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England’s capital is not only the largest city in Western Europe, but is also its most vibrant. The home of the Queen, Big Ben and the famous Hackney Carriage is also home to one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world, which has left its mark on this ancient yet very cutting edge metropolis. 

London is a world city of truly global proportions. Visitors come here to experience the world’s best restaurants, top hotels and its varied nightlife. But they also come for another thing, the culture. If there is a world capital of culture then London must surely be it. Plays and musical productions pack the city’s famous West End, while museums and art galleries, such as the iconic British Museum and the Tate Modern wow visitors with their huge exhibits.  

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Disney on Ice Magical Ice Festival There's a simple way of working out if someone is a “goody” or a “baddy”: make them watch a Disney film. If they fail to smile even once, they're definitely a member of the dark side. It's a similar story with the magical group's latest ice-skating extravaganza, especially now that it, rather fittingly, features everyone's favourite Frozen characters. The performance is showing up and down the country this month, and comes to London's Wembley Arena in April, so book now to stay on everyone's right side (Arena Square, Engineers Way, HA9 0AA, disneyonice.com).


O2 CLIMB Sure, you can see London by bus, train, bike or even helicopter. But until you've gazed upon it (well, upon Canary Wharf and Greenwich to be specific), in a fetching blue jumpsuit, following an exhilarating, 90-minute hike up the side of The O2 (yes, we do mean the ginormous concert venue), you're missing out. With tickets starting from £26 (€33), and climbs running all day and into the evening (twilight is particularly good), it really is worth the effort (The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX, theo2.co.uk).


Natural History Museum Ice Rink Cromwell Road, SW7 5BD In an increasingly crowded market for festive rinks (there's even one in Vauxhall this year), this Kensington number gets our vote. Not only is it situated next to London's most beautiful museum building, but the hot chocolate in its cafe comes with those little itty bitty marshmallows on the top. Get your skates on, though, it's only open till 4 January. nhm.ac.uk


As seasoned treasure hunters, you have to believe us when we say that the interactive murder mysteries run by A Door in a Wall are by far the most adventurous, hilarious and puntastic in the city. Recruit a team of up to six people and be ready for an evening legging it around London's murder sites, gathering clues, solving riddles, and undertaking tasks for characters you meet en route. Dress comfortably. adoorinawall.com


The London Helicopter: London has some impressive landmarks; Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Shard. The problem is, getting to them can be a tourist-filled, chaotic affair, unless you enroll the help of The London Helicopter. These 20 minute helicopter flights from Battersea get you ahead of (and seriously above) the crowds when it comes to sightseeing. Sure, they're a pricier way of doing it, but they come with guaranteed comfort, thrill, and an inability to stop grinning; both during it and for about eight hours after. A treat well worth splashing out on. thelondonhelicopter.com


London's foodiest foodies are carving a path to the door of unusual cookery school Jenius Social. Leave your school-day horrors behind and learn to cook such excitements as South American-inspired offal tapas and French brasserie classics, or indulge in some biodynamic wine tasting. jeniussocial.co.uk

Key Areas


For the city that has “everything”, there can often be some frustration in London when trying to find something open after-hours. It's why the contact details of the Hippodrome casino and entertainment space are well worth saving in your phone. It's open 24 hours, entry is free, food is served until late and drinks are available all night (Cranbourn Street, Leicester Square, WC2H 7JH, hippodromecasino.com).


Take the best beer factory tour or vineyard trip you've ever been on, and replace the booze with Bombay Sapphire gin (yes, we thought that might turn a few heads). The company has just opened its Hampshire distillery to the public (a 90-minute drive from London), to allow fans to explore and learn about the origins of their botanicals before, of course, trying some of the finished product. distillery.bombaysapphire.com


If there are two words people with a gluten or dairy intolerance fear, it's these: afternoon tea. Beautiful, dainty finger sandwiches, buttery scones with homemade jam and fresh, whipped cream, a tower of colourful pastries and fluffy cakes, and all they're able to munch on is a lettuce leaf. Unless they're at Pantry at 108, that is, the Marylebone Hotel's slick new dining space. The impressive gluten- and dairy-free afternoon tea ensures no one misses out, or even realises they're missing out on the standard ingredients, the quality being of such a high standard (108 Marylebone Lane, W1U 2QE, 108marylebonelane.com/pantry).


Royal Ascot will be competing with Wimbledon for quintessential British event of the summer. The Berkshire racecourse welcomes the big hats and high rollers back on 17 June for its annual four-day extravaganza. This year sees the opening of the On Five restaurant overlooking the finish post so you can watch your runners triumph while you eat. ascot.co.uk

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