London is hosting its third Summer Olympics, but this world-class city offers visitors a wealth of everything year-round.
Saddle Up: U.S. cyclist Dotsie Bausch, a Louisville, Ky., native now living in Irvine, Calif., will compete in the track cycling event.
Harry How/Getty Images for USOC
If there really is such a thing as too much of a good thing, it’s London. This sort of realization tends to strike a chap as he’s working on his third pint in a West End pub whose cellar once held prisoners for overnight stays. Not because the jails were full, but because the cellar was the gateway to a tunnel leading to nearby Hyde Park — where the prisoners were executed in a very public fashion.
It may have been the ale talking, but as I listened to the Portman pub owner Barnaby Meredith tell this macabre yet historically delicious tale, skipping my flight back to the States and extending my time in the city that gave the world Chaucer and Jerry Springer became an increasingly plausible solution to my problem: too much London, not enough time.
Too much history. Too much culture. Too much world-class shopping. Too many pubs.
London adds to its global appeal this month by hosting the Summer Olympics (July 27–Aug. 12), which means there’s even more to do and see in this nearly 2,000-year-old metropolis.
Since the world is coming to London for the XXXth Olympiad, we offer 30 different ways to enjoy London, starting in the city’s crown jewel. The West End district is home to the longest shopping street in Europe, 40 acclaimed theaters, 30 museums and galleries, and 28 Michelin-starred restaurants.
There’s much more, of course. But taking it all in is a mission impossible — no matter what your ale tells you.
Regent Street has welcomed shoppers for decades.
Courtesy West End
First, stop by westendvip.com
to find attractive offers on shopping, lodging, restaurants and nightlife. London is a pricey city (it easily outranks New York), and every pound you save can be spent on …
Oxford Street, which offers the yin and yang of international shopping. This 1.5-mile-long thoroughfare is the longest retail magnet in Europe and boasts the tony Selfridges flagship store, where a Givenchy tote will set you back $1,425. If you’re low on funds, head into Primark and pick up a pair of Union Jack socks for about $1.30 or a dress for $5.25.
Venture onto Bond Street and into the world of haute couture: Emporio Armani, Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Chanel, Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Salvatore Ferragamo, Gucci, Harry Winston, Hermès, Alexander McQueen, Prada, Tiffany & Co., Louis Vuitton and Yves Saint Laurent all reside here. Remember: If you have to ask the price, you probably can’t afford it (but looking is free).