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definition - Tourism in London

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Tourism in London

  The River Thames before sunrise

London is one of the world's leading tourism destinations, and the city is home to an array of famous tourist attractions. London attracts 30 million international visitors per year, making it the world's most visited in terms of international visits.


  Economics of tourism in London

  A tourist stall selling various London and United Kingdom related souvenirs on the edge of Trafalgar Square on the Strand.

The Government Office for London states that tourism revenues constitute 10 per cent of London's gross value added and contributes to the employment of up to 13 per cent of London's workforce. According to the London Development Agency, visitors to London spend around £20 billion each year.[1] [2]


Although London is a beautiful city with many indoor attractions, it is sometimes rainy or cold during the autumn and winter months (October to April). In summer the average high temperatures are around 23°C (73°F). Winter months are cold with highs around 7°C (45°F). September and October are especially wet and rainy.[3]

  Places to stay

Since London is a big city and tourist destination there are many places for someone to stay during their trip. There are many hotels (luxury and tourist), Bed and Breakfast hotels and flats (hotels apartments). Many of these accommodations are located within walking distance of many tourist attractions. Prices vary depending on the type of hotel you choose. Luxury and tourist hotels tend to be more expensive. Bed and Breakfast homes are usually on the more affordable side and include breakfast in the morning. Flats are apartments rented out to tourists. These are ideal for stays longer than one week in length.[4]

  Getting around

  Tourists consulting a map near St Paul's Cathedral. These maps are placed at a number of locations in the city of London, to assist in navigating the often confusing streets, lanes and alleys.

There are many ways to move around the city of London, such as walking or taking the Tube (the subway) or bus. Many of London's attractions are within walking distance of each other. Obtain a good tourist map or guide book to see which can be managed on foot. These will also have an Underground map.


The London Underground is a popular way to travel around London. It is considered the easiest and quickest way to move around. The Underground has 12 lines that run from Monday to Saturday between the hours of 5 am to midnight. Although it also runs on Sunday, the hours of operation are reduced.


Another very popular way to move about the city is to take the bus. This mode of transportation provides 24-hour service all week. Some buses even offer tours to point out historical landmarks and tourist attractions. Taking the bus requires that you have already purchased a ticket. These are easy to obtain at any ticket machine near major stops. Prices of a bus pass vary depending on the number of days with a one-day pass at £3.80 and a weekly pass at £13.80.

There are also open-top tourist buses where you can buy an all-day ticket and get on and off the bus at various tourist attractions of your choice. Alternatively, you can stay on the bus and enjoy the guided tour. These buses can be found in Tavistock Square, half-way between the British Museum and the British Library.


There are two types of prepaid tickets used for various modes of transportation around the city. The first type of ticket is the contactless smartcard- the Oyster Card. The holder loads the card with credit which can then be used to ride on the Underground, bus, tramlink and most National Rail Service lines. These tickets can be used at anytime, but are charged differently depending on peak and off-peak times. Daytime off-peak and reduced fares on the Tube are from 9.30am to 4.00pm and after 7pm Monday to Friday. Oyster Card carries a refundable deposit of £5, it can be returned to ticket office (unused credit will be returned too) for cash.

Zone Peak Price Off-peak Price
1-2 £2.70 £2.00
1-6 £5.30 £4.80

Fares have been updated on 2nd January 2012.

The second type of ticket is the Travel Card. This allows for the same travel privileges as the Oyster Card but includes all National Rail Service lines (but not Heathrow Express). The prices of the tickets are shown below.[5][6]

Days Zone Price
1 1-6 £7.50
3 1-6 £22.50
7 1-6 £47.60

Note however that the Oyster Card fare is "capped" each day, depending on where and how it is used, so that you will never pay more than if you buy a TravelCard. For details of the cap that will apply, see the Transport for London website www.tfl.gov.uk The cap is lowest if you only ride buses, and highest if you also use tube or rail services, travel into more than one zone, and travel before 9.30 in the morning. As a general rule, if you make more than two rail trips in a day, additional rail trips and bus trips are usually "free".

  Tourist attractions

  Central London

London is home to many tourist attractions that are known worldwide. Some of the most popular include the many museums located in the city, many of which offer free entry. The British Museum holds seven million exhibits that not only have to do with London, but Ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, etc. Popular exhibits include the Elgin Marbles, the Rosetta Stone, 'Ginger', the world's oldest mummy, Lindow Man, etc. The British Museum is open seven days a week and is free.

The British Library holds many literary exhibits and displays the original manuscripts of such classics as Alice in Wonderland, the notebook of Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte's manuscript of Jane Eyre, Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol, Magna Carta, a Gutenberg Bible, Codex Sinaiticus, the autograph of William Shakespeare, original music scores by Arthur Sullivan, Handel and Beethoven in a permanent exhibition of over 200 exhibits in The Sir John Ritblat Gallery. This gallery is open to the public seven days a week and is free.[7]

The Victoria and Albert Museum in Kensington is the world's largest museum of decorative arts and design, housing a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects. Named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, the museum was founded in 1852, and has since grown to now cover some 12.5 acres (0.05 km2) and 145 galleries. Its collection spans 5000 years of art, from ancient times to the present day, in virtually every medium, from the cultures of Europe, North America, Asia and North Africa. Admission is also free.

There are also historic or cultural attractions, the most popular of which include Buckingham Palace. This royal palace is still in use today. Here, visitors (approximately 15 million tourists every year) can witness the "Changing of the Guard" when a member of the royal family is in residence. During the summer months, some rooms are open to the public for tours. Other sights include The Tower of London, an historic royal fortress that holds the Crown Jewels of England. Nearby is the famous Tower Bridge, which is often mistaken by tourists for London Bridge.[8]

Other attractions include Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, London Eye, London Zoo, the Natural History Museum, the Globe Theatre, the London Bridge Experience, the Charles Dickens Museum and Madame Tussauds. There are many more attractions in the city itself, and in the surrounding areas. It is recommended that the visitor buy a good guide book to London and plan what he or she wants to see in advance. The larger museums, such as the British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum will take several days to get around. It is best to select a few objects that one particularly wants to see and concentrate on them.[9]

London's West End is the city's theatre district. Here the latest stage shows and musicals can be seen. However, these are usually very popular and it is advised to book your tickets as far in advance as possible. All London's theatres have their own websites for booking tickets. These can be picked up at the Box Office on the day or sent by post.

  View across Trafalgar Square

  Outer London

Outer London is very accessible from Central London by London Underground, London Buses, or London Taxi. Chessington World Of Adventures is a theme park within the Greater London boundary.

Outer London offers attractions such as farms, golf courses, horse riding, theatres such as Rose Theatre, Kingston, Hampton Court Palace, and attractions similar to those in Central London such as museums and gardens, but not as high capacity. Other major shopping destinations in outer London include Kingston Upon Thames and Croydon. With Kingston 2nd to West End shopping and Croydon at 3rd. But with Kingston's setting next to the River Thames and Hampton Court Palace it can be a more desirable, historical shopping destination compared to other areas.[original research?]

  See also


  1. ^ "Marketing & Promoting London". London Development Agency. http://www.lda.gov.uk/server/show/nav.001002004. 
  2. ^ "Tourism in London". Government Office for London. http://www.gos.gov.uk/gol/Culture_leisure/Tourism/?a=42496. 
  3. ^ http://www.weather.com The Weather Channel
  4. ^ Lain, Larry and Michael. (2004) London for Families. Interlink Books. ISBN 978156656534
  5. ^ "Tickets | Transport for London". Tfl.gov.uk. 2010-09-01. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/default.aspx. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Official City Guide & London Hotels". Visit London. http://www.visitlondon.com/. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  7. ^ [1] The Sir John Ritblat Gallery in the British Library
  8. ^ London. ISBN 978-1-906261-09-2
  9. ^ Reeve, John The British Museum Visitor's Guide Published by The British Museum ISBN 978-0-7141-2780-4

  External links



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