Moving to London
London is the capital city of the United Kingdom, and its largest city with a population of some eight million.
Moving to London from within Europe is usually by road and from further afield usually by sea, with more urgent items coming by air freight. Further details of the various shipping options can be viewed in our shipping guidance.
The Romans invaded Britain in 43 AD, and soon afterwards founded the city of Londinium. It is thought that the original city was small – about the size of Hyde Park! Eventually the city had a wall built around it for protection. The Romans left at the beginning of the fifth century and London was largely deserted.
Soon after the Norman Conquest in 1066 William the Conqueror built a stronghold to guard the London – the Tower of London. Medieval London became the centre of trade and of government, though most of London as we know it today was still fields. Much of the old city was burned down in 1666.
As Britain’s trade, wealth and power increased in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries London became the world’s leading city. The population grew and grew and the the city spread outwards. Between 1919 and 1939 it doubled in size. Today London is the seat of power in the United Kingdom, home to the Houses of Parliament and the head of state, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, who has residences at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle.
London has a diverse mixture of people, places and cultures, and is one of the most cosmopolitan and exciting cities in the world. In 2015 it was the the most visited city in the world and in 2016 it topped the list of the world’s top city destinations.
London contains the ten most visited attractions in the UK: the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Natural History Museum, the Southbank Centre, Tate Modern the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum, Somerset House, the Tower of London and the National Portrait Gallery.
Notable buildings include St Paul’s Cathedral, the Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey, City Hall, the Gherkin, Canary Wharf, the South Bank and the O2 stadium, the world’s most popular music venue.
Amenities and Entertainment
London has the biggest theatre audience of any city in the world, is home to many concert halls and orchestras, and has two major opera houses and numerous venues for rock and pop concerts. There are parks and open spaces, and many famous sporting venues, including Wimbledon, Wembley Stadium, and Twickenham, the home of rugby union. London has fourteen football league clubs with five playing in the Premiership.
For shopaholics, London is one of the world’s premier shopping destinations. It has everything, from luxury shops like Harrods, Fortnum and Masons and Selfridges to quirky retail outlets like Dover Street market and big shopping centres like Westfield.
There is no excuse to go hungry or thirsty in London. The city’s cosmopolitan make-up means it offers a diverse range of food and drink. There is somewhere to suit everyone, from traditional afternoon teas, fish and chip shops and humble street food to Michelin-starred restaurants, and restaurants serving cuisine from around the globe. There are beer gardens, rooftop bars, cocktail bars and of course the traditional London pub.
- Within London there is an extensive overground and underground railway system. The London Underground is the oldest metro system in the world, with 270 station with over a billion journeys made on it every year. London is the centre of the National Rail network, with 70% of all rail journeys starting or ending in London.
- London has 8,500 iconic red buses and a modern tram network. The M25 orbital motorway that circles London is intersected by many major motorways and busy radial routes linking it with the rest of mainland Britain.
- London has five international airports: Heathrow – the busiest international airport in the world – Gatwick, London Stansted, London Luton and London City.