London is the capital and largest urban area of England and the United Kingdom. At its core, the ancient City of London, to which the name historically belongs, still retains its limited mediaeval boundaries; but since at least the 19th century the name "London" has also referred to the whole metropolis which has developed around it.Today the bulk of this conurbation forms the London region of England and the Greater London administrative area, with its own elected mayor and assembly.London has a wide range of peoples, cultures, and religions, and more than 300 languages are spoken within its boundaries.In July 2007, it had an official population of 7,556,900 within the boundaries of Greater London,making it the most populous municipality in the European Union.The Greater London Urban Area (the second largest in the EU) has a population of 8,278,251.while the metropolitan area (the largest in the EU) has an estimated total population of between 12 million and 14 million.
The name London originally referred only to the once-walled "Square Mile" of the original Roman (and later medieval) city (confusingly called the "City of London" or just "The City"). Today, London has taken on a much larger meaning to include all of the vast central parts of the modern metropolis, with the city having absorbed numerous surrounding towns and villages over the centuries. The term Greater London embraces central London together with all the outlying suburbs that lie in one continuous urban sprawl within the lower Thames valley. Though densely populated by New World standards, London retains large swathes of green parkland and open space, even within the city centre.Greater-London consists of 32 London boroughs and the City of London that, together with the Mayor of London, form the basis for London's local government. The Mayor of London is elected by London residents and should not be confused with the Lord Mayor of the City of London. The names of several boroughs, such as Westminster or Camden, are well-known and self-explanatory, others less so, such as Hackney or Tower Hamlets. A traveller's London is better defined by recognised cultural, functional and social districts of varying type and size
By plane - London (all airports code: LON) is served by a total of six airports. Traveling between the city and the airports is made relatively easy by the large number of public transport links that have been put in place over recent years. However, if transiting through London, be sure to check the arrival and departure airports carefully as transfers across the city may be quite time-consuming.
By train - London is served by one international rail link, currently operating out of St Pancras International. High-speed trains travel under the sea for 22 miles (35 km) through the Channel Tunnel from Paris (2h15) and Brussels (1h50) and are operated by Eurostar. Book well in advance to secure the best ticket deals. For onward travel St Pancras International is part of the Kings Cross-St Pancras station complex (see below) and well served by tube lines, buses and taxis.
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