With thousands of fans descending upon England for Rugby World Cup 2015, London is more of a hotspot than ever. Many of the matches, including the final, will take place in the capital, but when you’re not cheering on your favourite team, there are plenty of other things to do in London. Here are 10 great choices.
1. Have a picnic in Richmond Park. When the sun shines on London, there’s no greater place to be. Take advantage of the lovely weather and find a nice place for a picnic in Richmond Park, the largest of the Royal Parks. Pick up a luxury hamper from Fortnum & Mason and find a quiet spot to sit and enjoy nature all around you. Try to eye the deer roaming freely.
2. Visit Kew Gardens. Kew Gardens is home to the world’s largest collection of living plants. But it’s not just the botanical gardens that dazzle. There’s a treetop walkway, iconic pagoda, the Henry Moore exhibition, and a kitchen garden. You can spend hours wandering the grounds and still not see everything. There’s plenty for kids here too, including the Bee Garden and the Marine Aquarium.
3. Tour Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Book a tour to hear first-hand how this once desolate area was transformed into Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, the eye-popping sporting complex that played host to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. You can explore the park on your own and visit the green spaces, see the different works of art throughout the park, or take a family adventure. Or take a guided boat tour for a special adventure.
4. Ride the London Eye. Setting foot on the London Eye, this iconic Ferris wheel on the Southbank, is one of the best things to do in London. Book ahead, but check the weather forecast first, as you’ll want to ride in good weather. Want to impress your loved one? Book the Champagne or Hotel Chocolat Tasting Experience to add a touch of romance.
5. Dine out at The Ivy. This iconic London restaurant has recently had a makeover and is all the better for it. At The Ivy, you can sip a cocktail at the stunning Art Deco bar, admire the stained glass windows, and order the fish and chips. Just makes sure you look your best, because here everyone is on the A-list, and you never know when you’ll run into a celebrity or two.
6. Shop in Westfield Stratford City. Who said that all of your favourite High Street and designer clothes shops were in West London? Here, they’re all under one roof. And, of course, there’s more to do than just shopping, if you’re not in the mood. You can hit the cinema, bowling alley, or casino and choose from a number of great lunch spots, like Wahaca.
7. Visit London Zoo. Follow your nose in Regents Park to London Zoo, the world’s oldest scientific zoo, a top thing to do in London for families. Highlights include the Gorilla Kingdom, Penguin Beach, and for admirers of our eight-legged friends, a new spider walk-through exhibit. But if you’re feeling arachnophobic, you can stick with the other animals, and even meet meerkats, kangaroos, and giraffes up close and personal.
8. Eat a superior curry. Chutney Mary is a Chelsea institution that recently upped sticks to Green Park, and it’s more sumptuous than ever. The dining room is a sight to behold, with its antique tables, oil paintings, and crystal glassware. Dine on lobster biryani, while you sip on mango mojitos. There is nothing like curry in London, and this is the best place to find it.
9. Catch a show in the West End. There’s always something on in the West End, from classic musical revivals, to today’s most exciting productions. And better yet, you can always find a play starring a famous actor, so sit back and enjoy the show.
10. Experience Open House London. London’s largest annual festival of architecture and design throws open the doors of hundreds of buildings that are usually closed to the public. The tour gives you access to previously unseen historic sites, private homes, and government buildings.