London is the talk of all towns right now. The city is gearing up for a remarkable summer, filled with parties, balls, and ceremonies - and that's just what the Queen is hosting! Across town at Olympic Park, the stadiums are preparing for the 26 sporting events, opening night festivities and award ceremonies.
For those lucky ticket holders with access to the games or a special invitation from Buckingham Palace to attend the Queen's parties honoring her 60 years on the throne (or for those of you who to see how London attempts to manage all of this) there are some great London travel deals for this summer.
Virgin Atlantic offers direct flights to London from New York, Boston, Washington D.C., Miami, Orlando, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Las Vegas. To get in the spirit of the events, be sure to stop by one of the airport lounges or clubhouses for some full-on London fun (think: flags, pins, crests and cocktails). To gain access, you'll need to fly in Premium Economy or Upper Class. (Travel tip: Take it from me, someone who flies internationally on a regular basis, the extra money for the upgrade is worth it.) Virgin Atlantic's Premium Economy has more legroom, lounge space, electronic ports, movie and dining options. I recently found flights for $1300 round-trip in Premium Economy (only $350 more than economy, and you'll get access to the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse and Spa in London!).
British Airways is the official airline partner of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The airline has teamed up with Michelin-star winning chef Simon Hulstone to develop a special Olympic-themed menu for British Airways passengers on their flight to London.
Cheap airfares to London will surface for this summer, but it's important that you're vigilant when researching these deals. Check with the airlines' and travel booking websites like Expedia and Travelocity often, and be sure you plan far enough in advance so that you aren't charged for last-minute tickets. Also, consider travel insurance for these flights. The extra money you'll pay will be worth it if you find you can't get over for the games.
InterContinental London Park Lane is celebrating its location on the site of 145 Piccadilly, Queen Elizabeth II’s childhood residence, with a Diamond Jubilee Royal Experience. Join the Sunseeker Superhawk, the boat seen in The World is Not Enough, for views of the Thames’ River Pageant, which will include nearly 1,000 decorated boats, barges with live bands, boats spouting geysers, fireworks and gun salutes honoring her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.
London’s family-owned athenaeum hotel is hosting a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee room promotion. Through June 6, 2012, guests who book two nights in a deluxe guest room for £299 receive a third night for only £60.
Grosvenor House, A JW Marriott Hotel, is offering a special commemorative package paying tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and her 60 year reign. Available only from June 1-4, 2012 the "Diamond Jubilee at Grosvenor House" package is ideal for those wishing to participate in the extended weekend of celebratory events to be held throughout London. Rates start as low as £328.10 (approximately $525 USD).
London hotel group, Radisson Edwardian, recently released a series of last-minute offers available during the Olympic games:
- Radisson Edwardian Mercer Street Hotel - This new boutique property is located in London's hidden village of Seven Dials and is within 30 minutes of the Olympic Park. Rates from £455 (approx. $719) per night, for a standard twin room, based on a three-night stay.
- Radisson Edwardian Hampshire Hotel - For travelers looking to take in London's iconic sights while following the marathon and cycling on the famous Mall, this 5-star hotel in the heart of Leicester Square makes a great base. Rates start at £465 (approx. $735) per night, for a standard, double room, based on a three-night stay.
- Radisson Edwardian Berkshire Hotel - This property puts travelers right in the middle of the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street and is less than 25 minutes from the Olympic Village and within a 10 minutes walk to Hyde Park, the location for the Triathlon/marathon and swimming. Rates from £325 (approx. $513) per night, for a standard, single room.
- Radisson Edwardian Vanderbilt -This historic property is a short walk from the National History Museum and Horse Guards, which will host the Glamazonian Volley Ball competition. Rates from £249 (approx. $394) per night, for a standard, single room, based on a two-night stay.
- Radisson Edwardian Grafton - This property is ideal for guests who would like easy access to all Olympic venues including the Village, Wembley and Greenwich Park. Rates from £399 (approx. $631) per night, for a deluxe room based on a three-night stay.
- Radisson Edwardian Heathrow - This hotel provides an ideal gateway to the capital and the South West London sporting venues including Hampton Court Palace (cycling), Eton Dorney (rowing) and Wimbledon (tennis). Rates from £150 (approx. $237) per night, for single occupancy.
- Radisson Edwardian Guildford - The newest addition to the Radisson Edwardian brand, this location is perfect for those who require convenient access into London but prefer a less urbane landscape. Rates from £295 (approx. $466) per night
London-based Kensington Tours has designed a collection of Diamond Jubilee experiences, all which come with a private guide so you can make the most of the pomp and circumstance occasion:
- London Diamond Jubilee - 8 Days from $3,100 per person. Celebrate her Majesty’s 60 year reign in London with this private tour, which includes insight into historic highlights on a mix of private and self-guided tours. Your own personal chauffeur and vehicle will take you beyond the city for private guided tours of Windsor and Stonehenge.
- London Diamond Jubilee In Luxury - 8 Days from $7,560 per person: Enjoy an exclusive private viewing of the Crown Jewels, private champagne flight on the London Eye, champagne high tea, chauffeur and the extravagances of one of the city’s most prestigious hotels, The Royal Horseguards (from which you can see the spectacular Thames River pageant). The package comes with private guided tours of Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, Oxford, and The British Museum.
Just as a refresher for those of you looking at potential travel dates: Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee takes place June 2-5, and the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games runs from July 27-August 12.
Readers: Are you planning to travel to London this summer? Let us know what kind of a deal you scored on flights and hotels.
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