Life in London
London is the capital city of England in the United Kingdom, it has the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union. Located in the South East of England with the River Thames running through it. London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its founding by the Romans, who called it Londinium. London’s ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its square-mile medieval boundaries. London and the Greater London administrative area are governed by the elected Mayor of London and the London Assembly, each borough has its own Local Authority/Council.
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 prominence. It is the world’s leading financial centre alongside New York City and has the fifth-largest city GDP in the world (and the largest in Europe). London has been described as a world cultural capital. It has the third most international visitors in the world and London Heathrow is the world’s busiest airport by number of international passengers, London’s 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. 2012 saw London become the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times. 2012 saw the United Kingdom and London in particular celebrate the Queens Diamond Jubilee with magnificent event throughout the year.
London has a diverse range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries. In July 2010 Greater London had an official population of 7,825,200, while London’s metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with an estimated total population of between 12 million and 14 million people.
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 of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory marks the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and GMT). Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square and Wembley Stadium. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, British Library, Wimbledon and 40 theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.
London’s universities see over 300,000 students a year walk through their doors, including 58,000 students from overseas. The schools are prepared to deal with this type of diversity, and all their students are provided with the educational opportunities they need to thrive and grow in a diverse environment. Class formats often encourage a great deal of independent effort and allow students the opportunity for many discussion and seminar-based classes. These seminars foster student interaction. This helps students to develop cultural sensitivity and understanding while learning about their field, as they are encouraged to explore rather than ignore their different perspectives.
London is also the principal business centre for Europe and provides the best opportunities for those wishing to become involved in international business. It is the world’s financial capital. Currently 13,510 overseas companies from 92 countries are based in London. The city is also home to over 100 of Europe’s 500 largest companies. With unrestricted access to almost 375 million European Union consumers, it is not hard to see why so many people are attracted to the city. Those wishing to explore the world of international business need look no further than London’s intense, international business scene.
London also provides superb cultural exposure. The variety of arts, theatre, performances, and other cultural venues available in London is incredible, and almost all of them provide student rates. London has some of the best museums, historical attractions, and buildings in the world, and these places capitalize on the city’s turbulent and varied history. From the violent past of the Tower of London to the stately grandeur of British Museum exhibits, London has much to offer.
Transport for London Oyster card application: www.tfl.gov.uk/photocard