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When preparing for a trip to London, you probably end up Googling the top places to see or the best things to do in this glorious city. While planning ahead definitely pays off, what they usually forget to tell you is which places or activities it is better to skip.
If you want to make the most of your visit, here are some dos and don'ts of London.
What is up with people going there? You spend half an hour queuing to buy tickets, pay a fortune for them and then spend another hour in a queue until you actually get to the big wheel. Then, you wait until the glass bubble crowded with people reaches the top, so you can take a few precious pictures, and before you know it, you find yourself down on the street again.
Luckily, there are alternatives which will save you both time and money, and you will have way more fun choosing them over this overrated landmark (which is more photogenic from the outside anyway).
Have you heard about Sky Garden? You can find it on the top floor of the building that looks like a Walkie Talkie. (People call it that.) You have to make reservations, but the entry is free! Since it is higher than the London Eye, the view is better, too.
Another free view of London is the one from Tate Modern (the gallery of modern art). No reservations are necessary, and you can even see some Picasso while you are there.
If you must go somewhere expensive, rather pay for the view from the Shard (the tallest building in the UK). You will truly feel like being on the top of the world. Plus, it does not spin.
Unless visiting this place is everything you have ever wanted since you were a child, just don’t go there. It is one of the priciest London attractions and it is simply not worth the money. By the way, the stupidest idea ever is to go there during the weekend. The queue leading to the entrance seems like the longest one in the world. In fact, you spend the same amount of time waiting to get to the exhibit, as you spend inside taking selfies with the wax figurines. Plus, to take a good picture, you will have to fight your way through the crowds first, and unless you snap quickly, you will end up with a lot of photobombs.
Instead, why don't you take a selfie with the celebrity of London streets—the police officer? They are super polite and most importantly, alive.
Apart from that, you can find plenty of other museums and exhibits in London and the best thing is that most of them have free entry.
Fancy a selfie with Van Gogh? Visit him in the National Gallery. For a selfie with a real dinosaur, go to Natural History Museum. The list goes on. You will see tons of more interesting things in these cultural hubs and with the money saved on tickets, you can buy yourself some nice souvenirs.
Which brings us to another no-no. Don't go to souvenir shops on the street! They sell ridiculously overpriced kitschy stuff that will just take up space on your bookshelf.
Drop by a charity shop instead. You can find funny postcards there too. Plus, the money you spend supports a good cause.
Or why don't you buy yourself an interesting book in a second-hand book shop? With a bit of luck you may discover a rare piece of treasure in there.
If you want to buy something local, go to a supermarket or an off-licence shop and browse through the selection of local beers, or buy something typically British like biscuits, jam or tea.
Another touristy activities to avoid are the sightseeing bus tours. Why, why would you want to do that to yourself? It is an expensive ride on an open-deck bus (a bit uncomfortable when it starts to rain) with a group of tourists and a guide telling you what you can see around.
Better hop on an actual bus. If you pick the right buses going through the city center, you will manage to spot all the sights just as well. What is more, with the new hopper fare, you can ride as many buses as you want in an hour for only £1.50. If you sit at the front of the upper deck, you can pretend to be a bus driver, and meanwhile, there will be actual Londoners sitting around you. Watching them might be even more interesting than looking at the buildings.
In London, you can never run out of things to DO, so DON'T waste your time doing dull touristy stuff. Start exploring!
As they say (and what else could one say to conclude an article about London), who is tired of London, is tired of life.