London calling! It’s been a year of lockdown and cancellations, but now that locations are beginning to open back up again, why not take a trip to the big city? There are plenty of places to visit in the capital without the worry. Buy your tickets online to avoid queues. Here’s our lowdown on the best lockdown-leavers’ landmarks…

Raving about ravens…

Beefeater giving Tower of London tour in shadow of Tower Bridge, taken in London, UK on 8 July 2017

Power to The Tower (of London) and learn about the legend of the ravens that live there. The Beefeaters are on hand to keep you safe – why not see the Crown Jewels without the crowds on a small group tour? There are so many little-known facts to discover here: the tragic tale of the princes imprisoned, the trial of Guy Fawkes, the many ghosts floating about (social distancing, of course). Not to mention the polar bear…

Wander through Westminster

Smiling woman taking self-portrait with digital camera below Big Ben clocktower. Westminster.

Stay outside in the fresh air on a Westminster walking tour and river cruise. Numbers are limited to reduce crowds, so you’ll get even more interaction with the guide than usual. Ask about the top 20 iconic sites in this part of the capital, such as Big Ben and Trafalgar Square. Monumental. Take in the manicured gardens of Green Park, then sit back and relax on the river. Covid Thames and conditions apply…

Queue? No, Kew.

Kew, UK - 5 July, 2019: color image depicting crowds of people wandering around the brightly-colored flower beds and lush green manicured lawns of Kew Gardens, just outside of the city of London, UK.

Explore the 326 acres at London’s largest UNESCO World Heritage Site. Distancing? No problem. Although some parts of Kew Gardens are currently closed to keep you safe, there are several vast spaces you’re still able to visit. With over 50,000 living plants to see, the Royal Botanic Gardens will put a bit of color back in your day after a dreary year.

It’s exercise, deer! 

July 14, 2010 - Hampton Court, England. Staff await visitors at the entrance to Hampton Court Palace.

Why not level up on your permitted daily exercise with a guided bike ride to Hampton Court? You’ll cycle along the Thames to the stunning Tudor palace, taking in the sights of Richmond along the way. You’ll also swing by Bushy Park, the second-largest Royal Park of London. There you can see red and fallow deer, and enjoy the woodland. Talk about getting out into nature!

Step back in time

One of the top landmarks in London is the British Museum. Fun for all the family, you can skip the queue with a private tour of the largest collection in the world. Tick off as many as you can of the artifacts – although, with over 8 million of them, you might have a long list! With temperature checks and masks as precautions, you can safely explore Egypt and gander at Ancient Greece.    

Calm down in Camden

Kings cross canal with buildings and boats in the evening

Camden Market can be a bit of a bustle, but you can relax if you visit it Venetian-style. Take a trip down the Regent’s Canal via waterbus. For 45 minutes you’ll be transported at a leisurely pace to a pleasure-y place. Watch out for warthogs as you pass London Zoo, and see if you can spot other rare creatures in their natural habitat: celebrities. You’ll also pass grand homes of diplomats and aristocrats. It’s basically the Lake Como of Camden…

Notting to see…

London, UK - August 30, 2014: The face of this bookshop in Portobello was used into the movie Notting Hill. Hugh Grant's bookshop was called "Travel Bookshop".

That’s where you’re wrong! Home of the street carnival, Notting Hill is world famous. Amble along through this colorful urban village, guided by a local expert. Potter through Portobello Market and experience the rich tapestry of wares the stalls offer. Hugh Grant, eat your heart out.

All hail!

Looking through a car windshield with view of Tower Bridge at night, iconic landmark in London, UK

If walking’s not your cup of tea, or you don’t feel comfortable being out and about much yet, a 3 hour private taxi tour will be right up your street. See some of the most famous landmarks in London, such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, and Covent Garden. Sit back in an authentic black cab as your driver shows you the sites. London cabbies have the hardest exam to pass, but your driver will be a registered tour guide to boot. You’ll not learn more from anyone else, guv’nor!

A jaunt to the Abbey

Newbury, England--July 18, 2018. Tour groups visit Highclere Castle, located on a 5,000 acre estate in Hampshire England. It is the location for shooting the PBS series Downton Abbey.

No, not Westminster. The other famous abbey (just an hour and a half outside London) is Downton. If you really don’t want to sight-see in the capital just yet, hotfoot it to Highclere Castle, the main filming location for the program. With just as much splendor and history as the city’s stately homes, the castle also boasts extensive grounds designed in 1770 by Capability Brown. Staying safe and relaxed here is a walk in the park.

Whether you’re looking forward to restrictions easing, or are nervous about navigating new boundaries, all of these landmarks in London offer peace of mind. Regular sanitizing, mask-wearing, and social distancing are a matter of course. So venture out to a vacation on your doorstep, as there’s a world of knowledge in the capital and it’s yours for the taking.

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