Few cities can claim the blend of fascinating world history and efficient modern luxuries that London can. The city that once held the keys to a grand worldwide empire now holds an arguably better set – one that can open ordinary eyes to splendid royal palaces, treasures, legends and architecture while still being able to enjoy fine international dining, world-class theater and music and a refreshing massage at a 5-star resort. London can be a whirlwind, but you and your spouse just experience a whirlwind of planning and new experiences. You’re ready to jump in and let this exciting city work its magic.
[divider]Lay of the Land[/divider]
Situated in southern England near the greater European continent, London is the gateway to the rest of Western Europe. It’s a great stopover for a few days to kick off a European honeymoon, or take time to get lost in the city’s mazes of gardens, castles, cobblestones, pubs and monuments. The city is broken up into different neighborhoods, such as Notting Hill, Soho and Westminster, most of which are easily accessible by tube (subway), taxi or car. Do some research to see which part of town you’d like to stay in and plan your trip from there.
[divider] Top Must See’s, Must Do’s[/divider]
The obvious draw to London is it’s incredible history, and just walking a few city blocks can take you centuries back and continents away. Book one with a trusted tour company such as London Walks, (www.walks.com), or do some online research for “Downladable London Walking Tours” and print off a map of your own. Now, with iPods and MP3 players, there are many mobile versions where you can have a certified tour guide right inside your headphones and go at your own pace. Tours range from basic historical sites like the London Bridge, Westminster Abbey and Hyde Park but can also be much more eclectic and interesting, such as Jack the Ripper, Harry Potter or Royal Wedding tours.
London can be a whirlwind of a city, so for some romantic time between you and your partner, slow down and share some wine and cheese at a tasting tour over the rolling hills outside the city. Visit www.vinopolis.co.uk for different tours, dining options and even tasting of whiskey or British home brew.
The Thames famously runs through London, and there’s no better way to see the miles of riverfront scenery than by boat at night. Custom yours to include champagne, a fine meal, dancing, live jazz, or end it near the famous Globe Theater, situated near the river, and take in some Shakespeare after a moonlight boat ride.
[divider]Where to Stay[/divider]
This luxury B&B offers just 11 rooms, all with marble bathrooms but completely different and unique designs. For instance, one room is done in traditional Victorian style and another modeled after an African sunset. It’s slightly removed from the bustling city to offer a more tranquil stay, but city activities are easily accessible. Internet access and continental breakfast are available in the room.
For a luxury stay a little closer to the heart of town, try the Royal Garden. Overlooking the green Kensington Gardens, the service is impeccable and fine dining is a main component of the resort. If you’re planning a destination wedding, the garden views and experienced planners make this a good spot.
You can’t go wrong with Italian luxury and dining overlooking fine English gardens at the Baglioni Hotel. Even though it’s walking distance from most of London’s attractions, a tranquil spa, special honeymoon packages, and one of the best Italian restaurants in town make this stately hotel almost impossible to leave.
[divider]What to Eat[/divider]
British cuisine has never had a good reputation, and if you don’t know where to go in London, it might live up to its awful name. If you want something traditional, ask around where you’re staying for the best pub to get a good hearty British meal. For other types of dining, try Soho for trendier places and a bustling street life and The Borough part of town for breakfast or lunch markets. If you like Indian food, (spicier than American style Indian), London is a great place to get a meal. Head to Brick Lane, sometimes called Banglatown, for a wall of curry houses. For other Indian meals, Bradford is a good spot. Thai food is also good in London, especially at The Blue Elephant in Fulham.