. London's coach hub is Victoria Coach Station, an
Art Deco Art Deco, short for the French ''Arts Décoratifs'', and sometimes just called Deco, is a style of visual arts, architecture, and product design, that first appeared in France in the 1910s (just before World War I World War I (28 Jul ...
building opened in 1932. The coach station was initially run by a group of coach companies under the name of London Coastal Coaches; however, in 1970 the service and station were included in the nationalisation of the country's coach services, becoming part of the National Bus Company. In 1988, the coach station was purchased by London Transport which then became Transport for London. Victoria Coach Station has over 14 million passengers a year and provides services across the UK and continental Europe. London has a modern tram network, known as
Tramlink London Trams, previously Tramlink and Croydon Tramlink, is a light rail tram system serving Croydon and surrounding areas in South London, England. It began operation in 2000, the first tram system in the London region since 1952. It is managed ...
, centred on Croydon in
South London South London is the southern part of London, England, south of the River Thames. The region consists of the Districts of England, boroughs, in whole or in part, of London Borough of Bexley, Bexley, London Borough of Bromley, Bromley, London Borou ...
. The network has 39 stops and four routes, and carried 28 million people in 2013. Since June 2008, Transport for London has completely owned and operated Tramlink.


Cable car

London's first and to date only cable car is the London Cable Car, which opened in June 2012. The cable car crosses the Thames and links Greenwich Peninsula with the Royal Docks in the east of the city. It is integrated with London's Oyster Card ticketing system, although the Emirates Air Line fares are not included in the Oyster daily capping. It cost £60 million to build and can carry up to 2,500 passengers per hour in each direction at peak times. Similar to the London Cycle Hire Scheme bike hire scheme, the cable car was sponsored in a 10-year deal by the airline Emirates (airline), Emirates.


Cycling

In the Greater London Area, around 670,000 people use a bike every day, meaning around 7% of the total population of around 8.8 million use a bike on an average day. This relatively low percentage of bicycle users may be due to the poor investments for cycling in London of about £110 million per year, equating to around £12 per person, which can be compared to £22 in the Netherlands. Cycling has become an increasingly popular way to get around London. The launch of a Bicycle-sharing system, bicycle hire scheme in July 2010 was successful and generally well received.


Port and river boats

The
Port of London The Port of London is that part of the River Thames The River Thames ( ), known alternatively in parts as the River Isis, is a river that flows through southern England including London London is the capital and List of urban are ...
, once the largest in the world, is now only the second-largest in the United Kingdom, handling 45 million tonnes of cargo each year as of 2009. Most of this cargo passes through the Port of Tilbury, outside the boundary of Greater London. London has river boat services on the Thames known as Thames Clippers, which offer both commuter and tourist boat services. At major piers including Canary Wharf Pier, Canary Wharf, London Bridge City Pier, London Bridge City, Battersea Power Station and London Eye Pier, London Eye (Waterloo), services depart at least every 20 minutes during commuter times. The Woolwich Ferry, with 2.5 million passengers every year, is a frequent service linking the North Circular Road, London, North and South Circular Road, London, South Circular Roads.


Roads

Although the majority of journeys in central London are made by public transport, car travel is common in the suburbs. The London Inner Ring Road, inner ring road (around the city centre), the A406 road, North and A205 road, South Circular roads (just within the suburbs), and the outer orbital motorway (the M25 motorway, M25, just outside the built-up area in most places) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routes—but very few motorways penetrate into
inner London Inner London is the name for the group of London boroughs which form the interior part of Greater London and are surrounded by Outer London. With its origins in the bills of mortality, it became fixed as an area for statistics in 1847 and was used ...
. A plan for a comprehensive network of motorways throughout the city (the London Ringways, Ringways Plan) was prepared in the 1960s but was mostly cancelled in the early 1970s. The M25 is the second-longest ring-road motorway in Europe at long. The A1 road (Great Britain), A1 and M1 motorway, M1 connect London to Leeds, and Newcastle upon Tyne, Newcastle and Edinburgh. The Austin Motor Company began making hackney carriages (London taxis) in 1929, and models include Austin FX3 from 1948, Austin FX4 from 1958, with more recent models TXII and TX4 manufactured by London Taxis International. The BBC states, "ubiquitous black cabs and red double-decker buses all have long and tangled stories that are deeply embedded in London’s traditions". London is notorious for its traffic congestion; in 2009, the average speed of a car in the rush hour was recorded at . In 2003, a London congestion charge, congestion charge was introduced to reduce traffic volumes in the city centre. With a few exceptions, motorists are required to pay to drive within a defined zone encompassing much of central London. Motorists who are residents of the defined zone can buy a greatly reduced season pass. The London government initially expected the Congestion Charge Zone to increase daily peak period Underground and bus users, reduce road traffic, increase traffic speeds, and reduce queues; however, the increase in private for hire vehicles has affected these expectations. Over the course of several years, the average number of cars entering the centre of London on a weekday was reduced from 195,000 to 125,000 cars – a 35-per-cent reduction of vehicles driven per day.


Education


Tertiary education

London is a major global centre of higher education teaching and research and has the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. According to the QS World University Rankings 2015/16, London has the greatest concentration of top class universities in the world and its international student population of around 110,000 is larger than any other city in the world. A 2014 PricewaterhouseCoopers report termed London the global capital of higher education. A number of world-leading education institutions are based in London. In the 2022 ''QS World University Rankings'',
Imperial College London Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unite ...
is ranked No. 6 in the world,
University College London University College London, which Trade name, operates as UCL, is a Public university, public research university in London, United Kingdom. It is a Member institutions of the University of London, member institution of the Federal university, fe ...
(UCL) is ranked 8th, and King's College London (KCL) is ranked 37th. All are regularly ranked highly, with Imperial College being the UK's leading university in the Research Excellence Framework ranking 2021. The
London School of Economics The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is a public university, public research university located in London, England and a constituent college of the federal University of London. Founded in 1895 by Fabian Society members Sidn ...
has been described as the world's leading social science institution for both teaching and research. The London Business School is considered one of the world's leading business schools and in 2015 its MBA programme was ranked second-best in the world by the ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
''. The city is also home to three of the world's top ten performing arts schools (as ranked by the 2020 QS World University Rankings): the Royal College of Music (ranking 2nd in the world), the Royal Academy of Music (ranking 4th) and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama (ranking 6th). With students in LondonCombined total from Included institutions are Birkbeck, University of London, Birkbeck, Royal Central School of Speech and Drama, City, University of London, Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, Goldsmiths, Institute of Cancer Research, King's College London, King's College, London Business School, London School of Economics, LSE, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, LSHTM, Queen Mary, University of London, Queen Mary, Royal Academy of Music, Royal Holloway, University of London, Royal Holloway, Royal Veterinary College, SOAS, University of London, SOAS, St George's, University of London, St George's, University College London, UCL and the #Listed bodies, central institutes & activities. and around 48,000 in University of London Worldwide, the federal University of London is the largest contact teaching university in the UK. It includes five multi-faculty universities – City, University of London, City, King's College London, Queen Mary, University of London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway and UCL – and a number of smaller and more specialised institutions including Birkbeck College, Birkbeck, the Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, University of London, Goldsmiths, the London Business School, the London School of Economics, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Royal Academy of Music, the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Veterinary College and the School of Oriental and African Studies. Members of the University of London have their own University and college admission, admissions procedures, and most award their own degrees. A number of universities in London are outside the University of London system, including Brunel University,
Imperial College London Imperial College London (legally Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine) is a public research university in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the Unite ...
, Kingston University, London Metropolitan University, University of East London, University of West London, University of Westminster, London South Bank University, Middlesex University, and University of the Arts London (the largest university of art, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts in Europe). In addition, there are three international universities in London – Regent's College, Regent's University London, Richmond, The American International University in London and Schiller International University. London is home to United Hospitals, five major medical schools – Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (part of Queen Mary, University of London, Queen Mary), King's College London School of Medicine (the largest medical school in Europe), Imperial College School of Medicine, UCL Medical School and St George's, University of London – and has many affiliated teaching hospitals. It is also a major centre for biomedical research, and three of the UK's eight academic health science centres are based in the city – Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Imperial College Healthcare, King's Health Partners and UCL Partners (the largest such centre in Europe). Additionally, many biomedical and biotechnology spin out companies from these research institutions are based around the city, most prominently in White City, London, White City. Founded by pioneering nurse Florence Nightingale at St Thomas' Hospital in 1860, the Florence Nightingale Faculty of Nursing and Midwifery, first nursing school is now part of King's College London. There are a number of business schools in London, including the London School of Business and Finance, Cass Business School (part of City University London), Hult International Business School, ESCP Europe, European Business School London, Imperial College Business School, the London Business School and the UCL School of Management. London is also home to many specialist arts education institutions, including the Central School of Ballet, London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA; president Benedict Cumberbatch), London College of Contemporary Arts (LCCA), London Contemporary Dance School, The Circus Space, National Centre for Circus Arts, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA; president Sir Kenneth Branagh), Rambert Dance Company, Rambert School of Ballet and Contemporary Dance, the Royal College of Art, Sylvia Young Theatre School and Trinity Laban. The BRIT School in the London borough of Croydon provides training for the performing arts and the technologies that make performance possible, with actor Tom Holland among their alumni.


Primary and secondary education

The majority of primary and secondary schools and further-education colleges in London are controlled by the London boroughs or otherwise state-funded; leading examples include Ashbourne College, Bethnal Green Academy, Brampton Manor Academy, City and Islington College, City of Westminster College, David Game College, Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College, Leyton Sixth Form College, London Academy of Excellence, Tower Hamlets College, and Newham Collegiate Sixth Form Centre. There are also a number of private schools and colleges in London, some old and famous, such as City of London School, Harrow School, Harrow, St Paul's School (London), St Paul's School, Haberdashers' Aske's Boys' School, University College School, The John Lyon School, Highgate School and Westminster School.


Societies

Important scientific learned societies based in London include the Royal Society—the UK's national academy of sciences and the oldest national scientific institution in the world—founded in 1660, and the Royal Institution, founded in 1799; the basement of the latter is where Michael Faraday first demonstrated Electric motor, electric motion in 1821. Since 1825, the Royal Institution Christmas Lectures have presented scientific subjects to a general audience, and speakers have included aerospace engineer Frank Whittle, naturalist David Attenborough and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins.


Culture


Leisure and entertainment

Leisure is a major part of the London economy. A 2003 report attributed a quarter of the entire UK leisure economy to London at 25.6 events per 1000 people. The city is one of the four fashion capitals of the world, and, according to official statistics, is the world's third-busiest film production centre, presents more live comedy than any other city, and has the biggest theatre audience of any city in the world. Within the
City of Westminster The City of Westminster is a City status in the United Kingdom, city and London boroughs, borough in Inner London. It is the site of the United Kingdom's Houses of Parliament and much of the British government. It occupies a large area of cent ...
in London, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London's West End theatre, theatre district is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs, and restaurants, including the city's Chinatown, London, Chinatown district (in Soho), and just to the east is Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops. The city is the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose musicals have dominated West End theatre since the late 20th century. Agatha Christie's ''The Mousetrap'', the world's longest-running play, has been performed in the West End since 1952. The Laurence Olivier Awards–named after Laurence Olivier–are given annually by the Society of London Theatre. The Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Opera, London, Royal Opera, and English National Opera are based in London and perform at the Royal Opera House, the London Coliseum, Sadler's Wells Theatre, and the
Royal Albert Hall The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. One of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings, it is held in trust for the nation and managed by a registered charity which receives no governm ...
, as well as touring the country. Islington's long Upper Street, extending northwards from Angel, London, Angel, has more bars and restaurants than any other street in the UK. Europe's busiest shopping area is Oxford Street, a shopping street nearly long, making it the longest shopping street in the UK. It is home to vast numbers of retailers and department stores, including Selfridges Flagship store#Retailing, flagship store.
Knightsbridge Knightsbridge is a residential and retail district in central London, south of Hyde Park. It is identified in the London Plan as one of two international retail centres in London, alongside the West End. Toponymy Knightsbridge is an ancie ...
, home to the equally renowned Harrods department store, lies to the south-west. Opened in 1760 with its flagship store on Regent Street since 1881, Hamleys is the oldest toy store in the world. Madame Tussauds wax museum opened in Baker Street in 1835. London is home to designers Vivienne Westwood, John Galliano, Galliano, Stella McCartney, Manolo Blahnik, and Jimmy Choo, among others; its renowned art and fashion schools make it one of the four international centres of fashion. Mary Quant designed the miniskirt in her
King's Road King's Road or Kings Road (or sometimes the King's Road, especially when it was the king's private road until 1830, or as a colloquialism by middle/upper class London residents), is a major street stretching through Chelsea, London, Chelsea ...
boutique in Swinging Sixties, Swinging Sixties London. London offers a great variety of cuisine as a result of its ethnically diverse population. Gastronomic centres include the Bangladeshi restaurants of Brick Lane and the Chinese food, Chinese restaurants of Chinatown, London, Chinatown. There are Chinese takeaways throughout London, as are Indian restaurants which provide English cuisine#Indian and Anglo-Indian_cuisine, Indian and Anglo-Indian cuisine. Around 1860, the first fish and chips shop in London was opened by Joseph Malin, a Jewish immigrant, in Bow, London, Bow. The full English breakfast dates from the Victorian era, and many Cafe (British), cafe's in London serve a full English throughout the day. London has five 3-Michelin star restaurants, including Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea. Many hotels in London provide a traditional afternoon tea service, such as the Hotel Café Royal#Restoration and conversion, Oscar Wilde Lounge at the Hotel Café Royal in Piccadilly, and a themed tea service is also available, for example an ''Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, Alice in Wonderland'' themed afternoon tea served at the Egerton House Hotel, and ''Charlie and the Chocolate Factory'' themed afternoon tea at One Aldwych in Covent Garden. The nation's most popular biscuit to Dunking (biscuit), dunk in tea, chocolate digestives have been manufactured by McVitie's at their Harlesden factory in north-west London since 1925. There is a variety of List of annual events in London, annual events, beginning with the relatively new New Year's Day Parade, a fireworks display at the
London Eye The London Eye, or the Millennium Wheel, is a cantilevered observation wheel on the South Bank of the River Thames in London. It is Europe's tallest cantilevered observation wheel, and is the most popular paid Tourist attractions in the United ...
; the world's second largest street party, the Notting Hill Carnival, is held on the late August Bank Holiday each year. Traditional parades include November's Lord Mayor's Show, a centuries-old event celebrating the annual appointment of a new Lord Mayor of the City of London with a procession along the streets of the city, and June's Trooping the Colour, a formal military pageant performed by regiments of the
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is share ...
and British Army, British armies to celebrate the Queen's Official Birthday. The Boishakhi Mela is a Bengali New Year festival celebrated by the British Bangladeshi community. It is the largest open-air Asian festival in Europe. After the Notting Hill Carnival, it is the second-largest street festival in the United Kingdom attracting over 80,000 visitors from across the country. First held in 1862, the Chelsea Flower Show, RHS Chelsea Flower Show (run by the Royal Horticultural Society) takes place over five days in May every year.


LGBT scene

The first gay bar in London in the modern sense was The Cave of the Golden Calf, established as a night club in an underground location at 9 Heddon Street, just off Regent Street, in 1912 and became a haunt for the wealthy, aristocratic and bohemian. While London has been an LGBT tourism destination, after Sexual Offences Act 1967, homosexuality was decriminalized in England in 1967 gay bar culture became more visible, and from the early 1970s Soho (and in particular Old Compton Street) became the centre of the LGBT culture in London, London LGBT community. G-A-Y, previously based at the London Astoria, Astoria, and now Heaven (nightclub), Heaven, is a long-running night club. Wider British cultural movements have also influenced LGBT culture: for example, the emergence of glam rock in the UK in the early 1970s, via Marc Bolan and David Bowie, saw a generation of teenagers begin playing with the idea of androgyny, and the West End musical ''The Rocky Horror Show'', which debuted in London in 1973, is also widely said to have been an influence on countercultural and sexual liberation movements. The Blitz Kids (which included Boy George) frequented the Tuesday club-night at Blitz in Covent Garden, helping launch the New Romantic subcultural movement in the late 1970s. Today, the annual Pride in London, London Pride Parade and the London Lesbian and Gay Film Festival are held in the city.Olson, Donald. ''London for Dummies'' (Volume 136 of Dummies Travel). John Wiley & Sons, 2 February 2010. 6th Edition. , 9780470619650. p
67


Literature, film and television

London has been the setting for many works of literature. The pilgrims in Geoffrey Chaucer's late 14th-century ''The Canterbury Tales, Canterbury Tales'' set out for Canterbury from London—specifically, from the The Tabard, Tabard inn,
Southwark Southwark ( ) is a district of Central London situated on the south bank of the River Thames, forming the north-western part of the wider modern London Borough of Southwark. The district, which is the oldest part of South London, developed d ...
.
William Shakespeare William Shakespeare ( 26 April 1564 – 23 April 1616) was an English playwright, poet and actor. He is widely regarded as the greatest writer in the English language and the world's pre-eminent dramatist. He is often called England's nation ...
spent a large part of his life living and working in London; his contemporary Ben Jonson was also based there, and some of his work, most notably his play ''The Alchemist (play), The Alchemist'', was set in the city. ''A Journal of the Plague Year'' (1722) by Daniel Defoe is a fictionalisation of the events of the 1665 Great Plague. The literary centres of London have traditionally been hilly
Hampstead Hampstead () is an area in London London is the capital and List of urban areas in the United Kingdom, largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just under 9 million. It stands on the River Thames in south-ea ...
and (since the early 20th century) Bloomsbury. Writers closely associated with the city are the diarist Samuel Pepys, noted for his eyewitness account of the Great Fire; Charles Dickens, whose representation of a foggy, snowy, grimy London of street sweepers and pickpockets has been a major influence on people's vision of early Victorian era, Victorian London; and Virginia Woolf, regarded as one of the foremost modernist literature, modernist literary figures of the 20th century. Later important depictions of London from the 19th and early 20th centuries are Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories. In 1898, H. G. Wells' sci-fi novel ''The War of the Worlds'' sees London (and the south of England) invaded by Martians. Also of significance is Letitia Elizabeth Landon's ''Calendar of the London Seasons'' (1834). Modern writers pervasively influenced by the city include Peter Ackroyd, author of a "biography" of London, and Iain Sinclair, who writes in the genre of psychogeography. In the 1940s, George Orwell wrote essays in the ''Evening Standard, London Evening Standard'', most notably "A Nice Cup of Tea", which concerned the nation's methods on Tea in the United Kingdom, making tea, and "The Moon Under Water", which provided a detailed description of his ideal pub. In 1958, author Michael Bond created Paddington Bear, a refugee found in London Paddington station by the Brown family who adopt him. Paddington has been adapted for the screen, including ''Paddington (film), Paddington'' (2014) which features the calypso song "London is the Place for Me". London has played a significant role in the film industry. Major studios within or bordering London include Pinewood Studios, Pinewood, Elstree Studios, Elstree, Ealing Studios, Ealing, Shepperton Studios, Shepperton, Twickenham Studios, Twickenham, and Warner Bros. Studios, Leavesden, Leavesden, with the ''James Bond'' and ''Harry Potter (film series), Harry Potter'' series among many notable films produced here. Working Title Films has its headquarters in London. A post-production community is centred in Soho, and London houses six of the world’s largest visual effects companies, such as Framestore. The Imaginarium, a digital performance-capture studio, was founded by Andy Serkis. London has been the setting for films including ''Oliver Twist (1948 film), Oliver Twist'' (1948), ''Scrooge (1951 film), Scrooge'' (1951), ''Peter Pan (1953 film), Peter Pan'' (1953), ''101 Dalmatians (1996 film), The 101 Dalmatians'' (1961), ''My Fair Lady (film), My Fair Lady'' (1964), ''Mary Poppins (film), Mary Poppins'' (1964), ''Blowup'' (1966), ''A Clockwork Orange (film), A Clockwork Orange'' (1971), ''The Long Good Friday'' (1980), ''The Great Mouse Detective'' (1986), ''Notting Hill (film), Notting Hill'' (1999), ''Love Actually'' (2003), ''V for Vendetta (film), V for Vendetta'' (2005), ''Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street'' (2008) and ''The King's Speech'' (2010). Notable actors and filmmakers from London include; Charlie Chaplin, Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Caine, Emma Thompson, Gary Oldman, Guy Ritchie, Christopher Nolan, Alan Rickman, Jude Law, Helena Bonham Carter, Idris Elba, Tom Hardy, Keira Knightley and Daniel Day-Lewis. Ealing comedies have featured Alec Guinness, Hammer Film Productions, Hammer Horrors have starred Christopher Lee, while Richard Curtis's rom-coms have featured Hugh Grant. The largest cinema chain in the country, Odeon Cinemas was founded in London in 1928 by Oscar Deutsch. First held in 1949, since 2017 the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) have taken place at the Royal Albert Hall. Founded in 1957, the BFI London Film Festival takes place over two weeks every October. London is a major centre for television production, with studios including Television Centre, London, Television Centre, ITV Studios, Sky Campus and Fountain Studios; the latter hosted the original talent shows, ''Pop Idol'', ''The X Factor (British TV series), The X Factor'', and ''Britain's Got Talent'', before each format was exported around the world. Formerly a franchise of ITV, Thames Television featured comedians such as Benny Hill and Rowan Atkinson (''Mr. Bean'' was first screened by Thames), while Talkback (production company), Talkback produced ''Da Ali G Show'' which featured Sacha Baron Cohen as Ali G, a faux-streetwise gangster from Staines-upon-Thames, Staines, west of London. Many television shows have been set in London, including the popular television soap opera ''EastEnders'', broadcast by the BBC since 1985.


Museums, art galleries and libraries

London is List of museums in London, home to many museums, galleries, and other institutions, many of which are free of admission charges and are major tourist attractions as well as playing a research role. The first of these to be established was the
British Museum The British Museum is a public museum dedicated to human history, art and culture located in the Bloomsbury area of London. Its permanent collection of eight million works is among the list of largest art museums, largest and most comprehens ...
in Bloomsbury, in 1753. Originally containing antiquities, natural history specimens, and the national library, the museum now has 7 million artefacts from around the globe. In 1824, the
National Gallery The National Gallery is an art museum in Trafalgar Square in the City of Westminster, in Central London, England. Founded in 1824, it houses a collection of over 2,300 paintings dating from the mid-13th century to 1900. The current Director of ...
was founded to house the British national collection of Western paintings; this now occupies a prominent position in
Trafalgar Square Trafalgar Square ( ) is a public square in the City of Westminster, Central London, laid out in the early 19th century around the area formerly known as Charing Cross. At its centre is a high column bearing a statue of Admiral Nelson commemor ...
. The
British Library The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and is one of the List of largest libraries, largest libraries in the world. It is estimated to contain between 170 and 200 million items from many countries. As a legal de ...
is the second List of largest libraries, largest library in the world, and the national library of the United Kingdom. There are many other research libraries, including the Wellcome Library and Dana Library and Research Centre, Dana Centre, as well as academic library, university libraries, including the British Library of Political and Economic Science at London School of Economics, LSE, the Imperial College Central Library, Central Library at Imperial College London, Imperial, the Maughan Library at King's College London, King's, and the Senate House Libraries at the University of London. In the latter half of the 19th century the locale of South Kensington was developed as "Albertopolis", a cultural and scientific quarter. Three major national museums are there: the Victoria and Albert Museum (for the applied arts), the
Natural History Museum A natural history museum or museum of natural history is a scientific institution with natural history scientific collection, collections that include current and historical records of animals, plants, Fungus, fungi, ecosystems, geology, paleon ...
, and the London Science Museum, Science Museum. The National Portrait Gallery, London, National Portrait Gallery was founded in 1856 to house depictions of figures from British history; its holdings now comprise the world's most extensive collection of portraits. The national gallery of British art is at Tate Britain, originally established as an annexe of the National Gallery in 1897. The Tate Gallery, as it was formerly known, also became a major centre for modern art. In 2000, this collection moved to
Tate Modern Tate Modern is an art gallery located in London. It houses the United Kingdom's national collection of international Modern art, modern and contemporary art, and forms part of the Tate group together with Tate Britain, Tate Liverpool and Tate St ...
, a new gallery housed in the former Bankside Power Station which is accessed by pedestrians north of the Thames via the Millennium Bridge, London, Millennium Bridge.


Music

London is one of the major classical and popular music capitals of the world and hosts major music corporations, such as Universal Music Group, Universal Music Group International and Warner Music Group, and countless bands, musicians and industry professionals. The city is also home to many orchestras and concert halls, such as the Barbican Arts Centre (principal base of the London Symphony Orchestra and the London Symphony Chorus), the Southbank Centre (London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Philharmonia Orchestra), Cadogan Hall (Royal Philharmonic Orchestra) and the
Royal Albert Hall The Royal Albert Hall is a concert hall on the northern edge of South Kensington, London. One of the UK's most treasured and distinctive buildings, it is held in trust for the nation and managed by a registered charity which receives no governm ...
(The Proms). The Proms, an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music first held in 1895, ends with the BBC Proms#Last Night of the Proms, Last Night of the Proms (works by Edward Elgar, Henry Wood, Thomas Arne and Hubert Parry feature at the climax). London's two main opera houses are the Royal Opera House and the London Coliseum (home to the English National Opera). The UK's largest pipe organ is at the Royal Albert Hall. Other significant instruments are in cathedrals and major churches—the church bells of St Clement Danes feature in the 1744 nursery rhyme "Oranges and Lemons", and the lyrics journey through churches and bells of 18th century London. Several conservatoires are within the city: Royal Academy of Music, Royal College of Music, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and Trinity College of Music, Trinity Laban. London has numerous venues for rock and pop concerts, including the world's busiest indoor venue, the O2 Arena, and Wembley Arena, as well as many mid-sized venues, such as Brixton Academy, the Hammersmith Apollo and the Shepherd's Bush Empire. Several music festivals, including the Wireless Festival, Lovebox Festival, Lovebox and Hyde Park, London, Hyde Park's British Summer Time (concerts), British Summer Time, are held in London. The city is home to the original Hard Rock Cafe and the Abbey Road Studios, where The Beatles recorded many of their hits. In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, musicians and groups like Elton John, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Queen (band), Queen, The Kinks, Cliff Richard, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Eric Clapton, Led Zeppelin, Iron Maiden, T. Rex (band), T. Rex, Fleetwood Mac, Elvis Costello, Dire Straits, Cat Stevens, The Police, The Cure, Madness (band), Madness, Culture Club, Dusty Springfield, Phil Collins, Rod Stewart, Status Quo (band), Status Quo and Sade (band), Sade, derived their sound from the streets and rhythms of London. London was instrumental in the development of punk music, with figures such as the Sex Pistols, The Clash and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood all based in the city. Other artists to emerge from the London music scene include George Michael, Kate Bush, Seal (musician), Seal, the Pet Shop Boys, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Bush (British band), Bush, the Spice Girls, Jamiroquai, Blur (band), Blur, The Prodigy, Gorillaz, Mumford & Sons, Coldplay, Amy Winehouse, Adele, Sam Smith (singer), Sam Smith, Ed Sheeran, Ellie Goulding, Dua Lipa and Florence and the Machine. Artists from London with a Caribbean influence include Hot Chocolate (band), Hot Chocolate, Billy Ocean, Soul II Soul and Eddy Grant, with the latter fusing reggae, soul and samba with rock and pop. London is also a centre for urban music. In particular the genres UK garage, drum and bass, dubstep and grime (music), grime evolved in the city from the foreign genres of House music, house, hip hop music, hip hop, and reggae, alongside local drum and bass. Music station BBC Radio 1Xtra was set up to support the rise of local urban contemporary music both in London and in the rest of the United Kingdom. The British Phonographic Industry's annual popular music awards, the Brit Awards, are held in London, usually in February.


Recreation


Parks and open spaces

A 2013 report by the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
said that London is the "greenest city" in Europe with 14,164 hectares (35,000 acres) of public parks, woodlands and gardens. The largest parks in the Central London, central area of London are three of the eight Royal Parks of London, Royal Parks, namely Hyde Park, London, Hyde Park and its neighbour Kensington Gardens in the west, and
Regent's Park Regent's Park (officially The Regent's Park) is one of the Royal Parks of London. It occupies of high ground in north-west Inner London, administratively split between the City of Westminster and the London Borough of Camden, Borough of Camden ...
to the north. Hyde Park in particular is popular for #Sport, sports and sometimes hosts open-air concerts. Regent's Park contains London Zoo, the world's oldest scientific zoo, and is near Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.
Primrose Hill Primrose Hill is a Listed building, Grade II listed public park located north of Regent's Park in London, England, first opened to the public in 1842.Mills, A., ''Dictionary of London Place Names'', (2001) It was named after the natural hill i ...
, immediately to the north of Regent's Park, at is a popular spot from which to view the city skyline. Close to Hyde Park are smaller Royal Parks, Green Park and St. James's Park. A number of large parks lie outside the city centre, including Hampstead Heath and the remaining Royal Parks of Greenwich Park to the southeast and Bushy Park and Richmond Park (the largest) to the southwest, Hampton Court Park is also a royal park, but, because it contains a palace, it is administered by the Historic Royal Palaces, unlike the eight Royal Parks of London, Royal Parks. Close to Richmond Park is
Kew Gardens Kew Gardens is a botanical garden, botanic garden in southwest London that houses the "largest and most diverse botany, botanical and mycology, mycological collections in the world". Founded in 1840, from the exotic garden at Kew Park, its li ...
, which has the world's largest collection of living plants. In 2003, the gardens were put on the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO list of List of World Heritage Sites of the United Kingdom, World Heritage Sites. There are also parks administered by London's borough Councils, including Victoria Park, London, Victoria Park in the East End and Battersea Park in the centre. Some more informal, semi-natural open spaces also exist, including the Hampstead Heath of
North London North London is the northern part of London, England, north of the River Thames. It extends from Clerkenwell and Finsbury, on the edge of the City of London financial district, to Greater London, Greater London's boundary with Hertfordshire. T ...
, and
Epping Forest Epping Forest is a area of ancient woodland, and other established habitats, which straddles the border between Greater London and Essex. The main body of the forest stretches from Epping in the north, to Chingford on the edge of the Lo ...
, which covers 2,476 hectares (6,118 acres) in the east. Both are controlled by the
City of London Corporation The City of London Corporation, officially and legally the Mayor and Commonalty and Citizens of the City of London, is the municipal governing body of the City of London, the historic centre of London and the location of much of the United King ...
. Hampstead Heath incorporates Kenwood House, a former stately home and a popular location in the summer months when classical musical concerts are held by the lake, attracting thousands of people every weekend to enjoy the music, scenery and fireworks. Epping Forest is a popular venue for various outdoor activities, including mountain biking, walking, horse riding, golf, angling, and orienteering.


Walking

Walking in London, Walking is a popular recreational activity in London. Areas that provide for walks include Wimbledon Common,
Epping Forest Epping Forest is a area of ancient woodland, and other established habitats, which straddles the border between Greater London and Essex. The main body of the forest stretches from Epping in the north, to Chingford on the edge of the Lo ...
, Hampton Court Park, Hampstead Heath, the eight Royal Parks, canals and disused railway tracks. Access to canals and rivers has improved recently, including the creation of the Thames Path, some of which is within
Greater London Greater London is an Metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties of England#Greater London, administrative area in England governed by the Greater London Authority. It is organised into 33 Districts of England, local government districts: the ...
, and The Wandle Trail; this runs through
South London South London is the southern part of London, England, south of the River Thames. The region consists of the Districts of England, boroughs, in whole or in part, of London Borough of Bexley, Bexley, London Borough of Bromley, Bromley, London Borou ...
along the River Wandle, a tributaries of the River Thames, tributary of the River Thames. Other long-distance paths, linking green spaces, have also been created, including the Capital Ring, the Green Chain Walk, London Outer Orbital Path ("Loop"), Jubilee Walkway, Lea Valley Walk, and the Diana, Princess of Wales Memorial Walk.


Sport

London has hosted the Summer Olympic Games, Summer Olympics three times: in 1908 Summer Olympics, 1908, 1948 Summer Olympics, 1948, and
2012 File:2012 Events Collage V3.png, From left, clockwise: The passenger cruise ship Costa Concordia lies capsized after the Costa Concordia disaster; Damage to Casino Pier in Seaside Heights, New Jersey as a result of Hurricane Sandy; People gather ...
, making it the first city to host the modern Games three times. The city was also the host of the Commonwealth Games, British Empire Games in 1934 British Empire Games, 1934. In 2017, London hosted the 2017 World Championships in Athletics, World Championships in Athletics for the first time. London's Sport in the United Kingdom#Popularity, most popular sport is association football, football, and it has seven clubs in the Premier League in the 2022–23 Premier League, 2022–23 season: Arsenal F.C., Arsenal, Brentford F.C., Brentford, Chelsea F.C., Chelsea, Crystal Palace F.C., Crystal Palace, Fulham F.C., Fulham, Tottenham Hotspur F.C., Tottenham Hotspur, and West Ham United F.C., West Ham United. Other professional men's teams in London are AFC Wimbledon, Barnet F.C., Barnet, Bromley F.C., Bromley, Charlton Athletic F.C., Charlton Athletic, Dagenham & Redbridge F.C., Dagenham & Redbridge, Leyton Orient F.C., Leyton Orient, Millwall F.C., Millwall, Queens Park Rangers F.C., Queens Park Rangers and Sutton United F.C., Sutton United. Four London-based teams are in the Women's Super League: Arsenal W.F.C., Arsenal, Chelsea F.C. Women, Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur F.C. Women, Tottenham and West Ham United F.C. Women, West Ham United. From 1924, the original
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium ...
was the home of the England national football team, English national football team. It hosted the 1966 FIFA World Cup Final, with England defeating West Germany, and served as the venue for the
FA Cup Final The FA Cup Final, commonly referred to in England as just the Cup Final, is the last match in the Football Association Challenge Cup. It has regularly been one of the most attended domestic football events in the world, with an official atten ...
as well as rugby league's Challenge Cup final. The new
Wembley Stadium Wembley Stadium (branded as Wembley Stadium connected by EE for sponsorship reasons) is a football stadium in Wembley, London. It opened in 2007 on the site of the original Wembley Stadium, which was demolished from 2002 to 2003. The stadium ...
serves the same purposes and has a capacity of 90,000. The England women's national football team, women's team defeated Germany at Wembley to win UEFA Women's Euro 2022, Euro 2022. Three Premiership Rugby union teams are based in London, Harlequin F.C., Harlequins, London Irish and Saracens F.C., Saracens. Ealing Trailfinders Rugby Club, Ealing Trailfinders, London Scottish F.C., London Sottish and Richmond F.C., Richmond play in the RFU Championship; other rugby union clubs in the city include Scottish, Rosslyn Park F.C., Westcombe Park R.F.C. and Blackheath F.C. Twickenham Stadium in south-west London hosts home matches for the England national rugby union team and has a capacity of 82,000 now that the new south stand has been completed. While rugby league is more popular in the north of England, there are two professional rugby league clubs in London – the London Broncos in the second-tier RFL Championship, who play at the Trailfinders Sports Ground in West Ealing, and the third-tier League 1 (rugby league), League 1 team, the London Skolars from Wood Green, London Borough of Haringey, Haringey. One of London's best-known annual sports competitions is the Wimbledon Championships, Wimbledon Tennis Championships, held at the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, All England Club in the south-western suburb of Wimbledon, London, Wimbledon since 1877. Played in late June to early July, it is the oldest tennis tournament in the world and widely considered the most prestigious. Founded in London in 1881, Slazenger has provided tennis balls for Wimbledon since 1902, the oldest sponsorship in sport. London has two Test cricket grounds, Lord's (home of Middlesex County Cricket Club, Middlesex C.C.C.) in St John's Wood and the Oval (home of Surrey County Cricket Club, Surrey C.C.C.) in Kennington. Lord's has hosted four finals of the Cricket World Cup and is known as the ''Home of Cricket''. Other key events are the annual mass-participation
London Marathon The London Marathon is an annual marathon The marathon is a long-distance foot race with a distance of , usually run as a road running, road race, but the distance can be covered on trail routes. The marathon can be completed by running ...
, in which some 35,000 runners attempt a course around the city, and the University Boat Race on the Thames from Putney to Mortlake.


Notable people


See also

*Outline of England *Outline of London


Notes


References


Bibliography

* *


External links


London.gov.uk – Greater London AuthorityVisitLondon.com
nbsp;– official tourism site
Museum of LondonLondon
in ''British History Online'', with links to numerous authoritative online sources
"London"
''In Our Time'', BBC Radio 4 discussion with Peter Ackroyd, Claire Tomalin and Iain Sinclair (28 September 2000) *
Old maps of London
from the Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, National Library of Israel {{Authority control London, London British capitals Capitals in Europe Greater London Port cities and towns in Southern England Staple ports Southern England 1st-century establishments in Roman Britain Populated places established in the 1st century Capital cities in the United Kingdom