The endless stream of tourists coming to London every year has ruined some of the attractions and experiences that the city has to offer. Instead of being the typical tourist, check out our advice below on what to skip while in London in order to avoid being disappointed when reality hits.
Skip the Changing of the Guard
A walk around Buckingham Palace is surely on the list of every tourist who goes to London for the first time. However, don’t get too excited about the Changing of the Guard, as it’s so crowded that you most likely won’t be able to see a thing. If you think about heading over there early to get a good spot, think again, because you’ll end up standing in line for hours, among other fellows who’ve had the same idea. You can watch a video of this event instead and see what the fuss is all about. Also, don’t go there hoping to get a glimpse of the Royal Family – you’ll only get your hopes up in vain, neither Will, nor Kate will show up unannounced.
Skip hanging around the Piccadilly Circus
A mini version of New York’s Times Square, the Piccadilly Circus in London is really nothing but an actual junction where the traffic is always jammed with both cars and people. The huge illuminated advertising billboards are nice, but they’re a much smaller version of the New York City ones. Piccadilly is always noisy, with tourists constantly gathering around the Eros statue, eating, drinking, playing music and chatting away. If you insist on seeing it, just pass through it on your way to cuter places such as Soho or Covent Garden.
Skip going to Madame Tussauds
With so many beautiful places worth seeing, it would be a pity to spend several hours locked inside a facility surrounded by wax figures. Not to mention the line to get inside is quite large and the tickets rather expensive. Instead of opting for an experience you probably won’t remember in a year, head over to one of London’s exquisite, and free of charge museums, like Tate Modern, Museum of London, National History Museum, or the National Gallery.
Skip shopping at Harrods
While it is renowned as the typical British department store, London locals don’t actually shop at Harrods – it’s overpriced and overcrowded. Learn from them and enjoy a more satisfying shopping experience on Regent Street or Oxford Street, both very British and very charming. Another great alternative is getting a taste of London at one of the local markets, like Borough Market for instance. Just make sure to avoid going there on a Saturday, as the crowd will suffocate you.
Skip trying to relax in Hyde Park
The centrally located Hyde Park is one of the most popular relaxation spots in London, which is also why it has become quite the opposite of tranquil. Sure, if offers countless outdoor opportunities, but know that there are other nature gems you can go to if you seek some peace and quiet. You can watch the deer in Richmond Park, visit the zoo at Regent’s Park, or admire the beautiful Queen Mary’s Gardens. Regardless of where you’re headed, all city parks provide amenities and activities for you to relax and enjoy your time in the outdoors.
Skip travelling on the tube
The tube can be one of the fastest and most convenient means of transportation, but it’s very crowded – especially at rush hours – and quite expensive as compared to other alternatives. Instead of getting in the way of locals who actually need to go home or go to work, you can profit from being a tourist and hop on sightseeing open bus or rent a bike. If traffic gets too much, start walking and discover hidden streets and corners that cars, buses or the tube won’t ever reveal.
Skip the street view
Every city looks more spectacular from above and London makes no exception. Sure, walking along the Thames River bank can be quite the experience, but imagine seeing all of that from up high. If you’re willing to pay for a great view, then the Coca-Cola London Eye and The View from the Shard are safe bets. If you’re looking for a more budget-friendly alternative, head over to Greenwich Park and admire the panoramic views while standing on the Prime Meridian Line.
Skip the hustling airport transfer
Wondering how to get from Gatwick to London? While all airports provide different shuttles for everyone to reach the city, both trains and buses are usually crowded and inconvenient. You’ll be surprised to discover that it may make more sense to just get on a Gatwick taxi, especially if you’re travelling in a group. It can be faster and more comfortable and can make your Gatwick to London transfer a piece of cake.
So, if you’re planning a trip to London, remember these tips and be a step ahead of other eager tourists. Save your time and energy for other must-sees and stop trying to get as much as possible done in as little time as possible. Take a moment to just enjoy this trendsetting city and go with the flow!