Seven Reasons to Vacation in London, Ontario
For nature lovers, Ontario is FULL of stunning provincial parks and glistening lakes. For city lovers, the province has Niagara Falls, the GTA, Ottawa, and other popular vacation destinations. On your next weekend escape or family getaway, we think you should consider visiting the wonderful city of London.
No, not the English capital across the pond (although we hear it’s quite beautiful!), but London Ontario, an often-overlooked but growing city that has more to offer than you might realize!
Here are seven reasons why you’ll want to add visiting London to your vacation plans.
- It’s close by. If you’re in the GTA, Windsor-Essex, Norfolk, Lambton, Huron or other nearby counties, you’re only an hour or two from London. While farther popular destinations might seem like a long way to go, London’s close proximity makes it a great weekend excursion or even an easy day trip.
- The history. London is beautiful, with plenty of historic buildings to explore. For photography lovers , London offers some impressive and easy-to-capture views of historical landmarks and neighbourhoods. Some views you won’t want to miss include:
Middlesex County Courthouse — This incredible, castle-like structure will ‘wow’ everyone who sees it!
The Old South — This fantastic neighbourhood, founded in the early 1800s, is full of charming old storefronts and estate properties, and other beautiful old architecture.
The Old North — Full of beautiful parks and some of the city’s oldest buildings, there’s plenty to see in London’s Old North.
- Plenty of sports to see. Yes, London has a lot of them! While London doesn’t boast pro teams like Toronto or Ottawa, there are plenty of opportunities to check out great sports in the city. The London Knights (hockey) and London Lightning (basketball) play at Budweiser Gardens Stadium downtown. You can also catch a London Majors game at Labatt Park, another local favourite.. There are also plenty of college games to go see at Western University.
While college-level and semi-pro sports might sound a little less than thrilling, the experience can be more fun than you might think! The atmosphere is the same as pro games, plus, ticket prices are a lot more affordable, so you’ll be able to take the whole family!
- The hotels. If you visited London as a kid, you may have stayed at the Lamplighter Inn. Do you remember the amazing waterslide? Maybe you even had a room that overlooked the pool! The Lamplighter Inn is alive and well, and even affordable! London is full of budget-friendly hotels.
If you’re looking for a more upscale stay, London’s got that too! The Park Hotel is a sophisticated choice for a weekend away with a significant other. For a girl’s weekend or romantic getaway, the Idlewyld Inn & Spa makes a charming place to rest your head and body, and maybe get a pedicure, too!
- The nightlife. London hasn’t always been known for its nightlife, but it’s always existed. Let’s face it, any college town is going to have a decent club scene. But as the city has expanded and more people are opting to remain in London after they graduate, the scene has, out of necessity, grown substantially, both in size and maturity.
London’s trendy ‘The Belfort’ is one of the hottest spots in the city for late night drinks and dancing. Lavish is the city’s premier LGBTQ nightspot that’s welcoming to everyone. For a classy night of cocktails and conversation, grab a table at Grace Restaurant. Looking for something trendy with great mood lighting? Try Hunter & Co. downtown.
- The day trips. There’s enough closeby London to keep you and the family busy for at least a few days. If you want to explore the GTA or tourist attractions close to the city, London can work as an optimal and affordable home base. These great day trips are within two hours of downtown London:
African Lion Safari — Just an hour and a half from London, this attraction brings the African savannah to Ontario. With big cats, monkeys, and other safari animals ready to walk right up to your vehicle, your kids (and you!) will love this attraction!
Niagara Falls — Two Hours east of London, you and the family can easily enjoy a day trip to the Falls and be back in your hotel before sunset.
Greenview Aviaries — Tigers, lions, jaguars, cougars, and zebras aren’t the only things you’ll see at Greenview Aviaries Park & Zoo. There’s also a splash park, playground, and restaurants, so you can stay busy all day. This family-friendly day trip is just an hour south of the city.
Twin Valley Zoo — Lions and tigers and bears! Oh my! Located an hour away in Brantford, the Twin Valley Zoo is a small zoo with lots of BIG animals! Plus, admission prices are extremely affordable!
- The Shopping. There are two major shopping malls in London, White Oaks Mall, and Westmount Shopping Center. These malls have drawn in shoppers from the surrounding counties for decades. However, London also has other interesting retail centers that make it a popular shopping destination.
For locals, Covent Market is a spectacular market for fresh foods and local goods. But this bustling city market makes a fun destination for tourists as well. You can pick up locally grown fruits and veggies, grab a mouth-watering lunch, or find a locally-made gift for your pet-sitter.
The SoHo Street Market is a bright and lively night market where you can grab a bite, pick up spices, tea, or coffee as a great souvenir, or find a great gift for yourself. With a focus on elevating London’s local artisans, farmers, and chefs, everything you find at SoHo celebrates the heritage of the neighbourhood and the city itself.
Considering London for your next family vacation or romantic getaway? It might be exactly what you’re looking for! London is growing, and with that growth comes more and more opportunities for fun! We hope you enjoy it.