Now that the Olympics are over, it’s the best time to visit London to take advantage of travel bargains galore!
By Max Milano *
Some of the best travel bargains in Europe this fall are to be found in Post-Olympic London. Hotels are expected to slash their rates in an effort to lure visitors back and of course, Olympic souvenirs are half price!
Post Olympic London is Calling
London’s post Olympic blues happily coincide with the beginning of the fall shoulder season; this means that trans-Atlantic airfares will drop up to 50% when compared to peak summer fares. Many tourists avoided central London during the Olympics, so West End theatres, restaurants and hotels are eager to attract everyone back with extra low rates. Another cool thing about the fall season are the many art happenings and exhibits, check out London’s premier Art Galleries and museums, like the National Gallery and the Tate Modern for special fall events, many of them free.
When You Arrive
The cheapest way to get from Heathrow Airport to Central London is on the tube, period. You can buy a seven day Oystercard for unlimited rides on the London Underground, buses and even Thames river boats.
Things to do in London this Fall
From the Top of the O2 to Pigs on the Wing
Adrenaline junkies will be glad to learn that you can now climb up on the roof of London’s O2 arena (this was featured in a James Bond Film). Harnesses are provided and the views over Canary Wharf and the Thames River are guaranteed to be quite spectacular. Pink Floyd fans will be glad to know that rappelling for charity from the top of the Battersea Power Station will be on offer (the power station featured prominently on the cover of Pink Floyd’s Animals album).
One of the best things about London is it’s free museums: The venerable British Museum and the National Gallery are always free. The Tate modern does charge a fee, but it’s well worth it. Join the Tate’s “Late at the Tate” DJ nights this fall, with special after hour exhibits and trendy live DJs providing a bit of extra fun.
The maze at Hampton Court Palace, near the London suburb of Richmond is one of the most famous hedge mazes in the world. This year, a sound exhibit will trill you with strange sounds as you try to find your way out of this magnificent 18th century maze.
Go for Gold
The Royal Mail has painted their traditional red mailboxes golden to represent each one of the Gold medals won by Team GB during the Olympics. A scavenger hunt to spot the new golden mailboxes can be a fun activity as you explore London and the rest of the UK.
Take advantage of this British tradition of roundtrip fares for the price of a one way (as long as you return the same day) known popularly as a ”cheap day return” and officially as “off peak day returns” and take the train up to York, one of England’s best preserved medieval towns. Visit the York Minster, the Viking Museum (York was the Capital of Viking Britain) and walk the medieval city wall.
* Max Milano is a travel writer and the author of “The Mechanicals of Recoleta”, available at Amazon.