Flights to London, England (LHR)
One of the world's preeminent cities, London is as alive today as it was centuries ago, establishing itself as an international center of culture and history. While its most recognizable monuments – Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey - dot city center, expanding out from there visitors can take in the theater of West End, world-renowned art at the Tate Modern, and sample dining from across the globe. Most visitors fly into Heathrow Airport (LHR), one of the world's busiest, and after a ride into town, can take in the city that withstood the Plague and World War II, inspired Shakespeare and Dickens, and will always invite you in for a nice pint at a warm pub.
London’s primary airport, London-Heathrow International, ranks as one of the busiest in the world by passenger traffic. Travelers through Heathrow ¾ some 73.4 million in a recent year ¾ are bound for 185 destinations in 84 countries. The airport even has its own resident press corps serving the world’s major newspapers and television stations. The airport’s four passenger terminals have plenty of restaurants, cafes, pubs, shops and restaurants. The airport also has free Wi-Fi, family-friendly play areas and even chaplains serving travelers of seven different religions.
London-Heathrow International Airport (LHR)
Architecture, art, fashion, theater, literature and food are all jewels that London wears in its crown. But perhaps the most underappreciated aspect of this rather expensive city is how much you can see and do without spending a dime. Many of the city’s world-class museums, including the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery and the Victoria & Albert are all free of charge. And that’s just a sampling.
Two notable churches, St. Paul’s Church (not Cathedral) and Temple Church are also free to explore. The former was host to the first Punch and Judy show in 1662 and the latter plays a role in the Da Vinci Code.
London also has more green space than any other capital in the world. In fact, nearly a third of the city is devoted to it. Visit the Kensington Gardens, home of the royal Kensington Palace residence. Stroll through Hyde Park, 350 acres of city park, where locals partake in everything from swimming and boating to tennis and horseback riding. And on Sundays, be sure to head to Speaker’s Corner to hear Londoners get up on their literal soapboxes.
And of course, you can’t leave London without witnessing the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace. The ceremony, which takes place daily at 11:30 between April and July, lasts about 45 minutes.
We wouldn't stay true to London without mentioning the city’s 150 ancient monuments. Among its most famous must-see monuments is the Tower of London, the castle along the Thames River that houses the Crown Jewels of England. There’s also Westminster Abbey, the Gothic church that has played host to at least 16 royal weddings since 1100. And no visit would be complete without spotting Big Ben, the clock tower at the Palace of Westminster, Britain’s Parliament. And if you’re looking to see it all in one fell swoop, check out the London Eye, a modern glass-enclosed Ferris wheel that affords views of it all.
London is also a city of performances. The West End features a collection of theatres that’s the London equivalent of Broadway. Catch a variety of shows, musicals, Shakespearean classics and dance revues. If you’re an opera fan, the Royal Opera House is regarded as one of the world’s greatest opera houses. It’s also home to the Royal Ballet and hosts a resident symphony orchestra.
Though British food has historically been the butt of culinary jokes, London is no gustatory slouch. The city is home to 45 Michelin-starred restaurants and thanks in part to the diversity of its residents, London does a number of ethnic cuisines proud, from Indian and Italian to Cantonese and French.
Despite its reputation for being rainy, London actually receives less annual precipitation than a number of other popular destinations including Rome, Sydney and New York. Its summers are generally warm, verging occasionally on hot, with average July temperatures of around 75 °F. Its winters are cool and damp with only very occasional snowfall. In January, the average high is around 46 °F.