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For other uses, see London (disambiguation).
London
From upper left: City of London (2008), Tower Bridge and London Eye, Palace of Westminster


From upper left: City of London (2008), Tower Bridge and London Eye, Palace of Westminster
Nickname(s): The (Big) Smoke, The Great Wen
London region shown within the United Kingdom


London region shown within the United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°7′39″W / 51.50722°N 0.12750°W / 51.50722; -0.12750Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°7′39″W / 51.50722°N 0.12750°W / 51.50722; -0.12750
Sovereign state United Kingdom
Country England
RegionLondon
Administrative areaGreater London
Ceremonial countiesCity and Greater London
DistrictsCity and 32 boroughs
Settled by Romansas Londinium, c. 43 AD
Government
 • Regional authorityGreater London Authority
 • Regional assemblyLondon Assembly
 • MayorBoris Johnson
 • UK Parliament74 constituencies
 • London Assembly

 • European Parliament
14 constituencies


London constituency
Area
 • City1,572.00 km2 (606.95 sq mi)
 • Urban1,737.9 km2 (671.0 sq mi)
 • Metro8,382.00 km2 (3,236.31 sq mi)
Elevation24 m (79 ft)
Population (2013)
 • City8,416,535
 • Density5,354/km2 (13,870/sq mi)
 • Urban9,787,426
 • Urban zone11,905,500
 • Metro15,010,295
DemonymLondoner
Time zoneGMT (UTC)
 • Summer (DST)BST (UTC+1)
Postcode areasE, EC, N, NW, SE, SW, W, WC, BR, CM, CR, DA, EN, HA, IG, KT, RM, SM, TN, TW, UB, WD
Area code(s)020, 01322, 01689, 01708, 01737, 01895, 01923, 01959, 01992
GeoTLD.london
Websitelondon.gov.uk
London Listeni/ˈlʌndən/ is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom. It is the most populous region, urban zone and metropolitan area in the United Kingdom. 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 London region and the Greater London administrative area,[note 1] 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 prominence. 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.[note 2] 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 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 its boundaries. London had an official population of 8,308,369 in 2012, making it the most populous municipality in the European Union, and accounting for 12.5% of the UK population. The Greater London Urban Area is the second-largest in the EU with a population of 9,787,426 according to the 2011 census. The London metropolitan area is the largest in the EU with a total population of 13,614,409,[note 3] while the Greater London Authority puts the population of London metropolitan region at 21 million. London had the largest population of any city in the world 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 of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich 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 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.

Contents

                    History

                    Main article: History of London
                    See also: Timeline of London

                    Toponymy

                    Main article: Etymology of London



                    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 Celtic origin 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 form Londinium 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.

                    Prehistory and antiquity

                    Two recent discoveries indicate probable very early settlements near the Thames in the London area. In 1999, the remains of a Bronze Age bridge were found on the foreshore north of Vauxhall Bridge. This bridge either crossed the Thames, or went to a (lost) island in the river. Dendrology dated the timbers to 1500BC. In 2010 the foundations of a large timber structure, dated to 4500BC, were found on the Thames foreshore, south of Vauxhall Bridge. The function of the mesolithic structure is not known. Both structures are on South Bank, at a natural crossing point where the River Effra flows into the River Thames.



                    In 1300, the City was still confined within the Roman walls.
                    Although there is evidence of scattered Brythonic settlements in the area, the first major settlement was founded by the Romans in 43 AD. This lasted for just seventeen years and around 61, the Iceni tribe led by Queen Boudica stormed it, burning it to the ground. The next, heavily planned, incarnation of Londinium prospered and superseded Colchester as the capital of the Roman province of Britannia in 100. At its height during the 2nd century, Roman London had a population of around 60,000.

                    Anglo-Saxon London




                    The Lancastrian siege of London in 1471 is attacked by a Yorkist sally.
                    With the collapse of Roman rule in the early 5th century, London ceased to be a capital and the walled city of Londinium was effectively abandoned, although Roman civilisation hung on in the St Martin-in-the-Fields area until around 450. From around 500, an Anglo-Saxon settlement known as Lundenwic developed in the same area, slightly to the west of the old Roman city. By about 680, it had revived sufficiently to become a major port, although there is little evidence of large-scale production of goods. From the 820s the town declined because of repeated Viking attacks, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle recorded that it was "refounded" by Alfred the Great in 886. Archaeological research shows that this involved abandonment of Lundenwic and a revival of life and trade within the old Roman walls. London then grew slowly until about 950, after which activity increased dramatically.

                    By the 11th century, London was beyond all comparison the largest town in England. Westminster Abbey, rebuilt in the Romanesque style by King Edward the Confessor, was one of the grandest churches in Europe. Winchester had previously been the capital of Anglo-Saxon England, but from this time on, London became the main forum for foreign traders and the base for defence in time of war. In the view of Frank Stenton: "It had the resources, and it was rapidly developing the dignity and the political self-consciousness appropriate to a national capital."

                    Middle Ages




                    Westminster Abbey, as seen in this painting (Canaletto, 1749), is a World Heritage Site and one of London's oldest and most important buildings
                    Following his victory in the Battle of Hastings, William, Duke of Normandy, was crowned King of England in the newly finished Westminster Abbey on Christmas Day 1066. William constructed the Tower of London, the first of the many Norman castles in England to be rebuilt in stone, in the southeastern corner of the city, to intimidate the native inhabitants. In 1097, William II began the building of Westminster Hall, close by the abbey of the same name. The hall became the basis of a new Palace of Westminster.

                    During the 12th century, the institutions of central government, which had hitherto accompanied the royal English court as it moved around the country, grew in size and sophistication and became increasingly fixed in one place. In most cases this was Westminster, although the royal treasury, having been moved from Winchester, came to rest in the Tower. While the City of Westminster developed into a true capital in governmental terms, its distinct neighbour, the City of London, remained England's largest city and principal commercial centre, and it flourished under its own unique administration, the Corporation of London. In 1100, its population was around 18,000; by 1300 it had grown to nearly 100,000.

                    Disaster struck during the Black Death in the mid-14th century, when London lost nearly a third of its population. London was the focus of the Peasants' Revolt in 1381.

                    Early modern




                    The Great Fire of London destroyed many parts of the city in 1666.



                    London in 1806
                    During the Tudor period the Reformation produced a gradual shift to Protestantism, with much of London passing from church to private ownership. The traffic in woollen cloths shipped undyed and undressed from London to the nearby shores of the Low Countries where it was considered indispensable. But the tentacles of English maritime enterprise hardly extended beyond the seas of north-west Europe. The commercial route to Italy and the Mediterranean Sea normally lay through Antwerp and over the Alps; any ships passing through the Strait of Gibraltar to or from England were likely to be Italian or Ragusan. Upon the re-opening of the Netherlands to English shipping in January 1565 there at once ensued a strong outburst of commercial activity. The Royal Exchange was founded. Mercantilism grew and monopoly trading companies such as the East India Company were established, with trade expanding to the New World. London became the principal North Sea port, with migrants arriving from England and abroad. The population rose from an estimated 50,000 in 1530 to about 225,000 in 1605.

                    In the 16th century William Shakespeare and his contemporaries lived in London at a time of hostility to the development of the theatre. By the end of the Tudor period in 1603, London was still very compact. There was an assassination attempt on James I in Westminster, through the Gunpowder Plot on 5 November 1605. London was plagued by disease in the early 17th century, culminating in the Great Plague of 1665–1666, which killed up to 100,000 people, or a fifth of the population.

                    The Great Fire of London broke out in 1666 in Pudding Lane in the city and quickly swept through the wooden buildings. Rebuilding took over ten years and was supervised by Robert Hooke as Surveyor of London. In 1708 Christopher Wren's masterpiece, St Paul's Cathedral was completed. During the Georgian era new districts such as Mayfair were formed in the west; and new bridges over the Thames encouraged development in South London. In the east, the Port of London expanded downstream.

                    In 1762, George III acquired Buckingham House and it was enlarged over the next 75 years. During the 18th century, London was dogged by crime and the Bow Street Runners were established in 1750 as a professional police force. In total, more than 200 offences were punishable by death, including petty theft. Most children born in the city died before reaching their third birthday. The coffeehouse became a popular place to debate ideas, with growing literacy and the development of the printing press making news widely available; and Fleet Street became the centre of the British press.

                    According to Samuel Johnson:


                    You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
                    —Samuel Johnson, 1777

                    Late modern and contemporary




                    British volunteer recruits in London, August 1914



                    A bombed-out London street during the Blitz of the Second World War
                    London was the world's largest city from about 1831 to 1925. London's overcrowded conditions led to cholera epidemics, claiming 14,000 lives in 1848, and 6,000 in 1866. Rising traffic congestion led to the creation of the world's first local urban rail network. The Metropolitan Board of Works oversaw infrastructure expansion in the capital and some of the surrounding counties; it was abolished in 1889 when the London County Council was created out of those areas of the counties surrounding the capital. London was bombed by the Germans during the First World War while during the Second World War the Blitz and other bombing by the German Luftwaffe killed over 30,000 Londoners and destroyed large tracts of housing and other buildings across the city. Immediately after the war, the 1948 Summer Olympics were held at the original Wembley Stadium, at a time when London had barely recovered from the war.

                    In 1951, the Festival of Britain was held on the South Bank. The Great Smog of 1952 led to the Clean Air Act 1956, which ended the "pea soup fogs" for which London had been notorious. From the 1940s onwards, London became home to a large number of immigrants, largely from Commonwealth countries such as Jamaica, India, Bangladesh and Pakistan, making London one of the most diverse cities in Europe.

                    Primarily starting in the mid-1960s, London became a centre for the worldwide youth culture, exemplified by the Swinging London subculture associated with the King's Road, Chelsea and Carnaby Street. The role of trendsetter was revived during the punk era. In 1965 London's political boundaries were expanded to take into account the growth of the urban area and a new Greater London Council was created. During The Troubles in Northern Ireland, London was subjected to bombing attacks by the Provisional IRA. Racial inequality was highlighted by the 1981 Brixton riot. Greater London's population declined steadily in the decades after the Second World War, from an estimated peak of 8.6 million in 1939 to around 6.8 million in the 1980s. The principal ports for London moved downstream to Felixstowe and Tilbury, with the London Docklands area becoming a focus for regeneration as the Canary Wharf development. This was borne out of London's ever-increasing role as a major international financial centre during the 1980s.

                    The Thames Barrier was completed in the 1980s to protect London against tidal surges from the North Sea. The Greater London Council was abolished in 1986, which left London as the only large metropolis in the world without a central administration. In 2000, London-wide government was restored, with the creation of the Greater London Authority. To celebrate the start of the 21st century, the Millennium Dome, London Eye and Millennium Bridge were constructed. On 6 July 2005 London was awarded the 2012 Summer Olympics, making London the first city to stage the Olympic Games three times.

                    Government

                    London
                    CityHallLondon2007.JPG
                    This article is part of a series on the


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                      Elizabeth II

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                      Mayor: Boris Johnson

                      Deputy: Victoria Borwick

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                    • Boroughs
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                    Local government

                    Main articles: Local government in London, History of local government in London and List of heads of London government
                    The administration of London is formed of two tiers—a city-wide, strategic tier and a local tier. City-wide administration is coordinated by the Greater London Authority (GLA), while local administration is carried out by 33 smaller authorities. The GLA consists of two elected components; the Mayor of London, who has executive powers, and the London Assembly, who scrutinise the mayor's decisions and can accept or reject his budget proposals each year. The headquarters of the GLA is City Hall, Southwark; the mayor is Boris Johnson. The mayor's statutory planning strategy is published as the London Plan, which was most recently revised in 2011. The local authorities are the councils of the 32 London boroughs and the City of London Corporation. They are responsible for most local services, such as local planning, schools, social services, local roads and refuse collection. Certain functions, such as waste management, are provided through joint arrangements. In 2009–2010 the combined revenue expenditure by London councils and the GLA amounted to just over £22 billion (£14.7 billion for the boroughs and £7.4 billion for the GLA).

                    Policing in Greater London, with the exception of the City of London, is provided by the Metropolitan Police Force, overseen by the Mayor through the Mayor's Office for Policing and Crime (MOPAC). The City of London has its own police force – the City of London Police. The British Transport Police are responsible for police services on National Rail and London Underground services.

                    The London Fire Brigade is the statutory fire and rescue service for Greater London. It is run by the London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority and is the third largest fire service in the world. National Health Service ambulance services are provided by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) NHS Trust, the largest free-at-the-point-of-use emergency ambulance service in the world. The London Air Ambulance charity operates in conjunction with the LAS where required. Her Majesty's Coastguard and the Royal National Lifeboat Institution operate on the River Thames, which is under the jurisdiction of the Port of London Authority from Teddington Lock to the sea.

                    National government

                    London is the seat of the Government of the United Kingdom. Many government departments are based close to the Palace of Westminster, particularly along Whitehall, including the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street. The British Parliament is often referred to as the "Mother of Parliaments" (although this sobriquet was first applied to England itself by John Bright) because it has been the model for most other parliamentary systems, and its Acts have created many other parliaments. There are 73 Members of Parliament (MPs) from London, who correspond to local parliamentary constituencies in the national Parliament. Of these, 38 are from the Labour Party, 28 are Conservatives, and 7 are Liberal Democrats.

                    Geography

                    Main article: Geography of London

                    Scope




                    Satellite view of inner London



                    Greater city of London and the south of England lit up at night and seen from the air
                    Greater London is the top-level administrative subdivision covering London. The small, ancient City of London at its core once contained the whole settlement, but as the urban area grew the City Corporation resisted attempts to amalgamate it with its suburbs, causing "London" to be defined in a number ways for different purposes; and the situation was once open to legal debate.[not in citation given] Forty per cent of Greater London is covered by the London post town, within which 'LONDON' forms part of postal addresses.

                    The London telephone area code (020) covers a larger area, similar in size to Greater London, although some outer districts are omitted and some places just outside are included. The area within the orbital M25 motorway is normally what is referred to as 'London'. and the Greater London boundary has been aligned to it in places.

                    Outward urban expansion is now prevented by the Metropolitan Green Belt, although the built-up area extends beyond the boundary in places, resulting in a separately defined Greater London Urban Area. Beyond this is the vast London commuter belt. Greater London is split for some purposes into Inner London and Outer London. The city is split by the River Thames into North and South, with an informal central London area in its interior. The coordinates of the nominal centre of London, traditionally considered to be the original Eleanor Cross at Charing Cross near the junction of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, are approximately 51°30′26″N 00°07′39″W / 51.50722°N 0.12750°W / 51.50722; -0.12750.

                    Status

                    Within London, both the City of London and the City of Westminster have city status and both the City of London and the remainder of Greater London are the ceremonial counties. The area of Greater London has incorporated areas that were once part of the historic counties of Middlesex, Kent, Surrey, Essex and Hertfordshire. London's status as the capital of England, and later the United Kingdom, has never been granted or confirmed officially—by statute or in written form.[note 4]

                    Its position was formed through constitutional convention, making its status as de facto capital a part of the UK's unwritten constitution. The capital of England was moved to London from Winchester as the Palace of Westminster developed in the 12th and 13th centuries to become the permanent location of the royal court, and thus the political capital of the nation. More recently, Greater London has been defined as a region of England and in this context is known as London.

                    Topography




                    Parliament Hill
                    Greater London encompasses a total area of 1,583 square kilometres (611 sq mi), an area which had a population of 7,172,036 in 2001 and a population density of 4,542 inhabitants per square kilometre (11,760 /sq mi). The extended area known as the London Metropolitan Region or the London Metropolitan Agglomeration, comprises a total area of 8,382 square kilometres (3,236 sq mi) has a population of 13,709,000 and a population density of 1,510 inhabitants per square kilometre (3,900 /sq mi). Modern London stands on the Thames, its primary geographical feature, a navigable river which crosses the city from the south-west to the east. The Thames Valley is a floodplain surrounded by gently rolling hills including Parliament Hill, Addington Hills, and Primrose Hill. The Thames was once a much broader, shallower river with extensive marshlands; at high tide, its shores reached five times their present width.

                    Since the Victorian era the Thames has been extensively embanked, and many of its London tributaries now flow underground. The Thames is a tidal river, and London is vulnerable to flooding. The threat has increased over time because of a slow but continuous rise in high water level by the slow 'tilting' of Britain (up in the north and down in the south) caused by post-glacial rebound.

                    In 1974, a decade of work began on the construction of the Thames Barrier across the Thames at Woolwich to deal with this threat. While the barrier is expected to function as designed until roughly 2070, concepts for its future enlargement or redesign are already being discussed.

                    Climate




                    Regent Street in the snow
                    London has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen: Cfb ), similar to much of southern Britain. Despite its reputation as being a rainy city, London receives less precipitation (with 601 mm (24 in) in a year), than Rome (at 834 mm (33 in)), Bordeaux (at 923 mm (36 in)), Toulouse (at 668 mm (26 in)), and Naples (at 1,006 mm (40 in) per year). Temperature extremes for all sites in the London area range from 38.1 °C (100.6 °F) at Kew during August 2003, (which has been proposed to be the UK's highest 'accurate' temperature) down to −16.1 °C (3.0 °F) at Northolt during January 1962. Temperatures of below −20 °C (−4.0 °F) have been noted prior to the 20th century, but the accuracy cannot be validated.

                    Summers are generally warm and sometimes hot, the heat being boosted by the urban heat island effect making the centre of London at times 5 °C (9 °F) warmer than the suburbs and outskirts. London's average July high is 24 °C (75.2 °F). During the 2003 European heat wave there were 14 consecutive days above 30 °C (86.0 °F) and 2 consecutive days where temperatures reached 38 °C (100.4 °F), leading to hundreds of heat related deaths. Rain generally occurs on around 2 out of 10 summer days. Spring and Autumn are mixed seasons and can be pleasant. On 1 October 2011, the air temperature attained 30 °C (86.0 °F) and in April 2011 it reached 28 °C (82.4 °F). However in recent years both of these months have also had snowfall.[citation needed] Temperature extremes range from −10 °C (14.0 °F) to 37.9 °C (100.2 °F).
                    Climate data for London (Greenwich)
                    MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
                    Record high °C (°F)14.0

                    (57.2)
                    19.7

                    (67.5)
                    21.0

                    (69.8)
                    26.9

                    (80.4)
                    31.0

                    (87.8)
                    35.0

                    (95)
                    35.5

                    (95.9)
                    37.5

                    (99.5)
                    30.0

                    (86)
                    28.8

                    (83.8)
                    19.9

                    (67.8)
                    15.0

                    (59)
                    37.5

                    (99.5)
                    Average high °C (°F)8.3

                    (46.9)
                    8.5

                    (47.3)
                    11.4

                    (52.5)
                    14.2

                    (57.6)
                    17.7

                    (63.9)
                    20.7

                    (69.3)
                    23.2

                    (73.8)
                    22.9

                    (73.2)
                    20.1

                    (68.2)
                    15.6

                    (60.1)
                    11.4

                    (52.5)
                    8.6

                    (47.5)
                    15.2

                    (59.4)
                    Average low °C (°F)2.6

                    (36.7)
                    2.4

                    (36.3)
                    4.1

                    (39.4)
                    5.4

                    (41.7)
                    8.4

                    (47.1)
                    11.5

                    (52.7)
                    13.9

                    (57)
                    13.7

                    (56.7)
                    11.2

                    (52.2)
                    8.3

                    (46.9)
                    5.1

                    (41.2)
                    2.8

                    (37)
                    7.5

                    (45.5)
                    Record low °C (°F)−10.0

                    (14)
                    −9.0

                    (15.8)
                    −8.0

                    (17.6)
                    −2.0

                    (28.4)
                    −1.0

                    (30.2)
                    5.0

                    (41)
                    7.0

                    (44.6)
                    6.0

                    (42.8)
                    3.0

                    (37.4)
                    −4.0

                    (24.8)
                    −5.0

                    (23)
                    −7.0

                    (19.4)
                    −10.0

                    (14)
                    Precipitation mm (inches)51.6

                    (2.031)
                    38.2

                    (1.504)
                    40.5

                    (1.594)
                    45.0

                    (1.772)
                    46.5

                    (1.831)
                    47.3

                    (1.862)
                    41.1

                    (1.618)
                    51.6

                    (2.031)
                    50.4

                    (1.984)
                    68.8

                    (2.709)
                    58.0

                    (2.283)
                    53.0

                    (2.087)
                    591.8

                    (23.299)
                    Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)10.88.59.69.49.08.38.07.68.510.710.19.9110.4
                    Avg. snowy days44310000001316
                     % humidity91899190929293959695939192.3
                    Mean monthly sunshine hours49.971.4107.1159.8181.2181.0192.1195.1138.9108.158.537.41,480.5
                    Source #1: Record highs and lows from BBC Weather, except August and February maximum from Met Office
                    Source #2: All other data from Met Office, except for humidity and snow data which are from NOAA
                    Climate data for London (Heathrow airport 1981−2010)
                    MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
                    Average high °C (°F)8.1

                    (46.6)
                    8.4

                    (47.1)
                    11.3

                    (52.3)
                    14.2

                    (57.6)
                    17.9

                    (64.2)
                    21.0

                    (69.8)
                    23.5

                    (74.3)
                    23.2

                    (73.8)
                    19.9

                    (67.8)
                    15.5

                    (59.9)
                    11.1

                    (52)
                    8.3

                    (46.9)
                    15.2

                    (59.4)
                    Average low °C (°F)2.3

                    (36.1)
                    2.1

                    (35.8)
                    3.9

                    (39)
                    5.5

                    (41.9)
                    8.7

                    (47.7)
                    11.7

                    (53.1)
                    13.9

                    (57)
                    13.7

                    (56.7)
                    11.4

                    (52.5)
                    8.4

                    (47.1)
                    4.9

                    (40.8)
                    2.7

                    (36.9)
                    7.4

                    (45.4)
                    Precipitation mm (inches)55.2

                    (2.173)
                    40.9

                    (1.61)
                    41.6

                    (1.638)
                    43.7

                    (1.72)
                    49.4

                    (1.945)
                    45.1

                    (1.776)
                    44.5

                    (1.752)
                    49.5

                    (1.949)
                    49.1

                    (1.933)
                    68.5

                    (2.697)
                    59.0

                    (2.323)
                    55.2

                    (2.173)
                    601.7

                    (23.689)
                    Avg. rainy days (≥ 1.0 mm)11.18.59.39.18.88.27.77.58.110.810.310.2109.6
                    Mean monthly sunshine hours61.577.9114.6168.7198.5204.3212.0204.7149.3116.572.652.01,632.6
                    Source: Met Office

                    Districts

                    Main article: List of districts of London


                    The City of London and the 32 London boroughs
                    1. City of London
                    2. City of Westminster
                    3. Kensington and Chelsea
                    4. Hammersmith and Fulham
                    5. Wandsworth
                    6. Lambeth
                    7. Southwark
                    8. Tower Hamlets
                    9. Hackney
                    10. Islington
                    11. Camden
                    12. Brent
                    13. Ealing
                    14. Hounslow
                    15. Richmond
                    16. Kingston
                    17. Merton



                    London-boroughs.svg
                    About this image
                    1. Sutton
                    2. Croydon
                    3. Bromley
                    4. Lewisham
                    5. Greenwich
                    6. Bexley
                    7. Havering
                    8. Barking and Dagenham
                    9. Redbridge
                    10. Newham
                    11. Waltham Forest
                    12. Haringey
                    13. Enfield
                    14. Barnet
                    15. Harrow
                    16. Hillingdon
                    London's vast urban area is often described using a set of district names, such as Bloomsbury, Mayfair, Wembley and Whitechapel. These are either informal designations, reflect the names of villages that have been absorbed by sprawl, or are superseded administrative units such as parishes or former boroughs.

                    Such names have remained in use through tradition, each referring to a local area with its own distinctive character, but without official boundaries. Since 1965 Greater London has been divided into 32 London boroughs in addition to the ancient City of London. The City of London is the main financial district, and Canary Wharf has recently developed into a new financial and commercial hub in the Docklands to the east.

                    The West End is London's main entertainment and shopping district, attracting tourists. West London includes expensive residential areas where properties can sell for tens of millions of pounds. The average price for properties in Kensington and Chelsea is £894,000 with similar average outlay in most of central London.

                    The East End is the area closest to the original Port of London, known for its high immigrant population, as well as for being one of the poorest areas in London. The surrounding East London area saw much of London's early industrial development; now, brownfield sites throughout the area are being redeveloped as part of the Thames Gateway including the London Riverside and Lower Lea Valley, which was developed into the Olympic Park for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics.

                    Architecture

                    Main articles: Architecture of London and List of tallest buildings and structures in London



                    The Tower, with Tower Bridge built 800 years later on the River Thames



                    30 St Mary Axe, also known as "the Gherkin", towers over St Andrew Undershaft
                    London's buildings are too diverse to be characterised by any particular architectural style, partly because of their varying ages. Many grand houses and public buildings, such as the National Gallery, are constructed from Portland stone. Some areas of the city, particularly those just west of the centre, are characterised by white stucco or whitewashed buildings. Few structures in central London pre-date the Great Fire of 1666, these being a few trace Roman remains, the Tower of London and a few scattered Tudor survivors in the City. Further out is, for example, the Tudor period Hampton Court Palace, England's oldest surviving Tudor palace, built by Cardinal Thomas Wolsey c. 1515. Wren's late 17th-century churches and the financial institutions of the 18th and 19th centuries such as the Royal Exchange and the Bank of England, to the early 20th century Old Bailey and the 1960s Barbican Estate form part of the varied architectural heritage.



                    Three icons: Big Ben clock tower with a red telephone box and London double-decker bus in front
                    The disused, but soon to be rejuvenated, 1939 Battersea Power Station by the river in the south-west is a local landmark, while some railway termini are excellent examples of Victorian architecture, most notably St. Pancras and Paddington. The density of London varies, with high employment density in the central area, high residential densities in inner London and lower densities in Outer London.

                    The Monument in the City of London provides views of the surrounding area while commemorating the Great Fire of London, which originated nearby. Marble Arch and Wellington Arch, at the north and south ends of Park Lane respectively, have royal connections, as do the Albert Memorial and Royal Albert Hall in Kensington. Nelson's Column is a nationally recognised monument in Trafalgar Square, one of the focal points of the city centre. Older buildings are mainly brick built, most commonly the yellow London stock brick or a warm orange-red variety, often decorated with carvings and white plaster mouldings.



                    Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the British monarch
                    In the dense areas, most of the concentration is via medium- and high-rise buildings. London's skyscrapers such as 30 St Mary Axe, Tower 42, the Broadgate Tower and One Canada Square are mostly in the two financial districts, the City of London and Canary Wharf. High-rise development is restricted at certain sites if it would obstruct protected views of St Paul's Cathedral and other historic buildings. Nevertheless there are a number of very tall skyscrapers in central London (see Tall buildings in London), including the 72-storey Shard London Bridge, the tallest building in the European Union.

                    Other notable modern buildings include City Hall in Southwark with its distinctive oval shape, and the British Library in Somers Town/Kings Cross. What was formerly the Millennium Dome, by the Thames to the east of Canary Wharf, is now an entertainment venue called The O2 Arena.

                    Parks and gardens

                    Main articles: Parks and open spaces in London and Royal Parks of London
                    See also: List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest in Greater London and List of Local Nature Reserves in Greater London



                    Aerial view of Hyde Park
                    The largest parks in the central area of London are three of the Royal Parks, namely Hyde Park and its neighbour Kensington Gardens at the western edge of central London, and Regent's Park on the northern edge. Regent's Park contains London Zoo, the world's oldest scientific zoo, and is near the tourist attraction of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.

                    Closer to central London are the smaller Royal Parks of Green Park and St. James's Park. Hyde Park in particular is popular for sports and sometimes hosts open-air concerts. A number of large parks lie outside the city centre, including the remaining Royal Parks of Greenwich Park to the south-east and Bushy Park and Richmond Park (the largest) to the south-west, as well as Victoria Park, London to the east. Primrose Hill to the north of Regent's Park is a popular spot to view the city skyline.

                    Some more informal, semi-natural open spaces also exist, including the 320-hectare (790-acre) Hampstead Heath of North London. This incorporates Kenwood House, the former stately home and a popular location in the summer months where classical musical concerts are held by the lake, attracting thousands of people every weekend to enjoy the music, scenery and fireworks.

                    Demography

                    Main article: Demographics of London
                    2011 United Kingdom Census
                    Country of birthPopulation
                    United Kingdom United Kingdom5,175,677
                    India India262,247
                    Poland Poland158,300
                    Republic of Ireland Ireland129,807
                    Nigeria Nigeria114,718
                    Pakistan Pakistan112,457
                    Bangladesh Bangladesh109,948
                    Jamaica Jamaica87,467
                    Sri Lanka Sri Lanka84,542
                    France France66,654
                    South Africa South Africa66,654
                    Kenya Kenya66,311
                    Somalia Somalia65,333
                    United States United States63,920
                    Italy Italy62,050
                    Ghana Ghana62,896
                    Turkey Turkey59,596
                    Germany Germany55,476
                    Australia Australia53,959
                    Romania Romania44,848
                    Philippines Philippines44,199
                    Portugal Portugal41,041
                    Lithuania Lithuania39,817
                    China China39,452
                    Iran Iran37,339
                    Spain Spain35,880
                    Hong Kong Hong Kong26,435
                    Zimbabwe Zimbabwe21,039
                    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 city and 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.

                    Ethnic groups

                    Main article: Ethnic groups in London


                    Circle frame.svg
                    Racial structure, according to the 2011 census
                      White (59.8%)
                      Asian (18.4%)
                      Black (13.3%)
                      Mixed (5%)
                      Arab (1.3%)
                      Other (2.1%)
                    Birmingham ethnicity demographics from the 2011 census
                    EthnicityPopulation
                    White

                    (British, Irish, Other)
                    4,887,435
                    Asian

                    (Bangladeshi, Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Other)
                    1,511,546
                    Black

                    (African, Caribbean, Other)
                    1,088,640
                    Mixed

                    (White & Asian, White & Black African, White & Black Caribbean, Other)
                    405,279
                    Arab106,020
                    Other175,021
                    According to the Office for National Statistics, based on the 2011 Census estimates, 59.8 per cent of the 8,173,941 inhabitants of London were White, with 44.9 per cent White British, 2.2 per cent White Irish, 0.1 per cent gypsy/Irish traveller and 12.1 per cent classified as Other White.

                    20.9 per cent of Londoners are of Asian and mixed-Asian descent. 19.7 per cent are of full Asian descent, with those of mixed-Asian heritage comprising 1.2 of the population. Indians account for 6.6 per cent of the population, followed by Pakistanis and Bangladeshis at 2.7 per cent each. Chinese peoples account for 1.5 per cent of the population, with Arabs comprising 1.3 per cent. A further 4.9 per cent are classified as "Other Asian".

                    15.6 per cent of London's population are of Black and mixed-Black descent. 13.3 per cent are of full Black descent, with those of mixed-Black heritage comprising 2.3 per cent. Black Africans account for 7.0 per cent of London's population,
                    Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/London_England )
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