London: From the Sights to See to the Festivals to Attend

From royal palaces to theme parks, from Roman ruins to Christian cathedrals, London teems with attractions that draw over millions of visitors each year. The British capital possesses a unique mix of culture and entertainment that has arisen through centuries of disparate influences and shifting mores.

Today, London’s emblematic sites, vibrant cuisine, and lively festivals – some celebrations of progressive modernity, others throwback to the country’s revered past – lure in ever-bigger flocks of tourists, unfazed by political uncertainties in the continent and across the globe.

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Carry Along the Perfect SWISSGEAR Luggage

London oozes European sophistication and English peppiness. It is a city that requests a proper, haute even, mien – and that goes for luggage too. With its lavish, conservative design and reliable features, the SWISSGEAR 7272 collection matches the London flair. Flaunting two disparate sizes – 19” and 28” – and several posh shades, this architecture-inspired hardshell spinner line offers a subtle refinement that evokes London’s splendor. The main compartment, split in two large spaces, has enough room to fit summer sandals as well as trench coats (you never know when London will surprise you with rain, after all). Its 360-degree wheels allows for effortless carry, even if they need to hit the London streets. The best part, yet: all of the 7272 models boast a back USB port and power bank with the capability to recharge your phone and tablet on the go. Highly functional and arrestingly handsome, the 7272 luggage pieces make for great companions on a trip to the British capital.

Tour London’s Most Majestic Sites

For any self-respecting globetrotter, the Buckingham Palace is a must-see. One of the UK’s most iconic buildings, the 180-year old palace has housed the royal family since Queen Victoria’s succession. A symbol of English class and royal hospitality, the majestic 775-room residence opens its gates to the public from August to September, offering a rare opportunity to venture into the lavish State Apartments.

Yet, there is an everyday consolation for the millions who do not get to prance inside the Buckingham Palace. At 11am, howling blizzard or scorching sun, the Changing of the Guard delivers a spectacle of precision marching and music in a crowd-gathering display of British tradition and majesty.

Less than a mile away from the Buckingham Palace, along the leafy St. James Park, rise the Big Ben and the Parliament. A quintessential London feature, known the world over, the 97-meter clock tower resounds with sonorous chimes that also serve as the instantly recognizable time signals of another British bulwark – the BBC Radio.

Below Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, the House of the Commons and the House of the Lords, unfold along the Thames as an ornate showpiece of British politics. North of the Parliament, Whitehall stretches along a slew of governmental institutions, including 10 Downing Street, toward another not-to-miss London feature – Trafalgar Square. Built to commemorate the Brits’ victory over the French at Trafalgar in 1805, the square is the gateway to Soho, London’s theatre district. South of the Parliament, rests the Westminster Abbey – the site of royal coronations, weddings and burials.

Must-Have Accessories

In any other city, sightseeing might not require any sartorial sophistication, but London is different. What many describe as the world’s menswear capital, London constitutes a pack of urban enclaves that flaunt their distinct vogue - from classically tailored suits in Mayfair to bold streetwear in Shoreditch. Regardless of your clothing preferences and destination within the city, a careful selection of SWISSGEAR men’s accessories can easily lend you a Londonite distinction. The Inlay Belt Roller Buckle and the Adjustable Webbing Belt turn any ensemble from casual to cosmopolitan, while the genuine-leather Ratchet Belt delivers a classic elan. The Reversible Solid Buckle belt makes a modern statement that befits any outfit - from simple jeans-and-a-shirt to a formal three-piece set.

A well-crafted wallet is another means toward a stylish, London-worthy look. Boasting five pockets and an ID window, the Expandable Wallet is a mainstay that will serve you for years after your escapade to London. So will the Nylon Inlay Bifold, whose versatility is a rare quality among its peers. The pebble Inlay Magnetic Money Clip and the refined Color Block Card, meanwhile, make for light-weigh travel appurtenances that, nonetheless, provide maximum security for your valuables.

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SWISSGEAR Ratchet Belt

SWISSGEAR RATCHET BELTDitch your old-fashioned belt styles and look toward the SWISSGEAR Ratchet Belt for a timeless approach to a classic

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London Big Ben

Treat Your Royal Palate to Exquisite Eateries

Touring London’s many landmarks is an exhausting affair that often calls for a culinary treat. Just like its numerous historic and royal sites, when it comes to food, the city does not disappoint. As Londoners awaken their taste buds to a flourishing restaurant and bar scene, the savory possibilities are seemingly endless: from food trucks to upscale eateries, from Italian pasta to Indian dal and anything in between.

For a scrumptious breakfast head to Ganger & Co. Opened by Australian chef Bill Granger, it is THE spot for eggs and pancakes – not to mention the lick-your-fingers-good ricotta hotcakes. Those seeking to add a pinch of English unorthodoxy to their morning meal will enjoy the Caravan, whose freshly roasted coffee and alternative takes on brunch classics have cultivated a following.

Lunch at Brawn takes the palate on a trip to France and Italy, as the menu mixes the two countries’ cooking customs. Good vinos and even better pork dominate here. Wine enthusiasts as well as American fast-food lovers will rejoice at Bubbledogs bar, where hot dogs – albeit quite refined – are washed down with wine and champagne.

Sticking with American staples, Honest Burgers Soho is the place to be for London’s best burgers, prepared with premium, rare-breed British beef. Another peculiar take on a regional cuisine is Ceviche, a Soho hotspot. Aside from its to-die-for chorizo and octopus skewers, the Peruvian restaurant offers killer cocktails.

When it comes to seafood, though, few places beat Quo Vadis and its club-like ambiance. Some of the items on the menu, which seems ripped from a 19th-century cook book, are jellied eel and potted shrimp.


London ferris wheel

Take Part in London’s Riveting Museums, Music Festivals

Aside from a spin on the London Eye, the famed Ferris wheel on the south bank of Thames, or a city tour on a double-decker bus, London is buzzing with activities that promise morning-to-evening entertainment. A great place to start is The British Museum. Visit its current exhibits that span different geographic corners and eons – from a timeline of Greek art to the history of currency. Meanwhile, the Tate Modern and Tate Britain are dedicating the summer to lesser-known artists, who create outside the West.

The British Library is another cultural institution, whose showcases reveal the culture and mores of various peoples, across time and space. This spring and summer, it is to host a slew of expansive exhibits, from the original maps and journals of Captain James Cook to the works of Carl and Eleanor Marx.

There is plenty in store for music lovers, too. If you plan to visit London in August, when the weather is at its finest, the annual State Festival is not to be missed. It brings some of the best classic US house tunes to several stages in north London.

Heeding to a large range of music preferences and entertainment inclinations, the August bank holiday weekend is the ultimate summer-end festivity to sweep through London. It comprises a motley amalgam of outdoor theatre shows, street carnivals and bar crawls – an exciting blend of action that matches London’s rich character.