London - the grand resonance of its very name suggests history and might. Its opportunities for entertainment by day and night go on and on and on. It's a city that exhilarates and intimidates, stimulates and irritates in equal measure, a grubby Monopoly board studded with stellar sights.
It's a cosmopolitan mix of Third and First Worlds, chauffeurs and beggars, the stubbornly traditional and the proudly avant-garde. But somehow - between 'er Majesty and Boy George, Damien Hirst and JMW Turner, Bow Bells and Big Ben - it all hangs together.
The city is so enormous visitors will need to make maximum use of the underground train system: unfortunately, this dislocates the city's geography and makes it hard to get your bearings. A ride on a red double-decker bus (a quintessential London experience) will help piece things together.
Facts for the traveller
Off the beaten track