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London

London is an enormous city. It is divided into thirty-two boroughs, although information on this page is divided between districts, inner boroughs and outer boroughs of the city . These district and borough articles contain sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — consider printing them all.

Noisy, vibrant and truly multicultural, London is a megalopolis of people, ideas and frenetic energy. The capital and largest city of both the United Kingdom and of England, it is also the largest city in Western Europe and the European Union. Situated on the River Thames in South-East England, Greater London has an official population of a little over 8 million — although the figure of 14 million for the city's metropolitan area more accurately reflects its size and importance. Considered one of two of the world's leading "global cities", London remains an international capital of culture, music, education, fashion, politics, finance and trade.

Tower Bridge at night, bridging the River Thames.

Districts

The name London originally referred only to the once-walled "Square Mile" of the original Roman (and later medieval) city (confusingly called the "City of London" or just "The City") Today, London has taken on a much larger meaning to include all of the vast central parts of the modern metropolis, with the city having absorbed numerous surrounding towns and villages over the centuries, including large portions of the surrounding "home counties", one of which - Middlesex - being completely consumed by the growing metropolis. The term Greater London embraces Central London together with all the outlying suburbs that lie in one continuous urban sprawl within the lower Thames valley. Though densely populated by New World standards, London retains large swathes of green parkland and open space, even within the city centre.

Greater London consists of 32 London boroughs and the City of London that, together with the office of the Mayor of London, form the basis for London's local government. The Mayor of London is elected by London residents and should not be confused with the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The names of several boroughs, such as Westminster or Camden, are well-known, others less so, such as Wandsworth or Lewisham. This traveller's guide to London recognises cultural, functional and social districts of varying type and size:

Central London

Central London and inner boroughs.

  Bloomsbury 
Vibrant historic district made famous by a group of turn-of-the-century writers (see Literary London) [1] and for being the location of the British Museum, the University of London and numerous historic homes, parks, and buildings. Part of the Borough of Camden.
  City of London 
The City is where London originally developed within the Roman city walls and is a city in its own right, separate from the rest of London. It is now the most important financial centre in the world, but an area where modern skyscrapers stand next to medieval churches on ancient street layouts.
  Covent Garden 
One of the main shopping and entertainment districts. Incorporates some of London's theatreland. Part of the City of Westminster and Borough of Camden.
  Holborn-Clerkenwell 
Buffer zone between London's West End and the City of London financial district, home to the Inns of Court
  Leicester Square 
West End district comprising Leicester Square, Chinatown, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus and the centre of London's cinema and theatre land
  Mayfair-Marylebone 
Some extremely well-heeled districts of west central London and most of the city's premier shopping street
  Notting Hill-North Kensington 
Lively market, interesting history, the world famous carnival and diverse population
  Paddington-Maida Vale 
Largely residential district of northwest central London with lots of mid-range accommodation
  Soho 
Dense concentration of highly fashionable restaurants, cafés, clubs and jazz bars, as well as London's gay village
  South Bank 
South side of the river Thames with good views of the city, several theatres and the London Eye
  South Kensington-Chelsea 
An extremely well-heeled inner London district with famous department stores, Hyde Park, many museums and the King's Road
  Westminster 
A city in its own right, the seat of government and an almost endless list of historical and cultural sights, such as Buckingham Palace, The Palace of Westminster and Westminster Abbey

Inner boroughs

  Camden 
a diverse area of inner north London which includes eclectic Camden Town
  East End 
a traditional working class heartland of inner London to the east of The City made famous by countless movies and TV shows, and home to trendy bars, art galleries and parks, especially in the Shoreditch, Hoxton, Old Street area. Now redeveloped and world famous as the setting for London 2012 Olympic Games.
  Greenwich 
on the pretty southern banks of the Thames, home of the Greenwich Meridian, Observatory and the National Maritime Museum
  Hackney 
Hackney has risen the ranks and become fashionable in recent decades and is home to a thriving arts scene as well as many trendy, cafés bars and pubs.
  Hammersmith and Fulham 
Borough in west London with a diverse population and the home of the BBC, plus a hotbed for professional football
  Hampstead 
Bohemian and literary north London and the wonderful open spaces of Hampstead Heath
  Islington 
Area to the north of Clerkenwell which has undergone huge gentrification since 1990
  Lambeth 
a diverse Caribbean-flavoured district to the south of the Thames which includes the buzzing, bright-lights of Brixton
  Southwark-Lewisham 
inner southern districts of London, traditionally residential, with a large melting pot of communities. The area retains some leftfield, quirky attractions. You can just about find a resturant from any ethnic group in the world too
  Wandsworth 
grand Thames-side areas and open green parks in the north and dense housing in south

Outer boroughs

  West 
Taking in much of the ancient English county of Middlesex (which many residents still identify with rather than "London") and former parts of Buckinghamshire. Heathrow Airport is located in this part of the city.
  North 
Largely made up of lush green upper middle-class/bourgeois suburbs, many of which were formerly part of the counties of Middlesex, Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire before being absorbed into Greater London.
  East 
Mostly originally part of the county of Essex, taking in former industrial areas on the upper Thames Estuary such as Beckton, Dagenham and Barking. To the North East lies the gateway to the affluent Epping Forest area
  South 
Containing many commuter suburbs as well as densely packed housing, as well as the well known urban centres of Kingston-upon-Thames and Croydon
  Richmond-Kew 
Leafy Thames-side scenery, Hampton Court Palace, the botanical gardens and some major parklands
  Wimbledon 
The annual tennis championships

 

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