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When it comes to city breaks, the vast array of diverse and exiting options around the world can make narrowing down a destination a genuinely tough choice to make. Though one city that never disappoints is London. 

The cultural heartland of the UK, this gargantuan, bustling city is jam-packed with a seemingly endless array of hotspots, and a thousand things to do.

A thriving cosmopolitan, the city is bursting with world-class attractions, edgy fashion, and a combination of modern day architecture and majestic buildings which date back nearly two millennia. No other city is full of this much excitement or allure.

While there are a huge number of reasons to visit London, the following are 5 reasons it makes for a great short city break. 

5 Reasons London Makes For a Great Short City Break

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Ease of Flights

London is one of the world’s best connected cities in terms of flight routes, and one of the key reasons it’s such a great place for a short city break is the huge range of options when it comes to flights.

London actually has 6 airports. The two main airports in London are London Heathrow and Gatwick Airport. And Heathrow is annually quoted among the busiest airports in the world.

If you’re based in Europe, flights to London can be as little as four hours, or less depending on where you’re flying from, and as cheap as $30. There are a huge range of budget airlines that connect London with Europe, and that makes it very easy, and affordable to plan a city break.

If you’re flying from North America, you can be in London in 8 hours from New York City. And while that’s probably not worth the flight just for a short weekend, frequent deals and sales may mean it’s worthwhile for a long weekend, especially if you catch an overnight flight.

Retail Therapy (Shopping)

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It’s easy to pack in some good quality retail therapy in London. And shopping is one of the biggest reasons people take a city break.

The city offers several distinct shopping precincts and streets, each with their own specialties and themes. “From luxury goods in Mayfair to quirky finds in Covent Garden, to famous London department stores like Harrods”, and even precincts dedicated to food, you can easily spend an hour, an afternoon or a whole day browsing shops in London.

Shopping hot spots include high end shopping along Oxford street (clothing retailer Topshop and department store Selfridges have their flagship stores here), and the infamous Harrods department store, though one of the biggest retail draws here is the city’s huge network of markets.

Dover Street Market is the most fashion forward. Old Spitalfields Market is great for menswear and handmade goods. Portobello Road Market is where you can find antiques and bric-a-brac. Camden Markets are full of eclectic open air stalls selling second-hand clothes, art, furniture and jewelry by young designers. Where to sh

Of course, you will also find many smaller, quirkier shops where you can purchase everything from tacky souvenirs like Meghan Markle’s face on a plate, so look out for the smaller, quirkier shops that are dotted around the smaller streets and alleyways.

It’s Easy to See the Whole City

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London has one of the most efficient systems of public transport in the world, and even though the city’s landmarks are spread out, the tube makes it easy to make your way around this sprawling city and see a lot in a very short amount of time. 

In the main area in the main part of the city, you will find famous landmarks around every corner, from the distinctive royal residence of Buckingham Palace to the gorgeous Gothic architecture of the Houses of Parliament. And it’s very easy to walk between these. 

But when you need to make your way across the city, instead of catching a cab, it’s often quicker (and far cheaper) to take the tube. While the London tube map may look intimidating at first glance, it’s very well structured and easy to understand if you take some time to examine it.

If you’re spending a lot of time in London, or plan to visit frequently, it may be worthwhile investing in an Oyster card, which allows you to keep topping up your credit for access to the tube.

It Can Be Free

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Visitors to London generally worry that the city is an expensive destination to see. But don’t let people put you off with tales of how expensive London can be – should you choose your attractions wisely, there is an incredible amount to do throughout the city without spending any money.

For instance the city boasts spectacular parks and gardens, people watching opportunities which will make you stare, and travelers will find all of London’s major museums are free. Historic markets like Covent Garden don’t charge admission, and it is here where the city comes alive with street performers and musicians…for free!

Breathe in the fresh river air while walking along the Thames, wait to watch Tower Bridge open and close, enjoy galleries featuring some of history’s best art, and marvel in the architecture of palaces and parliament buildings from the outside.

The reality is that there are plenty of ways to enjoy London for free.

It’s Romantic

City breaks are often planned with romance in mind, do if you’re after a couples destination, rest assured that London is one of the world’s most romantic cities.

Naturally, this metropolis has been the backdrop for many iconic movies over the years, so much so that you could say London itself has co-starred in countless feature films!

Lending itself particularly well to romantic comedies, if you’re considering a romantic break here, why not take in some well known movie locations like Notting Hill, Trafalgar Square, or recreating scenes from Love Actually?


UK Great Britain Guide Amazon

Lonely Planet Great Britain Travel Guide

UK Great Britain Guide Amazon

Fodor’s Travel Essential Great Britain

UK Great Britain Guide AmazonFrommer’s England & Scotland

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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