Big Ben and Parliament

London-Heathrow, United Kingdom (LHR)

The foggy clouds of London rest just above so many recognizable monuments: Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, the Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey and the list goes on and on. It's the backdrop to modern day fairytales (we all saw the Royal Wedding, right?); the place that withstood the plague, the Great Fire and the WWII blitz; the setting that inspired Shakespeare and Dickens. And it's a city that at the end of the day is fine settling into a local pub, having a good brew and raising a glass in cheers every now and then.

A Well-Rounded City

These days, greater London sprawls 607 square miles and has more than seven million inhabitants who speak over 300 languages. Diversity is something for which London is well known, and in Polish, Romanian, Hungarian, Bengali, Somali and Hindu communities — just to name a few — you will find tastes, shopping, and culture from all over the world. It's the perfect place to try something new while learning about different customs.

Architecture, art, fashion, theater, literature and food are also stars that London wears in its crown. The city is home to 45 Michelin-starred restaurants, contains four UNESCO world heritage sites, and touts the Royal Botanic Gardens, which holds the world's largest living plant collection.

But we wouldn't stay true to London without mentioning the 150 ancient monuments, 900 bookstores (twice as many as New York) and over 32,000 musical performances that take place every year. It doesn't cost a penny, either, to enter the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery, the Victoria & Albert or many of the other museums and galleries. In this already expensive city, take advantage of these options to learn more about the English culture without opening your pocketbook.

Nearly a third of London is devoted to green space — more than any other city of its size in the world. So if at the end of your trip you just want to stroll in the park, grab fish and chips, and crack open an old copy of Jane Eyre, we're certain there's a park bench with your name on it.