London was once the largest city in the world, casting its influence far and wide, and even though it is no longer as large as the sprawling cities of India and South America, it is still a fascinating city just waiting to be discovered. A metropolis of fashion, art and history, London is a phenomenon that has shaped the destiny of the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and other countries. Consequently, it has a long and interesting history and one that is embraced by the people that live there today. From the museums to the theatres and from the restaurants to the parks, London is the ideal place for a fun packed city break.
London’s Top Parks
If you are looking to take a break from the bustling streets of the city and need to rest your feet after a morning of pounding the pavements, head to Hyde Park, one of the largest of London’s Royal Parks. Opened in the 1600s, the park was originally only frequented by society’s celebrities and, home to the oldest boating lake, The Serpentine, the park holds great historical significance. In 1872 Speakers’ Corner was established and today it is still the place where political and religious speakers hold their court. As you wander the leafy paths on foot you will pass joggers, skaters, and horse riders, all enjoying the park’s merits. Look out for the Liberty Drives, which are the little buggies, driven by volunteers ferrying visitors around the grounds: a lovely way to enjoy the tranquillity.
One of the city’s most popular green spaces, this park covers 410 acres. Henry VIII once hunted here and until 1845 Regent’s Park remained a place that only the royals could enjoy. The big attractions in the park include London Zoo and the delightful Open Air Theatre. Home to many summer festivals, you can hire rowing boats in the park, listen to bands in the traditional bandstands, wander around the beautiful rose garden (home to 400 varieties), play tennis and of course enjoy a delicious ice cream or tasty light lunch at the Garden Café. Playgrounds are dotted throughout the park and there is even a tree house built in a huge sandpit, perfect for older children.
This park is much more wild than the others and makes for the perfect contrast to the manicured lawns and beautifully designed flower gardens of some of the other parks. Its unruly sprawl is part of its appeal and, stretching over 790 acres of woodland, playing fields, swimming pools and meadows, the park has provided inspiration for authors, filmmakers and poets throughout the ages. If the weather is warm enough you can enjoy a dip in Hampstead Ponds and if the wind picks up Parliament Hill is the place to be. Here you can marvel at the many kite flyers performing their areal displays.
How to Get There: London
London has several airports with Gatwick being one of the main ones. An international hub, Gatwick is served by flights from almost every other city in the world. From Gatwick airport, transfers to the city with Shuttle Direct are quick and efficient. We provide reliable Gatwick airport transfers and a stress free way to get right from the airport to your hotel, and indeed back again on your return journey.
Where to Stay
Paddington Classic Hotel – The Paddington Classic Hotel is a traditional hotel set in a stylish town house and is a good option if you are on a budget. Close to Paddington Station, the hotel boasts rooms with flat screen TVs, tea and coffee making facilities and private bathrooms. The hotel offers a continental style breakfast and is close to several good eating options for evening meals. Hyde Park is only a 5-minute walk away.
Euston Square Hotel – If your budget can stretch a little further the Euston Square Hotel is a stylish and modern option close to Regent’s Park and Oxford Street. The air-conditioned rooms have flat-screen TVs that provide an online music library, games console, Internet and business services. Meals can be arranged in advance and there is an extensive range of menus that include everything from Italian to Asian.
The Mayfair Hotel – Luxury epitomised, The Mayfair Hotel is close to the city parks, theatres and other attractions. 5-star rooms boast a minibar and entertainment system, and the hotel has a beautiful spa, steam room, herbal sauna, ice fountain, experience shower and heated beds in a candlelit sanctuary. There is a business centre, private theatre and top class restaurant featuring fine dining produced by award-winning chefs. Green Park is a short stroll away and the exclusive district of Knightsbridge can be reached in 20 minutes on foot.