15:12 PM

Hop that pond! Here are five holiday hot spots you can't miss in London

There’s a lot of buzz around visiting London right now, and it’s not just because the exchange rate is favorable for Americans. Recently, Virgin Atlantic launched nonstop flights from Tampa to London’s Heathrow Airport, joining British Airways in providing travelers nonstop options from TPA to the United Kingdom's capital city. As TPA gears up for a busy holiday travel season, we’ve prepared a few recommendations for a winter visit across the pond!


1)  Covent Garden: Tucked away in London’s West End, Covent Garden is a photographer's paradise. Local stores abound, this quaint neighborhood is filled with a variety of teas and tasty treats. Holiday decorations adorn the open-air market where visitors can pick up gifts from local vendors. Grab a hot drink from one of street carts nearby and get lost wandering through the beauty of the quaint stores.


2) Shopping at Harrods: If you’re the designated Santa for your family this year, consider making a visit to Harrods. Upon entering this iconic store in London's Knightsbridge neighborhood, you’ll be greeted by seven floors of shopping. Harrods is one of the largest shopping destinations in Europe, housing over 5,000 brands with everything from souvenirs to high-end fashion pieces. Afternoon tea is also served here, so be sure to book a spot to refuel after your shopping extravaganza.


3) Riverside Christmas Market on the Thames: Wandering through an open-air market while feeling the breeze off the River Thames? Count us in! The Riverside Christmas Market, directly across from the Tower Bridge, is one of the most iconic holiday markets in the city. Endless food, drinks and views can be found in this walkable market. Don’t miss out on sampling some delicious hot chocolate and enjoying one of the many sweet or savory treats made by street vendors.  


4) Biking around London: While much of central London is walkable, exploring the city via bicycle is one of the best (and eco-friendly) options for getting around. Fortunately for travelers, bike rental stations are everywhere, with flexible pickup and drop-off locations. As a reminder, vehicles and bikes drive on the left side of the road in the UK, so make sure to be mindful when making turns and approaching intersections.


5) Golden views at The Monument: For those looking for a sweeping view of the city, The Monument to the Great Fire of London provides one of the most unique and amazing vantage points. After climbing up more than 300 narrow steps, the traveler will be rewarded with unparalleled views of London. The platform at the top of the Tower is a perfect place to watch the sunset over the city and catch the famous golden hour glow. 


Ready to plan your London adventure? Fly aboard Virgin Atlantic's new TPA-Heathrow route (and new plane!) by clicking here, or book a flight to Gatwick Airport on British Airways by clicking here.