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8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Last updated on May 13th, 2024 at 04:20 am

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

London is one of the most popular destinations in Europe and we will tell you the tourist traps to avoid in London for your next trip.

London, a city steeped in history and bustling with activity, is one of the world’s premier tourist destinations.

However, like many major cities, it has its share of tourist traps. Here’s how to spot some common ones and what you can do instead to enjoy a more authentic London experience.

Read here best UK sim card for tourist and best things to know before visiting London

Tourist Traps to Avoid in London

1. Madame Tussauds

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: While popular, Madame Tussauds can be expensive and often has long lines. The experience is also quite similar to other wax museums around the world.

Alternative: Consider visiting lesser-known museums such as the Sir John Soane’s Museum or the Wellcome Collection, which offer unique and engaging exhibits with fewer crowds.

2. Eating in Leicester Square

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: The restaurants around Leicester Square are generally overpriced and cater to tourists, offering less than authentic dining experiences.

Alternative: Head to areas like Soho, Shoreditch, or Brixton for a more diverse and authentic range of dining options at better prices.

3. Shopping on Oxford Street

Why to Avoid: Oxford Street is often overcrowded and filled with chain stores that can be found in many other major cities.

Alternative: Explore areas like Marylebone High Street for more unique shopping experiences, or visit markets like Camden Market or Portobello Road Market for a mix of antiques, crafts, and fashion.

4. The London Eye

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Why to Avoid: The London Eye is a popular attraction but can be pricey, and the queues are often very long.

Alternative: For great views of London, consider visiting the Sky Garden or The Shard, where you can enjoy a drink or meal along with panoramic views of the city.

5. Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: This can be an overcrowded experience, making it difficult to get a good view unless you arrive very early.

Alternative: Visit the Changing of the Horse Guards instead, which is usually less crowded, or check out the ceremony at Windsor Castle for a different experience.

6. Ripley’s Believe It or Not! in Piccadilly Circus

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: Much like Madame Tussauds, Ripley’s tends to be pricey and offers a similar experience to its other locations worldwide.

Alternative: For quirky and mind-bending experiences, try the Hunterian Museum, which houses an intriguing collection of medical specimens, or take a walk through the historically rich and bizarrely fascinating Highgate Cemetery.

7. Harrods During Peak Times

Why to Avoid: Harrods is a famous luxury department store, but it can be extremely crowded, especially during weekends and sales.

Alternative: Consider visiting more local department stores like Liberty or Fortnum & Mason, which also offer luxury goods and have a rich history but with a more manageable crowd.

8. Pubs Around Major Tourist Attractions

8 Tourist Traps to Avoid in London (Travel Guide)

Why to Avoid: Pubs located near major tourist spots often have higher prices and a more commercial atmosphere.

Alternative: Seek out historic and authentic pubs further from the main tourist areas. Pubs like The George Inn, one of London’s oldest, provide a more genuine British pub experience.

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