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Home to a checklist of world-famous art galleries and museums, striking architecture and next-level restaurants, London truly is Britain’s beating heart. Home of the royal family, and a hotbed of history - start planning your trip to the majestic capital.
A trip to London has something for everyone. A sprawl of multicultural neighbourhoods spiral out from the River Thames and form the cultural cornerstones of the city. Some of the capital’s most-loved landmarks – the London Eye, Buckingham Palace and Tower Bridge – line the riverbanks, creating its iconic skyline – an arresting mashup of old and modern architecture.
Jam-packed with attractions, there is a wealth of things to do in London, with plenty to keep you busy from the moment you arrive. Royal enthusiasts can wander the grounds of Kensington Palace, step back in time with a trip to Westminster Abbey, or delight in afternoon tea at The Goring – the only hotel in the UK to be honoured with a Royal Warrant. First-timers can fill an itinerary with central London sightseeing, from Mayfair’s smart shops and glitzy theatre in the West End to Soho’s innovative restaurants and peaceful Hyde Park. To get a real feel for London, it’s worth venturing further afield. Go west to Chelsea for luxury shopping and South Kensington’s museum district, or explore the East End neighbourhood Shoreditch for edgy cocktail bars and independent boutiques.
Come the weekends, nothing beats a stroll in one of London’s Royal Parks followed by a pub lunch. Soak up maritime history in Greenwich, or brave a dip in Hampstead Heath’s outdoor ponds. Alternatively, hire a car to Windsor for a road trip of regal proportions, or revel in pretty countryside in the Cotswolds. What are you waiting for?
Planning a trip to London for the royal wedding? With its iconic history, charm and sheer glamour, visitors looking to explore the capital needn’t stray far from the centre. Plan well and you’ll be able to pack the best bits into a fairytale 48 hours.
London based journalist and writer
With a new arrival adding to the royal household, London has never been a more wonderful city for families to explore with your own little princes and princesses. From the lofty heights of the London Eye to the depths of the Sea Life Aquarium, discover the capital’s must-see sights when you’ve got kids in tow.
Family travel expert
Fancy being a duke or duchess for a day? Discover the favourite haunts of your favourite royals – former royal correspondent Jennie Bond gives us the inside track on how to live like a queen (or king) in the capital.
TV presenter and former BBC royal correspondent
We know the royal couple are fans of classic roast chicken, and if you're looking to try other classic British dishes, London has plenty to offer. London-based food blogger Chris Pople picks the best places to sample British fare around the capital.
Local food blogger
The royals have always been known for their timeless, elegant British style, partly thanks to London and its shopping credentials. But there's far more to buy in London than just the latest fashions. From designer trainers to iconic literature, discover the best places to spend your cash in the capital.
Fashion assistant at the Financial Times
It wouldn’t be London without a spot of rain, and thankfully the capital has plenty on offer to keep you entertained (and dry) when clouds turn grey. Check out our top ideas for what to do in London when it’s raining.
London based travel writer
London has so much going on in such a condensed space. You’ll never be able to see it all, but you’ll have an amazing time trying
From historic department stores to one-off vintage gems, Peony Lim gives her fashion guide to Pimlico, Knightsbridge and Notting Hill.
Don’t let the rain put you off getting outside and visiting London’s parks. There are so many to choose from – Hampstead Heath and Regent’s Park are both wonderful. I love the smell of rain on the earth
If you think London’s not a foodie destination, think again. From world-class restaurants to street food, the city is bubbling with culinary treats, especially in its lively food markets – check out our guide to six of the best
British Airways High Life magazine
A new wave of iconic hotels has been taking over the capital to offer a modern take on luxury stays in London, side-by-side with the famous classics. Travel editor Lucy Thackray lets us in on the city’s rising stars.
Commissioning editor at The Sunday Times Travel Magazine
Head down to the South Bank, see Big Ben and the London Eye on the river, walk along towards the Shard and London Bridge and then visit the London Dungeons. It blends history with fun.
London insiders: seasonal tips
“When spring arrives everyone makes for the nearest parks at the weekends during their down time. Be sure to head to popular spots such as Hampstead Heath during the week, while the crowds are at work. It’s a calm and leafy side to the city.”
– Andy Taylor, London based street-food chef
“Watch a movie at one of London’s outdoor cinemas during summer. There are so many pop-up cinemas in every areas of the city. I’m especially a fan of the Luna Cinema, because they are constantly moving around and programming in beautiful spots like Kew Gardens or the lawn at Westminster Abbey.”
– Jess Parr, British Airways cabin crew and travel blogger
“Hyde Park is great, but Kensington Gardens is a lesser-known spot to explore. Leaves twirl down from the trees, and there’s a satisfying crunch as you walk through piles of them. There are lots of horse chestnut trees here. Collect the conkers from underneath them, and string them onto shoelaces and have a go at playing the traditional British game.”
– Tom Dykhoff, Local writer and architecture critic
“Ice-skating at Somerset House is just magical. Not only do you have the fun of skating, but the building itself is beautiful. There’s always a huge Christmas tree hung with intricate ornaments and twinkly lights.”
– Emi Chiappa, family and food expert
You can’t leave London without going for a proper pub lunch. It’s what Londoners do and you won’t get that atmosphere anywhere else in the world. Order something traditional like fish and chips or local game meat
Best time to go
All year round
10-15% of your bill
Make sure your next London break is one to remember by speaking to one of our UK travel specialists.