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Discover the best of London

By Nick Harper, November 18, 2016

A metropolis of almost unrivaled diversity, which is rich in history, culture and culinary delights, London is home to around 8 million people and — what seems like — almost as many attractions. For the first-time tourist, London is thrilling. But at a 30-mile span from east to west, it can also be hard to know where to focus your attention. To help plan any visit, we've narrowed down the city's key components and offered three recommendations for each — from restaurants and entertainment, to tourist hot spots and historical scenes.

Borough Market in London

London's best restaurants

There are almost an endless number of restaurants to try in London, but if you only visit three establishments, we've got you covered with our top picks.

The Ledbury: Notting Hill

As the highest ranked UK business on the World's 50 Best Restaurants list (in at number 14), the Ledbury holds two Michelin stars and leans heavily on chef Brett Graham's love of British game and the UK's finest local produce. It's expensive, but justifiably so.

Barrafina: Soho, Covent Garden, Drury Lane

What began as a single, authentic Spanish-influenced affair on Soho's Frith Street has since given birth to two more Barrafina restatuarants, both of which are every bit as close to the city's great cultural sights and sounds. The lines that snake around the block confirm its booming reputation, and even the longest wait is justified here.

Borough Market: Southwark

Not a single restaurant per se, but this spot on our list is more of a foodie's heaven. Borough is the beating heart of London's gastronomic scene — a sprawling mass of market stalls, pop-up food shacks and first-rate restaurants that can keep you well fed and watered from morning until night. Head there with a credit card and an empty stomach.

A bar in London

London's best bars

A full day of walking the streets and seeing the sights will leave any visitor thirsty. Luckily, London has every taste covered.

American Bar: The Savoy

If you only make it to one cocktail bar during your stay in the capital, make it this one. Open since the late 19th century, American Bar exudes effortless retro glamor and boasts killer cocktails — it was recently voted the second best bar on the planet, with New York's Dead Rabbit Grocery & Grog taking home first.

Callooh Callay: Shoreditch

This Lewis Carroll-themed bar boasts awards for its cocktails and offers master classes with the bottle-twirling bartenders. Located in the still painfully trendy Shoreditch, look out for the secret drinking den, accessed through the back of a wardrobe.

The Nag's Head: Belgravia

Narrowing down London's best pubs to a single establishment is an impossible job, but any visitor stumbling upon the Nag's Head will not regret a wasted pint. A poky little pub close to Harrods and Knightsbridge, it transports you to a bygone age of portraits, pewter mugs and bric-a-brac. The beer is Adnams and, reassuringly, there's a non-negotiable cell phone ban.

London's best historical sites

At more than 2,000 years old, you won't have time to see all of London's history. But the following three are worth making time for.

The Monument: City of London

Situated at the junction of Monument Street and Fish Street in the city of London, the Monument was built between 1671 and 1677 to commemorate the Great Fire of London, which decimated the city in September 1666. Head here and clamber up the 311 stone steps, and you'll be rewarded with one of the finest views of the city.

The Churchill War Rooms: Westminster

Head down to SW1 and you'll be transported underground and back in time to the bunker in which Winston Churchill planned the UK's strategy and led his government during World War II. Preserved as it looked during the war, this is one of London's most fascinating and important sites.

Pickering Place: Westminster

A hidden historical gem, you wouldn't find Pickering Place unless you were looking for it. Pickering Palace is the smallest square in Britain and was home to the Texan Republic until it joined the United States in 1845 — a fact recorded on a plaque that reads “…for the ministers from the Republic of Texas to the Court of St. James 1842-1845." Even more intriguingly, it was also the location of London's final duel fought with swords. Time has moved on but a sense of drama remains strong here.

London's best museums

London's best museums

Where the past, present and future collide — and where three stand out as highlights that can't be missed.

Natural History Museum: South Kensington

One of the world's most impressive, inspiring museums, the Natural History Museum houses hundreds of science and nature exhibits in one of London's many iconic buildings. The lines to get in are often long, particularly in the summer, but the high demand is entirely justified. One sight of the dinosaurs will convince you of that.

London Science Museum: South Kensington

From Stephenson's Rocket and the Apollo 10 command module to Eric the Robot and the Red Arrows, London's Science Museum offers 7 floors full to the breaking point with past, present and future technologies. Plus, it's just a short skip from the Natural History Museum.

Museum of London: Barbican

The capital's own museum charts the city's turbulent past — from prehistoric to modern times, via Romans, Saxons, fires, plagues and wars. To fully understand what shaped London, it pays to start at the Museum of London.

The London Eye in South Bank

London's best tourist destinations

London's legendary landmarks are too numerous to mention and see in a single visit. We would suggest you start with the following sights.

Buckingham Palace: Westminster

The palace that British sovereigns have called home since 1873, Buckingham Palace boasts 775 rooms with 19 State rooms, 52 Royal and guest bedrooms, 188 staff bedrooms, 92 offices and 78 restrooms. To go behind at least a few of those closed doors, book tickets for the Guided Tour of the State Rooms, which grants access to gilded rooms not open to the general public. Numbers are limited so book online and in advance.

The London Eye: South Bank

Officially titled the Coca-Cola London Eye, you can also call this the world's tallest cantilevered observation wheel. Sitting beside the Thames, opposite the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, the pods on the wheel elevate you high enough to see 25 miles across London on a clear day. Book online in advance to avoid long lines.

The Tower of London: Tower Hamlets

No vacation can be complete without a trip to Her Majesty's Royal Palace and the fortress of the Tower of London. The legendary castle, which lies on the north bank of the Thames in the center of the city, retells its past in satisfyingly gruesome detail. Expect Beefeaters (the ceremonial guardians), Crown Jewels and ravens.

United Airlines flies direct to London Heathrow Airport from 17 airports nationwide, while our Star Alliance™ airline partners also fly into London's Gatwick Airport.

Shaping an inclusive future with Special Olympics

By The Hub team, July 24, 2020

If your travels have taken you through Chicago O'Hare International Airport anytime since October 2019, you may have had a friendly, caring and jovial exchange with Daniel Smrokowski. Daniel is one of four Service Ambassadors thanks to our ongoing partnership with Special Olympics. This inaugural ambassador program aims to provide Special Olympic athletes employment opportunities within our operation, affording them a unique and meaningful career.

Since 2018, our partnership with Special Olympics has become one of United's most cherished relationships, going beyond the events we take part in and volunteer with. While the plane pull competitions, polar plunges, duck derbies and Special Olympics World Games and other events around the world are a big part of our involvement, the heart of this partnership lies with the athletes and individuals supported by Special Olympics. To advocate for their inclusion in every setting is one of our biggest honors, and we take great pride in the role we play in the organization's inclusion revolution.

Aiding in the success of Special Olympics' mission to create continuing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities, throughout the two-year partnership, United has volunteered over 10,500 hours and donated over $1.2 million in travel to the organization. The impact of this partnership is felt at every level, both at Special Olympics and within our own ranks.

"The Inclusion Revolution campaign, led by our athletes, aims to end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities. United Airlines has joined in our fight for inclusion, empowering our athletes with the skills needed to succeed and opportunities to contribute their abilities as leaders," said Special Olympics International Chairman Tim Shriver. "United Airlines believes that people with intellectual disabilities should be perceived as they really are: independent, world-class athletes, students, employees, neighbors, travelers, and leaders who contribute to make this world a better place."

Our Service Ambassador program is just one of the many ways Special Olympics has impacted not only our employees, but also our customers. "I see every day how our Service Ambassadors connect with our customers the moment they walk into the airport lobby," said Senior Customer Service Supervisor Steve Suchorabski. "They provide a warm, welcoming smile ad assist in any way they can. To see these young adults hold positions that a society once told them they couldn't is truly the most heartwarming part of my job," Steve continued.

"The opportunity to be a part of the United family means everything to me," Daniel said. "I feel so much pride showing up to work in a Special Olympics/United co-branded uniform, working among such a loving and supportive community. The relationship between these two organizations is truly helping to shape my future while letting me use my gifts of communicating and helping others. Hopefully, I can spend my entire career at United," Daniel added.

In honor of Special Olympics' Global Week of Inclusion in July, we're asking our employees, customers and partners to sign a pledge to #ChooseToInclude at jointherevolution.org/pledge.

And be sure to check out Daniel's podcast The Special Chronicles.

United works with partners to send food to USDA food bank

By The Hub team, July 23, 2020

In collaboration with food-logistics company Commodity Forwarders Inc. (CFI), United moved nearly 190,000 pounds of fresh produce to Guam for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Coronavirus Farm Assistance Program. This new program was created to provide critical support to consumers impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic.

A variety of fresh fruits were transported from Los Angeles (LAX) to Guam (GUM) on United's newly introduced, non-stop cargo-only flight – a route added to meet cargo demand during the COVID-19 crisis. The fresh food was repacked in 10-pound cases in Los Angeles, prepared for departure at CFI's LAX location, and flown to GUM by the United team. Through this beneficial partnership between United and CFI, the perishable goods were kept cool during every step of the process and distributed as part of the food bank program in Guam.

"Everyone on our team has worked relentlessly during the pandemic to get critical goods to where they are needed most. Establishing a comprehensive network of cargo-only flights have allowed us to keep the supply chain moving even while passenger flight capacity has been reduced," said Regional Senior Manager of Cargo Sales, Marco Vezjak. "Knowing that we are able to help during these difficult times – in this case the Guam community – is our biggest reward and greatest motivation to keep moving forward."

United is proud to play a role in maintaining the global food supply chain and helping people access the supplies they need. Since March 19, United has operated over 4,000 cargo-only flights, moving over 130 million pounds of cargo.

Jessica Kimbrough named Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer

By The Hub team, July 10, 2020

Jessica Kimbrough, currently Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, will take on the new role of Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer Managing Director.

Jessica assumes this new and expanded position to focus on global inclusion and equity as part of our enhanced commitment to ensure best practices across the business to strengthen our culture.

In this role, Jessica will be responsible for helping United redefine our efforts on diversity, equity and inclusion – ensuring that our programs and approach are strategic, integrated and outcome-oriented, while we continue to build a culture that reflects our core values. She will report to Human Resources and Labor Relations EVP Kate Gebo.

"Jessica's appointment to this role is another critical step our executive team is taking to ensure diversity, equity and inclusion remains a top priority at United," said CEO Scott Kirby. "Given her drive, experience and commitment to champion collaboration and allyship among our employee business resource groups, she is uniquely qualified to take on this position and I look forward to working closely with her."

As Labor Relations and Legal Strategy Managing Director, Jessica worked closely with senior management to create and maintain positive labor relations among our unionized workforce, providing counsel on labor litigation, negotiations, contract administration, organizing issues and managing attorneys who represent United in labor relations. Previously, she served as Labor and Employment Counsel in our legal department.

Jessica has a passion for creating a pipeline of diverse lawyers and leaders, and was honored as one of Chicago Defender's "Women of Excellence" for excellence in her career and civic engagement in 2017. She currently serves as President of uIMPACT, our women's employee business resource group.

Jessica's new role is effective immediately.

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