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London is one of the world's greatest business and events destinations. With six airports, an efficient underground metro network, black taxis, and red buses, London is one the world's most accessible capital cities. At 1,577 square kilometers, it is the 37th-largest urban area in the world, defined most notably in its geography by the Thames River. The city has six airports, with Heathrow as London's and Europe's busiest.
London's glittering nightlife and dining scene lends itself to private events that will tempt guests to break out of the boardroom and the hotel bar. For instance, No. 5 Cavendish Square welcomes business events of any type or size. Cultural venues are also sure to give guests the feeling of a true London experience. The prestigious Tate Modern has spaces for private events for up to 350 guests, while the Royal Academy of Arts is available for events of up to 800 people. The 100,000-square-meter ExCeL London Convention &
Exhibition Center has already hosted well over 1,500 national and international events. The Business Design Centre features an impressive main exhibition hall of 6,000 square meters and welcomes over 80 exhibitions and 250 conferences each year. The centre lays claim to being the first all-in-one trade, exhibition, and conference complex in the U.K.
With stunning views of the Tate Modern, the Globe Theatre, the mighty Thames, and the Millennium Bridge, The Mermaid London conference and events centre boasts a stunning backdrop and uniquely modern lighting and decor. For a more traditional look, Alexandra Palace, opened at the end of the 19th century, is a timeless venue for large groups to enjoy exhibitions, conferences, and ceremonies, as its Great Hall accommodates 2,500 to 7,250 guests. And in Westminster, the prestigious and popular QEII Centre has four large auditoriums and seven conference rooms that host up to 400 meetings annually.
All average costs based on U.S. Government Per Diem rates as published by the U.S. General Services Administration.
The weather in London often suffers from drizzly rain and intermittent showers over the course of the year. The hottest month is July, when average temperatures can reach around 23°C (73°F), though minor heat waves between the months of June and August often see temperatures rising much higher. January, the coldest month, sees temperatures struggling to rise above 2°C (36°F)
London's annual rainfall averages around 584 millimeters (23 inches). February is one of the driest months of the year, but the weather is generally inconsistent so guests can expect a mixture of unpredictable weather conditions. The best time of year to visit is early spring in April and May and towards the end of the summer in August.
ExCeL London Convention & Exhibition Centre
The largest major convention center in London, the 300 million ExCeL Exhibition Centre opened in November 2000 and has since hosted over 1,500 events. Its location in the redeveloped Docklands Area, which boasts more than 20 restaurants, bars and hotels, makes it a convenient spot to transition from work to play. The centre also has five on-site hotels, including Novotel, Ramada Inn & Suites and Crowne Plaza, which together provide conference goers with a total of 1,500 rooms. For larger conferences, there are more than 7,500 additional rooms within walking distance.
Spanning 90,000 square meters, the building has two column-free rectangular halls that together cover 65,000 square meters. Movable walls create a flexible environment for accommodating any range of event sizes. The centre also boasts London's largest auditorium, with room for over 500 guests, and 45 gallery rooms, offering waterfront views of Royal Victoria Dock and room for 20 to 200 people. Additionally, a three-level self-contained Platinum Suite provides a private, elegant setting for 400 to 1,100 people and has its own registration area, lobby and bar.
ExCeL Exhibition Centre matches its stunning space with quality amenities, including an in-house audio-visual team of Blitz Communications, Ltd., one of Europe's leading audio-visual companies. The centre has high-speed Internet access and wireless Internet capabilities, as well as in-house catering by Leith's, ready to provide menus for conferences, parties and galas. The centre has three on-site pay parking lots with over 3,700 spaces, and it is also accessible by the Docklands Light Railway and the Underground.
Church House Westminster
The Mermaid London
Central Hall Westminster
The Crystal Maze
Business Design Centre Group
The Business Design Centre in Islington was saved from demolition in 1981 by entrepreneur Sam Morris. Opened five years later in 1986, the fully-restored centre became the United Kingdom's first integrated trade, exhibition and conference complex. The centre offers roughly 6,000 square meters of exhibition space, housed under a barrel-vaulted ceiling flooded with natural light. Its Conference Centre is ideal for breakout sessions and VIP lounges, as its moveable walls can create up to nine interlinking rooms or a total of over 1,000 square meters.
Among its many amenities, the Business Design Centre has on-site catering provided by the Good Eating Company and audio-visual services by AVC Productions. The centre sits adjacent to the 190 rooms at the Hilton London Islington, and also has 285 on-site parking spaces.
A major air transit hub, five major airports service London: Heathrow, Gatwick, London Luton, London Stansted, and London City.
London Heathrow Airport (LHR)
Approximate taxi fare: 73 GBP
Heathrow Airport is London's and Europe's busiest airport, and the third busiest airport in the world by passenger traffic. About 24 kilometers west of central London, Heathrow is also a true dining and shopping experience. High-end boutiques abound, while other storefronts offer a range of goods, from technology and beauty products to gourmet chocolates and children's toys. Many of these shops are duty or tax free. Travelers can also pass the time at Heathrow at one of its many restaurants or bars. Business travelers can take advantage of business parking, which is closer to terminals and offers more frequent transfer service. The London Underground and the airport's Heathrow Express trains have a stop at the airport.
London Gatwick Airport (LGW)
Approximate taxi fare: 108 GBP
Gatwick Airport is the city's second busiest airport with airlines flying to more than 200 destinations. Situated in Crawley, West Sussex, approximately 46 kilometers south of London, the airport is a major hub for British Airways, easyJet, and Virgin Atlantic. To make a trip to London Gatwick more enjoyable, the airport boasts numerous restaurants, bars, and shops, including pharmacies. Both terminals also feature Internet access and family play areas. Gatwick has long-term and short-term parking options, and the Gatwick Express offers high-speed travel between London and the airport.
London Luton Airport (LTN)
Approximate taxi fare: 121 GBP
London Luton, previously known as Luton International Airport, is based on the outskirts of Luton, Bedfordshire, roughly 48 kilometers north of London. Several budget airlines, including easyJet, Monarch Airlines, and Ryanair service the airport, with flights running to over 30 destinations in four continents. London Luton offers short-term, mid-term, and long-term parking. Shuttle services are also available between London and the airport.
London Stansted Airport (STN)
Approximate taxi fare: 139 GBP
Located close to Harlow in Essex and about 48 kilometers from the northeast of London, London Stansted Airport is home to thousands of low-cost flights that serve over 20 million passengers each year. Stansted consists of a main passenger terminal, a private aircraft terminal, and a cargo station. The airport offers a variety of services to help make passengers' shopping experience effortless. Guests can reach the airport through the Stansted Express and can also pre-book space at the parking facility.
London City Airport (LCY)
Approximate taxi fare: 40 GBP
London City Airport is located directly opposite the London Regatta Centre in the east of London and is ideal to fly to Europe and beyond. Serving over two million passengers, the airport serves the bulk of financial business travelers and is recognized as the closest private jet center to central London. London City offers seven eateries, retail outlets, wireless Internet access, and a foreign exchange desk. Short-term and long-term parking facilities are available, and the airport is easily accessible from a new stop on the Docklands Light Railway, which links to the London Underground.
London Southend Airport (SEN)
Approximate taxi fare: 147 GBP
Network Rail owns and operates Britain's rail infrastructure and manages 18 of the biggest stations across Britain. Main routes take guests to Glasgow, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, and Leeds, among other destinations. There are nine major British rail stations in the capital, with Paddington, Victoria, and Euston as the main stations. St. Pancras International acts as the gateway to European destinations, thanks to its Eurostar connections to Paris, Lille, Brussels, and beyond. Tickets are available online from National Rail and the train companies.
The London Underground metro system, often called the Tube, is the world's longest underground railway at about 400 kilometers of track. The Underground services three million people daily at 268 stations on 11 lines, including Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, and Piccadilly. The Victoria and Waterloo & City Lines connect the central city and many suburbs to the north of the Thames. The Underground is divided into six zones, and fares are dependent on zone and time of day, with prices ranging from GBP 2 to GBP 6 per trip. The Oyster Card, introduced in 2003, is an electronic card that covers particular zones on a weekly or monthly format.
London rail service includes the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which provides transportation to 39 stations in East London and the London Overground, whose five lines make stops at Kew Gardens, Camden Road, and Queen's Park. Oyster Cards can be used on both rail services. Visitor Oyster Cards, Travelcards, and contactless payment cards are also accepted in DLR. Rates vary based on zones traveled and time of day.
London's iconic double-decker buses are an easy, quick, and cheap way to travel around the city, providing several sightseeing opportunities along the way. These buses command about 8,000 vehicles covering 700 routes, making it one of the biggest bus systems in the world. About 1.5 million passengers ride the buses each year. The electronic Oyster Cards, used on other Transport for London transportation, can be used on the buses.
London River Services
London River Services operate commuter journeys along the River Thames. With a network of 29 piers, the service is used by more than 2,000 passengers every day and approximately three million people a year. The river service connects with rest of public transport network such as the Tube and buses. River buses run on a timetable, with more frequent services during peak rush hours. Fares vary based on pier and many operators provide discounted fares to people traveling with Travelcard.
Rental car companies are numerous and most service all London airports. Common companies include Hertz, Avis, Europcar, Easycar, and Enterprise. Premium rental cars can be arranged to allow passengers to enjoy several sensational destinations in the city at their own pace.
Hackney Carriages are the only official licensed black cabs to shuttle visitors around the city in one of 21,000 vehicles. The taxis can be hailed in the street, and guests will immediately spot the yellow "hire" light that is situated on top of the vehicles. Rates are based on time of day, the distance covered, and the speed of the taxi.
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