London has been voted the best global city to visit in 2021 across several websites, including the Best Cities rankings and Lonely Planet.
People in the UAE will now be able to travel to London from Saturday without having to self-isolate for two weeks, with the Emirates being added to the UK's air travel corridor list this week.
'The Smoke' has held the number one city spot for six years on Best Cities rankings. Many thought London would lose its top spot due to the impact of Brexit on the city's prosperity, but it secured pole position for next year due to its diverse nightlife scene and world-renowned restaurants, many of which have found ways to pivot creatively through the coronavirus pandemic. The city is also famous for its abundance of green spaces, which remain popular attractions.
New York City came runner-up and Paris bagged third place in the Best Cities rankings. Moscow and Tokyo came fourth and fifth respectively.
The Best Cities rankings uses six metrics to determine its city rankings: place, product, programming, people, prosperity and promotion.
Place covers the perceived quality of a city’s natural and built environment, including sub categories of weather, safety, neighbourhoods and landmarks.
Products covers the city’s key institutions, attractions and infrastructure, while programme covers arts, culture, entertainment and culinary scenes.
People covers the immigration rate and diversity of the city. Promotion covers the quantity of stories, references and recommendations shared online about a city.
Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, which runs VisitLondon.com , told The National: "We have really missed our international guests in London and are delighted to be able to welcome back visitors from the Middle East without quarantine, thanks to the new travel corridor.
"With Government guidance stating that national lockdown measures will be lifted from 3rd December, we are hopeful that London’s restaurants, hotels and shops will once again open their doors so visitors can enjoy the best of the city.
"Whether it’s afternoon tea at Chinoiserie at Jumeirah Carlton or European delicacies and pastel pink interiors at Mayfair’s Sketch, they can look forward to a range of fine dining after a day spent strolling the capital’s historic parks and shopping in Knightsbridge and Bond Street.”
VisitLondon.com asked Londoners where their favourite spots were in the British capital. Here are some of their suggestions:
Tower of London
Beefeater Dave Philips recommended his home, the Tower of London. Her Majesty's Royal Palace and the home of the Crown Jewels dates all the way back to 1066. It was founded as part of the Norman Conquest of England. Used as a home for royalty and later a jail, some 2 million people visit the tower on average every year to see its famous ravens and beefeaters, steeped in ten centuries of British history.
Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament
Tax lawyer Mistala said she loved walking into Westminster. If you’re in the mood to watch Britain’s political elite debate the issue of the day, or want to explore a near-1,000 year old coronation church, look no further. Or even if you’re just after your fix of Anglo-Saxon gothic architecture, Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament are great places to start.
St James Park
Twitter user LadyBruna said her favourite spot was St James Park. She liked it because it’s a good place for her to go on walks, drink a cup of tea and watch the world go by. It is also near to Buckingham Palace, where the royal family live.
National History Museum
Twitter user Francesca said the thing she liked about London the most was its vast collection of museums. One of the most famous is the Natural History Museum, which boasts a variety of events all year around, including the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. There’s also an earthquake simulator room and a robotic Tyrannosaurs Rex - which you obviously can’t miss.
Twitter user Heydi Pamino said Covent Garden was one of the best areas in London. Its bustling market, array of street performers, theatres and romantic restaurants make it a great place to spend a day or an evening.
Instagram user liv_hanna_d likes to take a stroll by The London Eye, which sits along the South Bank of the River Thames. It is Europe’s tallest cantilevered observation wheel. The eye has 32 capsules, representing London 32 boroughs. Capsules travel at a leisurely pace of 26cm per second, allowing you take in the sights of the sprawling metropolis.