London is one of the largest and most popular cities in the world. Every year it is visited by 16 million tourists from foreign countries. Many of them travel to London to visit only the most visited tourists’ destination and repeat the same mistakes. What are they?
1. Do not walk, do not drive, and do not stand on the wrong side of the road
The fact that car rides on the left side of the road in the UK is known even by those who have never been in the country. There are even special signs for tourists near pedestrian crossings “LOOK LEFT” or “LOOK RIGHT.”
However, left-hand traffic rule is not absolute. For example, the traffic on the pedestrian streets and sidewalks goes on the right side.
One of the most annoying tourist habits according to locals – sudden stopping in the middle of the sidewalk. If you want to take pictures, check the map, talk with a friend, take a step sideways toward the nearest building and do that there. London’s sidewalks are always full of people, so do not prevent movement.
2. Do not shop at Oxford Street
Located in the center of London, Oxford Street is home to more than 300 kinds of shops – both major and best-known retailers and a ton of small shops. Most of them are open even on Sundays when the whole London is stiff after a weekend of fun.
It is believed that this street is the most famous along shoppers of the world. Paradoxically, tourists from all over the world go shopping at stores which they can find at home and find the same goods.
If you absolutely want to go shopping in London, we encourage you to go beyond Oxford Street. London has about 70 shopping streets (for example Kensington Street), where you will find the same or even more beautiful stores with a smaller siege of annoying buyers.
By the way, it’s same with hotels, just stay away from big main streets. We personally love Hyde Park Suites, IBIS London Excel Docklands, and Qbic Hotel – these are great three-star hotels for a very reasonable price, which can be booked even cheaper by up to 60% off the standard rate if you use this coupon.
3. Do not waste time in line at the London Eye
Ferris wheel called the London Eye is truly impressive. Opened in 2000, it was designed to commemorate the beginning of the new millennium. From the top of the wheel, you can admire the panorama of the city and its surroundings.
However, there are disadvantages – there are always a ton of people waiting in the line to gaze upon such views, so you have to wait for a pretty long time. Sure, tickets can be booked in advance, but then ticket price increases more than two times.
Nevertheless, there always are alternatives. Visit “The Shard” and it’s observation deck. It is the tallest building in the European Union (not counting the TV and other towers). Also enjoy exploring the London skyline from the top of Parliament Hill in the Hampstead Hit park, or Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park – they cost way less and don’t have huge lines.
4. Don‘t camp at the Buckingham Palace, hoping to see the Queen
Buckingham Palace is the residence of the royal family. However, the fact that occasionally over them the British flag can be seen does not mean that the entire royal family sits at the palace waiting to be noticed. House has about 700 rooms. Some of them can be toured, but only when the Queen is not at the Palace.
The best time to visit Buckingham Palace is in August and September when the Queen is resting in Scotland. However, no matter when you arrive, you will see a spectacle for sure: every day at the courtyard you can see the changing of the guards.
5. Don‘t overspend visiting museums
In London, there are many free museums, including the biggest and richest: the British Museum, London Museum, the Victoria and Albert – the world’s largest decorative art and design museum, science museum with lots of interactive exhibits, the National Gallery, which exhibited more than 2,300 of the most famous Western European painters works, National Portrait Gallery, Natural History Museum, the Bank of England Museum, Military Museum, the Royal Air Force Museum.
Some of them are huge, so you need to plan a good half day to explore them. Even if you enjoy visiting museums, visiting them all can be pretty exhausting. Therefore, consider carefully whether it is worthwhile to pay 22 pounds for visiting the Tower of London, which shelters the royal jewels and regalia.
Next, check out 7 of London’s Fascinating Attractions Literally Underground.