It's official: London is the world’s best destination

London has been named the best place to visit on the planet for the first time.

In Olympic and Jubilee year, the capital jumped from eighth to first place, ahead of New York, Rome and Paris and last year’s winner Cape Town.

The league table, compiled by tourist feedback website TripAdvisor, is based on analysis of tens of millions of reviews by visitors to 440 destinations around the world.

SEE LONDON PICTURES HERE

Emma Shaw, TripAdvisor’s director, said: “The capital has been very much in the spotlight over the past few years, thanks to the royal wedding, Diamond Jubilee and, of course, the Olympics, and we’re seeing travellers experience London in an increasingly favourable way.”

It is a remarkable achievement for a city that, a few years ago, was widely seen as grubby, grey and expensive.

In 2010, London did not feature in the top three in Britain, beaten by Edinburgh, Brighton and York.

But the combined draw of spectacles such as the West End show War Horse and free attractions, from great museums and parks to street markets such as Portobello Road, has transformed the capital’s global image.

One traveller from Los Angeles wrote: “London is one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. It’s a virtual historical theme park. There are more free galleries and museums than anywhere in the world.”

Gordon Innes, chief executive of the capital’s tourism agency, London & Partners, said its top position was “a testament to the wonderful array of attractions, dining and accommodation that set London apart from all these other destinations.”

The top-rated hotels were Hotel 41 in Victoria, and the Milestone and Egerton House, both in Kensington. Favourite attractions were West End shows War Horse and Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and the Courtauld Gallery.

The highest rated restaurants were Pétrus in Knightsbridge, the Ledbury in Notting Hill and Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea.

Travellers' verdicts

Traveller from Thailand:

“I love the flower market in east London on a Sunday morning, full of colours, and also Spitalfields market.”

from Illinois, USA:

“I love London. There is so much to do, one almost needs a month to see it. The city is rich in history, nostalgia. beauty … and pubs. It has something for everyone.”

from Rome:

“So much of what London has to offer is free. It’s unbelievable.”

from Portugal:

“I totally fell in love with London, its history, its monuments, its river, its parks, shopping markets etc.”

from Chennai, India:

“It is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Nice parks, gardens and locations to visit. Go and check it out yourself.”

from Hong Kong:

“Our visit would not be complete if we hadn’t visited a local pub and eaten fish and chips with a glass of beer.”

from Haifa, Israel:

“The most interesting place I’ve ever visited.”

...and the top ten

2012 2011

 1 London Cape Town

 2 New York City Sydney

 3 Rome Machu Picchu, Peru

 4 Paris  Paris

 5 San Francisco Rio de Janeiro

 6 Marrakech New York City

 7 Istanbul Rome

 8 Barcelona London

 9 Siem Reap, Cambodia Barcelona

 10 Berlin Hong Kong

Comments

Property search

ES Rentals

    Don't Miss
    I was a karate kid and boys used to kick me in the boobs, reveals Suki

    ES Magazine

    Model of the moment Suki Waterhouse
    The Silver Tassie, National's Lyttelton - theatre review

    Theatre review

    The Silver Tassie at the National's Lyttelton
    Espresso yourself: What does your coffee order say about you?

    London Life

    What your coffee order says about you?
    'Buccaneering aristo-rebel': a tribute to Mark Shand, a gent who walked on the wild side

    Mark Shand

    A tribute to the gent who walked on the wild side
    A part of the Establishment says that it’s fine to have coke laid out after dinner: Justine Picardie on 'cocaine Conservatives'

    Interview

    Justine Picardie on 'cocaine Conservatives'
    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home

    Run This Town

    Jay-Z and Beyonce spend £5.5m on west London home
    Dorian Gray, Riverside Studios - theatre review

    Theatre review

    Dorian Gray at Riverside Studios
    The true cost of buying a first-time home in London boroughs

    Homes & Property

    The true cost of first-time buying in London
    Fay Maschler reviews Rotorino

    Fay Maschler

    Dalston gets a taste of Italy
    Pictures: Party people - the stars out in London

    Party people

    The stars out in London