London can be enchanting or frustrating, vibrant or drab. But residents and visitors alike are prepared to tolerate or ignore the city's shortcomings for its endless ability to entertain, surprise and reward. Its theatres, opera houses and concert halls stand in comparison to any in the world; its museums and galleries are practically without equal' entertainment is as innovative and refreshing as it is cosmopolitan and diverse. Recently, we've noticed that London has a renewed sense of its own importance - it feels reenergised. From fashion to finance, from film to music and even (gasp!) cuisine, there's so much to savour there that Dr Johnson's observation, "When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life", retains its potency after more than two centuries.

Draped in a huge, awkward sprawl across the lower reaches of the River Thames, London is Europe's biggest city and one of its most cosmopolitan, with a citizenry that reflects the far reaches of the once-mighty British Empire. And its resident population is augmented by some 27 million visitors each year. Orientation is by boroughs (Westminster and City are the central boroughs) or by landmarks, such as Piccadilly Circus and Covent Garden. Locals use postal codes, which can be quickly learned. (Mayfair, Oxford Street and Park Lane, for instance, are in W1, i.e. West 1; Bloomsbury and part of the City are in WC2, i.e., West Central 2; Central Kensington falls within W8; South Kensington and Knightsbridge are in SW7.)

London's layout reflects a city that has expanded in explosive bursts, engulfing villages and incorporating them into an amorphous whole - a gangling growth responding to the careless prompts of history. Local area names, often derived from the names of original villages, are useful labels for navigation. Some of these - Highgate, Hampstead, Fulham and Chelsea, to name a few - are quaint reminders of their rustic, traditional origins. Others have become home to immigrant communities and have taken on distinct ethnic characteristics: Irish in Kilburn; Afro-Caribbean in Brixton; Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi in Southall; and Jewish in Golders Green. Visit these neighbourhoods and you have done no more than scratch the surface of London's incredible ethnic diversity.

Central London is a kaleidoscope of downtown zoning that broadly divides into the West End (theatres, shops, restaurants, entertainment); the City, or Square Mile (business, law courts, ancient buildings); and Westminster (government offices, famous landmarks). Across the river is the South Bank, with its arts venues and concert halls.

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Camelot International have a number of high quality hotels and apartments that you may wish to view. All the properties are available for you to book through the internet at very compettitive prices and all bookings over three nights will receive a free copy of the "Cities of Europe" CD.

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