London is the capital city of England and the United Kingdom .
An important settlement for around two millennia , London is today one of the world's leading business , financial and cultural centres, and its influence in politics , education , entertainment , media , fashion and the arts all contribute to its status as one of the major global cities .
London is the most populous city within city limits in the European Union with an official population of 7.6 million (as of 2006)and has a metropolitan area population of between 12 and 14 million people.Its population is very cosmopolitan , drawing from a wide range of peoples, cultures and religions, speaking over 300 different languages. London is an international transport hub, with five international airports and a large port . It serves as the largest aviation hub in the world,and its main airport, the multi terminal Heathrow , carries more international passengers than any other airport in the world .
Often called "The Green City," London has a number of open spaces. The largest of these in the central area are the Royal Parks of Hyde Park and its neighbours Kensington Gardens and Holland Park Gardens at the western edge of central London , and Regent's Park on the northern edge. This park is located near the tourist attractions of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum and Baker Street, where the fictional Sherlock Holmes lived. Closer to central London are the smaller Royal Parks of Green Park and St. James's Park . Hyde Park in particular is popular for sports and sometimes hosts open-air concerts.
A number of large parks lie outside the city centre, including the remaining Royal Parks of Greenwich Park to the south east, and Bushy Park and Richmond Park to the south west. Primrose Hill to the north of Regent's Park is a popular spot to view the city skyline. Some more informal, semi-natural open spaces also exist, including the 791-acre Hampstead Heath of north London . This incorporates Kenwood House , the former stately home and a popular location in the summer months where classical music concerts are held by the lake, attracting thousands of people every weekend to enjoy the music, scenery and fireworks. Outer South East London is noted for its open spaces and extensive wooded areas.
Greenwich Park , one of London's Royal Parks Primrose Hill
History Westminster Abbey is one of London's oldest and most important buildings The London Eye , one of the many symbols of modern London. It is London's most popular tourist attraction
London is the home of the Government of the United Kingdom which is located around the Houses of Parliament in Westminster . Many government departments are located close to Parliament, particularly along Whitehall , including the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street .
The British Parliament is often referred to as the "Mother of Parliaments" (although this sobriquet was first applied to England itself by John Bright  ) because it has been the model for most other parliamentary systems, and its Acts have created many other parliaments. Many nations with parliaments have to some degree emulated the British "three-tier" model. Most countries in Europe and the Commonwealth have similarly organised parliaments with a largely ceremonial head of state who formally opens and closes parliament, a large elected lower house and a smaller, upper house.
Buckingham Palace is the official residence of the Queen of the United Kingdom in London
The London bus network is a twenty-four hour service and caters for most local journeys, carrying even more passengers than the Underground. Every weekday, the London bus network carries six million passengers on over 700 different routes. In the year to March 2005, the network's ridership was 1.79 billion passenger trips.  The buses are internationally recognised, and are a trademark of London transport along with black cabs and the Tube.
The London Underground is the oldest and largest metro system in the world Heathrow Airport is the world's busiest airport in terms of numbers of international passengers Paddington Station, one of London's main railway terminals
London is a major tourist destination , with four world heritage sites and numerous iconic landmarks such as the Houses of Parliament , Tower Bridge , the Tower of London , Westminster Abbey , Buckingham Palace and the London Eye amongst its many attractions, along with famous institutions such as the British Museum and the National Gallery .