4/30/12

Why you shouldn't go to London this year

I'm just back from a vacation to London with my daughter and while fresh in my mind I thought I'd post a few words of advice.

1. My overall suggestion regarding a trip to historic and beautiful London this summer? Don't go.

London is an amazing place full of history and things to do and see for all ages. Unfortunately you are unlikely to actually see any of these amazing things due to the crushing burden of fellow tourists from all corners of the earth. It took us literally 1.5 hours just to get through customs - and that was just the beginning...
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/travel/2018106639_weblondonairport30.html

Heathrow airport chaos damaging London's reputation, mayor says

Passengers face long delays at border-control desks in London's Heathrow and, with the Olympics coming up, the concerns are mounting.

2. If you've heard of it, stay away.

Simple rule. If you have heard of the tourist attraction, then don't go. We literally had to put our heads down and shove like we were trying to get onto a Japanese commuter rail just to walk the sidewalk on the way to the London Eye. On a Sunday afternoon (5:00pm). In the pouring rain. After I had already bought tickets online to avoid waiting...Then we waited in a 1/2 line (which was required to learn which line you were actually supposed to wait in). Then we were directed to the real line  - which was then 1 hour long. In the rain. Surrounded by thousands of other tourists - all pushing for their place in the

queue

In the end, this was the best view we had of the London Eye. We left, with paid tickets in hand and ran for our life.

3. London is the land of lines (see definition above). 

Everything requires waiting. Want to ask the concierge about dinner plans? Line up. Want to use a restroom? Buy a subway ticket? Walk down the sidewalk? Get into Harrods? Wait, push and pray.


4. If you must go and must go to a tourist attraction - go as early as possible. 

In some cased, waiting in a 20 minute line (just to get in and stand on another line) is your best option. Find out opening times and get there immediately.

5. Bring an umbrella and good waterproof walking shoes. 

There is a lot of standing and walking and lots of rain. Bring good shoes, a raincoat and prepare to wear them both often.

6. Pack light and bring a large wallet.

Compared to London, New York City is a discount destination. Public transportation can be had inexpensively (buy all day Tube passes - best bargain to be had) but everything else is expensive. Attraction tickets, taxis, hotels, restaurants are all overpriced and once again... crowded.


If this was the London experience in April, I can only imagine the living hell that will greet visitors this summer when it actually gets busy...




2 comments:

  1. Wow, you should read Bill Bryson's book "Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe" and commiserate. Positively uplifting by comparison!

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