London calling? It should be. Home to eight million people, there's something for absolutely everyone in the British capital: world-class global cuisine, eclectic exhibitions, sublime shopping, verdant parks and a history that'll take you from Roman times to the modern day. There is a neighborhood, a market and an activity for all.
Olivia C., regional director in Delta's communications department, is London born and bred and grew up in the leafy suburb where the famous All England Tennis Club hosts the iconic Wimbledon tournament each summer. And where, after a day of spectating, it’s not unheard of to find yourself rubbing shoulders with a tennis legend or two over dinner in Wimbledon village.
“As a Londoner, it’s sometimes easy to take the city for granted, but when friends visit from overseas, I’m always amazed by how much there is to see and do – whatever your age or interests,” Olivia said.
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Explore the city
The current strength of the dollar puts more pounds in American visitors’ pockets – great news for fashionistas seeking out high-end luxury retailers like Selfridges, Harrods and Harvey Nichols on Oxford Street and in Knightsbridge.
“For a day seeking out vintage fashion and unique finds, get a to-go macchiato and stroll down Chelsea’s King’s Road or visit Portobello or Camden markets,” Olivia recommends.
The just-opened Battersea Power Station is the latest go-to for entertainment, dining and retail therapy – after a £5 billion transformation, the area offers a fun family day out. The Tower of London’s Beefeaters, ravens and crown jewels are captivating for kids, as are the Science and Natural History Museums, which house many interactive exhibitions. The Victoria & Albert Museum is a catwalk of fashion throughout the ages, while the Tate Modern on London’s South Bank is a treasure trove of global contemporary art.
For those visiting London for the first time, don’t be afraid to play tourist! Be sure to check out some of the city’s most famous sights, like Big Ben, Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace.
As well as tennis, London is home to many of the English Premier League’s top-flight clubs. And while Ted Lasso’s Richmond F.C. might not exist in real life, the riverside suburb of Richmond upon Thames is worth a visit for its biodiverse park where red and fallow deer roam.
“The city’s parks are incredible and offer a welcome touch of nature to enjoy a picnic or simply watch the world go by,” Olivia said. “You can even take a swim in the Serpentine in Hyde Park, whatever the weather.”
While visiting Richmond upon Thames, you can also take a boat down the river Thames to visit the world-famous Hampton Court Palace and step back to Tudor times with Henry VIII and his six wives.
For a bird’s eye view, head to the London Eye or Tower Bridge, or if you’re feeling brave, scale the O2 Arena in London’s Docklands, home to live music and sporting events.
Grab a bite
Hungry? London has you covered, and it’s not only fish and chips on the menu! London’s foodie scene is a melting pot of the many cultures and nationalities that make this cosmopolitan city so unique.
Borough Market: This outdoor market dates back to the 12th century and offers an incredible smorgasbord of street food and artisanal snacks to tempt any tastebud, including savory sausage rolls, oysters with a side of champagne and life-changing donuts.
Brick Lane: The buzzing Brick Lane, near trendy Hoxton and Shoreditch, boasts a street of restaurants offering deliciously authentic curries, one of Britain’s most popular cuisines.
Chinatown: Let yourself be lured by the sights and mouth-watering smells of London’s Chinatown, closely located to the city’s famous Piccadilly Circus. You can spend an entire day eating your way through the area, enjoying congee, sweet and savoury buns, Chinese hot pot and much more.
If you’re looking to splurge, you can celebrity spot at The Ivy or indulge yourself at one of the city’s many Michelin-starred restaurants.
Celebrate the London way
London loves a good celebration, and there are plenty planned for 2023, including King Charles III's coronation in May, which is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be part of British history. Along with the coronation, Olivia recommends these other London-favorite festivities:
Pride: London turns the colors of the rainbow for Pride in London in July – the U.K.'s biggest and most diverse Pride event that has been celebrating the LGBTQ+ community for 50 years.
Carnival: In August, the streets of Notting Hill become a wall of sound at Europe's biggest street party when Carnival welcomes hundreds of thousands of Londoners to celebrate the city's rich Caribbean heritage with dancing, music, floats and food.
London's extensive public transport network is second to none, making traversing this huge metropolis a cinch. Mind the gap on the tube, jump on a red double-decker bus, hail a black cab, ride a riverboat or rent a bike – all Insta-worthy ways to travel.
However, Olivia recommends a good guidebook and a comfy pair of sneakers. "Walking around the city is the best way to get a feel for what London has to offer and there are plenty of walking tours to grab the imagination – from architecture and ghost walks to Dickens and Sherlock Holmes."
Take a day trip
If you feel like getting out of London for a day, some of England's most scenic cities are easy to get to by train.
Oxford: Only about an hour from London, this historically rich city features breathtaking architecture and can easily be enjoyed in one day. Take in the sites while punting around the River Cherwell and explore Oxford University, including the well-known Christ Church college.
Bath: Known for and named after its Roman-built baths, Bath is a beautiful destination worth visiting if you have the time. Immerse yourself in history by visiting the Roman Baths, climbing Bath Abbey's tower and visiting one of the most photographed spots in England: the Royal Crescent.
Cotswolds: About 30 minutes west of Oxford, the Cotswolds look like something straight out of a fairy tale. This region comprises multiple traditional towns and stone villages, so there's no shortage of sites to see. While the Cotswolds can be accessed via public transportation, it's much easier and quicker to travel by car.
Delta and its partner Virgin Atlantic operate service to London from 15 U.S. gateways, including Delta's new nonstop service from Los Angeles starting in March 2023, and from New York-JFK to London Gatwick, starting in April 2023.
Delta offers a choice of four experiences: Delta One or Delta One Suites, Delta Premium Select, Delta Comfort+ and Main Cabin. As part of Delta's most recent food and beverage refresh, Delta One customers flying to the U.S. from the U.K. or Ireland will be treated to a regionally inspired pre-arrival menu, which includes a traditional afternoon tea menu featuring Thrive Farmers tea, warm fruit scones, tea sandwiches, clotted cream, strawberry preserves and mini pastries.