The Houses of Parliament (and Big Ben) viewed from across London Bridge
The Houses of Parliament (and Big Ben) viewed from across London Bridge ©Getty Images

London is ...
• The capital of both England and the United Kingdom.
• The world's most visited city with an estimated 31.2 million tourists a year.
• Home to the Queen, Charles Dickens and punk rock.
• The only city to have hosted the Olympics three times: in 1908, 1948 and 2012.
• A city of nearly nine million people.

Where is it
Located on the banks of the river Thames in the southeast of England, around 350km from Paris, 5,500km from New York and an 8,000km or so flight from Beijing.

Wembley Stadium, with its eye-catching arch
Wembley Stadium, with its eye-catching arch©Getty Images

Wembley Stadium
• Wembley, the UK's largest stadium and home to the English Football Association, has welcomed over 21 million visitors since reopening in 2007.
• The original 'Empire Stadium', officially opened by King George V in April 1924, was eventually renamed Wembley after the London suburb where it stood.
• The original Wembley staged five European Cup finals, plus the finals of the 1966 FIFA World Cup and 'EURO 96.
• With its complete reconstruction, from 2003–07, a gigantic arch replaced the twin towers as the 90,000-capacity venue's visual hook.
• The new 'Home Of Football' is once again home to the England national side, and held its first UEFA Champions League finals in 2011 and 2013.
• Michael Jackson (a record 15 times), Queen, David Bowie and Pink Floyd were among the acts that played at the old Wembley; Metallica, Madonna and Oasis have graced the new.

Matches at Wembley Stadium
14 June, time tbc – Group D match
19 June, time tbc – Group D match
23 June, time tbc – Group D match
27 June, time tbc – Round of 16 (1A v 2C)
7 July, 21:00CET – Semi-final
8 July, 21:00CET – Semi-final
12 July, 21:00CET – Final

Getting to and around London
London has six major airports and is easily accessed by train from continental Europe. The city is served by the oldest underground railway in the world, with 'The Tube' complemented by extensive bus and overground rail networks. London is increasingly welcoming for cyclists, thanks in part to a popular on-street cycle hire service. Driving is discouraged, with a congestion charge payable for taking a car into central London.

Where to stay
Perhaps the biggest tourist destination in the world, London is not short of accommodation, with plenty of options in the heart of the city, and relatively inexpensive accommodation available out in the suburbs. See useful links below.

The Tower of London and Tower Bridge
The Tower of London and Tower Bridge©Getty Images

What to see
For culture: Westminster Abbey, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Of London, Buckingham Palace, British Museum, National Gallery, Trafalgar Square – the options are endless.
For atmosphere: A walk along the South Bank, from opposite the Houses of Parliament to Borough Market, is great. For fashionable London, try Soho or Brick Lane.
For fresh air: The Green Park-Hyde Park-Kensington Gardens continuum of Royal Parks are not to be missed, while London Zoo is situated in Regent's Park within a few Tube stops of central London.

Eating and drinking
London has over 8,000 restaurants offering 70 world cuisines, of which 70 restaurants are Michelin star rated. Traditional 'cockney' food – pie and mash, jellied eels – is available in east London while English staple fish and chips, complemented by a London-style 'wally' (gherkin), are easy to come by. For foreign food, try curry on Brick Lane, kebabs on Green Lanes, or everything in one place at Borough Market. Beer (bitter for the locals, lager for tourists) is the order of the day in London pubs, and generally served in pints (568ml).

Football in the city
As of June 2017, Chelsea were the only London club to have won the European Cup, though north London rivals Arsenal and Tottenham, and West Ham – confusingly, from out east – have all lifted UEFA trophies. The likes of Crystal Palace, Fulham and Queens Park Rangers have also sampled European football, while various other smaller professional clubs compete for attention too.

Get out of the city
London can claim to be a green city with approximately 47% of green space. Its botanical gardens at Kew, in the leafy southwest of the metropolis, are a UNESCO world heritage site while Hampstead Heath, in the north, and Greenwich Park – home of the Maritime Museum and Royal Observatory – would also count as green space to Londoners.

Useful links
Visit London
Lonely Planet
Mayor of London/London Assembly 
Wembley Stadium:
The Football Association (FA):