First settled in the prehistoric period before falling under Roman rule, London has undergone many changes over the years, yet through it all its elegant sophistication has remained intact. Today, those making the voyage from Colombo to London’s Heathrow or Gatwick airports will find celebrated historical monuments like Big Ben and the Tower of London just a short distance from funky vintage shops in Camden and exhilarating nightlife venues in Soho – a testament to the diversity that has shaped one of Europe’s most popular tourist destinations.
If you’re looking for cheap flights to London from Colombo, the best bet is to book early, as fares increase closer to your departure date. Prices tend to be lowest in February and November; a January or February getaway is ideal, with one of the largest Chinese New Year festivities outside of Asia taking place around this time. If you’re flexible on dates, midweek and midday flights are often cheapest. Colombo is either 4.5 or 5.5 hours ahead of London, depending on the season, so if you jet off in the afternoon you'll arrive in the British capital in time for evening tea.
There's no shortage of one-stop routes to whisk you from Bandaranaike International Airport to London. The variety of airlines operating the route keeps costs reasonable, so whether you fly with Emirates to Heathrow via Dubai or with Jet Airways to the same airport with a stopover in Mumbai, there’ll always be cheap flights to London from Colombo to be found. You'll even have the chance to experience the flavour of another city en route. Most of these indirect flights are Heathrow-bound, but Emirates also offers links to Gatwick via Dubai.
The fastest way to get from Heathrow to central London is on the Heathrow Express, which runs every 15 minutes to Paddington Station. The journey takes around a quarter of an hour. The airport is also serviced by 3 Underground stations, which cater to Terminals 2, 3, 4 and 5; the Piccadilly line takes just under an hour to reach the centre, with waiting times of no longer than 10 minutes, even outside peak times. The Gatwick Express connects that airport to London in 30 minutes, while seats on easyBus shuttles to Victoria Station start from just £2 if you book in advance.
Once you set down in London, why not soak up the glamour in Leicester Square, where the cinemas regularly play host to star-studded movie premieres? The site of the annual London Film Festival, here you can kick back for a movie or simply relax in the park and savour the local glitz and glam. For a slice of the more refined culture that has made the city world-famous, a visit to Kenwood House is just the ticket; this stately home's stylish décor, breathtaking art collection and stunning gardens offering a chic setting for a high-end day out.