|Photo by amador_emmanuel34 via flickr|
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge introduced their new daughter to the world this past weekend. The new princess, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana, is creating a lot of buzz and is expected to drive tourism numbers up.
London is expecting nearly 32 million international and United Kingdom tourists in 2015. In 2013, the year of Prince George’s birth, London welcomed 29.1 million visitors.
“Whilst it’s impossible to quantify the effect the birth of a new royal baby will have on the number of tourists visiting London, it’s clear that London’s tourism is going from strength the strength, and its royal connections and attractions are key drivers that attract people from the UK and abroad to the capital,” said Gordon Innes, chief executive of London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s official promotional company which runs VisitLondon.com.
For those joining the millions and flocking to London for some leisure travel, we’ve rounded up some must-see sites and events in the capital city this year.
Theatre is always a popular attraction in London. Options range from "The Phantom of the Opera", "Mama Mia", "Billy Elliot" and "Book of Mormon" to "Les Miserables." Luxury Travel Advisor suggests families see "Wicked" at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, which will be running until November. The unique take on the classic movie "The Wizard of Oz" will keep kids entertained, while the big musical scenes will "wow" a more mature audience.
Spring and summer are the best times to take advantage of London’s famous gardens. No trip is complete without a visit to Kew Gardens, a World Heritage Site. It has over 300 acres of gardens, including water lily pools, a palm house, a treetop walkway and tropical greenhouses.
For a unique take on London’s green spaces, visit more than 200 gardens during the "Open Garden Squares" weekend on June 13. At this special event, guests can tour private gardens, rooftop gardens, community allotments and gardens belonging to historical buildings and shops.
From June 17 to 21 travelers should stop in Regent’s Park for the "Taste of London" event. London’s most acclaimed chefs and top restaurants will be cooking up some amazing dishes during this festival. This year’s theme is “flavors of the world,” and chefs will even be teaching “master classes” that correlate with the theme.
For multigenerational fun, families should attend the Udderbelly Festival, which runs until July 19. Located on the banks of the Thames, this festival includes comedy routines, a circus and artistic performances.
Sports fans, don’t forget that Wimbledon 2015 will take place this year from June 29 to July 12. Wimbledon is the world’s longest-running tennis tournament, and each year the tournament attracts about 500,000 spectators. Tip: Tickets can be bought the day of the tournament but be prepared to stand in long lines.