London is the capital of England, and has something to offer everyone - majestic stately houses, tranquil green parks and a zoo, engrossing museums and art galleries and bustling shopping centres with all the major stores, specialist shops and markets.
The Royal Family have their main residence in London, at Buckingham Palace , but there are many other interesting houses to visit within London with Royal connections - Hampton Court Palace , The Tower of London , and Regents Park, an ancient Royal hunting park.
London has a strong maritime tradition, and the docklands on the Thames are undergoing a transformation from empty warehouses to smart city offices and homes. You can learn all about London's Naval history at The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and aboard the Cutty Sark and HMS Belfast . Greenwich is also home to the Old Royal Observatory, which lies on the meridian line that divides the world into East and West, and where Greenwich Mean Time originates.
The city is divided by the river Thames, which meanders through central London, splitting 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.
There are interesting inner-city suburbs in North London, including Islington and Camden Town. South London includes a mess of poor, dirty, graffiti-ridden suburbs, such as Brixton, which have vibrant subcultures of their own and are in many ways where the real vitality of London lies. Accommodation for holidays here is generally very expensive but it still atrracts tourists of all nationalities and status.