The English writer Samuel Johnson famously said, “You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” More than two centuries have passed since Johnson’s era, but his words still ring true. Life in London is nothing short of invigorating, and travelers find that one visit isn’t enough to experience everything this two-millennia-old city has to offer.

Here, the antiquated clasps hands with the contemporary. You’ll find the historic Tower of London and the avant-garde Tate Modern both considered must-sees. Shakespeare’s sonnets are still being uttered by actors who don modern garb. Londoners most certainly still respect the royals, but they also jam to the likes of Arctic Monkeys and Adele. And while they still praise the power of tea, they now make room for some Starbucks here and there, and pressed juice too. A current leader in everything from politics and banking to fashion and music, London’s culture compass is always attuned to what’s next.

The best time to visit London is March through May when the temperatures are mild and the city’s parks are green and blooming. However, late spring – along with summer – is also prime tourist season, and hotel and flight prices reflect the surge. You’re more likely to find airfare and accommodation deals in the fall and winter though you’ll also encounter chilly temperatures. December in London is also an incredibly popular place to be during the holidays, so expect the streets to be crowded with both English and international tourists. And no matter when you travel, you should pack an umbrella: London is notorious for experiencing misty days and showers year-round. Another thing to keep in mind: it’s nearly impossible to escape crowds in London. Along with being one of the biggest cities in Europe, London is one of the most popular destinations to visit in the world, so no matter what time of year you go, you’re bound to run into lots of tourists.

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