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Why is it Worth Visiting London this Summer

Buckingham Palace Road

Is it really worth visiting London I hear you ask? Why not go to somewhere much warmer, with a long sandy beach and where salsa and sangria are the order of the day. Millions of people do in fact visit London each summer and there are many great reasons why you might want to join them. Below I take you through some of the reasons you might also want to consider a visit this summer.

Experiencing British Culture

Being the capital of England and the UK, there is no better place to get acquainted with British culture than in London. So what is British culture and what are the best ways to experience it in London? Follow these 5 ideas to get started:

  1. The ‘Great British Pub’ – one of the iconic images of Great Britain, make sure to visit one of the local traditional pubs which are unique in style. Sunday’s can be a great day to visit a pub so that you can enjoy a traditional roast dinner, washed down with a pint. Two of my favourites are the Princess Louise Pub and the Lamb and Flag.
  2. British Museum – The British Museum is arguably one of the best museums in the world and not only a great place to learn about British history, but also to view treasures from around the world.
  3. Football – As the country which invented the game of Association Football, either watching a Premiership football game, or visiting Wembley Stadium and going on one of the guided tours, is worth considering.
  4. Buckingham Palace – Many British people may complain about the cost of the royal family but they in fact generate far more in excess of what it cost the tax payer and attractions such as Buckingham Palace (which is open for tours in the summertime), Windsor Castle and the Royal Gallery all provide a fascinating insight into royal life.
  5. Shakespeare – The Globe Theatre on the banks of the Thames Rover (conveniently close to the London Eye) holds open air Shakespeare performances on a regular basis are make for a great nights entertainment.
One of the Queen's chariots which is held in Buckingham Palace.

One of the queen’s chariots which is held in Buckingham Palace.

Something for Everyone

The beauty of London is that it really has something for everyone, whether you are a couple looking for a romantic weekend getaway, a family visiting for a week long holiday, elderly visitors arriving for a theatre weekend or a sports fan looking to catch a live event.

Families – If anything there are too many options for you to choose from as a family but let me make some suggestions. London is full of parks and which of course can be entered and enjoyed for free. Hyde Park and Regent’s Park both good choices. London Zoo tends to be very popular with children and also a great option for parents, whilst London Aquarium and the London Eye (both are close to each other) are popular with families.

Couples – As a couple I would highly recommend the Vinopolis attraction for its wine tour and tastings, along with a visit to the aforementioned Globe Theatre. There are so many great restaurants, wine bars and pubs that it very much depends on your budget as to where you eat and drink. For a reasonable budget and great quality though, one of my favourite restaurants for a taste of Britain is Bistro Union (40 Abbeville Road, SW4 9NG).

Sports Fans – Doing a stadium tour is certainly a must and the best three choices in London for an organised tour are Wembley Stadium, Stamford bridge (Chelsea FC) or the Emirates Stadium (Arsenal FC). None of the tours is particularly cheap but it is certainly worth picking one from the list. Lords Cricket ground in St.Johnswood offers stadium tours of this world class cricket ground. I recommended the Lords tour. If you can visit London in August when the Premiership season gets under-way, then try to get a ticket for a game with one of the London clubs (who include Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and QPR.

London pub

A local pub near the Thames River

Annual Events worth visiting for

A number of world class events take place in London annually and in the summertime hence you may wish to mould your trip around one of these events. Five events I recommend to consider are as follows:

  1. Chelsea Flower Show – Taking place in My or June of each year, Chelsea Flower Show is one of the leading horticultural shows worldwide and attracts exhibitors from a number of countries. This show is over 150 years old and a great British tradition.
  2. Notting Hill Carnival – This is the biggest annual carnival in England and attracts thousands of visitors every August. Running for almost 50 years, this event takes place in North London and is a vibrant and colourful event run by the West Indian local community.
  3. Trooping the Colour – For Royalists and those with a love for the traditional, visiting London during Trooping the Colour gives you a chance to see a full parade, attended by the Queen and involving all arms of the armed forces.
  4. London Rover Rat Race – An event new to some people, London River Rat race is a great fitness challenge for those of you on holiday who also enjoy a challenge. (See www.londonriverratrace.com).
  5. Pride London – Takes place in June annually and is a popular event for the gay and lesbian community.

Hyde Park in London

More Reasons to visit London

  • Shopping – London undoubtedly one of the top cities in the world for shopping. Make sure to take a walk down Oxford Street and if you have the money, the areas of Chelsea and Kensington for more upmarket shops.
  • Party – A trip to London is simply not complete without a visit to The Church. Full of Aussies and a place where you carry your beers around in a plastic bag, this party club opens at Sunday lunch time.
  • Theatre – The West End of London provides a wide choice of shows each day. Buy tickets on the same day as you can often pay half price.

Staying in London

London offers a range of accommodation options to suit almost every budget. The city boast a number of youth and backpacker hostels, a range of budget hotels and a number of hotels for those looking for a more acomfortable and luxurious stay. If comfort and luxury are your priority, I would also recommend to consider a central location which facilitates easy access to nearby transport hubs. The areas of Victoria, Paddington and King’s Cross are all particularly good location, each located near yo major train stations, whilst Victoria also has the benefit of being home to the central coach station and with direct access via to Gatwick Airport (via the Gatwick Express) and heathrow Airport (via the underground). The Eccleston Square Hotel located close to Victoria Station is a great option and one of my personal favourites in terms of hotels.

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