OK, I may be projecting slightly here. On Wednesday the UK government announced that from this coming Monday, US visitors to England would no longer need to endure quarantine of any sort, as long as they are Covid vaccinated. For newer readers who don't know, I was born in London and left for the USA in 2002. For the year and a bit that Covid hit my beloved industry so hard, I was seriously kept sane by fortnightly Zoom calls with my 2 best English muckers (British slang for friends). Well now I get to see them again and the flight is booked for September 2nd. So yes, this is the one that I've been waiting for, and this weeks ezine features the Top 5 out of some 50,000 reasons, why you also should have been on tenterhooks waiting for permission to travel to England again and more especially my hometown, London...
Top 5 - London (my hometown)
There are 28 Virtuoso hotels in London, and of course several hundred other excellent properties also. How the heck do we choose? Talk to us. What's important for you to see in London? Our recommendations will be based on logistics, your style of travel (boutique, modern, classic etc) and of course budget. Two of our absolute favorites - Egerton House (above), part of the Red Carnation collection, where the experience is more like staying with friends than visiting a boutique hotel. You’ll want to return time and time again to this beautiful townhouse, which dates back to 1843 and is enviably located on a tree-lined street in fashionable Knightsbridge. Shangri-La The Shard (below) is located in one of the world’s most iconic buildings and the city’s hot spot for foodies and culture. View the buzzing capital from floor-to-ceiling windows in the 202 rooms and suites that showcase stunning cityscape vistas.
If you include Windsor Castle which is on the western edge of the sprawling metropolis, then just London alone has 11 royal palaces and if you time it right you can visit all of them. True, that may leave little time for anything else on your itinerary, but we do recommend at least one other after the must-see option which most people agree is Buckingham Palace (above). Perhaps visit one of the lesser known sites, such as The Banqueting House, Whitehall, which is the last surviving remnant of the Whitehall Palace, which was the residence of King Henry VIII.
London has over 170 museums and most of them have free entry. There are probably 10 which are unmissable, but unfortunately that list has to be narrowed down to just 2 or 3 usually! Let us add the huge benefit of a private tour guide, it will exponentially increase your enjoyment and knowledge gathering. My personal favorites?
Victoria & Albert (above) houses one of the greatest collections of decorative art, design, fashion and textiles in the world. Located in South Kensington the permanent exhibits are incredibly creative.
Sir John Soane's Museum You'll have to trust me on this one as most have never heard of it. Soane (1753-1837) obsessively collected art, furniture and architectural ornamentation and his home and collection are unique in the world.
I will skip over the 250 registered art institutions in Greater London, and we're going to the theater instead. Including fringe and off West End venues there are just under 150 theaters in London. Book your tickets when they go on sale if you want to see anything that's on at the 3-venue National Theatre (above). Many productions feature A-list actors who give their all for their art in pure theater experiences nightly. Or head to the 250 seat Donmar Warehouse (below), a not-for-profit theater in Covent Garden, where you can feel part of the action.
I strongly believe British food still gets an undeserved bad rap. Over the years it may have struggled for identity, but regional and classic dishes are still rightly cherished and now combined with global influences. You can literally eat anything at almost any time in London, and if you do your research (or allow us to) it's usually darn good. Here's my shameless plug for Kerridge's Bar & Grill (above) located in the Corinthia Hotel (below), a Virtuoso property. Why do I love Tom Kerridge, a Michelin 2-star chef so much? I used to employ him as our sous chef in a restaurant myself and my chef brother owned in Gloucestershire back in the 90's.
For an absolute British classic restaurant head to Sweetings. Fish and oysters like you've never experienced with old-fashioned service.
If you're ready to answer London (since they've been calling) let us know by clicking the button below.
I love travel and I love travel planning just as much and I am proud to be building a team as passionate about exploring the world as myself. It took me a very long time to align my career with my undeniable passion for exploring, but now I and the team are here for you. Your personal travel tailors - award reservation and luxury custom itinerary experts. We provide a bespoke service, imagining and creating itineraries for independent minded families and groups.
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