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Things to do in London

  • National Gallery National Gallery London, England
    The National Gallery of London, England was started in 1824, and contains one of the richest collections of paintings that date from the 13th century to the beginning of the 20th century. The 2300 oils are housed in the gallery on Trafalgar Square, and the collection is non-governmentally owned, meaning it belongs to the citizens of the city, and admission is free. It is quite different from other notable galleries like the Louvre or the Museo del Prado in Madrid, in that it was formed by nationalizing any particular collection, but came about when the British government purchased 36 paintings that were owned by the banker John Julius Angerstein in 1824. Once that purchase was made, the gallery evolved due to the diligence and attention of their directors, most notably Sir Charles Lock Eastlake; as well as private donations. These donations comprise of two thirds of the collection, and hence, the small size compared to the above mentioned galleries and those around the world. It is, however, encyclopedic in its range, containing exquisite examples of developments made in the western cultural paintings; from Giotto to Cezanne, with the majority containing major works. It was one of the few galleries that had their entire collection on display, but that has changed with the continued donations that have increased its size. This building is the third one to house the gallery, and it was designed by William Wilkins in 1832-1838. The facade that faces the square is the only part of the structure that hasn't been changed, since it has been enlarged through the decades by small parts. It has always been criticized for its aesthetic flaws, and apparent lack of expansion space; but the space problem has been addressed by the emergence of the Tate Gallery in 1897. The Sainsbury Wing, is an extension to the west side by Robert Venturi and Denise Scott Brown, and is a marvelous example of postmodernist architecture in the nation.  During the 18th century, many of the European mainland countries were nationalizing their collections obtained by various monarchs, and growing into wonderful galleries. But not the British, who had many opportunities to purchase various collections that were declined on and went to other galleries. These included; the Sir Robert Walpole collection in 1777, which ended up in St. Petersburg, bought by Catherine the Great; 150 paintings in the Orleans collection, which came to London for sale, by Pitt the Younger, in 1798 went elsewhere, although over the years, the National Gallery has acquired 25 of these. The next year, 1799, the gallery was offered a collection that had been put together for the King of Poland, but had been brought to London since the country of Poland was no longer independent. The collection ended up in the Dulwich Picture Gallery, since it was owned by Sir Francis Bourgeois and a partner. Bourgeois gave the collection to his alma mater, Dulwich College, when he passed on. Again, in 1814, Scottish dealer William Buchanan and Joseph Count Truchsess created collections for the express purpose of having them added to the national gallery, but they were also declined.  The history of the gallery, details that are both interesting and inspiring, are available on the internet, and makes for some valuable reading, especially if you headed to the British Isles for any length of time. The works are spectacular, and well worth the visit, but since the galleries have been arranged in such a way, it would behoove you to check to see if the artist or painting that enthralls you is in fact at the gallery you wish to visit. To see these beautiful masterpieces in real, eyeball to canvas is an exciting moment, one that you will never forget. 

  • Imperial War Museum
    The Imperial War Museum is a national museum with branches in five locations, three of which are located in London, England. The museum started in 1917, during the latter days of the First World War, and was supposed to be a record of the war effort and the sacrifice of Great Britain's people and those in her empire. Today, the mission has changed to include the enabling of people, from all over the world, to have a better understanding of the turmoil's of modern warfare and the impact that it has on people and their societies. The museum was started while it was located in the Crystal Palace at Sydenham Hill, opening to the public in 1920, and 4 years later, moving to the Imperial Institute in South Kensington. It finally found a home in 1936, in the former Bethlem Royal Hospital in Southwark, although the advent of the second World War, helped it grown in size and reference materials, then declining after the war. Most likely, because so many people in the world had had enough of warfare and all that was involved in it. In the 1960s, the museum was able to renovate the building at Southwark, which has become the Imperial War Museum London, and is now the corporate headquarters. During the 1970s, the museum was growing so quickly that it needed more space, so in 1976, there was a historic airfield in Cambridgeshire that became the Imperial War Museum Duxford. The Royal Navy donated the HMS Belfast in 1978, which also became a part of the museum; and in 1984, the Cabinet War Rooms was opened which had been the underground wartime command center for the cabinet. The museum continued to grow, and in the 1980s, a multi-million pound renovation began on the building, which were finished in 2000. In 2002, a fifth branch opened in Trafford, Greater Manchester, which was the first museum in the northern part of England, and that became the Imperial War Museum North.

  • Wallace Collection
    The Wallace Collection in London, England is actually a museum that contains world famous antiquities that range from fine and decorative arts of the 15th century to the 19th century and a huge amount of French 18th century furniture, arms & armour, porcelain, paintings and Old Master paintings that have been put into 25 various galleries in the building. The museum was started in 1897, using the personal collection of Richard Seymour-Conway, 4th Marquess of Hertford, who upon his death in 1870, left his entire estate, including the beautiful mansion and collection to his illegitimate son, Sir Richard Wallace, who in turn passed on in 1890, and his widow left the collection to the country. It opened to the public in 1900, in Hertford House, Manchester Square, and is still there to this day. One of the conditions of the bequest was that no piece should ever leave the grounds, even for a loan display. Admission is free and the collection and house belong to the people of Great Britain. The mansion is a magnificent piece of architecture and the collection has been arranged so that it is well matched within the house. The collection contains some 5500 pieces and has become well known for its Sevres porcelain, French furniture and 18th century French paintings that include some of the finest and most expansive paintings in the world. Some of the superb paintings that are included in it are; 4 Rembrandts, 4 Van Dycks, 2 Titians, 3 Rubenses, 19 Bouchers, 22 Canalettos, 2 Velazquezes, 9 Murillos, 9 Teniers, and masterpieces by de Hooch, Nicholas Lancret, Domenichino, Joshua Reynolds, Antoine Watteau, Thomas Gainsborough, Cima, Rosa, Reni, Aelbert Cuyp, Jan Steen and 9 Guardis. This massive collection also includes an excellent collection of arms and armour, sculpture, glass, bronzes, gold boxes, mailoica and Limoges enamels. Broken down in their respective collections, there are; goldsmiths' work 120 pieces, furniture 528 pieces, medieval and Renaissance works of art 363 pieces, paintings, drawings and watercolors 775 pieces, ceramics 510 pieces, European and oriental arms and armour 2,370 pieces, miniatures 334 pieces and 466 sculptures.

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  • Tower of LondonTower of London, England
    Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress is known as the Tower of London, which is a historical fort and monument in the center of London, England, sitting on the north bank of the Thames River. The tower is located in the London borough of Tower Hamlets and separated from the city by the open area known as the Tower Hill, and the oldest standing structure still used by the British government. The Tower of London has been known as the White Tower, that was constructed in 1078, by William the Conqueror, and is a single stark square fortress that is enclosed within the complex and moat, with two concentric rings of defensive walls. It was supposed to be a fortress, royal palace and prison for those high born prisoners, like the Princes and the future Queen Elizabeth I. Back in its heyday, it was well known what being sent to the tower meant, and was also used as a zoo, royal mint, treasury, observatory, public records office, a place where torture and execution happened and beginning in 1303, it held the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. The Historic Royal Palaces, is a local charity that funds for the care and upkeep of the tower, with no monies coming from the government. The Norman White Tower, built by William in 1078, was to protect the Normans in the castle from the people of the surrounding towns, plus to keep outside invaders from taking over the city. He had Gundulf, Bishop of Rochester, become the architect, and caen stone from France was used for the corners as well as the window and door dressings, and Kentish ragstone used for the rest of the building. There is an ancient legend that says the mortar had the blood of beasts used in their mix, with another legend saying that the tower was built by Julius Caesar, which was used by William Shakespeare in his play Richard III. The tower is 90 feet tall, and the walls are 15 feet thick at the bottom and by the time you reach the top, it is 11 feet thick. There are four turrets in the enclosure, three square and the fourth, on the northeast corner, is round to accommodate the circular stairway. This turret became the first observatory in the country under Charles II. King Richard the Lionheart, enclosed the tower with curtain walls in the 1190s, and had a moat filled with the Thames River water surrounding it. King Richard used the pre-existing Roman city wall on the east for part of his wall, and later on, King Henry III used part of his wall to incorporate into the circuit wall he had built. He also had the outside of the tower painted white, causing it to be called the white tower. With numerous changes happening in the complex, not much of the original interior remains, although the St. John's Chapel does, and it is the most complete examples of surviving early Anglo-Norman ecclesiastical architecture left in the world.  There is another legend to the tower, that has never best tested and probably won't be. The ravens have been taken care of by a ravenmaster for centuries, and the reason being that when the ravens are removed or gone, then the monarchy, the White Tower and the entire kingdom would fall. The first reference to a raven was a picture in the 1885 newspaper, The Pictorial World. 

  •  Sir John Soane's Museum
    Sir John Soane's Museum, often called the Soane Museum, is one of architecture, and had been the house and studio of the neo-classical architect Sir John Soane; with numerous drawings and models of his projects; as well as the collections of drawings, paintings and antiquities that he collected over his lifetime. It is located in the Holborn district of central London, England, that look out over the Lincoln's Inn Fields. During his time in London, he destroyed and rebuilt three houses in order on the northside of Lincoln's Inn Fields. The first was at No. 12, between 1792 and 1794, which turned out to be a plain brick building that was so typical of the homes during that period. In 1806, he became a Professor of Architecture for the Royal Academy and he then bought No. 13, which was the house next door, and the present home of the museum. It rebuilt it in two stages, from 1808-1809 and 1812. He built his drawing office and museum on the old stable block site in the back, that used top lighting, and in 1812, rebuilt the front, adding a projecting Portland Stone facade to the basement, ground and first floors, as well as the center bay of the second floor. This then formed three open loggias, but he glazed the arches while he was there, and afterwards moved into No. 12. When he finished No. 13, he started treating the building as if it were an architectural lab, constantly remodeling the interiors. He bought No. 14, in 1823, when he was 70, and began rebuilding it right away, finishing that in 1824. The museum was started when he was still alive, by an act of Parliament in 1833, taking effect upon his demise in 1837.  In his collection, there are about 30,000 architectural drawings, that range from a book of Elizabethan houses by John Thorpe, to the biggest collection in the world of Robert Adam's original drawings, with architectural models. There are 15 original sketches of the Paestum by Giovanni Battista Piranesi that are hung in the Picture Room of the museum and a collection of neo-classical sculpture that includes both plaster and terracotta works by John Flaxman. In his paintings collection, the most well known are by William Hogarth include 8 canvases of A Rake's Progress and 4 political satires Humours of an Election, with three important works by Canaletto. A magnificent alabaster sarcophagus of Seti I is laying in the basement, in his Sepulchral Chamber, and after obtaining it, he held a 3 day party to celebrate the event.

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Local Restaurants in London
  • The Fat Duck
    Tasting Menu; lime grove is nitro poached green tea & lime mousse, red cabbage gazpacho with pommery grain mustard ice cream, jelly of quail, cream of crayfish with chicken liver parfait, oak moss and truffle toast, roast foie gras with cherry puree, braised konbu & crab biscuit, mock turtle soup, salmon poached in liquorice, white truffle, artichokes, vanilla mayonnaise, golden trout roe & manni olive oil; powdered Anjou pigeon, blood pudding & confit of umbles; taffety tart, caramelized apple, fennel, rose & candied lemon; the not-so-full English breakfast, parsnip cereal, nitro-scrambled egg & bacon ice cream, hot & iced tea.

  • Le Caprice
    Starters; Tuscan bean and artichoke broth, eggs Benedict, mixed beetroots with goat's curd and blood orange, endive, pear & gorgonzola salad with walnut dressing, chargrilled octopus with chorizo & padron peppers, crispy duck & watercress salad, yellowtail sashimi with tempura squid & ponzu, baked Lincolnshire onion & cep tart, Thai chicken & shrimp salad, green mango & cashew nuts, wild mushroom risotto with hedgerow garlic, seared scallops with cream potato & black pudding, dressed Dorset crab with celeric remoulade, steak tartare, sautéed foie gras with caramelized apples, pumpkin tortellini with sage & tallegio, griddled tiger prawns with garlic & chilli dressing. Main Courses; chicken alla Milanese with parsley, lemon & garlic; chopped steak Americaine is ground rump steak with tomato relish & pommes allumettes; salmon fishcake with buttered spinach & sorrel sauce; calf's liver with crispy bacon, sage & onion mash; deep-fried fish with minted pea puree, chips & tartare sauce; grilled squid with stuffed sweet peppers & rocket; Devonshire duck with braised endive & blood orange; Lancashire hotpot with braised red cabbage; roasted cod with griddled leeks & brown shrimp butter; braised ham hock with parsley & caper sauce; Scottish rump of venison with Savoy cabbage & hedgehog mushrooms; pan-fried gilt head sea bream with hedgerow garlic & lemon butter; Thai-baked sea bass with fragrant rice; Bannockburn rib steak with béarnaise sauce & pommes allumettes.


Golden Trout Roe The Fat Duck London, England




 Dressed Dorset Crab Le Caprice London, England

Griddled Tiger Prawns Le Caprice London, England



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  • Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey London, England
    The Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster, is more frequently called Westminster Abbey, and is a huge Gothic church located in Westminster, London, England, west of the Palace of Westminster, and the traditional place of coronations and burial sites for the English, then later the British and presently monarchs of the Commonwealth Realms. In 1546 to 1556, it was raised to the status of cathedral, and is a Royal Peculiar, which is a place of worship that is under the jurisdiction of the monarchy, and not a diocese. This dates back to the Anglo-Saxon age, when the church could ally itself with the king and not the pope. The abbey is governed by the Dean and Chapter of Westminster, that had been started by Queen Elizabeth I in 1560, and was then made a Collegiate Church and Royal Peculiar of the sovereign. According to the tradition started by Sulcard in 1080, the abbey was started in the time of Mellitus, who died in 624, also the Bishop of London, on this site, that was called Thorn Ey or Thorn Island. Mellitus came to the British Isles with the Gregorian mission that had been sent to the island to convert the Anglo-Saxons, and became the first Bishop of London and the third Archbishop of Canterbury. Arriving in 601 AD., he came with clergymen that were sent here to augment the mission, and was consecrated as the Bishop of London in 604. He had been given an infamous letter from Pope Gregory I, that became known as the Epistola ad Mellituim, saved in a later work by a medieval chronicler named Bede; and this message suggested the Milletus convert the Anglo-Saxons gradually, integrating pagan rituals and customs into the religion. After his death, he became revered as a saint.  The abbey is unbelievably rich in historical facts and legends, since it is so old and has been part of the royal monarchy of the country since its beginnings. It has been changed, restored, renovated and remodeled many times during those millennia, and the architectural value, along with its anthropological value has made it one of the most fascinating places to visit in the world. The fact that it was the sight of the first Christians coming to this paganistic country and trying to convert the people that lived here to a religion that would eventually criss cross around the world, after having integrated who knows how many pagan rituals into their hodgepodge of religion only helps those who doubt the existence of God, and the Holy Bible that was written by men under the influence of the Holy Spirit. This Babylon has done nothing but assist the naysayers of this age into helping that old serpent further his hold on many loving Christians that go to church to be shepherded by men who have somehow twisted their beliefs with the pagan rituals and traditions of men that God so warned the Israelites about, and ordered to destroy. The truths that must be buried here could start another protestant movement in this world that would probably never end, until the second Advent. 

  • British Museum
    The British Museum, in London, England, is one of the most comprehensive national museums in the world, with spectacular holdings in archaeology and ethnography, located in the Bloomsbury district of the borough of Camden. The museum was started by an act of Parliament in 1753, and contained three collections; Sir Hans Sloane, Sir Robert Cotton and Robert Harley, 1st Earl of Oxford. These marvelous collections, containing an impressive amount of manuscripts and other library materials, were kept at the Montagu House on Great Russell Street, which opened in 1759. The current museum building was designed in the Greek Revival architectural style by Sir Robert Smirke, and was constructed on the former site of the Montagu House in 1823 to 1852. There have been several alterations and additions to the building, including the famed round Reading Room that was built in the 1850s, and below the copper dome, there labored such notables as Virginia Wolfe, Thomas Carlyle, Peter Kropotkin and Karl Marx. In 1881, the natural history collections were moved to the new building in South Kensington that would become the Natural History Museum, and in 1973, the library of the British Museum, was invigorated with the holdings of other libraries and museums to become the British Library. And half the library's holdings were kept at the museum until a new library building was created.  The bold words that great you at the British Museum's web site are; "a museum of the world, for the world", and after going to the database search page, the 1,840,336 objects that belong to this museum would seem to agree with that huge statement. Almost half a million of the objects have images included, and the museum and its holdings continue to grow. There are two million years of history to explore through the objects that are located here, and the amount of information is staggering. An Aztec exhibition is going on until the end of January 2010, so if you are interested in that and Moctezuma, then you better get your plane ticket and hit the road, like yesterday. Another display is the revolution paper, about Mexican prints from 1910 to 1960, while another showcases the Kingdom of Ife that includes sculptures from West Africa. In April of 2010, the Italian Renaissance exhibit opens and that should be a marvelous exhibit of drawings to view and become inspired upon. Admission is free, and it is open late on Thursdays and Fridays. Online, there are 1.5 million objects to peruse, view, learn about and just enjoy; since the wonderful invention of the web and personal computers have put these fantastic places at your fingertips so that you can have an idea of what it is you can see, or perhaps just enjoy whatever they have. Their events and exhibits are well worth any trip to the city of London, and should be included in your itinerary.

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  • Buckingham PalaceBuckingham Palace and Guard London, England
    Buckingham Palace, the official residence of the monarch and located in Westminster, London, England. This is the place where the state occasions and royal hospitality is located and shown, and has been the site of national crisis and celebrations. It was originally called Buckingham House, which was a huge townhouse built for the Duke of Buckingham in 1703, and became the core of the palace, all of which had been private property for the preceding 150 years. In 1761, George III acquired it for Queen Charlotte, and it was known as the Queen's House. In the 19th century, it was enlarged, by architects John Nash and Edward Blore, that included forming three wings around a beautiful courtyard, finally becoming the official royal palace for the British monarchy in 1837, under Queen Victoria. Some major structural additions were done in the 19th and 20th centuries, which included the east front and balcony where the royal family comes to greet their citizens. During WWII, a German bomb destroyed the royal chapel, whereupon the Queen's Gallery was constructed to display artworks from the Royal Collection in 1962.  The 19th century designs of the interior are resplendent in many colors and schemes, with furniture and decorative arts matching perfectly. The state rooms, that have been used for official and state visits, open up each August and September, to the public that is part of the Palace's Summer Opening. The site has changed many hands over the centuries and that has become part of the mystique that draws so many to this incredible estate. During the middle ages, the site was part of the Manor of Ebury, also named Eia, and its marshy grounds were watered by the Tyburn River that still flows under the courtyard and the south wing of the palace. This river was fordable at Cow Ford, and soon the village of Eye Cross began. During this period the land belonged to Edward the Confessor and Queen consort Edith of Wessex and when William the Conqueror, a Norman, came and took possession, he gave it to Geoffrey de Mandeville, who gave it to the monks of Westminster Abbey. Then in 1531, Henry VIII acquired the Hospital of St. James, which then became the St. James's Palace, from Eaton College, and in 1536 he took the Manor of Ebury from the monks. The transfers helped bring the site back to the monarch's possessions for the first time in half a century, since William the Conqueror.  The history of this magnificent estate is long, much too long to publish here, but can be found in its entirety on the internet or library, perhaps even the British Museum's library. It certainly is worth the visit when you travel to London and will be one the best sites you could visit, as so much history has happened here. 

  • Victoria and Albert Museum
    The Victoria and Albert Museum that is located in London, England is the world's biggest museum of decorative arts and design, that contains a permanent collection of over 4.5 million items, and was named after Prince Albert and Queen Victoria, that started in 1852. Over the decades, the grounds have grown to cover 12.5 acres and 145 galleries. This magnificent collection covers 5000 years of artworks from the most ancient times to the current age in every medium from the cultures of North American, Europe, North Africa and Asia. It includes holdings of sculpture, ironwork, drawings and photographs, jewelry, ceramics, furniture, textiles, silver, costumes, medieval objects, print and printmaking. Also it houses the biggest collection of post-classical sculpture and the Italian Renaissance relics are the biggest that exist outside of Italy. The Asian galleries include artworks from China, Japan, Korea, South Asia and the Islamic world. The East Asian collections could be the finest in Europe with strong holdings in metalworks and ceramics, and the Islamic collection is one of the biggest in the world along with the Louvre and the Met in New York.  The Victoria and Albert had its beginnings in the Great Exhibition of 1851, and Henry Cole, the first director, had taken part in the planning. It was called the Museum of Manufactures when it opened in May of 1852 in the Marlborough House, however, by September had been moved to the Somerset House; where the collections included both applied art and science. It was from these marvelous early exhibits that the core of the collection was bought, and by February of 1854, talks were in progress about moving it to its present locale and creating the South Kensington Museum. The next year, German architect Gottfried Semper had made a design for the museum, but the board considered it too much money. In 1857, Queen Victoria made the official opening.  There are four collections departments, Asia; furniture, textiles and fashion; sculpture, metalwork, ceramics and glass, and word and image. These departments are further separated into 16 exhibit areas, with combined pieces in the collections totaling over 6.5 million relics. There are over 2 million pieces in the architecture collection, 6000 pieces in the glass, 31,000 in the metalworks, over 200,000 in the paintings and drawings, 74,000 in the ceramics, 20,000 in the childhood, 14,000 in the furniture, 160,000 in the Asian, 500,000 in the periods and styles, 1.5 million photographs, almost 2 million in the textiles and 38,000 pieces of sculpture. In 2004, it was the first gallery in the United Kingdom that opened a gallery that contained the history of architecture using exhibits of photographs, models, original drawings and elements from buildings. Containing over 600,000 drawings, 700,000 photos from across the globe, and 750,000 papers and paraphernalia, it has become the most complete architectural resource in the world.

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  • Natural History MuseumNatural History Museum London, England
    The Natural History Museum is one of the three huge museums on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, London, the main front being on Cromwell Road and contains life and science specimens that total around 70 million pieces in five main collections. This staggering amount has made the facility a world famous research center, that specializes in identification, taxonomy and conservation, in botany, zoology, paleontology, entomology and mineralogy. Since the museum houses so many antiquities, numerous collections are of immense historical as well as scientific value, like the specimens that were collected by Darwin. The library department in the museum holds a large amount of artwork, book, manuscript and journal collections that are constantly tied to the research and work of the science departments. You must get an appointment to visit the library. This particular museum is well known throughout the world for its fabulous display of dinosaur skeletons, as well as elaborate architecture, often being called the cathedral of nature; both demonstrated by the huge diplodocus cast that overshadows the vaulted center hall. In 1881, the Alfred Waterhouse building was constructed and opened, with most of its collections coming from the British museum, and was later enlarged by the geological museum. A more recent addition, designed to house the valuable collections of Darwin, thus called the Darwin Center. The core of the collection was from Ulster doctor, Sir Hans Sloane, who sold his vast collection for a much lower price than it was worth; and it included animal and human skeletons, as well as dried plants, and was contained in the Montague House in Bloomsbury, where the British Museum was located, in 1756. Early in the 19th century, much of his specimens had been sold off by the keeper of the zoology, Sir George Shaw, to the Royal College of Surgeons, and his successor, William Elford Leach would have bonfires on the grounds, burning up what no one knows for certain. By 1833, an annual report said that of the 5500 insects that had been listed in Sloane's catalogue, not one remained. This incredible lack of caretaking became notorious and the Treasury would not allow any more specimens to be collected at the government's expense. It was most unfortunate, that like many institutions of today, nepotism and favoritism was the order of the day, and in 1862, the nephew of a mistress of a trustee became the Entomological assistant without knowing a moth from a butterfly. During his tenure as the keeper of zoology, J.E. Gray constantly complained about the mental instability of his staff, and George Shaw said he would stomp any shell that wasn't listed in the 12th edition of Linnaeus' Systema Naturae. Another person took all the labels and registration numbers off the entomological cases that had been arranged by his rival. An immense collection of conchologist Hugh Cuming came to the museum, and Gray's wife walked across the courtyard in gale winds carrying trays that soon lost all their labels in the winds. Unfortunately, that collection didn't recover. The Principal Librarian during that period was Antonio Panizzi and his utter contempt for the natural history department and for science altogether was well known, even by the Select Committee of Parliament, which had been told that the policy was approved by the librarian and his senior staff. The public wasn't even encouraged to visit those displays. It finally changed in 1856, when Richard Owen was made the Superintendent of the natural history departments in the British museum. Richard noticed that his departments needed more space to showcase the marvelous collections, and a separate building was called for. It wasn't until 1963, with the enactment of the British Museum Act that the natural history museum was allowed to operate on its own.

  • London Walks
    One of the best ways to learn about any city is to take a leisurely walk, without any guides or timetables, just your own keen interests and eye for details that pique your curiosity or adventurous nature. You don't have any deadlines, nor do you have any schedules to follow or stop you from walking away the day. London has so many architectural delights, places to eat, snack or drink, sights and sounds from one end of the city to the other. The London walk, which has been funded by Transport for London, has obtained the help of local authorities to create a superb network of marvelous walking routes so that if you are looking for a place to feed the ducks, an invigorating walk to wake up your body, or just to find some roses to stop and smell; London Walk has put it all together for you. There are always some kind of news about walkers and where to walk if you are looking for anything specific. Events and people are constantly involved in walking around the city, and many of the best museums and libraries are open for free, allowing you to spend your precious earned allowance to go even further. Numerous sites on the internet will help you decide where to go and what to see, so that when you arrive in London, you will have created your own itinerary and have no needs for a guide or to pay to walk and see what you want. There are thousands of pictures, many audio tapes and other venues that will help with your walks and to make it that much more enjoyable while you are visiting. If your time is limited, or you have meetings to attend, you can always use the hotel you are staying at to help you with your walking strategy. You can walk fast or slow, whatever you choose your pace to be, you are the master of your ship and the whole trip will be more attuned to your needs, wants and desires. Come, walk in London, visit all the free venues, where along the way you will always find some special out of the way eating establishment that will stay with you as long as the rest of your memories of the trip.

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  • British LibraryBritish Library London, England
    The British Library in London, England is the repository where one of the world's biggest research library exists, containing over 150 million pieces of all the known languages and formats that include; drawings, books, stamps, journals, maps, newspapers, prints, magazines, databases, sound and music recordings and patents. Their book collection is second only to the American Library of Congress, with 25 million books and an additional amount of historical items and manuscripts that are dated back to the 3rd century BC. Since it is the legal deposit library of the country, it acquires copies of every book that is published in the country and Ireland, as well as all the foreign books that come into the UK. They buy numerous items that are sold outside of the country, adding another 3 million every year. The library was started in 1973, after the British Library Act of 1972, since it belonged to the British Museum before that. It was from this museum that the majority of the items came, with a number of smaller organizations adding their collections to the main one. The nucleus of the library came from the donations and acquisitions that were acquired in the 18th century, and these have been dubbed the foundation collections. Included in these are the manuscripts of King George III, Sir Robert Cotton, Robert Harley and Sir Hans Sloane. For a long time, the collections were spred all over the city, in different buildings until 1997, when the entire collection was moved to its new location on Euston Road, next to the railway station. The library was the biggest building that was constructed in the country during the 20th century. Inside the building, in the center is a four storey glass tower that houses the King's library, which includes 65,000 printed volumes, as well as maps, pamphlets and manuscripts that were collected by King George III during the periods from 1763 to 1820. In December of 2009, a new facility was opened at the Boston Spa by Rosie Winterton, at a cost of 26 million pounds, and houses 7 million items that are stored in 140,000 containers that have been bar-coded, and can be retrieved by robots.

  • Cricket
    Cricket was created in England and has become the country's most popular summer game, with thousands of teams playing, but only 18 professional county clubs, 17 in England and 1 in Wales. Every summer, they compete for the first class county championship, that is the oldest recognized cricket competition in the world. There are two leagues with 9 teams in each and played during four days, with one National League day, another one day affair called the Friends Provident Trophy and a short form Twenty20 Cup. England is a test-playing nation, with Ireland and Scotland being associate members of the ICC, competing in One Day International levels. Also each summer, two foreign national teams come to the country to play seven test matches and many one day internationals. During the winters, the English team tours around the world. The biggest rival is Australia, where it competes for the Ashes, which is one of the most important trophies in the sport. This cricket team won the Ashes in 2005 and 2009, and is considered to be the 4th best test nation in the world. They are one of the pioneers of indoor cricket and was the host nation for the 2007 Indoor Cricket World Cup, held in Bristol. The country has sent 5 teams to Australia to play in the 2009 Indoor Cricket World Cup that was held in Brisbane. The game has been played in the nation since the 16th century, and the Marylebone Cricket Club, at Lords, created the modern rules of the sport.  Cricket is a team sport, with 11 members on each team, with a captain, numerous batsmen, bowlers or pitchers and fielders. It is a bat and ball game played on an oval shaped field with a center flat strip called a pitch. Here, the bowler will bowl the ball to the striker, with the pitch strip being 22 yards in length, and called a chain. The cricket bat is oblong and about 3 feet long, with the ball being made of cork and covered by leather stitched up. Two batsmen come to the pitch with them being at different ends; and one facing the bowler. The other end is the crease, with lines 4 feet in from the ends of the crease and there for two purposes; the first is for the bowler to stand behind and the other for the batsman to stand at to deliver the ball and mark whether a run has been done. If the batsman is out of his crease, then he can be stomped by the wicket keeper, if receiving at the batsmen end or run out by the fielders if standing at the other end taking a run. The bowler runs to the pitch line where he bowls the ball to the batsman, who in turn hits the ball, and then runs to the past the other crease and the batsman that was there runs to the batsmen crease, thus scoring a run. They can run as often as they want, but if their stump get hit with the ball by a fielder before the batsman runs past it they are out. The stumps are three sticks about 3 feet tall, and the width of the ball separating them. It is a strange sport if you haven't grown up with it or are much more familiar with baseball, which seems to be so much more simpler and easier to learn and play.

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