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The Capacity Europe Guide to London

The Capacity Europe Guide to London


Get to know London: the home of Capacity Europe

Since crossing the Channel from Paris in 2018, Capacity Europe has taken place at the Intercontinental O2 Hotel in the south-east London district of North Greenwich. 

Capacity Europe-goers will no doubt have a well-honed itinerary of their favourite routes in, hotels, restaurants and sights to see. But if you are new to Capacity Europe, new to London, or new to the area around the O2, here are some tips to help you make the most of your visit to the event and your visit to the city.

North Greenwich: home to Capacity Europe

Once the busiest port in the world, London's dockside areas declined in importance from 1950 onwards and underwent enormous urban renewal in the 1980s and 1990s. The area of North Greenwich saw its fair share of renewal and development as part of this. The old wharves and warehouses were cleared away, and in their place came new infrastructure, new housing and services, and new buildings - including the Millennium Dome in 2000, which is now better known as the O2. The O2 is a very short walk from the Capacity Europe venue, and it is full of easily accessible bars, restaurants, and spots to unwind after a day of networking.

North Greenwich is also a short distance from the historic area of Greenwich - or the centre of the world, as those who live there call it. Greenwich is well worth a visit if you've not been before, with riverside walks, the beautiful architecture of the Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich Park (which should be warm enough in October, just about), and sights like the National Maritime Museum and the Greenwich Observatory.

Image by awsloley from Pixabay

Getting into London

London has many airports serving it, and they are all within easy reach of the event's venue. London Heathrow Airport is the city's main airport and around an hour away on the London Underground network, an hour and a half by taxi (a taxi will be very expensive though!), London Gatwick is well connected to Central London via a train service that takes about 40 minutes, and London Luton and London Stansted airports are each about an hour away (avoid Stansted if you can, purely because there's no direct train service to Central London from there)

Visa requirements are subject to change, so we recommend checking the UK government website before you make your bookings.

Getting around

Getting around

Despite its 9 million population, London is not a spread-out metropolis like Berlin or Shanghai. The main sights in the city are surprisingly near to each other, meaning a visitor often doesn't need the (slightly less busy post-Covid) Underground network (known in London as the Tube). This means that if you feel like a walk, your journey will likely be fairly manageable.

What's more, London is a pedestrian-friendly city. There are none of the six-lane boulevards or thundering junctions you get in other cities, meaning a walk can actually be a tranquil way to get about.

In terms of public transport, the London Underground network is fast, frequent and mostly reliable. A signel ticket from one station to another is pricey - something like £5 or £7 depending on where you're going - but if you use a contactless bank card, you will automatically be charged the cheapest fare and your daily spend will be capped at quite a reasonable maximum amount per day, again depending on where you start your journey.

London buses are also included in this fares system (a single ride costs around £1.50, but you can't pay with cash, only card). While they are slow during the working day, they are often a good option for specific, short journeys when you don't feel like cramming onto the Tube.

Of course, another option is the legendary London black cab, a trade still going strong despite the threat posed by Uber-style services. Black cabs can be hailed anywhere on the street if they have their orange light on, and even though they are pricey (a 6-kilometre journey will cost around £20), 'cabbies' are by far the best navigators of London and will get you where you need to be more efficiently than anybody else on the road.

Uber and its various competitors are longstanding operators in London. They come in slightly cheaper than black cabs (although, unlike cabbies, they cannot use London's extensive bus lane network), and the app system offers peace of mind if you're not used to the city.

We really don't recommend driving in London if you don't know the city!

Where to stay

Encircled by a 180-kilometre ring road, London is a huge city with great variety in its neighbourhoods, from the repurposed warehouses and wharves of East London to the old-money tranquility further up the Thames at Windsor and Eton to the west.

Even in the central areas, the atmosphere will vary greatly even with a couple of kilometres' difference - so it depends what your priorities are.

There will be plenty of hotel options close to the venue, including in the Intercontinental itself, and the Capacity Europe team offers exclusive hotel rates closer to the  time of the event. If you don't mind staying further afield, the Wikitravel guide to London has a detailed guide to the various areas of London and what kind of feel you can expect from them all.

Image by liushuquan from Pixabay