You can't blame other cities if they cast a covetous eye upon London and grumble, “It isn't fair.” How can a 2,000-year-old settlement with such a deeply entrenched history—and such familiar-to-the-point-of-predictable iconography—stand at the leading edge of design, architecture, fashion, cuisine, fine art, and pop culture? By embracing international styles and influences (and people) as much as its own. The city's millennial resurgence resulted from a blend of clear-eyed preservation, savvy reinvention, and bold innovation. Only here could a brash new landmark like the Tate Modern so swiftly find its place in the old cityscape; only here could the cutting-edge gastro pub (an alien term less than 20 years ago) so readily slip into local parlance and routine. Perhaps that's because behind all this novelty, the London that always endures, unperturbed by these curious new arrivals or just slightly bemused. Each year, millions of tourists travel to London to experience its modern-day renaissance. Let Travel + Leisure’s London travel guide point you to its best and brightest spots.
Things Not to Miss in London
• Experiencing Parliament’s House of Lords and House of Commons in rowdy action from the public galleries.
• Meandering the South Bank river walk and absorbing the glorious vistas—a promenade best strolled at sunset for optimal romantic appeal.
• Seeing at least one West End or National Theatre play or musical; Shakespeare would’ve insisted on it.
• Taking a turn on the London Eye for a bird’s eye view of its historic city center.
When to Go to London
No matter the time of year, London travel brings with it a taste of bustling city life. England’s temperate climate means rain showers throughout much of the year, although temperatures remain mostly comfortable. Tourist numbers hit a high between April and September, and again around Christmas time, when the nights are long, but holiday decorations provide extra sparkle. Opt for travel dates in the spring and fall for brisk days and nights, plus a little more breathing room.
Experiencing Parliament’s House of Lords and House of Commons in rowdy action from the public galleries.
Meandering the South Bank river walk and absorbing the glorious vistas—a promenade best taken at sunset for optimal romantic appeal.
Seeing at least one West End or National Theatre play or musical; Shakespeare would’ve insisted on it.