London

Destination Location

London, Ont

Overview

Nestled within one of Canada's richest agricultural districts, you'll find London, Ontario. Known as the Forest City, London's neighbourhoods are lined with hundreds of trees and its dense forests are full of colour. The city's quaint, tree-filled parks and ambling pathways also make for enjoyable walks and relaxing picnic spaces on warm summer days. But this Southwestern Ontario gem has even more beauty to be found within.

Those who enjoy the arts will find all types of activities in London, whether attending a performance at the Grand Theatre, one of Canada's premier theatre companies, or viewing the exquisite collections at the Museum London art gallery. London is also home to many festivals throughout the year, including Sunfest, the London Fringe Theatre Festival, Rock the Park music festival and the Home County Folk Festival.

Canada's tenth largest city, London is undoubtedly a university town. It's home to the University of Western Ontario and Fanshawe College, which attract a large student population from across Canada and the world. In fact, students make up approximately one-third of North London's population when school is in session!

Richmond Row, the city's main drag, is a popular area among students and professionals of all ages. It's filled with restaurants and vibrant nightspots and is easily accessible by public transit. Head out for a night on the town and visit one of the city's well-known hangouts: The Ceeps. Located next to the CP Rail line (and hence its name), the Ceeps was originally built in 1890 as a hotel and tavern. Today, the bar remains a favourite among London's student population – a place where you'll always find the music playing and the drinks flowing well into the night.

While in town, you'll likely notice the strong British influence here. Street names like Oxford, Cheapside and Piccaddily; the Thames River that runs through the city; and other popular spaces are all named after the city's British namesake (London, England). You'll even find a Covent Garden Market in London, Ontario – an indoor downtown market (with outdoor farmers market) where shoppers can purchase fresh produce, cheese, meats, baked goods and artisan crafts.

Best of all, in London you'll get all the comforts of a metropolitan area as well as a friendly, small-town vibe that will instantly make you feel right at home.

London is a fantastic destination for:

  • culture and history
  • outdoor adventure

Airport served by: London, ON (YXU)

Destination basics

London has hot, humid summers and snowy winters. Summer highs regularly rise into (and above) the mid-20s C and winter temperatures generally fall between 4 C and -4 C. You'll likely want to pack your boots and jacket for winter trips to London, but feel free to leave them at home from April through to the end of the summer. During the warmer months, you’ll want to remember your bathing suit. London is only a half-hour drive from some of the best beaches in the Great Lakes region.

Average monthly temperature and average monthly rainfall diagrams for London
London boasts of a vibrant core, centered around the historic downtown with a thriving arts, cultural and culinary scene. From here the city blooms outwards into residential neighborhoods and suburban communities, speckled with parks and open spaces.

Downtown
London’s downtown district promises a roaring good time with everything from specialty shops and exceptional dining, to museums, galleries, and parks. Downtown is the historic core of the city, centered around Victoria Park. From music festivals and street fairs to food festivals like the London Rib-Fest, there’s always something happening in downtown. Uncover the history of this bustling city at Museum London, and visit the Old Courthouse, or catch a live performance at the historic Grand Theatre and the London Music Hall. When it comes to food, you’ll be spoiled for choice by a culinary offer that covers everything from comfort food and fine dining to Asian, Latin and European flavors. From farm-to-table dining at the Covent Garden Market to sampling craft beer at Milos’, downtown is a myriad experiences in one.

Woodfield
Historic Woodfield is one the best preserved Victorian neighborhoods in Canada. The neighborhood’s wide streets are sheltered by trees and lined on both sides by a stunning array of Victorian homes. From humble cottages to grand Queen Anne style mansions, Woodfield encompasses a variety of architectural styles. Built between the mid-1800s and the early-1900s, these historic homes are remarkably well-preserved and a true reflection of their original designs.

Soho
Just south of the CN railway tracks, SoHo is home to a diverse population that lends the neighborhood a vibrant ethos. Locally-owned shops, and restaurants like the Sweet Onion, Black Walnut, and Gusto, add a touch of color to the neighborhood, while the parks invite you to play. This Labatt Brewery is also located here, at Horton Street East. With its historic facades, art galleries and entertainment venues, SoHo attracts a following of its own.
London boasts a colorful entertainment offer that draws from a diverse palette of live performances, festivals, sporting events and local culture. Coupled with a thriving nightlife scene that caters to its youthful heart, London has perfected the art of entertainment.

Theater
Built in 1901, London’s Grand Theatre is not only a stunning example of a proscenium arch theater but is also the city’s most revered venue for live theatrical performances. Nearby, the Palace Theatre originally opened as a venue for silent movies in 1929 and is today the home of the London Community Players. While the city’s historic venues remain its most coveted, various theater companies and touring acts perform at auditoriums and performance spaces across the city. The Original Kids Theatre Company is perhaps the best known of these. The company offers children a chance to benefit from participation in the arts and hosts performances at the Spriet Family Theatre at Covent Garden Market. Musical Theatre Productions is another local community theater that enthralls audiences with stunning renditions of popular musicals at various venues in London.

Music
Be swept away by the arias at the historic Aeolian Hall, home of the London Community Orchestra and the London Youth Symphony, or be awed by some of today’s greatest contemporary musicians at the London Music Hall. The city also boasts a thriving underground music scene and is renowned as the birthplace of the Nihilist Spasm Band, pioneers of Noise music. Call the Office remains the top choice for punk, rock, and alternative acts; a fitting complement to London’s classical music offer.

Museums and Galleries
With its many museums, London is sure to captivate history buffs. Museum London, by the Forks of the Thames, is where you should begin your exploration of the city’s museums. Through art and historic artifacts, the museum offers an insight into the history and culture of London. Next, head to the Museum of Ontario Archaeology where you can visit the nation’s only ongoing archaeological dig, or celebrate military history at the Royal Canadian Regiment Museum at Wolseley Barracks. The Secrets of Radar Museum tells the tale of a top-secret World War II mission, while others like the Canadian Medical Hall of Fame, Banting House, Eldon House, and the London Regional Children’s Museum are nonetheless intriguing.  

While London’s museums celebrate its history, the city’s galleries showcase contemporary culture through the visual arts. Exhibitions at art galleries like the McIntosh Gallery, London ARTS Project, and the Forest City Gallery present an ever-changing array of artwork in every medium, exploring a range of themes, styles, and concepts. The DNA Artspace, Michael Gibson Gallery, and Thielsen Gallery are a few other options worth exploring while visiting downtown London.

Festivals
From music festivals like Rock the Park and Sunfest to street fairs, food festivals and pride parades, there’s always a reason to celebrate in London. While the annual London Rib-Fest is one of the largest of its kind in North America, The Fringe Theatre Festival showcases offbeat and unusual acts. Seasonal farmers’ markets, craft fairs, and block parties complete the picture of a vibrant and thriving community.

Nightlife
Infused with the youthful vibe of a university town, and tempered by the sophisticated style of more mature Londoners, the city’s nightlife scene is a thrilling melange. Call the Office is a local institution that remains the top choice for a taste of the city’s alternative music scene, while Club Lavish and Elevate blend the sophistication of an ultra lounge, with the energy of a trendy dance club. From upscale cocktail bars and lounges to laid-back pubs and live music venues featuring local bands, London’s diverse nightlife options promise something to suit every taste. 

Sports
London is a city that thrives on the thrill of action-packed sports; a fact that is illustrated by the city’s many excellent sports venues. Budweiser Gardens is by far one of the city’s most popular entertainment venues, with a varied program of sporting events and entertainment. The Thompson Recreation and Athletic Centre is the home of the Western Ontario Mustangs and hosts ice hockey matches alongside field and track events. While Labatt Park is the place to catch a game of baseball, head to TD Stadium if an adrenalin-pumping football match is more your speed. London also features an indoor cycling arena at the Forest City Velodrome.

Shopping
From the independent boutiques and specialty stores of downtown to shopping centers like CF Masonville Place, the Westmount Shopping Centre, and White Oaks Mall, London offers varied shopping experiences. Top on the list is the Covent Garden Market - a bustling melange of vendors selling fresh produce, handmade cheese, jams and preserves, gourmet coffee, and street food. The London Farmers’ and Artisans’ Market at the Western Fair District is another popular shopping destination for artisanal crafts, and locally-sourced, fresh, seasonal produce.

Outdoors
The Thames Valley Parkway is a joy for outdoors enthusiasts, perfect for a casual stroll, bike ride, or even more strenuous hikes. The multi-use pathway runs along the banks of Thames River, tracing a scenic path across a distance of 40 kilometers (25 miles). For golf enthusiasts, the city offers a multitude of options, the most popular of which are the Thames Valley, Sunningdale, and Forest City National Golf Clubs.
London’s culinary offer will leave your head spinning, with everything from classic Canadian favorites like poutine at Smoke’s Poutinerie, to fine dining and international cuisine to sample. Whatever your heart desires, London’s eclectic dining scene is sure to satisfy. A majority of the city’s most popular restaurants are concentrated around downtown, showcasing a definite taste for farm-to-table dining. Waldo’s and the Tasting Room are particularly worthy of mention.

Comfort Food
Chase away the blues with a hearty serving of your favorite comfort foods at London’s bustling cafes and restaurants. Using locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients, international flavors, and a touch of contemporary flair, London’s restaurants have taken comfort food to all new heights. The Early Bird is easily one of the city’s most beloved destinations for comfort food with over-the-top, hearty fare that is sure to satiate even the most ravenous appetite. Other great options include Blu Duby, the Works, and the Only on King.

Asian
London’s culinary scene covers the full gamut of Asian cuisine. Sample traditional Vietnamese and Thai dishes at Ben Thanh, Tamarine by Quynh Nhi, and Thaifoon, while Massey’s and Raja serve up authentic Indian cuisine. For Chinese food, Five Fortune Culture is the top choice, with a menu that features Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan flavors. 

European
Prepared using seasonal produce sourced from local farms, Abruzzi offers contemporary Italian cuisine that is flavorful, fresh and enticing, while the elegant Black Trumpet transforms seasonal ingredients into scrumptious continental dishes. La Casa and Pasto's Grill are other local favorites for exceptional Italian cuisine. London’s repertory of European cuisine spans the length and breadth of the continent, with a sampling of everything from Hungarian cuisine at the Budapest Dining Room to French at David’s Bistro and upscale continental fare at Michael’s on the Thames.

Latin and Central American
Craving a taste of the vibrant flavors of Latin cuisine? Head to popular local favorites like Los Comales, Casa Blanca, and True Taco for traditional fare. If you’re looking for something more contemporary, Che Restobar promises to tantalize your taste buds with a delectable selection of nuevo Latin cuisine.

Vegan and Vegetarian
Herbivores are sure to be delighted by the variety of excellent vegan and vegetarian options London has to offer. While Globally Local claims the title of Canada’s first vegan fast-food restaurant, Plant Matter serves up organic, plant-based, fusion cuisine. Glassroots is a more upscale choice, with a menu that changes weekly and an all-Canadian wine list. Other popular options include the Ground Up Cafe, and Zen Gardens, serving vegetarian, Pan-Asian cuisine.

Coffee
London loves its locally roasted beans and few do it better than the Fire Roasted Coffee Co., London’s premier, artisanal coffee roaster. Not far behind is Hasbeans, serving small-batch, gourmet coffee at the Covent Garden Market.

Breweries
London boasts a booming brewery and craft beer scene with ample choice to keep it interesting. Sample characterful craft beer at local breweries like Toboggan, Anderson Craft Ales, the Forked River, and Milos’, or tour the infamous Labatt Brewery.

London

Province: Ontario

Country: Canada

London by the Numbers
Population: 383,822 (city); 494,069 (Metropolitan)
Elevation: 251 meters / 823 feet
Average Annual Precipitation: 84.6 centimeters / 33.3 inches
Average Annual Snowfall: 194.3 centimeters / 76.5 inches
Average January Temperature: -5.6°C / 21.9°F
Average July Temperature: 20.8°C / 69.4°F

Quick Facts

Electricity: 120 volts, 60Hz, AC

Time Zone: GMT-5 (GMT-4 Daylight Saving Time); Eastern Standard Time (EST)

Country Dialing Code: +1

Area Code: 519;226;548

Did You Know?

London is sometimes referred to as the "Forest City" as it was originally established in the middle of a forest. Today, the city’s numerous parks preserve parts of the boreal woodlands.

Orientation

London lies along the banks of Thames River, approximately midway between Detroit, Michigan, and Toronto, Ontario. The city of Detroit, MI, lies 195 kilometers (121 miles) to the southwest of London, ON, while Toronto, ON, lies 168 kilometers (104.4 miles) to the northeast of the city. The cities of Hamilton and Mississauga lie at a distance of 116 kilometers (72 miles) and 147 kilometers (91 miles) to the northeast of London, respectively.

In 1793, Lieutenant-Governor John Graves Simcoe favored the land at the Forks of the Thames as the future site of the provincial capital. His proposal was rejected, however, and it was not until 1826 that London was officially established. The village was founded in the middle of a forest along the banks of Thames River as the administrative seat for the area to the west of the provincial capital of York (present-day Toronto). As the officials of the London District moved into their new homes, the village grew outwards from the site of what is now the old courthouse.

In the wake of the rebellion of 1937, the British government established a garrison at London to defend the peninsula from a possible invasion by the United States. This marked an important turn in the history of London as the influx of soldiers, their families, and the civilians brought in to cater to their needs, spurred rapid growth, leading to the incorporation of London into a town in 1840. Hamilton H. Killaly, John Labatt, and Thomas Carling contributed to the city’s subsequent growth by investing in the development of the city’s roadways, creating much-needed links between London and its hinterland. In 1845, a devastating fire laid waste to much of the town. However, London was soon rebuilt, with the addition of buildings of a grander scale. 

In 1853, the dawn of a new era was marked by the arrival of the railways in London. In the years that followed, London continued to grow at a rapid pace and was incorporated into a city in 1855. The depression of 1857 brought the city’s progress to halt, but only until the start of the American Civil War. London began to supply wheat to the Northern forces, sourced from its agriculturally rich hinterlands, fueling a new period of prosperity. The 1870s saw the construction of large commercial buildings in downtown and elegant mansions to house the wealthy, as well as the establishment of the University of Western Ontario.

In the years between the two World Wars, London continued to grow despite being hit hard by the Great Depression and the floods of 1937. Following World War II the city once again entered a period of prosperity and has continued to grow at a steady pace to this day. Today, London is one of the nation’s largest urban areas and a thriving metropolis.

Departing from:

^Total price one-way per guest. See terms and conditions.

*Prices are per guest, based on double occupancy and are limited; may not reflect real-time pricing or availability. See terms and conditions.

Explore our world.

or find your dream vacation with our Vacation Finder