London, Ontario is a vibrant city often overshadowed by its more famous namesake across the pond. However, it offers a wealth of unique experiences that can captivate the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Here are 10 things you should add to your list when visiting this southwestern Ontario hub:
1. Covent Garden Market
Covent Garden Market, a cornerstone of London, Ontario since 1845, serves as the city’s historic and vibrant marketplace. Hosting over 50 vendors, this market provides residents and tourists alike with an array of local and imported goods, including fresh fruits, vegetables, and high-quality meats and cheeses. Covent Garden Market is also home to 18 restaurants, where visitors can savor a variety of cuisines, from vegan delights to traditional comfort foods. The market, open seven days a week, fosters a sense of community among Londoners while supporting local agriculture and gastronomy.
2. Springbank Park
Nestled in the heart of London, Springbank Park is the city’s largest public park, spanning over 300 acres. Its numerous trails, perfect for hiking or biking, meander through lush woods and along the scenic Thames River. The park also provides a variety of recreational facilities, including playgrounds, picnic areas, and sports fields. With its serene landscape and wide array of outdoor activities, Springbank Park serves as an oasis for nature lovers, fitness enthusiasts, and families looking for a relaxing day out.
3. London’s Food Scene
London’s food scene is a diverse and thriving sphere, offering an impressive range of culinary experiences. From the vegan breakfast offerings at Plant Matter Cafe on Richmond to the innovative tapas at Hunter & Co., the city caters to a wide variety of tastes and dietary preferences. Locals and tourists alike rave about the fiery saganaki at Dimi’s Greek House, a testament to London’s embrace of global cuisines. With an ever-evolving food scene characterized by creativity and authenticity, London is rapidly carving out a niche for itself in the gastronomic landscape of Ontario.
4. St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica London
Historically rich and architecturally stunning, St. Peter’s Cathedral Basilica is one of London’s most prominent landmarks. The basilica, founded in 1834, is an enduring symbol of London’s rich history and cultural heritage. Visitors are often struck by the stunning stained glass, installed in 1889, and the imposing front façade with its iconic towers, added in 1958. The magnificent interior matches the splendor of the exterior, promising visitors a spiritual and aesthetic experience that transcends time.
5. Storybook Gardens
For family-friendly fun, head to Storybook Gardens. This themed outdoor park brings well-known stories to life through interactive areas. From a summertime splash pad to a wintertime skating trail, it offers year-round enjoyment.
6. Budweiser Gardens
Budweiser Gardens, the largest sports-entertainment center in southwestern Ontario, is a prime destination for sports fans and concert-goers. It is best known as the home of the London Knights, the city’s celebrated hockey team. In addition to thrilling hockey matches, Budweiser Gardens frequently hosts concerts, performances, and community events, contributing significantly to the vibrant cultural life of London.
7. Local Breweries
London’s local breweries, such as Powerhouse Brewing Company and Toboggan Brewing Co., have carved a niche for themselves in the craft beer scene of Ontario. Powerhouse Brewing Company, housed in the historic Kellogg’s Factory, is renowned for its tropical and refreshing The Generator IPA. Toboggan Brewing Co., a downtown hotspot, combines culinary delights with adventurous beers, like the Double Lunatic Fridge. These breweries not only offer unique craft beers but also contribute to London’s evolving urban culture.
8. Golf Courses
For golf enthusiasts, London offers several top-tier courses, such as FireRock Golf Club and Forest City National Golf Club. FireRock Golf Club, located just a short drive from downtown, offers a challenging par-72 championship design, set amidst the stunning natural beauty of southwestern Ontario. Forest City National Golf Club, situated on the southeast shore of Fanshawe Lake, offers an 18-hole championship course that promises an unforgettable golfing experience.
9. Stay the Night
To fully immerse yourself in London’s nightlife, consider a stay at one of the many local hotels. The Park Hotel London offers an all-suite experience with free breakfast, while Delta Hotels by Marriott London Armouries impresses with its castle-like exterior.
10. GL Heli Tours
Finally, round off your trip with a helicopter tour of London with GL Heli. Seeing The Forest City from above provides a unique perspective and breathtaking views, and it’s an experience you’re unlikely to forget anytime soon.
Each of these spots contributes to London’s unique charm, making it a must-visit destination in Ontario. From bustling markets to tranquil parks, from scrumptious food to thrilling sports, London has something to offer everyone.
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