This summer, as most residents of NYC try to escape the blistering asphalt of Manhattan, many will take their summer vacation on the shores of the Hamptons, or up in New England, but why not hop across the pond for a "holiday" in London you won't soon forget? There are many reasons to visit one of the most thriving metropolises in the world this summer, but here's a quick top ten list.
1. The Weather
They don't call it "Rainy London" for nothing, but summer is the driest season in England and the motherland's heat just can't compete with the humidity of New York City. A sunny, clear summer day in London is more common than you'd think, and there's nothing like the energy of the city on a summer day.
2. The Thames River
One of the most famous rivers in the world, the Thames runs through London and its suburbs. On summer days, local pubs and cafes will simply pop-up along the river where tourists and locals alike can soak in the rays of that Southern England sun while enjoying a cold pint and some fish and chips.
3. The Pimms
The U.K. is known for pub life and perhaps the best summer drink a Brit can offer is a pitcher of Pimms. Made with Pimms rum, lemonade (known to the U.S. as Sprite) and any kind of fruit a barkeep can find in his refrigerator, it's the most refreshing alcoholic beverage you'll find in Europe. Don't neglect the fine ales or alcoholic ciders the big smoke has to offer either -- Aspall, Strongbow, Magners just to name a few.
4. The Day-Trips
Make sure to take a day trip down to the Brighton Seashore in the summer. It's one of the prettiest spots in the U.K. You can also head to Stonehenge and Bath for the day for a little history mixed in with your vacation. These trips can all be conquered in a day so you won't miss too much of the excitement in London.
5. Scotland, Wales, Ireland (Maybe Even Paris!)
If you're feeling very adventurous and have a couple of weeks for vacation, take a few days out from London life and explore other parts of the U.K. Book a tour of Wales or Scotland. Swansea in the summer is known for wild seashore parties. Head up to Edinburgh or over to Dublin for the best pints and the friendliest people. If you have a little cash to burn, jump on the two-hour Chunnel ride and explore Paris for the weekend. One of the best things about London is its location. The proximity to some of the most amazing cities in the world will have you coming back for more each time.
6. Kate's Baby
Besides the Royal Wedding, there's never been a more exciting time to follow the Royal Family. With The Duchess of Cambridge's due date rapidly approaching, the entire country is awaiting a new son or daughter to fawn over.
7. The Shopping/ Entertainment
There are few places that can compare to the splendor of New York fashion, but London is certainly one of them. From the grandeur of Harrods, to the fun fashion at Top Shop and Miss Selfridge, you could spend an entire day in South Kensington. Just make sure you bring an empty suitcase with you!
The West End in London and it surrounding area of Piccadilly Circus is a must-see for any London Tourist. Dinner and a show in London is quite similar to the Broadway splendor, with a British twist of course.
8. The Tube
Coming from New York's mass transit, London's will seem like a breeze. The tube or 'underground' and rail system are a lot smaller and more manageable than New York's subway system. While it only runs until midnight, it's the best way to get around the city throughout the day. Make sure to register for your tourist Oyster Card online to get the most out of your tube experience.
Crossing the Millenium Bridge in London and seeing Big Ben or Westminster Abbey for the first time is something you can't forget. The age alone of London is almost unfathomable for Americans. Many of the pubs in London are older than the entire U.S. While you could always take a red bus tour to learn about the city, I'd suggest taking a local London City bus (which are red too). This will give you a chance to truly be immersed in everyday life in London.
Remember What it's Like to Be a Tourist
It's hard when you're living in New York to appreciate (or even have patience for) tourists. While you explore London and its surrounding areas, you'll remember the fun and excitement that being a tourist in a new city can bring. Who knows, maybe you'll even cut the New York tourist a little slack when you get home. (Here's hoping!)