Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), located about 18 miles southwest of Downtown LA, is America’s second busiest airport. London Heathrow International Airport (LHR) is the UK’s largest airport, and is, by international traffic, the second busiest airport in the world. Like most of London’s airports, Heathrow is located on the outskirts of London, around 14 miles west of central London.
The two airports are 5,456 miles apart, making this a lengthy flight, and on average a journey between the two costs several hundred dollars. The route is extremely well served with around 50 flights Los Angeles (LAX) - London (LHR) a day (around 350 a week). 19 different airlines service the route, including Air New Zealand, Aeroflot, United Airlines, Austrian Airlines, Air France, Air Canada, Lufthansa, Turkish Airlines, KLM and Aer Lingus.
Most flights from Los Angeles to London are with a stopover or two, with the location of the stopover depending on which airline you’re flying with. Aer Lingus is in Dublin, Turkish Airlines is in Istanbul, and Aeroflot is in Moscow. The flights with a change can take anywhere between 13 hours and 33 hours. Air New Zealand operates a direct flight, which takes 10 hours and 30 minutes.
LAX is now served by the Metro Green Line to Aviation Station, from where passengers can board a free shuttle bus service to the terminals. There is also the option to take the FlyAway Shuttle, which is a bus that can be picked up from various points around LA, or, from the west side, there is the Culver City Bus Line 6, which takes passengers to and from the airport. If taking a car, there are affordable long-term parking options at LAX, and Uber and Lyft both offer ride-sharing services to the airport.
The journey from LHR to London city center is straightforward. The easiest way to go is to get on the London Underground (there is a station at each of the main terminal buildings), and ride the Piccadilly Line into central London. This takes just over an hour. There is also the option to take the Heathrow Express, which runs to London Paddington every 15 minutes. Ride-shares are available, but are more expensive than in the United States.
High season for London is from late spring (starting in May) until early autumn (around September). During this period the weather should be relatively dry, with average daytime temperature highs of 70 F. This is substantially cooler than LA, and it does rain a lot more in London than in Los Angeles. There is also a time difference – London is eight hours ahead of Los Angeles.
The currency in the United Kingdom is the British Pound. There is currently a historically good exchange rate for dollars to pound, with one dollar exchanging to 0.81 pounds. However, London is a notoriously expensive city, so beware.
There are not many major etiquette differences to be aware of when traveling to London from LA, other than that British people say sorry a lot, and tend to be much less direct than their American counterparts, so in rare occassions, can interpret a business-like manner as rude.
Walk along the South Bank
Many of London’s major landmarks are concentrated on or around the River Thames, and the easiest way to take most of them in in one go is to walk along the South Bank path, which runs along the river through central London. You’ll pass the historic Houses of Parliament, the reconstructed Shakespeare’s Globe (where you can see a play for just five GBP in summer if you’re willing to stand), the National Theatre, the Royal Festival Hall, and the Tate Modern, which is one of Europe’s major modern art collections. Entry to the Tate is free.
The Queen’s London residence and one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, Buckingham Palace is well worth a visit. For ten weeks during the summer visitors can go on a tour around the State Rooms of the palace. But, if visiting at any other time, there is always the opportunity to watch the Changing of the Guard, where the beefeaters that stand guard outside the Palace change over in an elaborate ceremony.
The West End
The West End, the area of central-west London just north of the River Thames, is a cultural hub, and is particularly well known for its vast array of theaters. In particular, the West End’s theaters are known for their musicals, and a trip to London is not complete without a visit to one. Audience favorites include Mamma Mia, Matilda the Musical, The Lion King, Les Miserables, Wicked and the Phantom of the Opera.