The capital of the United Kingdom and its largest city, London is one of the world’s most-visited places by both tourists and business travelers. The city has a long and rich history dating back to the ancient Romans and is at the same time a modern metropolis bustling with people and activity. One of the world’s most important financial hubs, London is also a center for art, culture, and cuisine.
Flights to London from abroad arrive at one of the city’s six international airports. London Heathrow Airport (LHR) is the largest and busiest of London’s six airports. Serving more than 75 million passengers each year, London Heathrow is also the second-busiest airport in the world. Located in the West London district of Hillingdon, London Heathrow is located about 16 miles from the city center. It is the hub for the United Kingdom’s flag carrier, British Airways. Most first class flights to London and business class flights to London fly into London Heathrow.
Passengers arriving on flights to London that land at Heathrow have a few options for transportation into the city. The airport is a stop on the high speed Elizabeth Line train service. The London Underground and Piccadilly Line subway systems also serve the airport.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW) is the second-busiest after London Heathrow. Located in West Sussex, it is about 30 miles from the city center and therefore not as convenient for travelers whose final destination is central London. However, passengers who are traveling on a budget may find that more cheap flights to London are available when flying into London Gatwick.
London’s other international airports include London City Airport (LCY), which is the most convenient to the city. Located in East London, this airport is often used by business travelers who need to get into and out of the city quickly. Luton Airport (LTN), which is located in Bedfordshire, is also popular with travelers who want to book cheap flights to London as it serves several low-cost airlines such as Easy Jet and Wizz Air. London Stansted Airport (STN), located in Stansted, Essex, is another good alternative for travelers looking to book cheap flights to London as it is the hub for the Irish low cost carrier RyanAir. Also located in Essex, London Southend Airport (SEN) is often much less busy than the city’s other airport options. Although London Southend is an hour from central London by train, many travelers prefer it because there are fewer crowds and shorter lines.
Although London is home to a diverse economy made up of many types of companies, the city is perhaps most well-known as a financial hub. London’s financial industry is largely based in the city center and Canary Wharf districts. These neighborhoods are home to the offices of the Bank of England, Llyod’s of London, and the London Stock Exchange, as well as the United Kingdom offices of nearly 500 international financial institutions. Many of the business travelers who book flights to London work in the financial industry.
London is also a popular tourist destination. More than 65 million tourists book flights to London each year. Among the city’s most popular attractions is the British Museum, which is dedicated to the study of human history and is one of the largest museums of its kind in the world. Nearly 7 million people visit the British Museum each year.
Located in Trafalgar Square, London’s National Gallery art museum is also one of the city’s most visited attractions. Home to more than 2,000 paintings, the National Gallery was founded in the 1820s and sees nearly 6 million visitors each year. Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, van Eyck’s Arnolfini Portrait, and works by Leonardo, Monet, and plenty of other world-renown artists are just some of the highlights at the National Gallery.
Other popular tourist attractions in London include the Natural History Museum; the Tate Modern museum; the Victoria and Albert Museum; the Tower of London; the National Portrait Gallery; and the London Eye Ferris wheel.
Many notable people have lived in or were born in London. Among them are: American-born Continental Army officer Benedict Arnold; actor and comedian Sacha Baron Cohen; actor Benedict Cumberbatch; actor Hugh Grant; former British Prime Minister Tony Blair; actor Keira Knightley; actor Michael Caine; actor Emma Thompson; singer and songwriter Amy Winehouse; and singer and songwriter George Michael.