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London Vacations

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London

London

Your London vacation

From Royal Families to Roman history, and charming accents to the River Thames, Old Blighty draws globetrotters year-round. Wake up to Big Ben and a swirl of double-decker busses, black cabs and Brits. Wander up the Mall to Buckingham Palace, and channel your Beatlemania across the infamous zebra crossing at Abbey Road. Spend a day in the British Museum and a night at an Olde English pub.

Whatever you fancy on a London vacation, let Orbitz give you the A to Zed, starting with the best time to go, top 10 highlights and insider tips.

Best time to take a vacation to London

  • If chats about the weather were an Olympic sport, Londoners would win the gold. So pack everything -- Queen Mum's climate is moody: The day can go from blazing sunshine to raining buckets all before afternoon tea. Winter brings cold, damp and Burberry peacoats, plus Christmas crowds and queues.

    2012 Olympics (July 27 to August 12) are the talk of the town, so prepare for heavy tourism, and higher rates. Wimbledon -- the oldest tennis tournament in the world -- draws crowds annually from late June to early July.

    Though London is busy year-round, high season peaks from June to August and again at Christmas, while January and February are a little slower. The crown jewel: bank holidays. They vary throughout the year, and the city is eerily quiet. Translation: cheap hotel rates, few(er) crowds.

Insider tips for London travel

  • St. John's Wood

    Walk the world-famous Lord's Cricket Ground and Hampstead Heath. Be on the lookout for celebs and tucked-away pubs nearby.

  • The Gilbert Scott

    Located in the Renaissance St. Pancras London Hotel -- a Victorian masterpiece -- this is your stop for proper authentic Olde English grub. (Think: Quail, Yorkshire puddings, orange marmalade).

  • Fitness Gallery at the Savoy

    Curb your jetlag at famed Savoy hotel's Fitness Gallery. Scrub, polish and dip your way into the Greenwich time zone with a massage and mani/pedi, or swim in the rooftop pool.

  • Oscar Bar

    After a few hours' at the British Museum, scope out the ultra-cool Oscar Bar nearby. The scene: the unpretentious yet oh-so-stylish types, plus the sommeliers and generous portions.

  • Medieval London

    Winding cobbled streets, mews and Tudor style. Visit Saint Bartholomew the Great, then take a candlelit tour of Sir John Sloane's Museum.

More on London from the Orbitz Blog

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London Vacation Packages

Hotel only $184

1 St James' Court, A Taj Hotel, London

4 stars
4.3 / 5 3 reviews

45 Buckingham Gate Map

Weekend Special with Breakfast

The St. James Court, formerly known as the CROWNE PLAZA ST JAMES, has opened its doors with a distinguished pedigree shaped over more than a century and a luxury service ethos refined by Taj Palaces, Hotels and Resorts. CLOSE TO BUCKINGHAM PALACE This discreet Victorian... More

Hotel only $206

2 The Cumberland Hotel

4 stars
3.8 / 5 112 reviews

Great Cumberland Place Map

Book In Advance And Save

Hyde Park hotel featuring cutting edge modern designThe Cumberland Hotel entices travelers with state-of-the-art accommodations and amenities, striking decor and luxurious ambiance set near London's historic and cultural attractions. This business-friendly hotel offers a... More

Hotel only $261

3 Charing Cross - A Guoman Hotel

4 stars
4.3 / 5 88 reviews

Charing Cross, The Strand, Map

Book In Advance and Save 15%

Timeless elegance near Trafalgar SquareCharing Cross - A Guoman Hotel is a modern boutique offering convenient distance to The Strand and Trafalgar Square. This deluxe hotel offers elegant accommodations outfitted with contemporary comforts to provide a more relaxed stay.... More

Hotel only $185

4 Strand Palace Hotel London

3 stars
3.8 / 5 229 reviews

372, Strand Map

Free Wifi

Fine dining, modern styling, and in the heart of theaterlandThe Strand Palace Hotel London is ideally located within walking distance of many of London's major tourist attractions. Guests visiting the city on business can make use of the hotel's nine conference rooms.... More

Hotel only $192

5 Thistle Trafalgar Square, The Royal Trafalgar

4 stars
4.1 / 5 50 reviews

Whitcomb Street Map

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Thistle Trafalgar Square - The Royal Trafalgar, is located on a quiet street just off the lively Leicester Square, next to the National Portrait Gallery. Situated in the middle of the West End and the famous Theatreland area, the hotel is only a 2 minute stroll to the... More

Hotel only $278

6 Flemings Mayfair

4 stars
4.2 / 5 117 reviews

7 - 12 Half Moon Street Map

Complimentary Breakfast & Wifi

Personalized service and luxury in the heart of MayfairThe second oldest hotel in London, Flemings Mayfair is a stylish boutique hotel housed in a historic Georgian building. The modern decor combines traditional British elements with a quirky, contemporary... More

Hotel only $230

7 The Bloomsbury Hotel, a member of The Doyle Collection

4 stars
4.6 / 5 23 reviews

16-22 Great Russell Street Map

Stay 2 Nights & Save 10%

Elegant Convent Garden hotel with dining and business facilitiesThe Bloomsbury Hotel is the perfect central location for a real London experience. This hotel was recently restored to its original grandeur and is a treat for guests on business or vacation. Covent Garden... More

Hotel only $242

8 The Cavendish London

4 stars
4.4 / 5 196 reviews

81 Jermyn Street Map

A haven of tranquility in the heart of London's Theater DistrictPampered tranquility in the heart of the city is the essence of the Cavendish London, whose contemporary rooms offer some of London's most enviable views. Rooms are full-featured and include every modern... More

Hotel only $159

9 Thistle Holborn, The Kingsley

4 stars
4.3 / 5 47 reviews

Bloomsbury Way Map

Book In Advance & Save 15%

Not many London hotels can claim a place in literary history. But The Kingsley certainly can. Named after Charles Kingsley, author of the classics Westward Ho! and The Water Babies, it was once home to EM Forster, one of the famous 'Bloomsbury Group', who worked on A Room... More

Hotel only $208

10 Citadines Prestige Trafalgar Square London

4 stars
4.2 / 5 99 reviews

18/21 Northumberland Avenue Map

Complimentary Wifi

Fully serviced apartments for up to six people near Trafalgar Square The Citadines London Trafalgar Square "Apart'hotel" is just steps away from Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square. It offers 187 apartments and studios that sleep up to six people. Each studio and... More

London highlights

  • Buckingham Palace

    Catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace, and relive the Royal Wedding at Westminster Abbey. View masterpieces at the nearby Tate Britain or Saatchi Gallery. Stroll by Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

  • Mayfair-Knightsbridge

    Posh spiced with London's swankiest, find Harvey Nichols, Harrods and its famed Food Halls here. Stroll Oxford Street, take in a show at Royal Albert Hall, shop on Saville Row or dally 'round Piccadilly Circus.

  • The West End

    This drama hub offers easy access to Soho, Covent Garden and Leicester Square. While theater takes center stage, enjoy great shopping, dining and museums, including the National Portrait Gallery and famed St Martin-in-the-Fields church.

  • City of London

    One-square-mile marks London's Roman days and now it's the city's financial hub (London Stock Exchange, Bank of England). Bordered by the River Thames, the City features the iconic "Gherkin."

  • Bayswater-Paddington

    This glamorous haven near Hyde Park attracts paparazzi, fashionistas and foodies. But if you're keen on natural beauty, you can bike, walk or rollerblade along Serpentine Road, or visit Kensington Gardens.

  • London Bridge

    Often mistaken for neighbor Tower Bridge, London Bridge is the ancient elder. Shop and be awestruck in Old Spitalfields, a nearly 400-year-old covered market. Meet the macabre on a dungeon tour.

  • Kensington

    Home of Kensington Palace (Princess Diana's home), this area is chock-a-bloc with smart shops along Kensington High Street. Museum goers, this is your stop for the Natural History Museum, the V&A, and the Science Museum.

  • St. Paul's Cathedral

    Towering high over the City of London, this belled beauty is Sir Christopher Wren's masterpiece. Psst! No secrets in the Whispering Gallery -- they're audible across the dome.

  • London Eye Experience

    Queue up for an eye-conic view of the city from the luxury of your own glass capsule. (Champagne optional.) Photo ops: River Thames, Tower Bridge, Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

  • Portobello Market

    Sorry, Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant, Notting Hill's real claim to fame is the Portobello Market. Prepare to drop some British pounds at the bohemian shops and mega-watt jewelers.