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Whether you’re after world-class cuisine, incredible culture, Instagrammable landscapes or historical charm, London has it all.
A sensory overload of sights, sounds and feelings, there’s a reason this fast-paced capital is one of the most visited cities in the world. A strong sense of history forms a solid foundation through ancient sites and architecture, while on the surface there’s always something new happening to inspire and challenge modern thinking. Our flights to London will take you to the heart of this fascinating city, home of the British Royal family. With so much to discover, join us as we uncover the best of the Big Smoke.
Our London video guide
Packed full of historical sites and must see monuments, London is truly a capital city. Check out Virgin Atlantic’s guide to this great metropolis.
If you're just passing through on a stopover we've got plenty of things you can see and do, whether you're visiting for a few hours or a couple of days. We've got you covered.
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Must do recommendations
Walk in the footsteps of the British Royal family at London’s most famous palaces and historic castles.
Experience the all-singing, all-dancing spectacle that is London’s West End theatre district.
Tower of London
Uncover the city’s fascinating past at the famous Tower of London, home to the incredible Crown Jewels.
Inspiring street art
From the beautiful to the provocative, London’s street art scene is simultaneously challenging and attractive.
With myriad breweries crafting flavoursome concoctions, London is a beer lover’s dream destination.
Escape the city
It's not all about the city; hit the road to discover the picturesque landscapes of the Lake District and explore the charming British countryside.
Dining with a view
From riverside dining to drinks in the clouds, London’s skyscraper restaurants show you a new side of the city.
London for LGBT
Britain is one of the world’s most welcoming nations for LGBT visitors. Home to numerous Pride festivals — plus hundreds of LGBTQ friendly pubs, clubs, and hotels — there’s something to satisfy every type of traveler.
Did you know?
For such a well-known city, London has plenty of surprises up its sleeve to baffle even the most studied historian. Brush up on these London facts ahead of your next trip.
- At 310 metres in height, The Shard is the second-tallest building in Europe, just beaten by the Mercury City Tower in Moscow.
- Despite popular opinion, Big Ben is in fact the name of the bell, not the clock tower that houses it.
- To accommodate partygoers, five lines of the London Underground network (Victoria, Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee) run all night long on Fridays and Saturdays.
- In one of the strangest legalisations in Britain, it’s against the law to die in the Houses of Parliament. The reason? Anyone who dies there is allegedly entitled to a state funeral - a pricey privilege usually reserved for monarchs.
- If you’re scared of ghosts, perhaps avoid Aldgate station, under which more than 1,000 bodies were buried in a plague pit in 1665.
With its rich history and multicultural society, London has long inspired writers, musicians and filmmakers. Get a taste of the capital before you visit with these famous books, movies and songs.
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- London’s New Year’s Day Parade: Kicking off at midday on Piccadilly, the parade passes by major West End landmarks, including Trafalgar Square and Big Ben, before ending at Parliament Square.
- London International Mime Festival: Now in its 40th year, this celebration of visual theatre takes place in venues across the capital, including the Southbank Centre, the Barbican and Shoreditch Town Hall.
- Gin Festival: Taking place at Tobacco Dock in the Docklands area, this festival of gin presents more than 100 original juniper-based spirits, alongside masterclasses from industry experts.
- Grimaldi Service: On the first Sunday in February, around 60 fully-costumed clowns gather for a service at All Saints Church in Haggerston to honour famous Regency-era clown Joseph Grimaldi.
- WOW–Women of the World Festival: Held at the Southbank Centre, this festival celebrates the achievements of women and girls around the world. Past speakers have included Vivienne Westwood, Salma Hayek and Malala Yousafzai.
- The Boat Races: This historic side-by-side rowing race pits teams of men and women from Oxford and Cambridge universities against each other on a 4.2 mile course between Putney and Mortlake on the River Thames.
- London Marathon: Sponsored by Virgin Money, the annual London Marathon sees more than 30,000 people take to the streets of the capital. One of the six world marathons that form the World Marathon Majors, the race is watched by more than 650,000 spectators.
- Chelsea Flower Show: Hosted in late May by the Royal Horticultural Society, this wildly popular event presents innovative show gardens and exhibits of flowers, trees, vegetables, herbs and floral arrangements.
- Trooping the Colour: Beginning at Buckingham Palace and ending at Horse Guard’s Parade, this impressive ceremony takes place on a Saturday in June and marks the Sovereign’s birthday with a royal procession and salute.
- Pride Festival: Celebrating London’s LGBT+ community, the Pride Festival takes place over two weeks in late June/early July and includes theatre, art, dance, conferences, LGBT+ tours and more.
- Wimbledon: The oldest and most prestigious tennis tournament in the world is held over two weeks in late June and/or early July at the All England Club in Wimbledon.
- British Summer Time Hyde Park: Held over two weekends in July, BST Hyde Park is a music festival featuring a mix of musical genres, with previous big-name headliners including Take That, Stevie Wonder, Massive Attack and The Who.
- The Proms: This eight-week programme (mid July – mid September) features more than 90 concerts of mostly orchestral classical music, held mainly in the Royal Albert Hall in South Kensington.
- Notting Hill Carnival: Held on the Sunday and Monday of the August Bank Holiday weekend, the Notting Hill Carnival is Europe’s biggest street festival and includes spectacular floats, sound systems, dancing, masquerades and amazing Caribbean food.
- Totally Thames: With events throughout September, the Totally Thames festival offers all kinds of excitement along the river, from live performances and large-scale art installations to boat trips, archeological tours and fascinating exhibitions.
- Open House London: This is one of London’s most sought-after annual events, with some of the capital’s finest – and normally off-limits – buildings opening their doors to the public for one weekend only. Admission is free but book in advance as tickets go quickly!
- London Film Festival: Autumn heralds the return of the London Film Festival, featuring premieres, feature-length films, documentaries and shorts from close to 60 countries around the world. Expect some seriously exclusive add-ons, like director Q&As, workshops with filmmakers and screenings of meticulously restored classics.
- Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition: This mesmerising showcase of award-winning wildlife images premieres at the Natural History Museum in Kensington before touring over 60 countries in the UK and beyond.
- The Lord Mayor’s Show: Comprised of three distinct events the Lord Mayor’s Show begins with a spectacular river pageant, continues with the world-famous Lord Mayor’s Procession, and ends with a splendid fireworks display over the Thames.
- Christmas at Kew Gardens: A favourite outing for locals and tourists alike, this Royal Botanic Garden is transformed into a sparkling winter wonderland, with a one-mile fairy light-strewn trail, a tunnel of lights, vintage fairground rides and a North Pole village.
- New Year’s Eve Fireworks: See in the New Year with this magnificent firework display over the London Eye and City Hall. This popular event is one of the biggest celebrations of the year, so remember to get your tickets well in advance!
Take a look at our London Heathrow Airport guide before you set off.
The flight time to London from New York is approximately 7 hours. The flight time to London from Los Angeles is approximately 10 hours.
The local currency in London is the Pound (GBP).
The most popular way to travel around London is via the London Underground, or the Tube for short. The bus network is also a popular mode of transport in London. The double-decker red buses have become a widely recognized symbol of London.
The voltage in London is usually 230 volts and the 3 pronged British plugs are used here.
Visit our dedicated UK visa page for more information on the travel documents you will need.