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About London


London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is the most populous city in the United Kingdom, with anurban area of over 9 million inhabitants. Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) mediaeval boundaries and in 2011 had a resident population of 7,375, making it the smallest city in England. Since at least the 19th century, the term London has also referred to the metropolis developed around this core. The bulk of this conurbation forms the Greater London administrative area (coterminous with the Londonregion), governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport all contributing to its preeminence. It is one of the world's leading financial centres and has the fifth-or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world depending on measurement. London is a world cultural capital. It is the world's most-visited city as measured by international arrivals and has the world's largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic. London's 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times.

London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken within Greater London.The region had an official population of 8,416,535 in 2013, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union, and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population. London's urban area is the second-largest in the EUwith a population of 9,787,426 according to the 2011 census. London's metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with a total population of 13,614,409, while the Greater London Authority puts the population of London metropolitan region at 21 million. London was the world's most populous city from around 1831 to 1925.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement ofGreenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other famous landmarks includeBuckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery,Tate Modern, British Library and 40 West End theatres.The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.


London from a hot air balloon.jpg
Buckingham Palace from gardens, London, UK - Diliff.jpg
Palace of Westminster, London - Feb 2007.jpg



From top: The Shard and the City of London skyline,Buckingham Palace, and the Palace of Westminster


The name London may derive from the River Thames


The etymology of London is uncertain. It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century. It is recorded c. 121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin. The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud.

From 1898, it was commonly accepted that the name was of Celticorigin and meant place belonging to a man called *Londinos; this explanation has since been rejected.  Richard Coates put forward an explanation in 1998 that it is derived from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonida, meaning 'river too wide to ford', and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name,*Lowonidonjon; this requires quite a serious amendment however. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin formLondinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand a form *(h)lōndinion (as opposed to *londīnion), from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a later date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name.

Until 1889, the name "London" officially only applied to the City of London but since then it has also referred to the County of London and now Greater London.


With increasing industrialisation, London's population grew rapidly throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries, and it was for some time in the late 19th and early 20th centuries the most populous city in the world until overtaken by New York City in 1925. Its population peaked at 8,615,245 in 1939 immediately before the outbreak of the Second World War, but had declined to 7,192,091 at the 2001 Census. However, the population then grew by just over a million between the 2001 and 2011 Censuses, to reach 8,173,941 in the latter enumeration.

However, London's continuous urban area extends beyond the borders of Greater London and was home to 9,787,426 people in 2011, while its wider metropolitan area has a population of between 12 and 14 million depending on the definition used. According to Eurostat, London is the most populous city and metropolitan area of the European Union and the second most populous in Europe (or third if Istanbul is included). During the period 1991–2001 a net 726,000 immigrants arrived in London. 

The region covers an area of 1,579 square kilometres (610 sq mi). The population density is 5,177 inhabitants per square kilometre (13,410/sq mi),more than ten times that of any other British region.  In terms of population, London is the 19th largest cityand the 18th largest metropolitan region in the world. As of 2014, London has the largest number of billionaires (British Pound Sterling) in the world, with 72 residing in the city. London ranks as one of the most expensive cities in the world, alongside Tokyo and Moscow





According to the 2011 Census, the largest religious groupings areChristians (48.4 per cent), followed by those of no religion (20.7 per cent),Muslims (12.4 per cent), no response (8.5 per cent), Hindus (5.0 per cent),Jews (1.8 per cent), Sikhs (1.5 per cent), Buddhists (1.0 per cent) and other (0.6 per cent).

London has traditionally been Christian, and has a large number of churches, particularly in the City of London. The well-known St Paul's Cathedral in the City and Southwark Cathedral south of the river areAnglican administrative centres, while the Archbishop of Canterbury, principal bishop of the Church of England and worldwide Anglican Communion, has his main residence at Lambeth Palace in the London Borough of Lambeth.

Important national and royal ceremonies are shared between St Paul's and Westminster Abbey. The Abbey is not to be confused with nearby Westminster Cathedral, which is the largest Roman Catholic cathedral in England and Wales.Despite the prevalence of Anglican churches, observance is very low within the Anglican denomination. Church attendance continues on a long, slow, steady decline, according to Church of England statistics.

London is also home to sizeable Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, and Jewish communities. Notable mosques include the East London Mosque in Tower Hamlets, the first mosques in the European Union to be permitted to broadcast the adhan,London Central Mosque on the edge of Regent's Park and the Baitul Futuh Mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Following the oil boom, increasing numbers of wealthy Middle-Eastern Muslims have based themselves around Mayfair and Knightsbridge in west London and there are large Muslim communities in the eastern boroughs of Tower Hamlets and Newham.  Large Hindu communities are in the north-western boroughs of Harrowand Brent, the latter of which is home to Europe's largest Hindu temple, Neasden Temple.  London is also home to 42 Hindu temples. There are Sikh communities in East and West London, particularly in Southall, home to one of the largest Sikh populations and the largest Sikh temple outside India




London is a popular centre for tourism, one of its prime industries, employing the equivalent of 350,000 full-time workers in 2003, while annual expenditure by tourists is around £15 billion. London attracts over 14 million international visitors per year, making it Europe's most visited city. London attracts 27 million overnight-stay visitors every year. In 2010 the ten most-visited attractions in London were


  • British Museum
  • Tate Modern
  • National Gallery
  • Natural History Museum
  • Imperial War Museum
  • Science Museum
  • Victoria and Albert Museum
  • Madame Tussauds
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Tower of London


  • Transport is one of the four main areas of policy administered by the Mayor of London,  however the mayor's financial control does not extend to the longer distance rail network that enters London. In 2007 he assumed responsibility for some local lines, which now form the London Overground network, adding to the existing responsibility for the London Underground, trams and buses. The public transport network is administered by Transport for London (TfL) and is one of the most extensive in the world. Cycling is an increasingly popular way to get around London. The London Cycling Campaign lobbies for better provision.

    The lines that formed the London Underground, as well as trams and buses, became part of an integrated transport system in 1933 when the London Passenger Transport Board (LPTB) or London Transport was created. Transport for London(TfL), is now the statutory corporation responsible for most aspects of the transport system in Greater London, and is run by a board and a commissioner appointed by the Mayor of London.


    A black London taxi, also known as a hackney carriage.

    The London Underground is the world's oldest and second-longestrapid transit system


    Tertiary education


    King's College London, established by Royal Charter having been founded by King George IV and Duke of Wellington in 1829, is one of the founding colleges of the University of London.

    The Wilkins Building at University College London

    London is a major centre of higher education teaching and research and its 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe. In 2008/09 it had a higher education student population of around 412,000 (approximately 17 per cent of the UK total), of whom around 287,000 were registered for undergraduate degrees and 118,000 were studying at postgraduate level. In 2008/09 there were around 97,150 international students in London, approximately 25 per cent of all international students in the UK.

    A number of world-leading education institutions are based in London. In the 2014QS World University RankingsImperial College London is ranked joint 2nd in the world (alongside The University of Cambridge), University College London (UCL) is ranked 5th, and King's College London (KCL) is ranked 16th. The London School of Economics has been described as the world's leading social science institution for both teaching and research. The London Business School is considered one of the world's leading business schools and in 2010 its MBA programme was ranked best in the world by the Financial Times.

    With 120,000 students in London, the federal University of London is one of the largest contact teaching universities in Europe. It includes four large multi-faculty universities – King's College London, Queen Mary, Royal Holloway andUCL – and a number of smaller and more specialised institutions including Birkbeck, the Courtauld Institute of Art, Goldsmiths, Guildhall School of Music and Drama, theInstitute of Education, the London Business School, the London School of Economics, the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, the Royal Academy of Music, the Central School of Speech and Drama, the Royal Veterinary Collegeand the School of Oriental and African Studies.  Members of the University of London have their own admissions procedures, and some award their own degrees.

    There are a number of universities in London which are outside of the University of London system, including Brunel UniversityCity University LondonImperial College LondonKingston UniversityLondon Metropolitan UniversityMiddlesex University,University of East LondonUniversity of West London and University of Westminster, (with over 34,000 students, the largest unitary university in London), London South Bank UniversityMiddlesex UniversityUniversity of the Arts London (the largest university of art, design, fashion, communication and the performing arts in Europe), University of East London, the University of West London and the University of Westminster. In addition there are three international universities in London – Regent's College, Richmond University and Schiller International University.


    The front façade of the Royal College of Music

    London is home to five major medical schools – Barts and The London School of Medicine and Dentistry (part of Queen Mary), King's College London School of Medicine (the largest medical school in Europe), Imperial College School of Medicine, UCL Medical School and St George's, University of London – and has a large number of affiliated teaching hospitals. It is also a major centre for biomedical research, and three of the UK's five academic health science centres are based in the city – Imperial College Healthcare, King's Health Partners and UCL Partners (the largest such centre in Europe).

    There are a number of business schools in London, including Cass Business School(part of City University London), Hult International Business School, ESCP Europe,European Business School London, Imperial College Business School and the London Business School. London is also home to many specialist arts education institutions, including the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts, the London Contemporary Dance School, RADA, the Royal College of Art, the Royal College of Music and Trinity Laban.

    Primary and secondary education


    The majority of primary and secondary schools and further education colleges in London are controlled by the London boroughs or otherwise state-funded; leading examples include City and Islington CollegeEaling, Hammersmith and West London CollegeLeyton Sixth Form CollegeTower Hamlets College and Bethnal Green Academy. There are also a number of private schools and colleges in London, some old and famous, such as City of London SchoolHarrowSt Paul's School,University College School, Highgate School and Westminster School.


    Leisure and entertainment

    Within the City of Westminster, the entertainment district of the West End has its focus around Leicester Square, where London and world film premieres are held, and Piccadilly Circus, with its giant electronic advertisements. London's theatredistrict is here, as are many cinemas, bars, clubs and restaurants, including the city's Chinatown district (in Soho), and just to the east is Covent Garden, an area housing speciality shops. The city is the home of Andrew Lloyd Webber, whose musicals have dominated the West End theatre since the late 20th century. The United Kingdom's Royal Ballet, English National Ballet, Royal Opera and English National Opera are based in London and perform at the Royal Opera House, the London ColiseumSadler's Wells Theatre and the Royal Albert Hall as well
    as touring the country.





    Piccadilly Circus


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