London offers visitors plenty of temptations every year and during every month. Might 2017 be the year you finally decide to make the trip (or decide to pay it a revisit)? We’ve thrown together a list of 12 reasons why we think you should visit London in 2017 — not that you need more than one!
So book one of our affordable London hotel picks, check out our tips for saving on the top 10 attractions, and get going!
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12 reasons to visit London in 2017
Here are 12 budget-friendly reasons we’re excited to visit London this year. Pack those bags — we’ll see you there!
1. The dollar is strong against the pound
Ah, Brexit. While Britain’s — and Europe’s — leaders are figuring out just how it’s going to work, it means the pound is relatively weak (currently $1 = £1.25), resulting in better exchange rates for overseas visitors.
London is an expensive city, so we recommend you seize the day and get more for your dollar.
2. It’s an amazing year for art
There are some stellar temporary exhibitions opening in London this year. Our favorite “must visit” exhibits include:
• The David Hockney retrospective at Tate (Feb 9 to May 28)
• Some of the biggest names in American modernism in The American Dream: Pop to the Present at the British Museum (March 9 to June 18)
• Blockbuster Impressionism with the Cezanne Portraits at the National Portrait Gallery (Oct 26 to Feb 11, 2018)
• The story of a record-breaking rock band with Pink Floyd at the V&A (May 13 to Oct 1).
And make sure to keep an eye out for the annual Museums at Night event for after-hours fun, taking place from May 17 to May 20, 2017.
Related: London’s High Culture on No Budget: Free concerts, art and theater
3. The V&A gets a facelift
The scaffolding is finally coming off the V&A this year. With the unveiling of a grand new entrance and courtyard space, the museum is transforming its look. Best of all, admission is always free. We recommend you look out for the Friday Late events on the last Friday of each month, with DJs, drink, talks, and events.
4. Celebrate Jane Austen and Harry Potter
2017 has been declared Britain’s “year of literary excellence”, partly due to two significant anniversaries: the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death as well as marking 20 years since the release of the first Harry Potter book.
The Jane Austen 200 events are centered in Hampshire, an easy train ride away from London, while there’s plenty of Harry Potter goodness to experience in the city, including a live orchestral screening of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone at the Royal Albert Hall and, from October 20th, an exhibition at the British Library. Plus, there’s also always Platform 9¾ to visit at King’s Cross station…
5. Experience the Boat Race…
Oxford and Cambridge have been racing each other on the River Thames since 1829. In 2017, the race is happening on April 2nd, so mark your calendars. Supporters (and drinkers!) line the river in a much-loved London tradition. Check out theboatrace.org for more information.
6. …and the London Marathon
Another sporting event that sees Londoners lining the streets is the London marathon, this year taking place on April 23rd. With a route that weaves through south and central London, there’s plenty of chance to support the more than 37,000 runners who travel from all over the country — and the world — to take on the course, not to mention seeing the elite runners at close proximity.
7. Enjoy the atmosphere of Wimbledon
This world-famous tennis event takes place this year from July 3-16. The public ballot for this year has already closed, but you can still gain entry via ‘The Queue’ — an experience in its own right. Some queue overnight to get the chance of buying a ticket for Centre Court, but arriving early on the day of a match should be enough to purchase a less expensive Ground ticket. Go in the early days of the tournament, and you’ll see plenty of matches taking place and perhaps catch a glimpse of a rising star.
8. Hear world-class musicians at the BBC Proms
The Proms are an eight-week series of classical concerts held in the splendor of the Royal Albert Hall, this year running from July 14-September 9. One of the highlights of the year is giving “promming” a try — standing in the Arena of Gallery areas of the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets for “Prommers” are traditionally low, last year just costing £6 (around $7.50) — understandably long lines form for the most popular artists. And you’d need to consider camping out overnight to be in with a chance of getting into the legendary “Last Night of the Proms”…
9. Party on the streets at the Notting Hill carnival
West London turns into a giant party with one of the world’s largest street festivals at the end of August. Over a million people turn out each year to witness the dancing, music, and spectacle for the Notting Hill Carnival — a celebration of multicultural Britain. It’s also completely free of charge, however, expect to be tempted by the aromas of street food along the way.
10. Go behind the scenes at Open House
Want a glimpse behind the locked doors of some of London’s most historic and significant buildings? Of course, you do! Mark the September 16 and 17 in your diary for Open House, revealing the capital’s hidden architecture with hundreds of usually closed locations open for visitors across the city, for free. Some events require advance registration; otherwise simply join the queue!
11. Welcome in next year with fireworks
Start 2018 with the spectacular fireworks display that takes place over the London Eye and Big Ben. The event is free but ticketed — sign up now to get your tickets when they become available.
12. Stay in the West End’s biggest budget hotel
The West End of London is usually out of the price range for accommodation for budget travelers (although you can find some excellent affordable places to eat). That will change this year with the opening of a 583-room Ibis Styles hotel on Shaftesbury Avenue close to Picadilly Circus. While at the pricier end of our budget (around $125 to $190 per night), it’s a welcome change from the 5-star luxury hotels that traditionally swamp the area. We’ve been waiting since they first announced the news in 2014, so we can’t wait for the doors to open!
Need a place to stay in other parts of the city? Check out our top budget hotels in London.
The post London: 12 Reasons to visit London in 2017 appeared first on EuroCheapo's Budget Travel Blog.