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Guide to London and Events around Euro Hotels

About London
It's a cosmopolitan mix of Third and First Worlds, chauffeurs and beggars, the stubbornly traditional and the proudly avant-garde. But somehow - between 'er Majesty and Boy George, Damien Hirst and JMW Turner, Bow Bells and Big Ben - it all hangs together.

Geography
Area - 1572 Sq. Km.
Populaton - 7 200 000
Latitude - 51° 30'N


Orientation
The main geographical feature of the city is the river Thames, which meanders through central London, dividing it into northern and southern halves. The central area and the most important sights, theatres and restaurants are within the Underground's Circle Line on the north bank of the river. The trendy and tourist-ridden West End lies within the western portion of the loop and includes Soho, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Regent St. The East End, so beloved of Ealing comedies, lies east of the Circle Line; it used to be the exclusive preserve of the Cockney but is now a cultural melting pot.

General
Daylight savings start: last Sunday in March
Daylight savings end: last Sunday in October
Weights/Measurements system: Metric

Pre Departure

When to go
London is a year-round tourist centre, with few of its attractions closing or significantly reducing their opening hours in winter. Your best chance of good weather is, of course, at the height of summer in July and August, but there's certainly no guarantee of sun even in those months - plus it's when you can expect the biggest crowds and highest prices.

Visas
Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa usually don't need a visa for stays in the UK up to 6 months, but they are prohibited from working. Citizens of the European Union (EU) don't need a visa to enter the country and may live and work here freely. Check with the UK Border Agency for specific requirements.

Electricity Voltage: 240V
Electricity Hertz: 50Hz
Special adaptors are required for visitors from Europe and USA.

Weather
London's climate is among the mildest in England, with damp but mild winters and moderate summers. Yet London's weather is nothing if not fickle - expect clouds and rain even in high summer.
Temperatures in July and August average around 18°C(64°F) but can occasionally soar to 30°C (85°F)or more.
In spring and autumn temperatures average 11-15°C(50-58°F).
In winter they hover just below 6°C (42°F); it very rarely freezes in London. That may seem mild, but the dampness can often make it feel two or three times as cold.

Events
There are countless festivals and events in London. It all kicks off with the New Year's Eve fireworks and street party in Trafalgar Square, followed by the New Year's Day Parade. On Shrove Tuesday pancake races are held in Covent Garden, and in early May more serious racers take part in the London Marathon.

All London gets its colours on for the FA Cup Final in mid-May. There's even more colour at the Chelsea Flower Show, held in the last week of May.

Trooping the Colour, the Queen's birthday parade, is held in June; Wimbledon runs for two weeks in the same month and London Pride, Europe's biggest gay and lesbian festival, also hits the streets. In July the world's biggest military tattoo, the Royal Tournament, is held in Earl's Court, and the raucous Notting Hill Carnival takes over the streets in August.

Horsy folks can't resist late-September's Horseman's Sunday in Hyde Park, with more than 100 horses receiving the blessing from a vicar on horseback, followed by show jumping in Kensington Gardens.

Things wind down as the weather gets colder, though there are plenty of bonfires on Guy Fawkes Night, on the 5th of November. The Lord Mayor's Show is held in late November, complete with floats, bands and fireworks. Trafalgar Square lights up in December with the Lighting of the Christmas Tree.