Not long ago right after the #BREXIT vote, I wrote about how affordable it was to visit London and the United Kingdom. Well since then, the US Dollar has continued getting stronger, and the pound is now near record lows vs. the dollar. Last weekend I decided to take advantage of the strong dollar and my long weekend by booking a quick trip across the pond. My outgoing flight I was able to experience Lufthansa First Class and the First Class Lounges. My return trip was a status run on British Airways getting me the last of the 100,000 miles I needed to re-qualify for AA Executive Platinum.
When I was searching for availability, there were some alright deals departing from Orlando or Miami, but the majority of flights I found were not good deals. However, when I switched my search to a round trip beginning in London (where the currency is weaker), I was finding round trip flights for about a quarter of a round-trip flight from the US to London would cost!
You will then have to find a way to get there (and home if you choose to go twice), but one-way award flight to Europe are readily available and pretty good value.
London has five airports with at least 3 of them being served from the US. Heathrow is the 3rd busiest airport in the world (with some of the highest airport taxes), but it is the most accessible airport to find flights too. I ended up flying into London City from Frankfurt, which was nice to be right in the city and not have to drive 45-60 minutes.
London is just a short 6-hour flight from New York and less the eight from Chicago. Flight times are often very convenient departing in the early evening getting into London around 9 AM.
The food in the UK usually gets made fun of, but London has some of the best restaurants in the world. On my trip last weekend I tried Native, which uses wild foraged foods from the UK. The restaurant was tiny, but the flavors were HUGE. Last time I was in London I ate at the (now closed) 2-Michelin Starred Hibiscus restaurant, and it was among the best meals I’ve had. I’m still looking forward to eating at Gordon Ramsay’s namesake restaurant, but it is awfully hard to get reservations!
I said it before, and I’ll say it again, take advantage of the great exchange rates, and go visit Europe!
There is always something going on in London (rain or shine!). Last weekend was the Lord Mayor’s Parade and Fireworks. Even though it rained most of the day the show went on! An excellent resource for seeing what is going on is Time Out London, which breaks down events throughout the city by day and the part of town. There is so much to do and see in London, its impossible to do it all in one trip. There is always something new going up too! I was surprised to see how much construction was going on in early November.
This may fall under stuff to do, but I thought it deserved its own bullet. The West End is London’s world-renowned theater district. With some of the best actors in the world taking the stage, the West End gives Broadway a run for its money. Plays like Hamilton, The Book of Morman, and Wicked can all be found playing in the West End, be sure to drop in and catch a play next time you visit London.
I’m sure we could think of more reasons that make London a great place to spend your next long weekend, but that is enough for us!
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