Americans love to visit London. Here are 6 reasons to go soon

The Berkeley

The Berkeley in Knightsbridge will celebrate the Queen Elizabeth’s 90th birthday next year with a line of sweets shaped like the ruler’s most memorable hats

(The Berkeley)

Most Americans planning their overseas vacations between now and July are going to visit London, according to a recent report from AAA. The rest of the top five destinations based on AAA reservations include Rome; Cancun, Mexico; Paris and Dublin.

Indeed, Britain is a popular destination, receiving a record 34.8 million visitors in 2014. Of that number, almost 4 million were travelers from North America.

So what's there to see right now in the British capital? Here are picks from concierge Frank Laino at the Stafford London -- and a few I added.

The Lord Mayor's Show

Alan Yarrow, Lord Mayor-elect in 2014, with outgoing Lord Mayor Fiona Woolf. (The Lord Mayor's Show)

This particular event has been going on for 800 years. Every year, a new Lord Mayor of the City of London is appointed (not to be confused with the mayor of greater London, Boris Johnson).

Tradition holds that the Lord Mayor makes a procession from the Guildhall to Westminster, where he or she pledges allegiance to the crown. During this procession is when fun ensues, with a parade, pageantry and fireworks over the Thames to cap it off. This year's Lord Mayor's Show is set for Nov. 14.

NFL football

(Jed Leicester / NFL / Getty Images)

Yes, the NFL has come to town -- in the same month as the Rugby World Cup, no less. The New York Jets beat the Miami Dolphins last Sunday at Wembley Stadium (above).

For those who want to see American football on a whole new continent, you can fly over to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars take on the Buffalo Bills on Oct. 25, and the Kansas City Chiefs challenge the Detroit Lions on Nov. 1.

Queen Elizabeth's 90th birthday

(The Berkeley)

There will be so much going on when Queen Elizabeth II turns 90 on April 21. The Berkeley hotel in the posh Knightsbridge neighborhood plans to honor the queen by making "biscuits, fancies and choux buns" in the shape of her most memorable hats.

The hotel did a similar tribute during her Diamond Jubilee in 2012. It's called Pret-a-Portea the Royal Collection, and you can make a reservation to snack on the crown or one of the sweet toppers. The special tea cakes are set to roll out in June.

Ai Weiwei exhibition

(Facundo Arrizabalaga / European Pressphoto Agency)

This single-artist show takes over the Royal Academy of Arts, where Chinese artist Ai Weiwei's work will be on display until Dec. 13. It's a retrospective, from 1993 to the present, that's co-curated by Ai.

His "Forever" sculpture stood outside the Gherkin Building for a few weeks in September (above). It's made from hundreds of bicycle frames. And the name? Forever is a bicycle brand in Beijing.

The opening of "Spectre"

(Alastair Grant / Associated Press)

What better place to see the Oct. 26 opening of the new James Bond film "Spectre" than in London? Daniel Craig, left, and Rory Kinnear (above) do the spy thriller honors. And here's a little tantalizing royal-watching too: the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge as well as Prince Harry are expected to attend the film's premiere at one of the theaters.

Also, last Monday was Global James Bond Day, which marked the 53rd anniversary of the release of the first Bond film, "Dr. No," in 1962.

Tate Modern

Italian artist Sergio Lombardo's enamel-paint-on-canvas works "John F. Kennedy" and "Nikita Krusciov" at the Tate. (Matt Dunham / Associated Press)

The Tate Modern has a cool pop art show called The EY Exhibition: The World Goes Pop that runs until Jan. 24.

If you're going later in June, you'll get a peek at the new Tate Modern Project. It's a stylized new addition adjacent to the existing Tate Modern, which is housed in a former power station on the Thames.


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