What's London like?
With close to twice the population of the whole of New Zealand, London is a huge and diverse city. Often described as a patchwork of villages, moving from suburb to suburb gives an entirely different view of the British capital.
In fact, London can be described as a city of opposites. It's modern yet ancient, built up yet has natural spaces, very British yet multicultural.
As a dynamic and ever-changing city, it's possible to return to London regularly and discover new areas, new restaurants and new businesses, meaning you'll never get bored.
What airlines operate flights to London?
There are no direct flights from New Zealand to London, so the airline you choose to fly with may depend on where you have a layover. Some airlines that will take you all the way to the UK include Cathay Pacific, Qantas, Qatar Airways and Thai Airways.
Best time to book
Skyscanner research found that the cheapest flights to the UK are available 27 weeks (roughly 6 months) before the date of departure.
Do you need a visa to visit London?
New Zealand citizens do not require a visa for up to 6 months of travel in the United Kingdom.
How long is the flight to London?
From Auckland: 24 hours 40 minutes (1 stop)
From Christchurch: 27 hours 30 minutes (2 stops)
From Queenstown: 27 hours 50 minutes (2 stops)
From Wellington: 27 hours 45 minutes (2 stops)
When is the best time to visit London?
Because it's in the Northern Hemisphere, London's summer and winter are reversed. Its hottest months are from June to September, with July averaging 19°C. Winter generally runs from December to February, with snow a common sight.
How expensive is London?
In general, London is more expensive than most of New Zealand's cities. Expect to pay more when you eat out and around 20c more for a takeaway coffee. Beer and public transport are more reasonable than at home.
The majority of flights from New Zealand land at Heathrow, which is the busiest airport in Europe. There are currently 4 terminals, numbered 2 to 5, which are split between airline alliances.
Terminal 2: Star Alliance
Terminal 3: Oneworld
Terminal 4: SkyTeam
Terminal 5: British Airways
There are a few exceptions to this rule, but your airline will inform you which terminal you'll land at when you make your booking.
How to get from London Heathrow to the city centre
Heathrow Airport is 30km west of the city centre, roughly a half-hour drive.
Taxi: In good traffic, the journey should take 30 minutes, but at peak times it's good to allow yourself a bit longer. A one-way trip is likely to be £65 or more.
Train: The Heathrow Express takes 15 minutes to get to London Paddington, with departures every 15 minutes. A single ticket is £25 (£22 off-peak), but it's more economical to buy a return if you're coming back soon. There are 2 train stations at Heathrow.
Underground: There are 3 Underground stations at Heathrow. A trip to Leicester Square takes 50 minutes and costs £6.
Bus: National Express buses can be as little as £2, taking you to Earl's Court in around 40-60 minutes.
London is a large city with a fantastic public transport system to help you get around. Many of the popular attractions are found on the banks of the River Thames, including Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament and the London Eye.
On sunny days, Londoners flock to their parks. Hyde Park is the biggest – and worth a visit in any weather – but you might also want to consider St James's Park, Battersea Park and Victoria Park. For a botanical paradise, add Kew Gardens to the list too.
Football is the number one sport in the UK, and London is huge for the sport. Top flight teams like Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham all play their home games in London, as do Crystal Palace and West Ham.
Whet your appetite with this video tour of London's most famous sights:
If you're going to be in London for a while, an Oyster card helps you save money on public transport.
When using escalators in tube stations, stand to the right unless you're overtaking.
Many of the museums and galleries in London are free to enter. It's best to go early in the day to avoid long queues.
Public bicycles are available to hire across the city. Although a helmet is recommended for safety reasons, it's not a legal requirement in the UK.
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Please note: all information is correct as of August, 2017.
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