London 2012 Olympic Games Travel Guide
With the opening ceremony just a few months away, it’s already time to start planning your vacation in London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. The fanfare, thrilling competition and national pride creates a contagious energy that is palpable throughout the host city. This summer, London transforms into a hub of excitement and culture, becoming the veritable center of the world. Simply put, it’s the place to be.
London by itself is a dizzying megalopolis that seems to extend to the horizon and encompass the world within its city limits. As the largest city in Europe, London is a jack of all trades: cosmopolitan yet traditional, prim yet edgy, artistic yet industrial, historical yet modern, multicultural yet quintessentially English. Yet as the Olympics descend upon the capital, London will host well over an estimated 5 million visitors.
Where to Stay
The prime place to stay is in Central London near public transportation stations. Kings Cross will see heavy traffic with the high-speed trains heading to Olympic Park in Stratford each day. Make sure to make reservations well in advance as the best places to stay in London are booking up fast in anticipation for the Games.
Luxury travel experts are recommending that travelers look into the vacation rentals in London to enjoy top services and luxury accommodations without the overcrowding hassles of hotels. Vacation rentals in London include luxurious private apartments and townhomes in some of London’s most fashionable districts.
What to Do
The Olympics certainly take center stage, but there are plenty of other events and cultural activities to enjoy apart from the sports and games. The World Shakespeare Festival runs from April 23 to September 9, the art and music London 2012 Festival celebrates international art, dance, music and film from June 21 to September 9. There will be plenty of events including opera, theater, fashion, concerts and more. Of course there are always the museums that London is famous for – the Tate Modern, Natural History Museum and the Museum of London are great cultural alternatives to enjoy.
Where to Eat
Instead of compiling a basic list of restaurants in London, we’ve decided to include the best restaurants near London’s most popular attractions. This way you can take advantage of the local dining fare near some of your favorite tourist hotspots.
Buckingham Palace & Westminster – Quilon Restaurant. 41 Buckingham Gate. This Michelin-starred restaurant is where Southwestern Indian cuisine meets formal English dining in an elegant dining room. It is chic and romantic, and a favorite for out-of-town business lunches.
Tate Modern – The Table. 83 Southwark Street. This family-friendly place is a great spot for a fun brunch that the kids will love. It serves top cuisine in a leisurely dining room, welcoming groups and friends to enjoy a delicious meal without pretension.
Natural History Museum/Victoria & Albert Museum/Science Museum – Café Brindisa. 18 Southwark St. This delectable tapas restaurant is a great find amidst not so great touristy restaurants around the museums. Here you can enjoy fantastic tapas to share with the family for a fun and easy-going lunch.
Harrods – Zuma. 5 Raphael Street. Located in the heart of the fashionable and ritzy Knightsbridge, this Japanese restaurant is simply a stunner. Undoubtedly one of the best Japanese restaurants in London, Zuma is a culinary haven offering tantalizing dishes and a relaxing atmosphere after a long day of shopping.
Oxford Street – Roux at the Landau. 1C Portland Place, Regent Street. Fine dining meets haute European cuisine at this sleek restaurant in the 5-star luxury hotel Langham Hotel. This is perfect for a sophisticated dinner out on the town in one of London’s best restaurants.
Thanks to Anirudh Koul for the photo: flickr.com/photos/anirudhkoul/3499471010
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