While it may not have the size and history of London, England, the Canadian version is just as exciting, refreshing, and entertaining – regardless of what strikes your fancy when getting out of the house! Here are 20 go-tos that appease both locals and visitors alike.
London is home to numerous annual festivals, from Trackside Country Music Festival to Ribfest for the food enthusiasts. The London Fringe Festival has also blossomed over the years if you enjoy theater. Also, Sunfest is an all-encompassing celebration of art, food, culture, and music held in Victoria Park. Speaking of which—
2. Victoria Park
Located in downtown, Victoria Park is one of London Ontario’s most revered social hubs. Sprawling across 7.3 hectares, the park was originally a military base, constructed in 1874. It hosts an array of annual events and features amenities such as a skate park, a bandstand, and a crowd-favorite activity of “squirrel fishing”. Be sure to visit in winter if you’re up for ice-skating!
3. Springbank Park
This park is London’s Ontario largest, encompassing a whopping 140 hectares along a stretch of the Thames River. It boasts 30 kilometres of trails, and its feature attraction is Storybook Gardens, a family park modeled entirely after childrens’ nursery rhymes and stories.
4. History Lessons
Two renowned monuments are St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica, and the Banting House. The former is a stunning French Gothic Revival Church built in 1851, while the latter is a museum dedicated to Dr. Frederick Banting, the inventor of insulin.
5. Budweiser Gardens
This historic sports and entertainment center allows for attendees to experience a hockey game, a concert, and touring Broadway shows among numerous other events.
6. Eldon House
Visit Eldon House, and you’ll have visited the oldest residence in the city’s history (circa 1834). Tours are offered, and certain days grow rather festive; an example being on Canada Day, guests can play period games and eat some food the original family would have enjoyed.
7. Sifton Bog
One of London’s most frequented natural landmarks, the Sifton Bog is a Class 2 provincially significant wetland. Located in southern Ontario, it is home to an abundance of rare species and a fantastic way to spend a quiet afternoon.
8. Museums Galore
London, Ontario is a destination for many art and history buffs thanks to its plethora of museums. The London Museum houses over 5,000 works of art, and 45,000 artefacts. The Museum of Ontario Archeology and the London Regional Children’s Museum are also terrific choices if the kids want to tag along.
9. Brewery Tours
The headliner here is Labatt, Canada’s largest brewery, whose headquarters are in London. The extensive tour takes two hours and of course includes samples. Some other beer ventures could be the family-run Toboggan Brewing Company, as well as Anderson Craft Ales.
10. Covent Garden Market
What better way to access the soul of London than through its farmers and food? “Affordably fresh, friendly and local”, it’s best to arrive hungry as the selection of meats, fruits, and baked goods are among the finest in the city. The market is outdoors May through December.
11. University of Western Ontario
This globally-recognized public research university has a campus that is almost as prestigious as its list of graduates. Enjoy a casual stroll through it, or enjoy a meal at one of the area’s superb eateries.
12. Start Your Engines!
The Delaware Speedway just keeps churning, having hosted races since 1952. Every Friday night between April and September is race night, and seven divisions are represented on the course. It also holds a museum if racing history intrigues you.
13. Aeolian Hall
Many consider this historic, intimate music venue as the best place in London to catch a show. Completed in 1884, the former town hall provides a truly eclectic atmosphere to enhance any musical act that comes to town.
14. Fanshawe Pioneer Village
Located in the Fanshawe Conservation area, this open-air museum utilizes authentic re-enactments to relay the history that preceded London’s founding. This is a perfect way to learn the city’s roots, while engaging with the current community.
15. Reserve That Tee Time
To take in all of London’s impeccable golf courses would take weeks, but Echo Valley, Tarandowah, and Thames Valley are fantastic options that offer days well spent to the seasoned veteran, and the learning teenager. Also, East Park Golf is a combination course & amusement park, making it a must for whole-family excursions.
16. Balloon Rides
Why see one part of the city when you can see the entirety of it! Visit Sundance Balloons just east of downtown, or Cloud Chasers just north for some exhilarating views and photo ops!
Just outside of London are two conservation areas in which folks can escape city life and camp between March and October. Give a look to the Dalewood Conservation Area with its 25 hectares of wetlands, 200 camp sites and 12 kilometres of trails. The other option would be the Lake Whittaker Conservation Area, with two beaches, a public boat launch, and canoe rentals accompanying 250 camp sites.
18. Escape Rooms
Now we’re not going to pretend to know precisely why, but London has an otherworldly collection of escape rooms (physical adventure games, often predicated on solving puzzles). Be sure to check out Exodus, Trapdoor, Escape Canada, Mystery, and Lost City.
19. Download an App
No, seriously. The “Heart of London” app introduces you to a personal tour guide, telling you stories as it navigates you around some of the city’s notable locations. Of course, if you are the type to rather not be led…
London’s natural surroundings, of course including the Thames River, make for some of the most pleasant strolling in North America. Most notable is likely the Thames Valley Trail, stretching 109 kilometres and weaving through some of London’s most precious parks, such as Springbank Park and Gibbons Park.
This list should serve your calendar very well!
If you’re considering a home in London, Ontario, give us a call! We’d love to hear from you, talk about the wonder of the city, and what your dream home consists of!