Love Your Layover: LondonWords by Courtney Kellar
Photos courtesy of London & Partners
For U.S. travelers en route to Europe and beyond, London Heathrow (LHR) is a convenient and stress-free stopover. Don’t fuss over your luggage – Excess Baggage Company allows you to pre-book and pre-pay for luggage storage while you see the sights. (I used this service to store my wedding dress while on my honeymoon!) Board the London Underground’s Piccadilly Line and you’ll be in the heart of London in less than an hour. Here are our suggestions of what to do with as little as four hours on the ground.
One of the perks of major international terminals is the sheer abundance of high-end shopping. No time to shop ahead of your honeymoon? At LHR you can book a complimentary personal shopper up to 48-hours in advance of your arrival. They will consult with you ahead of time to learn your needs and budget, then meet you outside security for an expert-assisted, pre-planned shopping spree.
History nerds, unite! No matter your interests, London offers amazing learning opportunities. Discover world-class museums and galleries (most of which are free) like the British Museum, Tate Modern and the National Portrait Gallery. Alternative options include oddities like a Jack the Ripper Walking Tour or The Making of Harry Potter Studio Tour. Evening layover? Do dinner and a show in the iconic West End Theater District.
I have a confession – I love open-air bus tours. If it’s your first time in a large city and you’re on a tight schedule, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour is crazy convenient. The largest of its kind, Big Bus Tours, is based in London. With just 24 hours to explore London, consider this your mode of transport to get around the city – all while opting in (or out) of the live guide. There are four different routes, which stop at all the big hitters like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament. Not only will you save on cab fare, but some tickets include passes or discounted tickets into major attractions. Get to know the city while enjoying free, onboard Wi-Fi and make a list of what to see when you come back. Hop-on, hop-off tickets start at €35.
This article first appeared in Destination I Do's Fall/Winter 2019 issue. You can order a copy here.
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