On of the options for transport in London is a Visitor's Oyster Card. There's no benefit to the Visitor Oyster Card except for those people who MUST have things purchased before they leave home. There's a £3 cost to the card that is non refundable plus you have to pay to have it shipped. You also can't get it shipped with a travelcard loaded onto it, it comes with £15 prepaid as pay as you go money.
Fun Alternatives: Anyone can get a regular Oyster card when they arrive in London. There's a 5£ refundable deposit that you get back when you turn it in, not a £3 non refundable fee that you have with the visitor card. You can load a travelcard onto a regular Oyster or you can use it pay as you go.
Or you can buy a paper travelcard at a rail station and use the 2 for 1 offers.
Es un museo muy bello, muy importante, pero MUY GRANDE, muy concurrido, lo cual hace lento el caminar por el museo.
Unique Suggestions: Al entrar es muy importante tomar un mapa del museo, donde vienen dos opciones, la visita para la gente que no tiene mucho tiempo (1 hr) y la visita para la gente que si dispone de tiempo (>3 hrs). Se eres de Mexico (como yo) no vale la pena ir a la sala de Mexico, tiene aproximadamente 10 objetos. Pero en otra sala dedicada al dinero, existe una alcancia, de nada menos que El Chavo del 8!!!
All of London can be a tourist trap, but a fun one with many choices. You just have to pick and choose the activities you want to part take in, because there are plenty and you can spend quite a few pounds even though there are many free activities
Unique Suggestions: If I had to do
London, I just browse because there are many souvenirs that you do not need. A lot of walking in the parks and squares and circus will give you plenty of entertainment. When you are thirsty just drop into the many lively pubs. There a lot of food vendors about and you can find many different selections. The food has been a lot better lately as England now has some celebratory chefs. In other words, it's not just fish and chips , and bangers and mash. England has stepped up a bit and I am quite impressed.
Fun Alternatives: Watch out for exchange rate when you need to change currency. There are some that charge 1.99 to the dollar when the average was 1.60 to the dollar. Go to several change booth to find the best rate, or use the ATM.
To see the Tower of London, you have to queue up to buy a ticket for at least 30 min, if you haven't booked in advance. This probably applies to many other places such as Madame Tussaud's as well - especially in the weekends and in summer.
The Tower of London hosts the crown jewels, a few torture chambers and some other temporary and permanent exhibitions, but that's pretty much it. I was pretty disappointed with it after having queued up for ages and it costs quite a lot as well (£16 for adults). It is crowded and there's not much to see.
Child (under 16) £10.75
Under 5s are free of charge. Children must be accompanied by an adult.
Concessions (Full-time student, over 60 with ID) £18.15
Family (Up to 2 adults and 3 children) £57.20
Annual membership (unlimited entry to five palaces) from £45.00
*Ticket price includes a voluntary donation (applies only to tickets bought at the palace or by phone). In addition, general admission tickets purchased by telephone via Historic Royal Palaces' switchboard will incur a £2 booking fee per transaction. The booking fee does not apply to tickets purchased online or in person.
Prices excluding voluntary donation are: Adult £19.50; Child £9.75; Concessions £16.50; Family £52.00.
Unique Suggestions: Book in advance, online... whatever it takes and try to avoid the busiest times. Find out about discounts. If you have a student card, take it with you!!
Fun Alternatives: Go to British Museum or National Art Gallery. They're free and offer much more to see.
I almost never write tips about things I have not experienced myself as I think it is totally contrary to what VT is about but I am going to make an exception here for reasons I will explain.
There is a brand spanking new "attraction" in London, literally open a few days as I prepare this tip. Even though there are details of where it is on it's website, they are really superfluous as you cannot miss it, you can see it from literally miles away. I am referring of course to "the Shard", designed by Renzo Piano which is the tallest building in Western Europe standing 1016ft (309.6m) which now completely dominates the London skyline.
The visitor will undoubtedly have their own view on the architectural merits of the building and opinion is very divided amongst Londoners. I find it to be a complete eyesore but I am no expert and that is not really what this tip is about. What the tip refers to is the viewing platform on Level 71 which, on a clear day (never a certainty in London) apparently affords superb views for miles around.
The first reason I will never go there is that I really do not like heights. I remember the London Eye scaring me witless some years ago. This was long before I joined VT and therefore I have no tip on it. More recently some VT members cajoled me into getting onto the Emirates Air Line cable car which also reduced me to a quivering wreck. No, you won't be getting me up the Shard voluntarily. This however is a personal phobia which will not be applicable to many VT readers.
The second reason I will never be up the Shard is the frankly obscene entry charges, which are being commented on very unfavourably in the British media at present. If you buy online it will cost £29:95 for an adult and £18:95 for a child aged 3 - 15. This is recommended as apparently it is expected to sell out quite a lot. If you decide to just walk up these prices rise to an eye-watering £29:96 and £23:95 respectively. Very graciously they have allowed infants under three to go free although they still need a ticket for some reason.
I saw a very interesting interview with the architect on television a couple of days ago (BBC News Hardtalk 04/02/2013). He made a couple of interesting points, the first of which was that he originally envisaged the building being 400 metres tall but was told he could not as it would be a hazard to aircraft! More relevant to this tip is that he stated he thought the admission fees were far too high and had approached the owners about it. Apparently he is much respected as an architect but not so much so as the overseer of a cash cow as they told him they were not lowering the prices. He then tried a bit of a wriggle by comparing it to the price of a West End show. Sorry Renzo, but the two things are not vaguely comparable. I strongly suspect this must be the most expensive lift (elevator) ride in the world.
Should you wish to part with your hard earned cash "The View", as it is known, is open from 0900 to 2200 daily except Christmas Day.
Unique Suggestions: You really don't have to do it.
Fun Alternatives: Whilst there is nothing directly comparable, the London Eye gives good views of London although it, too, is expensive and regularly features as a "tourist trap" here on VT. Other smaller alternatives with good views include the Monument, the Tower Bridge Experience and the lesser known Westminster Cathedral (not Westminster Abbey) where £5 will allow you up the Tower for good views. Here is another insiders tip for you. If you want to go to both the Monument and the nearby Tower Bridge exhibition you should buy a combined ticket as it attracts a discount.
As the title suggests, there is good news and bad news with this tip. The good news is that this "attraction" is only oging to be here until the end of this month (September 2012), the bad news is that it has undoubtedly fleeced many tourists and may well return next year. That is why I am including it here, in case it does.
I have lived in london for many years and I know there is certainly a premium for one of the world's most expensive cities but "London Wonderground" has to rank as one of the most blatant rip-offs Ihave ever seen in my city.
Sponsored by Mastercard, who can have done their corporate reputation no good at all, it is a mixture of a fairly sohddy funfair, some grossly overpriced food and drink outlets and some dramatic / musical presentations.
I visited on a pleasant Autumn day and was surprised that the place was fairly devoid of people even though the adjacent Thames path on the Southbank was absolutely packed with tourists. A quick look round revealed why. A ride of perhaps 90 seconds on a portable and not particularly exciting looking "roller-coaster" cost an eye-watering £10 per person (photo included). This is frankly ludicrous. A fairly basic looking hot dog was £4:50. Even by central london prices, this was obscene profiteering.
There was much advertising fanfare about various live performances, although nothing seemed to be going on when I visited and half the so-called attractions were closed. The alleged security guard was busy texting on his mobile 'phone, the staff all looked bored beyond belief and it really was a most depressing place. A look at the website suggests it is run by an organisation called Underbelly. If my experience was anything to go by, they really are the nasty underbelly of the hospitality business and I advise you to avoid anything they do, which apparently includes the Edinburgh Festival.
Unique Suggestions: You really don't have to go there.
Fun Alternatives: There are so many other wonderful things to see in that area it is not worth your time or large amounts of your money.
I visited this attraction (I use the word lightly) during the Easter holidays and it is very poor. You can do the tour in less than 15 mins and the so called exhibits inside are either replicas, or out of a catalogue.
This venue isn't even located on an original site, there are cellars not dungeons or prisons and without the information plaques on the wall would be a pointless.
I urge you not to be taken in by the advertising it is a waste of money.
Unique Suggestions: Question the person on the cash desk about what you will see inside and how long the tour is. Ask for a refund if the venue is as poor as our reviews say.
Fun Alternatives: Save your entrance money and go across the Millennium bridge to St Paul's as this is worth every penny and is genuine.
Inm Britain they use 3 holes adapter if you are from Holland the rest of Eu make sure you have international adapter otherwise you can always ask the recetion of your hotel you are staying in.They will be more than happuy to provide it to you other plan can be by buying one it will cost less than 5 UK pounds.
On my first visit to London back in 1988, I made a point of going to see the Changing of the Guard, on everyone's list of must sees in London, at least it was at the time. I couldn't really figure out what the big deal was and never repeated a stop there, that is until Kat said she wanted to go see it.
We headed over just a little before the actual ceremony started and it was already packed with throngs of visitors and this was January, imagine how crowded it gets in the tourist season!
Unique Suggestions: If you want to actually see what is going on and get decent photos, go early and stake out a spot
Fun Alternatives: I understand there is also a Horse Guards ceremony that people recommend as an alternative to the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace. Or you can see the Changing of the Guard at Windsor Castle with just a fraction of the people.
Or if you want to see a really cool ceremony, look into the Ceremony of the Keys over at the Tower of London, you must apply in advance for the free tickets and it is a limited number of people.
London has quirky weather so it does not really matter when you go except for December, April, July and August. December is Christmas season and can be cold, April is very wet (rain, constant drizzle), July and August are peak tourist months.
This applies to locals alike; one needs to have the exact amount of change when boarding buses, as they are not obliged to give you any change.
Unique Suggestions: Carry some local currency, and loose coins, unless using a travelcard, which you can even buy with a credit card.
Fun Alternatives: Ideally, if you've purchased an Oyster card, individual trips are cheaper than single cash ticket purchases by upto 40%!! And the added bonus is that you can top up your Oyster card at any station using your credit card.
Also, it works out cheaper than a travel card if you don't travel enough to make the travelcard pay for itself, yet if you do travel a lot in the day, the Oyster caps off at the cost of a daily travelcard. So journies beyond the daily maximum are effectively free.
The trap referred to here is the Clink museum in Clink Street, SE1 on the site of a medieval prison. Purely in the interests of VT research, I went there one day this week. Actually, I'd fancied a look round it for ages.
I paid my £5 entry and was very disappointed. There are a few rather uninspiring tableaux, it's small and much of the historical information is regurgitated in display after display. They haven't even bothered to check the grammar and spelling on the display descriptions. I spotted a number of errors.
There are very few exhibits directly connected to the site, most are of the "this is the type of X, Y or Z that may possibly have been used in this area" variety.
Whilst it's not particularly scary for any but very small or nervous children, parents should be advised that there are a couple of displays detailing the execution of a bishop for homosexuality and another detailing making illegal of "the vice of buggerie", There are also numerous references to prostitution and brothels.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't go.
Fun Alternatives: Any one of the (free) proper museums is better.
Speakers Corner, for those of you who dont know , is basically a place in one corner of Hyde Park where people are allowed to go, take a a step ladder or a stool with them, and talk about religion, politics or whatever interests them with virtually total freedom of speech.
Feeding pigeons in Trafalgar Square used to be the thing to do. Unfortunately, pigeons have become something of a pest in London as they flocked in and bred like amoeba after getting all the free food which used to be sold in little plastic pots for 10p (or tuppence a bag in the oversentimentalised Mary Poppins song!) Having to spend thousands on cleaning the pigeon poo off Nelson's column was enough to get the Skyrats an eviction order from Westminster Council, and now pigeon feeding is not socially acceptable behaviour. The only people who do it are mad old tramp ladies and tourists who don't know any better. In fact, you can be fined for feeding them up to £500, which is a lot of holiday spending money!
Don't get me wrong, I'd never harm a pigeon, but they are disease ridden vermin and shouldn't be encouraged. Notice the spiky bits of white plastic attached to the ledges of buildings. Not to mention the hawk with it's handler that visits Trafalgar Square in the mornings from time to time. It might cost money, but no-one likes being pooed on!
Unique Suggestions: Look, but don't feed them!
Fun Alternatives: If you like birds, theres always the Barnes Wetlands Centre near Hammersmith.
This "museum" in "London's Oldest Prison" is neither.
It is a couple of rooms in a basement which, according to the ticket seller, is built on the only remaining part of the old Prison - the floor. The "exhibits" are a few extremely tired stuffed dummies with a few other random displays. I think this place is trying to cash in on the popularity of the London Dungeon which is pretty close by (and about which I know next to nothing since the last time I went there was about 30 years ago).
The surroundings are not, in any way, evocative or atmospheric. This place has nothing to recommend it.
I live in London and had always thought of taking a look. Unfortunately, I decided to do so when some friends from the States were staying and we were having a walk around the South Bank and over into the City. I was embarrased at making such a basic, stupid mistake.
Unique Suggestions: Just don't.
Fun Alternatives: Have a walk around the genuinely interesting and beautiful Southwark Cathedral (which is just around the corner) before popping into Borough Market for a snack and a nose around. If you fancy a drink afterwards, you can check out the National Trust owned George (a former coaching house on Borough High Street) or take a 15 minute walk down Borough High Street to The Gladstone pub in Lant Street for a pint. This little place is an atmospheric pub off on a side street with a good selection of beers and occasional live music. Mostly frequented by a mixed crowd of locals, it's definitely not a tourist trap.
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London is a great place to visit but, like anywhere else, where you get tourists you will get tourist traps and this city is no exception.
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