This article is about the capital city. For the region of England, see Greater London. For the historic city and financial district within London, see City of London. For other uses, see London (disambiguation).
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Clockwise from top: City of London skyline, Trafalgar Square, London Eye, Tower Bridge and a London Underground roundel in front of Elizabeth Tower
London is located in the United Kingdom
London is located in Europe
London is located in South-east England
Location of London in the United Kingdom
Coordinates: 51°30′26″N 0°7′39″W / 51.50722°N 0.12750°W / 51°30′26″N 0°7′39″W / 51.50722; -0.12750
Sovereign State   United Kingdom
Country   England
Region Greater London
Settled by Romans c.43 AD (as Londinium)
Counties City & Greater London
Districts City & 32 boroughs
 • Type Devolved authority
 • Body Greater London Authority
 • Elected body London Assembly
 •  Mayor Sadiq Khan ( L)
 • London Assembly 14 constituencies
 •  UK Parliament 73 constituencies
 •  European Parliament London constituency
 •  Greater London 1,572 km2 (607 sq mi)
 •  Urban 1,737.9 km2 (671.0 sq mi)
 •  Metro 8,382 km2 (3,236 sq mi)
Elevation [1] 35 m (115 ft)
Population (2015) [2]
 •  Greater London 8,673,713
 • Density 5,518/km2 (14,290/sq mi)
 •  Urban 9,787,426
 •  Metro 13,879,757
Demonym(s) Londoner
GVA (nominal; 2015) [3]
 • Total £510 billion/ $717 billion
 • Per capita £119,300/ $162,200 [4]
Time zone GMT ( UTC)
 • Summer ( DST) BST ( UTC+1)
Postcode areas
Area code(s)
Police City of London Police and Metropolitan Police
International airports Heathrow, City (Both within Greater London) Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, Southend (Outside Greater London)
GeoTLD .london

London Listen i /ˈlʌndən/ is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. [5] [6] Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. [7] London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) medieval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, [8] [9] [10] which today largely makes up Greater London, [11] [12] [note 1] governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly. [13] [note 2] [14]

London is a leading global city, [15] [16] in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism, and transport. [17] [18] [19] It is one of the world's leading financial centres [20] [21] [22] and has the fifth- or sixth-largest metropolitan area GDP in the world. [note 3] [23] [24] London is a world cultural capital. [25] [26] [27] It is the world's most-visited city as measured by international arrivals [28] and has the world's largest city airport system measured by passenger traffic. [29] London is the world's leading investment destination, [30] [31] [32] hosting more international retailers [33] [34] and ultra high-net-worth individuals [35] [36] than any other city. London's universities form the largest concentration of higher education institutes in Europe, [37] and a 2014 report placed it first in the world university rankings. According to the report London also ranks first in the world in software, multimedia development and design, and shares first position in technology readiness. [38] In 2012, London became the only city to have hosted the modern Summer Olympic Games three times. [39]

London has a diverse range of people and cultures, and more than 300 languages are spoken in the region. [40] Its estimated mid-2015 municipal population (corresponding to Greater London) was 8,673,713, [2] the largest of any city in the European Union, [41] and accounting for 12.5 per cent of the UK population. [42] London's urban area is the second most populous in the EU, after Paris, with 9,787,426 inhabitants at the 2011 census. [43] The city's metropolitan area is one of the most populous in Europe with 13,879,757 inhabitants, [note 4] [44] while the Greater London Authority states the population of the city-region (covering a large part of the south east) as 22.7 million. [45] London was the world's most populous city from around 1831 to 1925. [46]

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster, Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). [47] Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library and West End theatres. [48] The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world.


Main article: Etymology of London
The name London may derive from the River Thames

The etymology of London is uncertain. [49] It is an ancient name, found in sources from the 2nd century.[ AD?] It is recorded c.121 as Londinium, which points to Romano-British origin, [49] and hand-written Roman tablets recovered in the city originating from AD 65/70-80 include the word Londinio ("in London"). [50] The earliest attempted explanation, now disregarded, is attributed to Geoffrey of Monmouth in Historia Regum Britanniae. [49] This had it that the name originated from a supposed King Lud, who had allegedly taken over the city and named it Kaerlud. [51]

From 1898, it was commonly accepted that the name was of Celtic origin and meant "place belonging to a man called *Londinos"; this explanation has since been rejected. [49] Richard Coates proposed in 1998 that it is derived from the pre-Celtic Old European *(p)lowonida, meaning "river too wide to ford", and suggested that this was a name given to the part of the River Thames which flows through London; from this, the settlement gained the Celtic form of its name, *Lowonidonjon; [52] this requires quite a serious amendment however. The ultimate difficulty lies in reconciling the Latin form Londinium with the modern Welsh Llundain, which should demand[ citation needed] a form *(h)lōndinion (as opposed to *londīnion), from earlier *loundiniom. The possibility cannot be ruled out that the Welsh name was borrowed back in from English at a later date, and thus cannot be used as a basis from which to reconstruct the original name.

Until 1889, the name "London" officially applied only to the City of London, but since then it has also referred to the County of London and now to Greater London. [53]