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Tower bridge over River Thames in sunny London

Compare the best London hotels

From the Queen's home at Buckingham Palace, to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre; from the giant flagship stores on Oxford Street, to the boutiques of Covent Garden; from the natural beauty within Hyde Park, to the manmade majesty of Tower Bridge: London is a city of contrasts and surprises.

Why go?

There's something for everyone in this capital city, from shoppers and foodies to lovers of art and architecture... Read more

Popular sights in this tantalising city include: Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, art at the Tate and the National Portrait Gallery, the mighty St Paul's Cathedral, the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, and the waxworks of Madame Tussauds.

City breaks in London revolve around theatre and cultural outings thanks to a wonderful array of museums, including the British Museum and the Natural History Museum, galleries and theatres, where world-famous actors take to the stage. Flashing the plastic is also popular in London, with fashionistas from across the globe pouring into London's boutiques to pick up the best designer threads (and shoes, and accessories, and handbags... ). High Street lovers enjoy Oxford Street and the colossal Westfield London.

If you arrive by air you're likely to land at one of five airports that serve the capital: Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City. Train services between the airports and London are good and, with a great transport network of buses and underground trains, the sights of the capital are within easy reach if you're staying anywhere in the central London area.

Where to stay?

Use our guide to find the most suitable hotel for you in London... Read more

It's no surprise that, in Europe's biggest city and Olympic host city of 2012, the choice of accommodation is huge and potentially baffling.

There are luxury hotels in London that cost thousands of pounds a night. There are budget B&Bs run by lovely old ladies. There are faceless chains where bland rooms and reasonable prices balance out well. There are serviced apartments in which you can create your very own London home, even if just for a few nights. There are business hotels with sky-high rates mid-week, and bargain breaks at the weekend. There are waterside pads at decent prices at Docklands. There are boutique hotels with style in abundance.

There is something for everyone in the UK capital, that's for sure. It's just a matter of knowing where to stay.

The most central area for tourists to stay is the West End, otherwise known as Theatreland, which covers Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street and Leicester Square. The area of Bloomsbury, a little further north, offers good budget hotel options.

Mayfair, Marble Arch and Regent Street are home to many of London's luxury hotels and five-star hotels.

Knightsbridge and Kensington boast shopping and green spaces and offer a number of surprisingly affordable mid-range hotels. Conference visitors at the nearby centres of Earls Court and Olympia will appreciate these hotels, while delegates at ExCel will stay in Docklands hotels, or those a little further away in East London.

The Barbican, Europe's biggest multi-arts venue, is located at the heart of the City of London and business hotels could offer decent rates, especially for weekend breaks.

Sports fans will want to stay near the football action at Wembley, in north west London, for the big matches, while rugby fans will need to head south and west for Twickenham Stadium. Those going to watch a concert at the O2 should head south east to an area such as Greenwich.

London hotels can be expensive but it's worth staying at the heart of the action. Book well ahead to find the best prices.

What's on?

London is alive with events throughout the year, from the traditional to the outrageous... Read more

These are just three of the top annual events on London's packed cultural calendar.

Events

Notting Hill Carnival; August Bank Holiday: A spectacular explosion of colourful costumes shimmy their way through the streets of cosmopolitan Notting Hill, in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The carnival has roots tracing back to 1959 and these days it is the second biggest street carnival in the world (Rio holds the title of the largest).

Trooping the Colour; June: Celebrate the Queen's official birthday in summer (her actual birthday is in April) with this ceremonial feast for the eyes in The Mall. The country's troops have shown their regimental colours for the reigning monarch since the 17th century and they always do it in summer - regardless of the monarch's actual birthday - in the hope of a warm, sunny day.

Lord Mayor's Show; November: In a country of history and tradition, this annual London event dates back an impressive near-500 years, to 1535. Pomp and pageantry reign, as the new Lord Mayor of London is welcomed into the ancient role.