London’s eclectic landmarks range from treasures of the past day to modern icons. An ever-developing line-up includes Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament, revealing 1,000 years of British political history. Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral are two stunning buildings with a rich royal past – the former is famous for Will and Kate’s 2011 wedding, whilst the latter is where Charles and Diana made their own vows back in 1981. Keeping with a royal theme, the Queen’s official London home, Buckingham Palace, is well worth a visit, with 19 State Rooms open in the summer, while the Tower of London houses the exquisite Crown Jewels. Outside, find the famous Tower Bridge or, along the Thames, modern-day feats like The Shard, redefining London’s skyline and offering visitors spellbinding vistas of this illustrious metropolis.
Galleries, Museums and Theatre
London overflows with cultural institutions, covering almost every subject imaginable and featuring one-off exhibits, terrific events and permanent collections – many are free to enter too! Ones to consider include the Victoria & Albert museum, filled to the brim with creative masterpieces, while more fascinating art and other creations can be found in the Tate Modern. Uncover wonderful and weird artefacts in the British Museum, or leaf through fascinating maps, memorabilia and treasures from the deep at the National Maritime Museum. Countless specimens of plants, animals, dinosaurs, fossils and rocks are showcased at the wonderful Natural History Museum, alongside show-stopping art in the National Gallery and seven floors of transfixing entertainment at the Science Museum. London is also home to world-class opera, ballet and theatre, including West End shows, avantgarde plays and famous musicals – be sure to book ahead.
Shopping is one of London’s greatest treasures, the city boasting a vast choice of venues to loosen those purse strings. There are sleek shopping centres and elegant arcades, lined with high-street names and designer brands, while flagship department stores include Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnum & Mason, Liberty, John Lewis, Harvey Nichols and Fenwick of Bond Street. Hatton Garden is fabulous for jewellery shopping, while Savile Row is famous for men’s tailoring. Head to the unique Design Centre at Chelsea Harbour for quirky home finds, while Carnaby is another retail hub, filled with high-end, global labels and charming boutiques. London is also home to some glorious markets – Covent Garden for handmade crafts, Portobello for antiques, and gourmet havens like Berwick Street and Borough Markets.
For the Family
Discover the Land of the Lions at the glorious London Zoo, offering an unforgettable encounter with endangered Asiatic big cats. Go behind-the-scenes of Harry Potter™ films at the Warner Brother’s Studios, or meet the lifelike wax figures of royal icons, red carpet celebrities and sporting heroes at Madame Tussauds. Many of London’s iconic landmarks and museums are ideal for a fun and educational day out, plus captivating toy shops like Hamleys and The LEGO Store are sure to entice the little ones. A true highlight for families, hop aboard The Coca-Cola London Eye, a huge ferris wheel on the banks of the Thames that slowly rotates and promises an ever-changing perspective of London by day and by night.
London has one of the most exciting food scenes on the planet, with a deliciously long list of places to dine. Michelin-starred venues run by world-renowned chefs sit alongside bijou eateries serving scrumptious homemade food. Elegant dining rooms, laden with crystal and linens bag prime locations in swish hotels, whilst the rest of cosmopolitan London offers food from every corner of the world - whether you fancy a dim sum breakfast or elaborate Moroccan feast. Keep up-to-date reading reviews from reputable food critics in high-profile media and online guides.
Parks and Gardens
Get close to nature in one of London’s eight stunning and historic Royal Parks: Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, St. James’s Park, The Green Park, The Regent’s Park, Bushy Park, Greenwich Park and Richmond Park. Wander through the gardens and lose yourself in the maze at Hampton Court Palace, conceived by Henry VIII as a backdrop of floral opulence, or visit the Royal Botanic Kew Gardens, London’s biggest UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to the fantastic Treetop Walkway and stunning Palm House.
A great sporting destination, book a stadium tour of Wembley, Chelsea or Lord’s Cricket Ground – just three on offer among many others. Explore the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park of London 2012 fame, featuring the enormous London Stadium, walking and cycling trails, playgrounds and The Slide at the ArcelorMittal Orbit. Intertwined with the UK’s tallest piece of public art, The Slide comprises twelve twists and turns, including an adrenalin-pumping corkscrew, followed by a fast 50m straight run to the bottom - not for the faint-hearted! Why not time your stay to coincide with an annual sporting event such as the London Marathon, Wimbledon tennis tournament or Polo in the Park?
Our Travel Consultants can help you with all your planning as well as pre-booking theatre tickets, spa treatments, dinner reservations and private chauffeurs, so you can maximise your time in London.
We can also advise on a host of special experiences or activity ideas to make your stay truly memorable, from a personal shopper to escort you around some of the city’s finest shops to a sumptuous Champagne afternoon tea. In a city of fantastic hotels it can be difficult to choose, but we have some personal favourites and will be happy to help you decide
Please contact our Travel Consultants for flight details.
Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country (for example, South Africa) or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
Visa and Advance Passenger Information
All passengers must ensure they have a valid, acceptable passport, any required visa and any other documentation for both the final destination and any stop-off points en route. Please make sure that Advance Passenger Information is submitted in advance to travel for all destinations. Failure to hold correct documentation or submitting incorrect details with Advance Passenger Information or Visa applications may result in refusal of carriage or entry into a country. Please check with the relevant Embassy regarding visa requirements well in advance of your travel date. Charges may apply for some visas.
Passengers not travelling on a British Passport are advised to contact their relevant Foreign & Commonwealth office for individual Visa requirements.
For up-to-date resort information, visit www.fco.gov.uk
Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide and you should take health advice about your specific needs from your general practitioner or a specialist clinic as early as possible before travel. Those planning to become pregnant should discuss their travel plans with their healthcare provider to assess their risk of infection with Zika. For information about Zika, other mosquito-borne diseases (such as Dengue fever and Chikungunya), Lyme Disease (caused by tick bites), and to receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures, please visit http://travelhealthpro.org.uk/insect-tick-bite-avoidance/
In addition, we highly recommend that you seek specialist advice from your doctor and, where recommended, obtain vaccinations or tablets for protection against, for example: Malaria, Hepatitis A, Polio and Typhoid. In some cases, treatments for Malaria should begin well in advance of travel. Travellers may also be required to show Yellow Fever Certificates on arrival in certain destinations ie, some African countries. Please note that you are strongly advised against scuba-diving for 24 hours before travelling by air. We would also like to draw your attention to the risk of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis) and recommend that you consult with your doctor before travelling.
Visit the FCO website and select your destination country for the very latest travel advice: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.
Additional sources of information include: www.hpa.org.uk, http://nathnac.net,
www.fco.gov.uk, www.hpa.org.uk and www.nathnac.org, your General Practitioner or a specialised clinic.