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Your guide to London
All About London
One of the world’s most visited cities, London is a rich tapestry of history, culture, and innovation that come together seamlessly over 600 square miles on the River Thames. Even if you’ve never been to the English capital, chances are you’re familiar with its sights like Big Ben, London Bridge, and Buckingham Palace. You could spend months exploring its world-class museums, sprawling Victorian gardens, and A-list theaters and still not scratch the surface.
London’s creative drive extends beyond the exhibition halls and onto the plate. The city is an epicenter of gastronomy, boasting some of the most diverse cuisine in the world. Indian curry houses line Brick Lane, Jamaican jerk chicken shops populate New Cross, and the aroma of grilled Turkish kebabs welcomes you to Stoke Newington. In between meals, you’ll find high-fashion boutiques, niche markets, and some of the oldest bookstores in Europe. Just make sure you save time to spend a Sunday afternoon with a classic roast dinner and your beverage of choice at a corner pub — you’ll fall in love with London in an entirely different way.
The best time to stay in a vacation rental in London
London’s weather is fairly mild year-round, but that does not mean it is always warm and sunny. Rain is part of the charm in the capital, so it’s smart to pack an umbrella and a trench coat. Flowering trees and blooming gardens make spring a lovely time to visit, while a visit in December promises Christmas markets and holiday magic that emanates across the city. The weather is likely to be the best in summer, while chilly winter days make for a perfect excuse to park yourself in front of the fireplace and warm your stomach with some snacks at a pub. Regardless of when you go, keep in mind that there is no off-season in London and no shortage of apartments to rent.
Top things to do in London
Shopping in Shoreditch
Every Sunday, London’s trendiest neighborhood is home to Brick Lane market. Wander past buskers playing live music and striking street art, and you’ll find stalls selling vintage clothing, antiques, and wares by local designers. Duck into basement thrift shops and past warehouse doors that house artist ateliers, and follow your nose to Upmarket, a sprawling street food hall, for a smorgasbord of international snack options.
Amble past the Southbank booksellers and turn your eye to the Brutalist beauty that is the Barbican. Part apartment block, part multidisciplinary art complex, it’s a one-stop shop for revolving contemporary art exhibitions, to take in a London Symphony Orchestra concert, see the season’s top-billed independent theatre, or watch an arthouse film. And in December it hosts one of the city’s most charming outdoor Christmas markets.
If you’re looking for views, you won’t get better ones than from the tip top of the Shard, a 72-story skyscraper that towers above London Bridge. It houses several restaurants and bars, each one serving up delectable views over the city skyline. Whether you’re after modern British fare, craft cocktails, or afternoon tea, you’ll feel on top of the world looking out the floor-to-ceiling glass windows with the whole city sprawled beneath. Naturally, the most impressive views are to be found at sunset and into the night.