London, considered by many to be the world's knowledge capital, is a place where you can meet people from every country around the world and still feel at home. The city, England's capital, sits atop the Thames river which meanders its way through this cultural, business and historic heart of Europe. With its accessible public transport, all of London is within the grasp of students seeking to see and know this vibrant and diverse center of the world.

With free entrance to over 100 museums and galleries, you can experience the cultural richness whether your interests are in music, film, art, sports, business and more. Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, theatre district, Trafalgar Square, Soho, Piccadilly Circus, Big Ben, and Westminster Abbey are just a few of the sites that bring to mind the essence of this great city.

 

Social Etiquette

A considerable amount of value is placed on punctuality, thus it is important to arrive on time to meetings, class, etc. Standing in line, or queuing, is a common occurrence as it adhered to as people patiently wait for their turn. When riding escalators stand still on the right so others may pass on the left. Basic politeness, things such as using please, thank you, excuse me, and shaking hands upon greeting is expected. Avoid drawing attention to yourself by being loud and obnoxious in public, especially when using public transportation.

Food and Drink

The pub, or public house, is an important part of British life. The pub is where the community gathers to eat, drink, and gather. It is typical to order both food and drink directly at the bar, as most pubs do not offer table service. The combination of cultures throughout Britain has led to an increase in the culinary culture. The typical British dish no longer consists of meat and vegetables or the infamous fish and chips, but has come to include, the growing in popularity, curry.

Sport

The most popular sport in the U.K. is football (soccer). Other popular sports include rugby, rowing, horse racing, cricket, tennis and golf all of which originated or were largely developed in the U.K. In international competitions there is usually a team to represent each England, Scotland and Wales instead of them being combined as one Great Britain team. Some major competitions held each year in the U.K. within their respective sports are the Premier League Championships, Six Nations Championship, Oxford vs Cambridge boat race, the Grand National and Royal Ascot, the Ashes, Wimbledon and The Open golf tournament.

 

Monuments & Must-Sees


London is full of endless monuments and places to visit that it is hard to narrow the list down to just a few. The following is just a brief list of a few must-sees during your time in London:

  • Buckingham Palace. The official residence of the Queen is open to visitors when the Queen is on vacation. The Palace is also the home of the infamous Changing of the Guard. Arrive early to watch the new soldiers replace the old soldiers in the forecourt of the Palace in their bright red uniforms and bearskin hats.
  • London Eye. This must-see landmark is the world's largest sightseeing wheel towers over the city along the River Thames. The ride is 30 minutes and offers views of all of the famous London sights, including picture-perfect scenes of Big Ben and Parliament.
  • Big Ben. The clock tower of Big Ben is probably the most famous landmark in London. Big Ben is attached to the Houses of Parliament. The Houses of Parliament are comprised of the House of Commons and the House of Lords, and is where all the country's legislative decisions are discussed. Tours of Parliament are offered almost daily when they are not in session.
  • Tower of London. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Tower of London is a must see during your time abroad. A former royal residence, the Tower became famous when Henry VIII moved his prison to the site in 1529. The Tudor-garbed Beefeaters still guard the Tower and offer tours throughout the year.
  • St. Paul's Catedral. Built after the Great Fire of 1666 and surviving the Blitz of WWII, St. Paul's Cathedral has been dominating the city skyline for quite some time. After taking in the majesty and size of the building extend your view of London by climbing the 530 steps to the top of the dome.

 

Cultural Activities

London has endless activities for visitors to enjoy. Join your fellow classmates as you head out for a night on the town to enjoy a popular theatre production in the West End. London is world-renowned for its theatres and productions and maintains a very full and active schedule year round. During the summer be sure to catch a traditional Shakespearean play at the replicated Globe Theatre. London is packed with great museums, from art to history. The best part about exploring this plethora of information is that most museums in London are free of charge.  A typical afternoon tea consists of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and jam, sweet pastries, cakes and of course a pot of tea! Wander the many markets to buy fresh produce, find your favorite local goods or simply window shop the boutiques. Popular areas include: Covent Garden, Portabello Road and Camden Market. Or you can pick up the latest fashions at all the stores on Oxford Street such as H&M, Dorothy Perkins or Top Shop. Spend an afternoon studying, exploring, people watching or playing sports in one of the many parks or squares London has to offer. Whether it's cricket, football, horse racing, rugby or tennis, London hosts a wide array of sporting events year round.

 

London is commonly known to have a mild and damp climate, but it is not strange to witness a complete change from rain clouds to sunshine in a matter of minutes. Also, London is home to the most 'green spaces' in the world, and with the frequent rains these parks are sure to remain lush and beautiful!
Average monthly highs and lows (degrees Fahrenheit), and rainfall (inches) in London:

Month

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

June

Jul

Aug

Sept

Oct

Nov

Dec

Highs

42

44

50

50

65

68

70

69

67

58

50

44

Lows

34

34

34

44

48

52

54

52

51

48

34

38

Avg. Rainfall

2.1

1.6

1.6

1.7

2.0

2.1

2.4

2.3

2.4

2.6

2.4

2.2