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About London
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London is the capital city of England and the most populous metropolitan area in Europe. The city itself is home to around 8.5 million people, while the wider urban sprawl has a population in excess of 11 million. Steeped in history and tradition, London is one of the most visited cities in the world. It’s home to the British government, as well as a slew of historic landmarks. Today, England’s capital is a cosmopolitan city, touched by cultures from around the world.

Some of London's most famous attractions are related to the government. The Palace of Westminster is home to both the upper and lower chambers of government — the House of Lords and the House of Commons. The Head of State in the United Kingdom is the Queen, and her official residence is Buckingham Palace in the heart of the city. Just a 20-minute walk from the Palace is Number 10 Downing Street, which is the official residence of the Prime Minister.

London is home to no less than six international airports, serving an astonishing 160 million passengers a year. London Heathrow Airport is by far the largest airport in London. When taking an intercontinental flight from Canada, you will most likely end up here. London Gatwick Airport is the second-largest airport in London. It is used by airlines such as British Airways, but also by low-cost airlines such as easyJet. London Stansted Airport is the third-largest airport in London in terms of passenger numbers, but the largest in the low-cost category.

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London was first established as a settlement shortly after the Roman invasion of England in AD 43. For two millennia, the city has grown and flourished. It was once the biggest port city in the world, dealing in wares and commodities from around the world. History abounds at every turn on the streets of this great city. Built in 1078, the Tower of London was originally built as a fort, and served as a prison as recently as World War Two. Right next to this ancient fortification is the iconic Tower Bridge, which many tourists confuse with London Bridge. Stay close to the River Thames, and you’ll see historic landmarks everywhere, including the home of King Henry VIII — Hampton Court.

Things to do in London

Whether you’re looking for historic landmarks or major cultural institutions, you’re spoilt for choice in London. London is home to some world-class museums. The British Museum is home to some of the nation’s most precious artifacts, including the Rosetta Stone, Egyptian Mummies and Parthenon sculptures. More ancient wonders can be found at the Victoria and Albert Museum, while the Natural History Museum is home to dinosaurs, whales and a huge selection of exhibits.

Between late July and early October every year, the general public can step inside a part of Buckingham Palace. The most famous home in the world opens its doors to give people a glimpse of Royal opulence. However, access is by advanced booking only. The State Rooms are very popular during the summer months, so booking a year in advance is essential.

The history of England is often charted by its most famous religious buildings. Two of the most famous are Westminster Abbey and St Paul’s Cathedral. The Abbey is the final resting place of many British monarchs, and it’s where members of the Royal Family get married. St. Paul’s was built between 1675 and 1710, and it’s still the most famous part of the city’s growing skyline.

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Events in London

London is influenced by peoples and cultures from around the world. Many of these influences — and a few from closer to home — are celebrated with huge events.

The Chelsea Flower Show takes place at the Royal Hospital Chelsea every May. The event is believed to be the biggest horticultural event of its kind in the world. Professional plat breeders show off their beautiful exhibits at the event. There are also prize categories for vegetables and trees.

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of the biggest street parties in the world. What started out as a celebration of Caribbean culture has become something much more diverse and ambitious. Thousands of people walk and dance down the streets of Notting Hill in their cultural dress. Huge floats, music and art also feature prominently. The carnival takes place over a long weekend every August.

The City of London festival is a huge celebration of everything British. Taking place over two weeks in June or July, the event includes shows, concerts, exhibits and trade shows. There are also live performances from street performers, singers, musicians, actors, comedians and poets.

Finding something to do in the UK's capital is never a problem. As with so much in this massive city, the real difficulty is choosing which events to attend. Here are four of the city's most exciting options. All of them could be the basis for a fantastic city break in the UK.

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Practical information about London

Unlike most countries in Europe, England doesn’t have the Euro. Pound Sterling is the currency used throughout London, although many retailers accept both Euros and US Dollars. The weather in the city is very unpredictable. While temperatures do sometimes reach the mid-80s during the summer, the average temperature at this time of year is somewhere in the mid-70s. London, like most of the UK, experiences relatively high rainfall levels, so make sure you pack waterproofs. The local time in London is Greenwich Mean Time (GMT), which is five hours ahead of Toronto and eight hours ahead of Vancouver.

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Where to stay in London

From the luxurious and orderly streets of Chelsea and Kensington to the characterful and welcoming nooks and crannies of Shoreditch or Brixton, the UK's capital is full of surprises where anyone can find a place and feel at home.

More on where to stay in London>>

Departure airports

From Canada you have the options to fly from Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver to London.

Flights to London

Looking for great deals for flights to London? BudgetAir Canada offers you the best fares and an unparalleled booking experience. Book from your laptop, tablet or smartphone and be assured of the best deals and an easy booking process. Did you know you can save some money by traveling on different days or fly from other airports? Use the filters on the search result page to find the best deals.


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Cheap flights to London

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