London is the capital and largest city of England and the United Kingdom, with a population of just over 9 million.[8] It stands on the River Thames in south-east England at the head of a 50-mile (80 km) estuary down to the North Sea, and has been a major settlement for two millennia.[9] The City of London, its ancient core and financial centre, was founded by the Romans as Londinium and retains boundaries close to its medieval ones.[note 1][10] Since the 19th century,[11] the name "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between the counties of Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire,[12] which largely comprises Greater London,[13] governed by the Greater London Authority.[note 2][14] The City of Westminster, to the west of the City of London, has for centuries hosted the national government and parliament.

Willis Building
Clockwise from top: City of London in the foreground with Canary Wharf in the far background; Trafalgar Square; London Eye; Tower Bridge; and a London Underground roundel in front of Elizabeth Tower
Location within the United Kingdom
Location within England
Location within Europe
London (Earth)
Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°7′39″W
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
CountiesGreater London
City of London
Settled by RomansAD 47; 1975 years ago (47)[1]
as Londinium
DistrictsCity of London and 32 boroughs
  TypeExecutive mayoralty and deliberative assembly within unitary constitutional monarchy
  BodyGreater London Authority
Mayor Sadiq Khan (L)
London Assembly
  London Assembly14 constituencies
  UK Parliament73 constituencies
  Total[upper-alpha 1]607 sq mi (1,572 km2)
671.0 sq mi (1,737.9 km2)
3,236 sq mi (8,382 km2)
  City of London1.12 sq mi (2.90 km2)
  Greater London606 sq mi (1,569 km2)
Elevation36 ft (11 m)
  Total[upper-alpha 1]9,002,488[4]
  Density14,670/sq mi (5,666/km2)
14,257,962[5] (1st)
  City of London
8,706 (67th)
  Greater London
GVA (2020)
  Total£504 billion
(€566 billion)
  Per capita£55,974
Time zoneUTC (Greenwich Mean Time)
  Summer (DST)UTC+1 (British Summer Time)
Postcode areas
22 areas
Area codes
  • 020, 01322, 01689, 01708, 01737, 01895, 01923, 01959, 01992
Budget£19.376 billion
($25 billion)[7]
International airportsInside London:
Heathrow (LHR)
City (LCY)
Outside London:
Gatwick (LGW)
Stansted (STN)
Luton (LTN)
Southend (SEN)
Rapid transit systemLondon Underground
PoliceMetropolitan (county of Greater London)
City of London (City of London square mile)

As one of the world's major global cities,[15] London exerts a strong influence on its arts, entertainment, fashion, commerce and finance, education, health care, media, science and technology, tourism, and transport and communications.[16][17] Its GDP (€801.66 billion in 2017) makes it the largest urban economy in Europe,[18] and it is one of the major financial centres in the world. As of 2021, London had the most millionaires of any city.[19] With Europe's largest concentration of higher education institutions,[20] it is home to Imperial College London in natural and applied sciences, the London School of Economics in social sciences, and the comprehensive University College London.[21] London has the busiest city airport system in the world[22] and the London Underground is the oldest rapid transit system in the world.[23] London is one of the most-visited cities in the world and is home to the most 5-star hotels of any city.[24]

London's diverse cultures encompass over 300 languages.[25] The mid-2018 population of Greater London of about 9 million[3] made it Europe's third-most populous city,[26] accounting for 13.4% of the population of the United Kingdom[27] and over 16% of the population of England. The Greater London Built-up Area is the fourth-most populous in Europe with about 9.8 million inhabitants at the 2011 census.[28][29] The London metropolitan area is the third-most populous in Europe with about 14 million inhabitants in 2016,[note 3][5][30] granting London the status of a megacity.

London has four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the combined Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and also the historic settlement in Greenwich, where the Royal Observatory, Greenwich defines the Prime Meridian (0° longitude) and Greenwich Mean Time.[31] Other landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, and Trafalgar Square. London has many museums, galleries, libraries and cultural venues, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library, and numerous West End theatres.[32] Important sporting events held in London include the FA Cup Final (held annually at Wembley Stadium), Wimbledon Tennis Championships and the London Marathon. In 2012, London became the first city to host three Summer Olympic Games.[33]

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