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What to see and do in London

Big Ben and London Bridge pictured from the other side of the water on a bright sunny day

Best time to fly to London

One of the best times to visit London is in the springtime (from March through to May). Temperatures are mild, it’s not too humid, and the city’s many parks are in full bloom.

Spring and summer are the busiest times for tourism, so be sure to book your flight tickets to London well in advance if you plan on traveling during this time.

Want to fly to London outside peak season? The fall and winter months are perfect for exploring the city’s many museums and immersing yourself in the culture.

Plenty of festive events take place in the build-up to Christmas and the New Year, which can provide a cozier, cheerier experience and a different vacation overall, compared to the summer.

The verdict? There really is no bad time to visit London.

Getting around London

You may wish to invest in an Oyster card for your trip – a pay-as-you-go travel card that you can use on all London public transport. London separates into travel zones 1-6, and each zone has its own pricing system, so be sure to check your route before you travel.

The London Underground, generally referred to as the Tube, is one of the world's oldest underground rail systems. It’s also one of the cheapest and most efficient ways to get around the city.

Hopping on one of London’s iconic red double-decker buses is also a great way to see the city.

If you want more privacy, you can grab a black cab or use a private hire app like Uber or Bolt.

To explore further afield, you can hire a car, but the national rail network in the UK will usually get you wherever you need to go.

People leaving an Underground station in London, UK
An overhead view of the city of London in evening light

What to visit in London

Royalty, palaces, and monuments mix with world-leading fashion, music, and theater, ensuring you’ll never run out of things to do in this illustrious capital.

A visit to London is like a tour through a history book. It’s hard to resist watching the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace or checking your watch with Big Ben, but there’s much more to London than its historic buildings and landmarks.

London is also world-renowned for its shopping. One of the best experiences in the city is taking a trip to Harrods or Selfridges department stores to view some of the finest food halls and designer galleries in the world.

With a spot of luxury on Bond Street, the latest trends in Oxford Street, and vintage treasures on Portobello Road, you’ll find an abundance of stores to suit any style.

Enjoy the London cultural scene

If it’s the culture you seek, you’ll want to check out the Houses of Parliament for an insight into the instruments of British politics.

Visit famous landmarks and tourist attractions including the London Eye, where you can enjoy panoramic views of the city, and the Tower of London, a stone’s throw from Tower Bridge, where you can soak up some of the city’s rich history.

London has a huge variety of museums and art galleries, with most of the big ones offering free entry. You can glimpse the famous Magna Carta in the British Library (formerly part of the British Museum), browse iconic outfits throughout history in the V&A, and see ancient dinosaur bones in the Natural History Museum, all without spending a single penny!

The theater scene is also world-famous. London is home to everything from huge musicals on the West End to historic plays at Shakespeare’s Globe to the National Theatre on Southbank.

With endless options for entertainment and cultural hotspots to explore, it’s safe to say that you’ll never be short of plans.

The Royal Guard in London marching down a street on an overcast day
A close up image of a hand reaching for a coffee cup in London

Eating and drinking in London

With its vast range of cuisines and dining options, London is considered one of the world's food capitals.

Experience the English pub culture by enjoying a pint alongside some staple British food like fish and chips or a Sunday roast. Alternatively, take a trip to one of the city’s many skyline restaurants for an extra special night out.

You'll find some of the best eateries in London in the city’s many food markets. Be sure to check out the city’s most famous, such as Borough or Spitalfields markets which boast the largest selection.

This is just the tip of the iceberg of all the food and drinks on offer, but the beauty of visiting is being able to discover your own favorite spots.

The London shopping scene

Of the 30 million tourists visiting London every year, many will choose London as a destination specifically for its shopping scene.

Besides the world-renowned Oxford Street, where you’ll find internationally renowned brands and labels, London has so much more to offer in terms of shopping experiences.

On Bond Street, you’ll find an excellent selection of art galleries and luxury goods shops. Whereas, you can head to Brick Lane for vintage shopping, cozy bookstores, and an unrivaled hipster atmosphere.

If you’re looking for a sophisticated market experience in London, Camden Market is the most popular option. You’ll find everything from clothing and art to street food and homewares.

A snowy day in London as pictured from the side of the River Thames

FAQs about travel to London

Helpful information for travelers to London

What month is the cheapest to fly to London?

You can typically find the cheapest plane tickets to London in January and February. They’re usually the coldest months of the year in the UK and lie outside of the peak tourist season.

There tend to be fewer events and activities taking place during this period, but there’s enough to see in the city to keep you occupied.

You can also find cheap flights to London simply by planning ahead and booking your ticket in advance.

Is it better to fly into Heathrow or Gatwick?

Heathrow Airport and Gatwick Airport are the largest and busiest airports in London, and both are well connected to the city center. Heathrow is closest to the city (approx. 15 miles or 24km west of central London), while Gatwick is about 28 miles (or 45km) south of the center.

Both major airports offer a wide range of rail, bus, and taxi options, and Heathrow’s terminals are part of the Piccadilly Line on the London Underground, allowing easy access to central London.

Use the flight-finder tool above to view the latest tickets to both London airports from your desired origin point.

How long is a flight from the US to London?

The average time of a flight to London from the United States is around 9 hours and 30 minutes. This can vary depending on which departure city you're traveling from, and whether you choose to have a Stopover in Iceland or not.

When booking round-trip flights to London England, why not choose to Stopover in Iceland? You can spend up to 7 days relaxing in the Land of Fire and Ice at no additional airfare.

Do you need a visa to fly to London?

US tourists can visit London without a visa for up to six months, provided they have a passport that is valid for their entire stay.