London is full of touristy places and things to do. But not all attractions are created equal and some only are here to take your money. Here is a list of 5 tourist traps in London, why to avoid them, and what to do instead.
The London Eye
Why? At a whooping £30 per ticket, the London Eye might as well be the most expensive view of London. Why the view itself si nice, it is hard to justify such a price, especially when other buildings and parks around the city offer views of the city for free.
Instead? Get free tickets to the Sky Garden in advance and enjoy the view as well as the plants. Visit the Tate Modern and its open terrasse overlooking St Paul’s Cathedral. Heqd to Greenwich or Primrose park. Enjoy food and a drink at one of the Shard’s bars and restaurants.
Why? Oxford Street is only tolerable before 10 o’clock, when the stores have barely opened but busload of tourists are yet to invade the street. Any other time, expect to be pushed and shoved on the side of the road, and to find an array of stores you would in any mall, next to too many souvenir shops that all sell the same items.
Instead? If shopping is what you want, head to the Westfield mall in Shepherd’s Bush, where you will find the same stores, same prices, and about a quarter of the crowd. If souvenirs are what you are looking for… well, you will find them next to any other tourist attraction, let’s be honest!
Why? Ever dreamed of a crowded place where hundreds of tourists are squeezed together? Of spending more time queuing outside a building than visiting the museum? Of looking at the Uncanny-Valley faces of wax statues? All of that for £45 per adult? No? Colour me surprised!
Instead? London has over forty free museums for you to visit, not to mention many cheap versions too. Doesn’t matter if you enjoy history, modern art or classic paintings, science or the history of art. There is a museum for everyone in London, and I swear the queue to go in will be drastically less dreadful.
Why? Once the neighbourhood of the punk alternative scene, Camden Town now is but a shadow of itself. The many alternative stores where you could find nice clothes, shoes, and vinyls now transformed into souvenir shops and stores where you can buy graphic t-shirts you would find on any marketplace. Camden Town’s own market is just as dull and lifeless.
Instead? Brick Lane and Shoreditch, with all the street art you can find, vintage market and stores, and hipster coffee shops. Brixton, with its colourful market, bars and galleria. Columbia Road, with its Sunday morning flower market.
The Prime Meridian, Greenwich
Why? Paying £7 to step over an imaginary line might already be ridiculous enough, but it is even more so when you realise the line continues in a free area outside of the terrasse, where nobody queues.
Instead? Find this free area and take that glorious picture of your feet on either side of the golden line. Then enjoy the rest of your day in Greenwich for free, with plenty of things to do. Have a stroll around the university (where several movies were filmed, including Thor and Guardians of the Galaxy). Visit the Queen’s House and the National Maritime Museum. Discover the Greenwich Market. Plenty of things to do, I said!