Discover the Best of London - United Hub
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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.

An update from our CEO, Oscar Munoz

By Oscar Munoz, CEO, United Airlines , March 27, 2020

To our customers,

I hope this note finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.

It is safe to say these past weeks have been among some of the most tumultuous and emotional that any of us can remember in our lifetimes. The impact of the coronavirus outbreak has been felt by individuals and families, companies and communities, across the United States and around the world.

The response to this crisis has been extraordinary; as much for what it has required from our society as for what it has revealed of us as a people.

Far from causing division and discord, this crisis and the social distancing it has required, has allowed us to witness something profound and moving about ourselves: our fond and deeply felt wish to be connected with one another.

The role of connector is one we're privileged to play in the moments that matter most in your life – weddings and graduations, birthdays and business trips, events large and small – and it's that responsibility that motivates us most to get back to our regular service, as soon as possible.

That is why it is so important our government acted on a comprehensive relief act to ensure our airline – and our industry – are ready and able to serve you again when this crisis abates.

I want to relay to you, in as deeply personal a way I can, the heartfelt appreciation of my 100,000 United team members and their families for this vital public assistance to keep America and United flying for you.

This support will save jobs in our business and many others. And it allows us time to make decisions about the future of our airline to ensure that we can offer you the service you deserve and have come to expect as our customers.

While consumer demand has fallen, we have seen the need for our service and capabilities shifted. And, we've adapted to help meet those needs.

Right now, aircraft flying the United livery and insignia, flown by our aviation professionals, have been repurposed to deliver vital medical supplies and goods to some of the places that need it most. We're also using several of our idle widebody aircraft to use as dedicated charter cargo flights, at least 40 times per week, to transfer freight to and from U.S. locations as well as to key international business locations. At the same time, we are working in concert with the U.S. State Department to bring stranded Americans who are trying to return home back to their loved ones.

While much remains uncertain right now, one thing is for sure: this crisis will pass. Our nation and communities will recover and United will return to service you, our customers. When that happens, we want you to fly United with even greater pride because of the actions we took on behalf of our customers, our employees and everyone we serve.

Stay safe and be well,

Oscar Munoz
CEO

Working to bring people home – repatriation flights underway

By The Hub team , March 26, 2020

When and where possible, we are working to repatriate travelers who are stranded abroad in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. Our teams are working closely with government officials here in the U.S. as well as in other countries where flying has been restricted to gain the necessary approvals to operate service. In regions where government actions have barred international flying, we have coordinated with the the U.S. State Department and local government officials to re-instate some flights. Additionally, we have been operating several extra flights to countries in Central America and South America as we continue to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world.

This week, we are operating 21 flights from Panama City, Quito, Lima, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and Roatan, to bring nearly 2,500 Americans home. We will continue working with government officials to operate extra flights to Houston from Quito, San Pedro Sula, Tegucigalpa and from Lima to Washington Dulles. We continue to review more opportunities for flights between the United States and other countries to bring citizens home.

Video provided by the U.S. Embassy Ecuador of Americans returning home on United.

Additionally, our Customer Solutions and Recovery team is working with customers in the following markets to rebook them on flights back to the United States as capacity allows, either on our aircraft or on one of our airline partners' planes:

  • Quito, Ecuador
  • Managua, Nicaragua
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • San Pedro Sula, Honduras
  • Amsterdam
  • Brussels
  • Munich
  • Singapore
  • Tokyo-Haneda
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Melbourne, Australia

Map showing reinstated international flights to help bring customers home during COVID-19 crisis.

We also recently reinstated several international flights back into our schedule to support customers and essential businesses which depend on these routes. As a result, we will be the only airline to offer service between Newark/New York and London, San Francisco and Sydney, as well as Houston and São Paulo, Brazil.

Domestic and international schedule reductions

By The Hub team , March 25, 2020

While travel demand and government restrictions continue to impact our schedule, we know some people around the globe are displaced and still need to get home. While our international schedule will be reduced by about 90% in April, we will continue flying six daily operations to and from the following destinations — covering Asia, Australia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe — in an effort to get customers where they need to be. This remains a fluid situation, but United continues to play a role in connecting people and uniting the world, especially in these challenging times. Learn more about what we're doing to keep customers and employees safe.

Flights continuing from now through May schedule:

  • New York/Newark – Frankfurt (Flights 960/961)
  • New York/Newark – London (Flights 16/17)
  • New York/Newark – Tel Aviv (Flights 90/91)
  • Houston – Sao Paulo (Flights 62/63)
  • San Francisco – Tokyo-Narita (Flights 837/838)
  • San Francisco – Sydney (Flights 863/870)

In addition to the above, we will continue to operate the following flights to help displaced customers who still need to get home. In destinations where government actions have barred us from flying, we are actively looking for ways to bring customers who have been impacted by travel restrictions back to the United States. This includes working with the U.S. State Department and the local governments to gain permission to operate service.

Atlantic

The following flights will continue through March 28 westbound:

  • New York/Newark – Amsterdam (Flights 70/71)
  • New York/Newark – Munich (Flights 30/31)
  • New York/Newark – Brussels (Flights 999/998)
  • New York/Newark – Cape Town (Flights 1122/1123)
  • Washington-Dulles – London (Flights 918/919)
  • San Francisco – Frankfurt (Flights 58/59)

The final westbound departures on all other Atlantic routes will take place on March 25.

Pacific

  • We will continue to fly San Francisco-Seoul (Flights 893/892) through March 29 and San Francisco-Tahiti (Flights 115/114) through March 28.
  • Our final eastbound departures on all other Pacific routes will take place on March 25.
  • We will maintain some Guam flights as well as a portion of our Island Hopper service.
  • Hawaii's governor issued a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine order for all travelers arriving or returning to Hawaii. Travelers must complete a Hawaii Department of Agriculture form that will be distributed on board their flight which will also include the requirements for the 14-day quarantine, as well as the penalties. You must show a government issued ID upon arrival along with your form. You can find more information on the governor's website.

Latin America/South America

  • We will continue to fly Newark/New York – Sao Paulo (Flights 149/148) through March 27 outbound.
  • The last southbound departures on most other routes will take place March 24.

Mexico

  • We will reduce our Mexico operation over the next five days. After March 24, we will maintain a small number of daytime flights to certain destinations in Mexico — more to come in the next few days.

Canada

  • We will suspend all flying to Canada effective April 1.

In destinations where government actions have barred us from flying, we are actively looking for ways to bring customers who have been impacted by travel restrictions back to the United States. This includes working with the U.S. State Department and the local governments to gain permission to operate service.

The revised international schedule will be viewable on united.com on Sunday, March 22. We will continue to update our customers with information as it's available.

If you're scheduled to travel through May 31, 2020, and would like to change your plans, there is no fee to do so, regardless of when you purchased your ticket or where you're traveling. Please visit united.com for more information, or reference our step-by-step guide on how to change your flight, cancel and rebook later.

For any customer, including residents from other countries, whose international travel is disrupted by more than six hours because of schedule changes resulting from government restrictions, they will retain a travel credit equal to the value of their ticket. That credit can be used towards any flight, to any destination, for 12 months from the time of purchase. If the customer chooses not to use the credit, they will receive a cash refund at the end of that 12-month period.We continue to aggressively manage the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak on our employees, our customers and our business. Due to government mandates or restrictions in place prohibiting travel, we are reducing our international schedule by 95% for April. The revised international schedule will be viewable on united.com on Sunday, March 22.

Domestic schedule

We're also making changes to our domestic schedule. While we don't plan to suspend service to any single U.S. city now — with the exception of Mammoth Lakes and Stockton, CA — we are closely monitoring demand as well as changes in state and local curfews and government restrictions across the U.S. and will adjust our schedule accordingly throughout the month.

Additionally, today we announced a further reduction in our domestic schedule — the changes will result in a 52% overall domestic reduction from a previous 42%, and our overall capacity will now be down 68% overall.

Hub city Route suspensions Remaining service
Denver Arcata/Eureka
Amarillo
Kona
Kauai Island
SFO
IAH
SFO
SFO
New York/Newark Akron/Canton
Grand Rapids
Hilton Head
Honolulu
Milwaukee
Madison
Omaha
Portland, Oregon
Providence
Seattle
Salt Lake City
Sacramento
Knoxville
Fayetteville
ORD
ORD, DEN
IAD
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO
IAD, ORD
IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD, IAH, DEN
Washington-Dulles Grand Rapids
Portland, Oregon
Sacramento
ORD, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO, LAX
Houston Hartford
Boise
Grand Rapids
Lexington
Ontario, California
Palm Springs
San Jose, California
Akron/Canton
Reno
IAD, ORD, DEN
ORD, DEN, SFO, LAX
ORD
ORD, DEN
IAD, ORD
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO, LAX
DEN, SFO
DEN
Los Angeles Arcata/Eureka
Austin
Boston
Baltimore
Bozeman
Cleveland
Kona
Kauai Island
Orlando
Madison
Kahului
Redding
Reno
San Antonio
St George
SFO
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO
ORD, IAH, DEN
DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO
SFO
SFO
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN, SFO
ORD, DEN
DEN, SFO
SFO
DEN, SFO
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
DEN
Chicago Asheville
Bismarck/Mandan
Bozeman
Kearney
Panama City
Eugene
Fresno
Spokane
Hilton Head
Wilmington
Jackson
Kahului
Palm Springs
Reno
San Jose
Valparaiso
IAD
DEN
DEN
DEN
IAH
DEN, SFO, LAX
DEN, SFO, LAX
DEN, SFO
IAD
IAD
IAH
DEN, SFO
DEN, SFO, LAX
DEN, SFO
DEN
IAH
San Francisco Atlanta
Nashville
Baltimore
Bozeman
Columbus
Detroit
Fort Lauderdale
Indianapolis
Kansas City
Madison
New Orleans
Omaha
Philadelphia
Pittsburgh
Raleigh/Durham
San Antonio
St Louis
Tampa
Fayetteville
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
EWR, IAD, ORD, IAH, DEN
ORD, IAH, DEN
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