Nothing prepares you for your first taste of London. This great world city is far more than just the capital of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. London is bustling, vibrant, multicultural and cosmopolitan. London is both old and new, a place where traditional pubs rub shoulders with the newest cocktail bars. Its most ancient castle is right next door to its newest skyscrapers. London's energy, as 8.6 million people go about their everyday lives, is tangible in every journey on the Underground and every walk along the banks of the River Thames. From the palaces of shopping to the real Buckingham Palace, London really does have it all.