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Home to some of the UK’s most famous faces, like the Rolling Stones' Mick Jagger, 007 creator Ian Fleming and actor Michael Caine, London offers an unrivalled number of world-famous attractions. Use a specialist like Travelstart to help you find the cheapest flights to Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted or London City Airport.

Why visit London?

  • The Tower's Crown Jewels are a sight to behold. You will never get this close to priceless gems!
  • West End Theatres and Musicals. London is the theatre capital of the world. Forget Broadway, this is where you want to be!
  • Cruise on the River Thames. Take in all the essential sights while enjoying the river breeze. Pass by Westminster, The London Eye and much more.

The British Pound, GBP, £.
Exchange Rate:
~1 ZAR: ~0.05 GBP
Time Zone:
GMT +1 - South Africa is 1 hour ahead of London.
Dialing Code
00 + 44 + 20 + Local Number
Drive on the left side of the road.
Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, City, Southend.
Travel Adaptor:
Standard UK Adaptor Plug, Type G.

May and June are good months to visit, before the main throng of tourists arrive and queues get too long at tourist attractions. The average temperature is around 17 degrees Celsius in late spring. England enjoys a temperate climate with plenty of rainfall; always take an umbrella with you!

British English Can Be Very Confusing

Chips are not potato crisps in a bag, but pommes frites or fries. Typically served up with battered fish (fish 'n' chips), salt and vinegar.

"Tea" can mean an entire meal, namely dinner or supper to non-British people. It can also be just a hot beverage in a cup. Vendors will add milk automatically, so shout if you like your tea black or with lemon!

  • London was known as Londinium to the Romans. The city has been around for a while!
  • Tea was introduced from China to London in 1658! Imagine how different it would have been if that never happened.
  • Since 2012, London is the proud host of the European Union’s tallest building, The Shard.
  • The NYPD has an office in London! Would that make it the LPD?
  • Big Ben isn't the tower, it's the bell in the tower, the tower is actually called the Elizabeth Tower.

We compiled a list of itinerary ideas which every London tourist should experience:

  1. Buckingham Palace (one of Queen Elizabeth II's homes)
  2. Parliament and Big Ben clock tower in Westminster.
  3. London Eye, a gigantic Ferris wheel overlooking Westminster and the Thames.
  4. London Zoo in Regent's Park.
  5. Hyde Park and the Serpentine pond, where you can rent a rowing boat.
  6. Madame Tussaud's Waxwork Museum.
  7. Natural History Museum, home to dinosaurs and one of the world's largest natural history collections.
  8. Victoria & Albert Museum, home to some of Princess Diana's most famous dresses.
  9. London Dungeon, a spine-tingling experience.
  10. London Aquarium, home to one of Europe's largest deepwater tanks and best shark-diving experiences.
  11. The Shard Viewing Platform, uppermost floor of a skyscraper in Southwark district, (short walk from London Bridge and Borough tube stations), affording fabulous views over the city.

No matter your preference, there will be a location in London that will serve your needs. While British cuisine might not have the best international reputation, first-time tourists to London will be surprised. From very affordable pub lunches to some of the finest Michelin-starred restaurants in the world, all food cultures are covered. London is a hip city that quickly embraces new trends and dietary needs, so it won’t be too hard to fine somewhere which serves vegan, gluten-free or other special requirements.

London has one of the most multicultural populations in the world, so you will feel home away from home. The UK enjoys freedom of religion and you will find a house of worship of your religion relatively easily in London.

When out and about, prepare to meet very open individuals. Formality is not necessarily a strong side in London, but the people are friendly and will help a tourist out if need be.

London is home of the CCTV camera. Criticized by many as being a big-brother state, statistics have shown a healthy drop in crime rates since the introduction of thousands of cameras throughout the city. That being said, avoid certain parts of the city. It would be best to ask the staff at your accommodation as to which areas in the vicinity to avoid, as they will be the local experts

As long as you don’t lick a tube train, there should be no health risks involved in a trip to London.

For South African passport holders there is only one way to obtain your UK Visa in SA and that is through the UK Border Agency’s handling company called Teleperformance:

Contrary to popular belief, your air ticket doesn’t have to be purchased prior to applying for your UK Visa. However, your return air ticket reservation will help motivate your UK Visa application.

Visa Checklist

The basic checklist for a UK Tourist Visa is as follows; however, supporting documents are submitted at your discretion and may differ according to the type of Visa you are applying for.

  • Your current passport with at least 6 months validity from the date of your departure and at least 2 blank pages.
  • Your old passport (if possible) to show your travel history and previous UK Visa’s (if any).
  • Your London flight ticket (optional).
  • A signed letter from your UK host inviting you to stay. Alternatively, confirmation of your booked hotel accommodation in the UK.
  • A signed letter (on company letterhead) from your employer stating you are currently employed and will be returning to your job after your trip to London.
  • Proof of residential address (recent utilities bill or letter from your landlord will suffice).

The price of the UK Visa depends on the exchange rate at the time of applying.

The South African High Commission to the United Kingdom is located in London in the bustling centre of Trafalgar Square and is known as South Africa House.

Located on the iconic square's east side, South Africa House is considered a sight of Trafalgar Square. The building was completed in 1935 and the façade features keystones with African animal details.

Address: South African High Commission, South Africa House, Trafalgar Square, London WC2N 5DP
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7451 7299
Fax: +44 (0) 20 7839 5670

Item Cape Town Johannesburg London
Meal, Inexpensive Restaurant R90 R100 R247
Domestic Beer (0.5 liter draught) R22 R20 R83
Cappuccino (regular) R19 R20 R52
Taxi 1km (Normal Tariff) R10 R12 R31
Pack of Cigarettes (Marlboro) R35 R35 R185

The information on this page is correct as of September 2015. While every effort is made to keep information as fresh as possible, takes no responsibility for any of the information being out of date or incorrectly noted.

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