Our sister project at WikiVoyage has prepared a London guidebook specifically for visitors to Wikimania.
- 300 museums & galleries
- 150 theatres
- 147 parks
- 43 universities
- More than 10,000 bars and clubs
- Four world heritage sites
- More than 4000 shops
- 5 international airports & high speed Eurostar train to mainland Europe
London is a leading global city, with strengths in the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, fashion, finance, healthcare, media, professional services, research and development, tourism and transport all contributing to its prominence. It has the most international visitors of any city in the world and London Heathrow is the world's busiest airport. London's 43 universities form the largest concentration of higher education in Europe. In 2012, London became the first city to host the modern Summer Olympic Games three times. London will host the World Science Fiction Convention and the Hugo Awards in mid August 2014, just after Wikimania. 
London is one of the greenest and most scenic major cities in the world. Famous landmarks in Central London include (in no particular order) St Paul's Cathedral, Big Ben, The Palace of Westminster, Buckingham Palace, Nelson's Column, Trafalgar Square, The Tower of London, Tower Bridge, the London Eye and the 'Gherkin', the main shopping streets of Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road, as well as public squares, many museums and a very wide range of restaurants at all price ranges serving all the world's cuisines.
London in the summer is warm, and sometimes thundery. On average in August the temperature by day is 23C, but this can vary widely, with daytime temperatures often as high as 30C. Bear in mind that air conditioning is uncommon in the UK, and this is particularly true of public transport, which is often hotter than the street.
The temperature in the evening is pleasantly cool. At night the average minimum is 13C, but again this can vary widely.
August is the sunniest month in the UK and you should certainly pack suncream if you're liable to sunburn and out during the day. However, rain is also fairly frequent (8 days in the typical August) and there are occasional thunderstorms; an umbrella and/or light waterproof jacket can come in handy.
Central London is generally flat - the greatest distances you will need to climb to get around will probably be the escalators on the Tube.
Where to Eat and Drink
The conference will provide lunch and snacks throughout the day, and all hotels provide breakfast. As the budget stands, an evening meal is not provided, but the venue contains and is surrounded by a selection of shops and restaurants where food of all kinds may be acquired for a range of budgets; to name just a few that are within a minute's walk: Tesco, Waitrose, Eat, POD, All Bar One, Itsu, Alba, Baracca, Starbucks, Costa, Pret A Manger, Wasabi, Wagamama, and Whitecross St Market.
There is a list of places to eat in the "Eat" section of Wikivoyage's London Guidebook for Wikimania 2014. There is a list of pubs and clubs in the "Drink" section of Wikivoyage's London Guidebook for Wikimania 2014. There is a list of nearby markets and shopping centres in the "Buy" section of Wikivoyage's London Guidebook for Wikimania 2014.
London is one of the world's top tourist destinations, with an incomparable cultural sector, a wealth of museums and possibly the most diverse set of restaurants in the solar system. Obviously we want you to forget about all that during the actual Wikimania, unless of course you are bringing your non-Wikimedian partner/children/grandchildren/travel buddies and need to keep them diverted.
The fringe of Wikimania resumes on the 11th August (traditionally most Wikimanians stay for the day after Wikimania, a minority have a bit of a holiday in the area for a week or two afterwards, some even turn up early). Events for Wikimanians on the 11th and indeed throughout August may be found in the category:fringe, if you are coming very early for Wikimania or staying on longer than August then you are of course very welcome to come to other Wikimedia events in the UK.
For info on tourist attractions, particularly within walking distance of the venue, check out Wikivoyage's London Guidebook for Wikimania 2014.
The United Kingdom is home to one of the largest Wikimedia communities in the world. The local chapter, Wikimedia UK, which has recently been granted registered charity status, is one of the larger and more experienced Wikimedia chapters. It has supported a wide array of events in the United Kingdom, and has a strong track record of productive collaborations with cultural institutions such as galleries, libraries, archives, and museums (GLAM) as well as in broader outreach and educational projects.
In the past, Wikimedia UK has supported events in London at the British Museum, National Maritime Museum,, and the British Library in London, and collaborations with the Victoria and Albert Museum, The National Archives and the Imperial War Museum are in the works. Outside the capital, events have also been held in Bristol, Coventry, Derby, Manchester, Brighton, Cambridge and Liverpool, as well as Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. The chapter has an ambitious schedule of events lined up for 2014 and beyond, including smaller conferences and an OTRS workshop in addition to more GLAM and outreach events.
The UK Wikimedia community is most active in and around London. The community is tight-knit, and the regular London meetups often attract a good turnout, including Wikimedians from a wide array of on-wiki and off-wiki backgrounds. These meetups started with the first ever Wikipedia meetup and have for some years been monthly. The London meetup is among the most regular as well as being the longest-running Wikimedia meetup in the world (our fiftieth was in October 2011) and are an excellent venue for discussing grand ideas like this one.
London has many libraries, many of which are free for anyone to use. This is a list of some of the specialist ones, many with collections of global significance, which would welcome or at least give free access to Wikimanians before and after Wikimania. Any specialist library in London offering free access to Wikimanians is welcome to add themselves to the list. Wikimanians who use this list are invited to use this guestbook to plan, coordinate or just record their trips
British Film Institute
The BFI Reuben Library, at BFI Southbank, is located underneath Waterloo Bridge, by the River Thames, and holds one of the largest collections of written materials on film and television in the world. The library is free and open to everyone, Tuesday to Saturday 10:30 – 19:00. Registration is required if you wish to use a formal research desk or request materials not held in the reading room, but no ID is necessary.
City of London Libraries
The Barbican Centre has a library on the fourth floor. It has special collections dealing with art, music, finance and books about London.
- Guildhall Library official website. It is five minutes walk from the Barbican centre and has an extensive reference section.
The British Library
The British Library is one of the world's largest libraries with a collection of 150 million items from the last 4,000 years.
Wikimedia has run a number of events with the British Library including training for their readers, and an image release of Canadian photographs.
Wikimania attendees and anyone else are welcome to visit the library, but you must register for a readers pass before using the reading rooms, certain documents such as illuminated manuscripts are only available by special arrangement, and many books must be brought in from outside storage and need several days notice (online booking once you are registered).
The National Archives
The UK's National Archives are in Kew in South West London.
Much of their archive is freely accessible, and may even be online, however if you need to consult original documents you have to provide two forms of ID and attend a 15 minute training session in safe handling of documents.
They also have a programme of events, many of them free.
- August 13: Philippa Gregory will discuss her new novel, The King's Curse
The Poetry Library on London's South Bank is a specialist library for modern and contemporary poetry. It has a poetry based collection of 200,000 items including poetry magazines. Open 11am - 8pm every day except Mondays.
Entry is free but you need proof of ID and address.
The Royal Society
The Royal Society is the UK's National Academy for Science and Technology, located between Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace. Their library is open to the public from 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday (with ID and proof of address) and has a good specialist collection, especially of books by and about their Fellows, the History of Science and older scientific journals. Open 10am - 5pm Monday to Friday. See here for more details.
Egypt Exploration Society
The Egypt Exploration Society in London WC1 has one of the world's leading Egyptology libraries. Non members of the society can request access here.
The Zoological Society of London
The ZSL has a specialist library at London Zoo, It is one of the World's leading zoological libraries. They are very keen to see Wikimanians who have an interest in Zoology and would like to make use of their library. In August they will be open on weekdays, and do require proof of ID - check here for more details.
The Wellcome Library was founded on the collections of Henry Wellcome and contains extensive collections specialising on the history of medicine and medicine and society, as well as a moving image and sound collection, an art collection, a rare books and manuscripts collection, and a collection of biomedical images.
The library is free and open to the public. New users will need to apply for a three-year membership; application can be made online or in person. New members registering in person should bring with them two forms of personal identification and a completed registration form (available from the Library's website). Details on how to search and access the Library's collections and where to find the Library are available here.
Some of the sights of London
- Euromonitor International's Top City Destination Ranking (2011 update)
- International Passenger Traffic for past 12 months: 12-months ending Jan 2013
- Number of international students in London continues to grow 20 August 2008. Retrieved: 19 August 2013.
- IOC elects London as the Host City of the Games of the XXX Olympiad in 2012 6 July 2005. Retrieved: 19 August 2013.
- Loncon 3