Go to London! You betcha.
If you’ve been timing your laps in the pool, still got Olympic fever, and you’re looking for a shoulder season vacation, London’s calling – hotel rooms are more available, and airfares have come down. I found round trip from Los Angeles for $1000… not a steal, but definitely cheaper than before the Olympics when it was creeping up to $2000 RT.
No to mention, the mood of the Brits has got to be “jolly good” – they have much to be proud of the way the Games went down. (One exception: Not to be an ingrate, but no Elton John, Coldplay, or Adele at closing ceremonies???)
I have been to London a number of times – with my family and without… and here are some of my highlights:
1) Hotel: Seriously GORGEOUS is the St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel. An historic hotel that went through a major remodel now boasts both classical and contemporary features. It reopened in 2011, and is a favorite five-star hotel. It looks right out of the Harry Potter movies – oh wait – it was.
Read about it and check it out here -www.marriott.co.uk
2) Outdoors: Regents Park Open Air Theatre. London theatre quality out in a beautiful park with a gourmet picnic basket – how can it get any better? But ya better hurry – the season runs from May-Sept. www.openairtheatre.org/
3) Nightlife: Victoria and Albert Museum. No joke. Friday Late is held on the last Friday in every month. Live performances, cutting-edge fashion, debates, one-off displays and installations, special guests, bar and food, guest DJs, and late-night exhibition openings are all what you can expect from is the world’s largest museum of decorative arts and design. It houses a permanent collection of over 4.5 million objects.
Back up: A micro-brew!
4) Shopping: Portobello Market: In West London, every Sunday, Portobello Road turns into a sea of antiques, hip clothing (and even cooler shoppers), and great people watching. Fun to see unique items at this market.
5) Day Trip: Groombridge Place Gardens and Enchanted Forest – It feels like a hidden world – and very British to me. It is on the boarder of Kent – about one hour outside of central London.
Kids love the Enchanted Forest – again, feels like a Harry Potter movie. I always love visiting parks in foreign countries because I feel they truly reflect that country’s personality. When I was there, one of the MOST outstanding things we participated in was the Birds of Prey show – that is REALLY a bald eagle on my husband’s arm!
6) Museum: Tate Modern – Always dynamic, always inspiring. Right now you can see exhibitions from Damien Hirst, to Edward Munch.. as well as the permanent collection which can take you all day. Families – listen up. This is THE best museum I have ever been to for kids that is not a kids museum per say. Wonderful programs – when I went they gave kids a self-guided scavenger hunt so they had to look for things in paintings. www.tate.org.uk
Epic city, inviting people, rich history. Hopefully many of you got to see Tom Brokaw’s documentary that aired during the Olympics about the host country and World War II called “Their Finest Hour.” It was fantastic and I wish I could tell you where you could catch it if you missed it.
“You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” – Samuel Johnson.