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Discover London

Get set for a taste of both the historic and the modern with flights and vacations in London. Take a history lesson while you tour the Tower of London, or get the lay of the land with a ride on the London Eye. With so much to see and do, there’s plenty for everyone in London.

Home to well known landmarks, designer shopping, and a vibrant arts and theatre community, it’s no wonder so many choose to spend their vacations in London. And with flights from British Airways, you’ll arrive in England in style. With daily flights to London from 20 US cities, it is never out of reach.

London festivals calling…

London festivals.

London’s festival scene is as eclectic and diverse as the British capital itself, with something for all tastes. This summer Lovebox is the festival with the big names. Head over to Victoria Park on the 15 and 16 July to see Major Lazer, LCD Soundsystem and Jungle do their thing. Alternatively, for the more dance-inclined, South West Four at Clapham Common will provide all the beats you could want. The Chemical Brothers, Rudimental and Dizzee Rascal vie for your attention, among many more over the bank holiday weekend – 27 and 28 August.

Find out what's on in London this July

The summer hits London in July, bringing the sun and even more music events – like the annual Citadel day festival. Brand new shows debut in the West End, including the kid-friendly Gruffalo musical. Plus conventions galore, a wonderful flower show and the biggest cycling event in the country – what more could you ask for?

1–7 July
Royal Academy of Arts to see David Hockney.

1–7 July

Starting the month with a British art icon, visit the Royal Academy of Arts to see David Hockney RA: 82 Portraits and 1 Still Life starting on 2 July. In this fantastic new body of work, Hockney has rediscovered his love for portraiture and painted various subjects over the past two years living in Los Angeles.

A kids’ favourite starts at the Lyric Theatre on 6 July, in a musical version of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s family classic The Gruffalo. Performed by Tall Stories, this is a brilliant telling of this timeless story, with laughter, a few scares and great music to guide you along the way.

8-14 July
Wireless Festival.

8-14 July

All those with green fingers should venture to Hampton Court Palace, where the Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is in full bloom from 5 to 10 July. With stunning floral arrangements, delicious artisanal food and some celebrity gardeners giving talks, this is not to be missed.

The 11th annual Wireless Festival takes place at its new-ish home of Finsbury Park from 8 to 10 July. With some of the biggest names in electronic dance music and hip hop gracing the stage, this is definitely one to see. Calvin Harris leads up the Friday line-up, while Chase & Status are Saturday’s headliner, so book tickets now.

15-21 July
star wars celebration europe 2016.

15-21 July

Returning from a galaxy far, far away to London’s ExCeL London Exhibition Centre, the Star Wars Celebration Europe takes place from 15 to 17 July. Fans of the epic saga will revel in the success of the latest film, The Force Awakens, and get a sneak preview glimpse of the upcoming Rogue One. There is also an impressive cosplay competition and a few celeb speakers to enjoy.

Head down to Victoria Park in Hackney on Sunday 17 June for a wonderful one-day festival. Citadel brings a chilled out atmosphere to East London for a day of music, games and comedy, and Icelandic post-rock band Sigur Rós head up the live music.

22-31 July
alices adventures in wonderland.

22-31 July

Lewis Carroll’s influential and imitable fantasy Alice in Wonderland has been given the opera treatment by composer Will Todd. Now in its fourth year, Opera Holland Park brings this strange tale to life at Holland Park on 28 and 29 July, one for all the family.

And finally, Prudential Ride London sees thousands of cyclists takes to the road in an annual bike festival. This closed-road event is one of a kind in the UK and both professionals and amateurs alike can enjoy the events on 30 and 31 July. Those not cycling can get a taste of the action watching from the side-lines.

Find out what's on in London this August

With summer in full swing London adds a delightful medley of outdoor events to the mix, which include outdoor film screenings and an eclectic display of live music. Foodie gatherings and beer festivals invite you to sample and celebrate local produce, while the Bank Holiday brings three days of fun to the capital.

1 – 7 August
51st state festival.

1 – 7 August

For the second year running, the popular 51st State Festival will be returning to Trent Park on 6 August. This one day dance festival, which specialises in US house music, brings together new acts and dance legends for an unforgettable music event – set in one of North London’s most stunning parks.

Or enjoy a civilised weekend which celebrates music, arts and nature at Caught by the River Thames on 6 and 7 August. This new festival unites bands, brewers, authors and artists for two days of diverse and inspirational activities, held in the verdant grounds of Fulham Palace.

8 – 14 August
london craft beer festival.

8 – 14 August

Between 9 and 13 August, the Great British Beer Festival will bring more than 900 real ales, ciders, perries and foreign beers to the Olympia exhibition centre. Traditional pub games and live music add to the atmosphere, while the wide variety of food stalls offer everything from pub grub to innovative street cooking.

Or for craft beer, street food and live music head to Bethnal Green gas works for the London Craft Beer Festival from 12 to 14 August. With 60 world-class brewers uniting under one roof, you’ll have the opportunity to sample UK-brewed creations and dine on beer-inspired, locally sourced cuisine, whilst enjoying big music acts.

15 – 21 August
top gun 30th anniversary.

15 – 21 August

London’s parks, rooftops and open spaces provide plenty of opportunity to enjoy outdoor cinema throughout August. London’s favourite open-air film festival Film4 Summer Screen, held in the spectacular setting of Somerset House, ends on 17 August. Watch your favourite movie under the stars in a stunning courtyard setting. Choose from a variety of films, all showing on a state-of-the-art screen with full surround sound.

Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Top Gun at Regents Park Open Air Theatre on 21 August. Enjoy this 80s classic, and its iconic soundtrack, on the big screen. Soak up the surrounds of the impressive auditorium and its beautiful park setting…summer in the city doesn’t get much better than this.

22 – 28 August
the big feastival.

22 – 28 August

Enjoy a unique weekend of music, food and family fun at The Big Feastival coming to the The Cotwolds on 26 to 28 August. Set on Blur bassist Alex James’ idyllic farm, he and TV chef Jamie Oliver have created an exciting fusion of live music and foodie favourites, with a huge helping of family fun on the side – in the form of vintage funfair attractions and animal encounters.

Don’t miss the excitement of the Notting Hill Carnival, which takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend on 28 and 29 August. The overwhelming sights, sounds and smells are at the very heart of this colourful celebration - with two days of festivities including live music, traditional cuisine and a flamboyant parade that is not to be missed.

29 – 31 August
foodies festival alexandra palace.

29 – 31 August

Don’t miss the Foodies Festival Alexandra Palace, which takes place over the Bank Holiday weekend and ends on 29 August. The culinary elite come together for this food-themed event, as celebrity chefs and familiar MasterChef faces cook up a storm. Enjoy flavours from around the world and creations by expert mixologists, or pick up tasty products from the Artisan Producers Market. Cookery classes for children and live music make this a great day for everyone.

Alternatively head to the stunning setting of Hampton Court Palace for the BBC Good Food Festival, which also finishes on 29 August, after three days of fun over the long weekend. Discover a great selection of artisan producers, an unbeatable line up of cooks and chefs, fantastic live entertainment and fun for all the family.

Find out what's on in London this September

Autumn may be here, but don’t go into hibernation just yet… London still has plenty of amazing al fresco offerings to inspire you. From festivals on the banks of the Thames to flower shows and the BBC Proms in the Park – the spirit of summer lives on in September.

1-7 September
portobello film festival.

1-7 September

Cinephiles won’t want to miss the UK’s largest independent film competition, Portobello Film Festival from 1 to 16 September. This progressive festival provides a platform for new independent film-making talent, showcasing work across a series of categories. What’s more, it’s free… At Westbourne Studios in Notting Hill.

Also throughout SeptemberTotally Thames celebrates London’s iconic river with a month of water-themed fun. Last year’s festival attracted over two million visitors, with its full programme of waterfront arts festivals, walks, talks, boat cruises, water sports and more.

8-14 September
london flower show.

8-14 September

Marvel at myriad displays of floral finery when the London Flower Show unites gardening experts and enthusiasts from around the world, from 8 to 11 September. Stroll around stunning show gardens, admire installations and enjoy live entertainment, all within the stately grounds of Osterley Park in West London.

Then it’s Union Jacks at the ready for musical spectacular Proms in the Park on Saturday 10 September. Pack a picnic and settle down to enjoy this wonderful open-air concert in the lush surrounds of Hyde Park. Featuring a special performance by the cast of magnificent West End musical Matilda.

15-21 September
great gorilla run.

15-21 September

There will be monkey business a-plenty, when the Great Gorilla Run sees TV’s Bill Oddie and hundreds of other gorilla costume-clad runners pounding the streets of London on Saturday 17 September. Cheer on the participants as they dash past iconic city landmarks in what promises to be an unforgettable spectacle.

Celebrating the capital’s position at the forefront of global design, The London Design Festival will see hundreds of jaw-dropping installations arrive in the city from 17 to 25 September. The transformation of Trafalgar Square into a crazy golf course is among the exciting plans for this year’s festival.

22-30 September
london fashion week.

22-30 September

Dates for the diary of any fashionista are 22 to 25 September – when London Fashion Weekend takes over the catwalks of the capital. Hurry to grab your tickets if you don’t want to miss out on those coveted fashion show seats, talks from leading designers and designer-shopping bargains.

Or for a taste of quintessential London – make your way to Guildhall on Sunday 25 September for the Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival. This time-honoured event sees the city’s Pearly royalty don their finest button-clad garments and put on traditional entertainment, before parading to St Mary-le-Bow Church.

London neighbourhood guide

If you’re planning a trip to London, one of the most important considerations you’ll make is where to stay. London is like a city of villages, each providing a different city break experience. Our hotels in London are spread across many of London's neighbourhoods. For entertainment there’s no better place than the West End. Westminster is at the heart of politics and royalty. Or stay around Tower Bridge and soak up quintessential London and the ‘city life’.

Bloomsbury & St Pancras
St Pancras train station

Bloomsbury & St Pancras

Bloomsbury has attracted writers and liberal thinkers for centuries. Streets lined with Victorian architecture and beautiful garden squares contribute to its distinctive village feel. Our bestselling hotel in this area is 3* Royal National – it’s basic but, as a comfortable base in a great location, it is ideal. Alternatively, the 4* Doubletree by Hilton London West End is a stylish contemporary hotel in a beautiful Edwardian block, just off Russell Square. King's Cross St Pancras is one of London’s most newly regenerated areas and an exciting place to be. Here you’ll find The British Museum, The British Library and the much underrated Charles Dickens’ Museum. Fantastic transport links provide easy access around London, and across the UK, with Eurostar serving London's high-speed rail link with Paris, Brussels and continental Europe too.

London: An insiders guide

Saska portrait.
London: An insiders guide

Author and resident Saska Graville unearths off-the-radar places to eat, sleep and shop.

Read the full article here

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