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London

The capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Europe's largest city, London is also one of the world's most prosperous cities. It is Europe's economic and financial trade center, and is, together with New York, a world-leading financial center. Located on the plains of southeastern England, the city straddles the River Thames. London expanded rapidly from the 16th century onwards, with the development of British capitalism. Today, this multicultural city is home to inhabitants from around the world, and more than 300 languages are spoken on its streets.

National Portrait Gallery

The National Portrait Gallery is one of London's most unique museums and galleries, and provides an amusing, painted view of history.Established in 1856, the gallery is a specialist collection of human-painted portraits, although it also occasionally displays photographic portraits. The National Portrait Gallery determines whether to acquire a portrait based on the importance of its subject, such that the collection is a veritable catalog of Great Britain's great and good.

Address: St Martin's Place, London WC2H 0HE

Madame Tussauds

Madame Tussauds' waxwork museum was already well known in the Victorian era, and was one of the most popular exhibitions of the time. Upon entering the museum, you first reach the garden party display area, where you can see figures of a wide range of sporting and film stars. You then move on to the waxwork production workshops, where you can watch a video presentation of the production process, and see production models. For many years now, people have found it very hard to distinguish Madame Tussauds' waxworks from the real thing; the museum places waxworks at certain locations accessible to visitors, often with surprisingly interesting results.

Address: Marylebone Road, London, NW1 5LR

The London Eye

Built to celebrate the start of the new millennium, the London Eye is 135 meters high, and provides stunning views of the London skyline; the Eye is already a well-known London tourist destination, and is arguably the city's most famous landmark. When it was completed, the London Eye was the world's largest Ferris wheel. If you can, take the ride at dusk to enjoy a truly beautiful sunset. At night, the London Eye takes on an almost dreamlike quality, with its giant blue aura reflecting off the Thames adding to its beauty.

Address: Riverside Building, County Hall, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7PB

London is a shopper's paradise, with outlets ranging from surveyors to the British royal family through to open-air street stalls. Business hours for most shops are 10:00-18:00; Thursday is late-shopping day, with many shops staying open until 19:00 or 20:00. Many street stores are also open on weekends, providing a major draw for lady shoppers. London has two major sales citywide annually, with the Summer Sale offering discounts of 30-50%; the Summer Sale typically runs from the fourth week of June until the second week of July. The Winter Sale offers discounts of 40-60%, and runs from Christmas through till the end of January.

Bicester Village Outlet shopping center

Bicester Village Outlet is one of the U.K.'s most famous shopping villages, and is located in the Oxfordshire village of Bicester, halfway between London and Birmingham. The shopping center is home to more than 90 world-famous brand name outlets, and is a must-see for many visiting shoppers. Definitely worth a visit for anyone who likes brand names.

Address: 50 Pingle Drive, Bicester, OX26 6WD, Oxford

Portobello Road Market

The Portobello Road market is London's, and the U.K.'s, best-known open-air market. The Portobello Road flea market in fact consists of three different market areas, and these are only open on Saturdays. The antiques market on the south end is closest to the Tube station, and is also the main reason why tourists visit the market. The antiques market is only open on Saturdays. Continuing north, you will gradually reach a market which mainly sells fruit and vegetables, fish, and cheese – a good place to stock up on snacks.

Address: Portobello Rd, London, Greater London W10 5TE

"Modern British" cuisine offers a new take on the tastes of traditional British cooking. London is home to no fewer than 6000 restaurants, offering diners a plethora of tastes ranging from sushi, to roesti, pasta, or even afternoon tea. As for places to eat, you can choose from atmospheric English pubs through to simple little cafés, to elegant restaurants; or you may opt for a picnic in Hyde Park. Fish and chips is a traditional British dish, and is available almost anywhere.

Steak

Steak is a classic Western dish, and the British love, nay obsession with steak can be traced back several centuries. Britain's most famous steaks come from one of the country's oldest cattle breeds – Angus cattle. The breed is well muscled, giving the steaks a compact texture, juicy yet low-fat, with a sweet, mellow yet rich taste.

Recommended restaurant: Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Address: 11 Langley Street, London WC2H 9JG

Fish and chips

Mention the word 'eat' in England, and almost everyone will think of fish & chips, that most traditional of English fast foods, which is available almost anywhere.The batted fish is crisp on the outside yet tender on the inside, and is eaten with a side order of chips; you can also choose from a range of condiments.A portion of fish and chips should cost in the region of GBP 3-5, although prices can reach as high as GBP 9.

Recommended restaurant: Rock & Sole Plaice

Address: 47 Endell St, London WC2H 9AJ

Bus

Buses run 24 hours a day; night buses are recognizable by the N prefix on the route number. Buy an Oyster Card at any Tube station, then simply swipe the card when you board the bus. Red double-decker buses are one of London's most famous sights; if you fancy taking a ride, the No. 15 runs from the Tower of London past St Paul's Cathedral, along Charing Cross Road to Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, along with many other attractions. If you take a bus, remember that you need to wave the bus down for it to stop at the bus stop; similarly, to get off, you will need to ring the bell to notify the driver to stop.

Taxi

London's taxi cabs are relatively expensive, with a minimum fare of GBP 2.40, and GBP 0.20 per 0.13 kilometer thereafter; a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) journey will set you back GBP 5.6-8.8, and a 6-mile (9.6-kilometer) trip will cost you GBP 23-32.You can flag down a cab anywhere on the street, although it is safer to book a cab at night.

Subway

Construction of London's Underground system began in 1856, with operations formally starting on January 10, 1863. London's Underground uses automated ticket barriers; Travel Cards provide unlimited travel. Do not forget to retrieve your ticket or Travel Card once you pass through the barrier. You retrieve your ticket from the machine before the barrier; the barrier will not open unless you retrieve the ticket.

Currency:Pound Sterling (GBP)

Telephone code:+0044020

Climate

London has a temperate maritime climate, with only minor variations in seasonal temperatures, with cool summers, warm winters, and relatively high humidity; rain and fog are fairly common, especially in the winter. The weather makes London a great place to visit all year round. The UK has fairly stable rainfall all year round, with average annual precipitation exceeding 1000 mm. London reaches temperatures of approx. 18°C in the summer, although this can sometimes reach 30°C or higher; In the spring and fall, temperatures are approx. 11-15°C; In the winter, temperatures drop to 6°C or so.

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