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January 8, 2008updated Dec 11, 2015

Useful Information for your Stay in London

By Chris Boyle

WHEN BEST TO GO

Orange lights reflecting on Thames river on front of Millennium Dome

The relatively mild southern English climate means that London can be visited almost any time of year.

Late spring and summer are the best times to go, although autumn is also lovely and often not too cold. Important to remember is that English weather is notoriously difficult to predict, so it is best to always come prepared. Umbrellas and a few items of warm clothing can be useful even during the warmer months, while extra warm accessories and even thermals are of use during the winter. Luckily, London has a wealth of things to do both indoors and out, so whatever time of year you visit, there will always be plenty to enjoy.

DRESS AND CUSTOMS

The dress code in London – and England in general – is generally liberal and very eclectic; there is room here for all kinds of personal styles, as visitors to the capital will see. Certain occasions, however, demand stricter dress codes; bars, nightclubs and many fine dining restaurants require a smart-casual or smart dress code, and many have been known to refuse entry to those not deemed smart enough. Similarly, there are stringent dress requirements for events such as Royal Ascot, Henley Regatta and Glyndebourne Festival, all of which should be checked prior to the event.

LOCAL TIME / bUSINESS HOURS

London time is GMT, with a daylight-saving hour implemented in late October. The weekend is Saturday and Sunday, with most shops and attractions open on both. On Sundays, however, many places have reduced opening times, usually from 10am-5pm. Business hours are generally 9am to 5-6pm Monday to Friday, with an hour taken at lunch.

LANGUAGE: British English

CURRENCY: Great British Pound (GBP)

COUNTRY DIALLING CODE: +44

24-HOUR EMERGENCY CONTACT

  • Ambulance: 999
  • Fire: 999
  • Police: 999
  • Coastguard: 020 831 27380
  • Helicopter: 999

EMbASSY CONTACT US: +44 (0)20 7499 9000

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TIME ZONE: GMT

POPULATION: 7.5 million

RELIGIOUS DEMOGRAPHIC

The majority of Londoners identify themselves as Christian (58.2%) or atheist (15.8%). However many other religions are well-represented here: Islam (8.5%), Hinduism (4.1%), Judaism (2.1%), Sikhism (1.5%), Buddhism (0.8%), Paganism/ Wicca (0.3%) and other (0.2%).

PUbLIC HOLIDAYS

Public holidays include New Year’s Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Easter, and three bank holidays, two in May, one in August, during which some shops and attractions are closed.

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