I’ve always loved London, but when the dollar was weak against a strong pound, the $6 cups of coffee and $50 hotel breakfasts made a visit staggeringly expensive. Now, however, with the weaker pound and a worldwide competition for tourists, the city has never been so appealing and so affordable. And in this case, affordable doesn’t mean budget travel; it simply means luxury and value at prices that don’t leave you gasping.

London, England

Airlines–particularly British Airways and Virgin Atlantic—and tour operators are offering attractive packages. Top hotels are also attractively priced. The London Marriott Grosvenor Square, which has a choice location that’s convenient to Hyde Park, Oxford Circus, and Park Lane, is offering a one-night stay in a deluxe room and tickets to Buckingham Palace starting at $160, double occupany (through September 30th). For the same period, there’s also a weekend package that includes overnight accommodations and what has been described as the best hotel breakfast at Maze, Gordon Ramsey’s Michelin-starred restaurant; it starts at $277. For more information check www.TheLondonMarriott.com.

At the InterContinental Park Lane, accommodations are superior and service is impeccable. The pampering on the Executive floor (with views overlooking Buckingham Palace) is non-stop, with complimentary breakfast, newspapers, drinks, snacks all day, cocktail hour and more. Guests who stay in one of the 60 suites enjoy 24-hour butler service and a drive in an Aston Martin. In addition to a full-service Elemis spa and a fully-equipped fitness center, the hotel has an award-winning restaurant, Theo Randall, run by the star chef of the same name. Check www.ichotelsgroup.com for various packages.

The Berkeley in Knightsbridge Sunday night special starts at $324, through December 2009. The rooms here feel like Old Money and the marble bathrooms are fitted with such niceties as towel warmers. There’s a gorgeous rooftop pool, a fitness center and a spa. The Marcus Wareing restaurant is one of the city’s top gastronomic destinations. For more information, see www.the-berkeley.co.uk

London’s restaurants, like those in New York, are offering specials galore, and now it’s possible to dine like Henry VIII at reasonable prices. At Toptable.com, there are deals and discounts that start at about $24 for three-course meals with cocktails. At the Michelin-starred L’Atelier de Joel Robuchon, two courses from a fixed-price menu are about $27. Tea at Kensington Palace can be had for under $20.

A London visit wouldn’t be complete without at least one theater outing. The Tkts booth in Leicester Square (like the booth in Times Square) has discount tickets for many top shows, such as Avenue Q, Chicago, and the Lion King.

London, England

And for visitors who love to shop, London is sure to delight. The iconic Harrods carries from culinary delicacies to toys to precious jewels. At the other end of the shopping spectrum is the flea market at the Portobello Road in Notting Hill. Burlington Arcade, which dates back to the 19th century, is packed with luxury shops. Fans of such BBC shows as Dr. Who and Little Britain can pick up fun souvenirs at the BBC shop in Marylebone.

If your plans include seeing London’s major attractions, pick up “The Essential London Kit” for just $103. It includes a three-day London Travel Card, one London Eye ticket, one Tower of London Ticket, and one Original London Sightseeing bus tour ticket (which also includes a Thames River cruise and two walking tours). The kit comes with a London Planner guidebook; it can be purchased online at www.visitbritain.com/onlineshop.

For getting around, London’s famed taxis provide the most comfortable (and expensive) way to travel the city. But the quickest and most economical way is London’s excellent public transportation system using the Visitor Oyster Card (much like New York’s MetroCard). It’s valid on buses, the Underground (subway), and some National Rail services in London. Save time by purchasing before you travel at www.visitbritain.com/onlineshop.

And finally, for museum lovers, there’s very good news. The British government supports the arts so heavily that entry to the most famous museums and galleries is free. So you can see the collections at London’s Tate Modern or the Elgin Marbles at the British Museum without reaching for your wallet. The Tate is to London what MoMA is to New York; it’s the UK’s leading modern art collection. The National Gallery houses collections of Western European art dating back to the thirteenth century, and the British Museum, like New York’s Metropolitan Museum, is one of the world’s great cultural institutions; among its treasures is the Rosetta Stone.