For a city with European charm, world-class shopping and must-see museums, consider a trip to London. England is a relatively quick flight over the Atlantic if you’re on the east coast, so you won’t spend too much time traveling, and London’s architecture, parks, and pubs all add to the city’s romance and allure.
Before You Go: Need-to-know info
Currency: British pounds
Entry requirements: Valid passport
Flight time: 7 hours from NYC, 10 1/2 hours from LA
Getting around: Tube (the subway), bus (sit on the second level of the double-deckers!), taxi, walking
When To Go: London at its best
Best weather: The weather is warmest in July (though the crowds can be large); November is the rainiest month, but people carry an umbrella year-round, just in case.
What To Do
Go to museums: It’s easy to spend an entire trip walking the halls in London’s many museums, but do so and you run the risk of culture overload. That said, you should at least visit the Victoria and Albert, which has a range of art spanning from Renaissance sculpture to 20th-century fashions. Also worth a visit is the Tate Modern, where you’ll find works from Picasso to Warhol.
See a play: If you’re there in season (May through October), see a production at the Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The theater has no roof, a circular set-up, and the space in front of the stage is standing-room only, all of which make seeing a performance there an intimate, entertaining experience. Afterward, stroll along the nearby Thames and cross the river over the postcard-worthy Tower Bridge.
Shop: The opportunity to buy cool clothes and rare antiques are many in London. A trip to the massive Harrods store can be overwhelming but fun to browse. For the latest fashions and great deals, try the Topshop (even he will enjoy a trip to this store for its wide selection of reasonably prices men’s clothes and suits). And if you’re in London on a Saturday, join the crowds for a walk along Portobello, an outdoor market where you’ll find everything from jewelry to antiques.
Take a day trip: For a fuller experience of England, take a day trip outside of London on one of the many bus tours that depart each morning. A visit to Bath, which has been a popular vacation spot since the days of the Roman empire, is fascinating for both its history and architecture (don’t miss The Circus, a group of crescent-shaped buildings from the 18th century). Along the way you may pass Stonehenge, a mysterious collection of stones in the middle of the English countryside. Get a taste of royalty on a trip to Hampton Court Palace, once used by Henry VIII, which features a maze among the manicured gardens.