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By Tom Hall   10 August 2011 1:11am Europe/London

The rioting and looting that swept London earlier this week and proved so disturbing for locals and visitors alike appears to have abated. Areas across the capital have been affected, but the names of most neighbourhoods involved – Tottenham, Croydon, Clapham, Ealing and Hackney among them – are not normally associated with tourism. Areas more commonly visited by tourists are unaffected – though if you’re intending on visiting Camden Market you may notice the after effects of some disturbances there. In most affected areas local residents have joined authorities in clearing up and getting things back to normal.

Apart from the directly affected areas, life in London and other cities continues as normal. Public transport and tourist attractions are open as usual, though visitors will notice more police on the streets in British cities and some shops and other businesses may close early.

Many current visitors to London will have been debating whether to leave, and those not here yet may be wondering whether to come. To do either would be a shame and completely unnecessary.  Last night (Wednesday) was largely trouble-free, with a heavy police presence keeping the peace. While the images being beamed around the world are shocking, there’s no reason to cancel a visit to London or elsewhere in the UK. I’ve crossed the capital several times over the past few days and found it to be business as usual pretty much everywhere.

There have been similar incidents, on a smaller scale, in other British cities such as Birmingham, Nottingham, Liverpool and Bristol. Manchester city centre was affected on Tuesday night but, like London, appears to have returned to normal.

Visit London has useful information for the visitor to the capital and BBC News has live updates you can use to keep track of this developing situation around the country. It also goes without saying that you should stay well away from any trouble you come across.

London-based Tom Hall (@tomhalltravel) is Lonely Planet’s UK Travel Editor