Discover the best of London
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
Right now, around the world, brave members of America's armed forces are on duty, defending our freedom and upholding our values.
When not laser-focused on the mission at hand, they're looking forward to the day when their service to our nation is fulfilled and they can reunite with their families.
They are also imagining how they can use their hard-earned skills to build an exciting, rewarding and important career when they return home.
I want them to look no further than United Airlines.
That's why we are focused on recruiting, developing and championing veterans across our company, demonstrating to our returning women and men in uniform that United is the best possible place for them to put their training, knowledge, discipline and character to the noblest use.
They've developed their knowledge and skills in some of the worst of times. We hope they will use those skills to keep United performing at our best, all of the time.
That's why we are accelerating our efforts to onboard the best and the brightest, and substantially increasing our overall recruitment numbers each year.
We recently launched a new sponsorship program to support onboarding veterans into United and a new care package program to support deployed employees. It's one more reason why United continues to rank high - and rise higher - as a top workplace for veterans. In fact, we jumped 21 spots this year on Indeed.com's list of the top U.S workplaces for veterans. This is a testament to our increased recruiting efforts, as well as our efforts to create a culture where veterans feel valued and supported.
We use the special reach and resources of our global operations to partner with outstanding organizations. This is our way of stepping up and going the extra mile for all those who've stepped forward to answer our nation's call.
We do this year-round, and the month of November is no exception; however, it is exceptional, especially as we mark Veterans Day.
As we pay tribute to all Americans who have served in uniform and carried our flag into battle throughout our history, let's also keep our thoughts with the women and men who are serving around the world, now. They belong to a generation of post-9/11 veterans who've taken part in the longest sustained period of conflict in our history.
Never has so much been asked by so many of so few.... for so long. These heroes represent every color and creed. They are drawn from across the country and many immigrated to our shores.
They then freely choose to serve in the most distant and dangerous regions of the world, to protect democracy in its moments of maximum danger.
Wherever they serve - however they serve - whether they put on a uniform each day, or serve in ways which may never be fully known, these Americans wake up each morning willing to offer the "last full measure of devotion" on our behalf.
Every time they do so, they provide a stunning rebuke to the kinds of voices around the world who doubt freedom and democracy's ability to defend itself.
Unfortunately, we know there are those who seem to not understand – or say they do not - what it is that inspires a free people to step forward, willing to lay down their lives so that their country and fellow citizens might live.
But, we – who are both the wards and stewards of the democracy which has been preserved and handed down to us by veterans throughout our history – do understand.
We know that inciting fear and hatred of others is a source of weakness, not strength. And such divisive rhetoric can never inspire solidarity or sacrifice like love for others and love of country can.
It is this quality of devotion that we most honor in our veterans - those who have served, do serve and will serve.
On behalf of a grateful family of 96,000, thank you for your service.
Each year around Veterans Day, Indeed, one of the world's largest job search engines, rates companies based on actual employee reviews to identify which ones offer the best opportunities and benefits for current and former U.S. military members. Our dramatic improvement in the rankings this year reflects a stronger commitment than ever before to actively recruiting, developing and nurturing veteran talent.
"We've spent a lot of time over the past 12 months looking for ways to better connect with our employees who served and attract new employees from the military ranks," said Global Catering Operations and Logistics Managing Director Ryan Melby, a U.S. Army veteran and the president of our United for Veterans business resource group.
"Our group is launching a mentorship program, for instance, where we'll assign existing employee-veterans to work with new hires who come to us from the armed forces. Having a friend and an ally like that, someone who can help you translate the skills you picked up in the military to what we do as a civilian company, is invaluable. That initiative is still in its infancy, but I'm really optimistic about what it can do for United and for our veteran population here."
Impressively, we were the only one of our industry peers to move up on the list, further evidence that we're on a good track as a company.
The question of where David Ferrari was had haunted retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Vincent Salceto for the better part of 66 years.
Rarely did a week go by that Salceto didn't think about his old friend. Often, he relived their last moments together in a recurring nightmare. In it, it's once again 1953 and Salceto and Ferrari are patrolling a valley in what is now North Korea. Suddenly, explosions shatter the silence and flares light up the night sky.
Crouching under a barrage of bullets, Salceto, the squad's leader, drags two of his men to safety, then he sees Ferrari lying face down on the ground. He runs out to help him, but he's too late. And that's when he always wakes up.
Italian Americans from opposite coasts – Salceto from Philadelphia, Ferrari from San Francisco – the two became close, almost like brothers, after being assigned to the same unit during the Korean War. When Ferrari died, it hit Salceto hard.
"After that, I never let anyone get close to me like I did with Dave," he says. "I couldn't; I didn't want to go through that again."
When the war ended, Salceto wanted to tell Ferrari's family how brave their son and brother had been in battle. Most of all, he wanted to salute his friend at his gravesite and give him a proper farewell.
For decades, though, Salceto had no luck finding his final resting place or locating any of his relatives. Then, in June of this year, he uncovered a clue that led him to the Italian Cemetary in Colma, California, where Ferrari is buried.
Within days, Salceto, who lives in Franklinville, New Jersey, was packed and sitting aboard United Flight 731 from Philadelphia to San Francisco with his wife, Amy, and daughter, Donna Decker, on his way to Colma. For such a meaningful trip, he even wore his Army dress uniform.
That's how San Francisco-based flight attendant Noreen Baldwin spotted him as he walked down the jet bridge to get on the plane.
"I saw him and said to the other crew members, 'Oh my goodness, look at this guy,'" she says. "I knew there had to be a story."
The two struck up a conversation and Salceto told Baldwin why he was traveling. She got emotional listening to him talk and made a point of fussing over him, making sure he and his family had everything they needed.
About halfway through the flight, Baldwin had an idea. She and her fellow crew members would write messages of encouragement to Salceto and invite his fellow passengers to do the same.
"We did it discreetly," says Baldwin. "I asked the customers if they saw the man in uniform, which most had, and asked them if they wanted to write a few words for him on a cocktail napkin. A lot of people did; families did it together, parents got their kids to write something. After the first few rows, I was so choked up that I could barely talk."
When Baldwin surprised Salceto with dozens of hand-written notes, he, too, was speechless. He laid the stack on his lap and read each one. At the same time, the pilots made an announcement about the veteran over the loud speaker, after which the customers on board burst into applause.
"It seems contrived, and I hate using the word organic, but that's what it was; it just happened," Baldwin says. "Mr. Salceto was so loveable and humble, and what he was doing was so incredible, it felt like the right thing to do. And you could tell he was touched."
On June 27, Salceto finally stood before Ferrari's grave and said that long-awaited goodbye. As a trumpeter played "Taps," he unpinned a medal from his jacket and laid it reverently on the headstone.
"I had gotten a Bronze Star for my actions [the night Ferrari died] with a 'V' for valor, and that was the medal I put on Dave's grave," says Salceto, pausing to fight back tears. "I thought he was more deserving of it than I was."
For the first time in years, Salceto felt at peace. His mission was accomplished.