Modern London bears little resemblance to the squalid metropolis of Charles Dickens, the dark depiction of Arthur Conan Doyle or even the mystical society of Harry Potter, but the literary nature of the English character remains very much in evidence.
One of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, London is home to four World Heritage Sites.
London is the largest city in the European Union, and its influence on contemporary culture, business and financial markets, is equally substantial. Founded by the Romans, London has been intregral to every aspect of world history for centuries, from the Industrial Revolution to the Beatles.
The West End is filled with familiar names like Oxford Street, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden.
The area is London's main entertainment and shopping district, known for world-class theatre – yes, the spelling is a little different here – as well as its lively nightlife.
Landmark sights like Big Ben, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and Kew Gardens are literally all over the map. London also possesses some of the world's greatest museums and art galleries, including the Victoria & Albert Museum and Tate Gallery.
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a perennial favorite among visitors, and the Fitzroy House has been home to generations of writers and artists — from H.G. Wells and George Orwell to Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, George Bernard Shaw and even L. Ron Hubbard!