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London is UK's top city for tourists

Tower Bridge in the summer Credit: Robert Knight/Eye Ubiquitous/Press Association Images

London accounted for more than half the visits overseas tourists made to the UK last year, according to latest figures.

15 and a half million visitors ventured to the capital in 2012, statistics from VisitBritain showed.


Images: The View From The Shard

The viewing platforms on the Shard will be open to the public from the 1st of February 2013.

Although visitors can't go right to the top of the 310m building, they can reach the 72nd floor, which stands at 244m.

The viewing galleries stand 244m (800ft) above the capital. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
Visitors will be offered a unique 360 degree panoramic view. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
It will take only 30 seconds for visitors to reach the viewing platform by lift. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
Special digital telescopes will be provided in the viewing area. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
The interactive machines will provide nuggets of information about the history of London's skyline. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
The telescopes have large touch screens, which can identify landmarks. Credit: © The View from The Shard.
The Shard is the tallest building in Western Europe. Credit: © The View from The Shard.

Shard attraction to open next February

The first details about a new tourist attraction at the top of The Shard - the tallest skyscraper in Western Europe - have been unveiled.

The View from The Shard takes people on a journey to 244m (800ft) above London, almost twice as high as any other viewing point in the city, and will offer a 64km (40 mile), 360-degree panoramic view over the capital.

Watch the promotional video from The View From The Shard below.

Tourism still struggling during Olympics

Theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue in London. Credit: PA

London's tourism industry is struggling to compete with the impact of the Olympic Games, which has left the host city a "ghost town", businesses said.

Many traditional tourist hotspots have reported a fall in ticket sales as visitors flock to Olympic venues across the capital.

Theatre companies said they were seeing a "mixed picture" with many companies struggling due to the lack of footfall in the West End.

Mark Rubinstein, president of the Society of London Theatre, said: "Normally tourists will visit central London but they are mostly here to see the Games.

The message about travel problems also seems to have kept people away.

"My experience is things are running smoothly and people should not be put off.

"There is a great opportunity to get out there to see some fantastic shows."


London 'is the world's best destination'

Tourists from across the globe have named London the world's best travel destination.

The capital beat cities like New York, Rome and Paris in a survey by travel company TripAdvisor.

Gordon Innes, chief executive of tourism organisation London & Partners, said: "This accolade couldn't be better timed for the capital in this momentous year and we are delighted.

"It is a testament to the wonderful array of attractions, dining and accommodation that set London apart from all of these other destinations."

HMS Belfast re-opens

The gangway fell away from the ship in November last year

HMS Belfast will welcome back visitors to her historic decks next month.

The ship, docked on the Thames, has been closed to the public for six months after the gangway collapsed. It'll be open from May 18th.

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