"When a man tires of London... visit Manchester :)" London by jayhawk2000

London Travel Guide: 23,692 reviews and 50,460 photos

'The Big Smoke'

For all its reputation as a foggy city of pearlie queens dodging nannies dangling from umbrellas, Dalmatian puppies running amok and Cockney chimney sweeps dancing atop Buckingham Palace, London is a world capital with all the chaos, diversity and modernity of New York. It's both vital yet overwhelming, vast yet dense and easy to stroll for miles between landmarks and monuments, from familiar sights to important sites.

We visit about twice a year, mainly to see the one-off gallery exhibitions like Turks at the Royal Academy, Caravaggio at the National Gallery and International Arts & Crafts at the V&A.

After so many visits, we find ourselves seeking out more off-the-beaten path diversions such as:-

The Coram Foundling Museum;
Samuel Johnson's House;
Borough Market;
Ranger House in Greenwich Park.

Lined up for July 2007 were the Italian paintings at the Queens Gallery, photography at Tate Britain and a stroll through Spitalfields.

Lots of interesting places to hunt out

Greenwich is one of my favourite places to visit when we come to London. It has great buildings, markets, a huge park with views of Canary Wharf, plus the world's ONLY Fan Museum. Something tells me one is enough.

HOW MUCH??

It costs over 20 dollars a head to get into the Tower of London to see some bits of glass and wingless ravens.

Over at Westminster Abbey it is 10 dollars a head to enter the house of the Lord, altough they don't have the decency of marking the spot of Elton John's piano and a piped in version of Candle in the Wind was noticeable in its absence.

Then it's another 10 dollars for Her Hiney's art gallery where you can have the honor of perching on the royal throne (well, one of her porcelain ones at least).

Some factoids to give a flavour for the city

LONDON IS THE DIRTIEST CAPITAL IN WESTERN EUROPE. In fact, of all European capitals only Athens and Moscow ranked lower in a survey of 215 world cities by Wm M Mercer in March 2002. The cities were judged on air pollution, waste disposal and sewerage. Calgary topped the world league. The cleanest European cities are Amsterdam (33rd) and Dublin (45th). London came 102nd, behind Glasgow (62nd cleanest) and Birmingham (87th).

THE NATIONAL GALLERY IS DISSOLVING. The uric acid in the pee of late-night revellers waiting for a night bus in Trafalgar Square is eroding the foundations of the National Gallery's Sainsbury Wing, according to Time Out.

BRITISH AIRWAYS MAKES MORE MONEY FROM THE LONDON EYE THAN FROM THEIR EUROPEAN FLIGHTS. (The Independent, 26 May 2001) Also, did you know the London Eye was built on its side? It was supported atop piers in the Thames then lifted upright.

Drivers in Britain must be careful of not parking on double yellow lines, which forbids parking. A man who had parked on a London street WITHOUT double yellow lines returned to find that his car had been winched off the ground and double yellow lines painted underneath. He was given a ticket for 60 pounds, but Westminster council waived the fine after he complained. (The Independent, 2 Sept 2001)

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:Oh, it's not that bad. Really!
  • Last visit to London: Jun 2005
  • Intro Updated Sep 27, 2007
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Reviews (32)

Comments (33)

  • kit_mc's Profile Photo
    Dec 5, 2010 at 8:10 AM

    Oh, it's not that bad! Really!

  • Charri's Profile Photo
    Oct 24, 2007 at 4:09 AM

    Brilliant coffee tip! I shall make a beeline there for my 95p coffee!

  • Mar 19, 2005 at 2:34 AM

    Great tip on The Leighton House! Went there yesterday. That Arab Hall was like being underwater. Saw Caravaggio show, interesting but a bit thin for the price. Thanks again for the good tips- Mary

  • Feb 20, 2005 at 1:10 PM

    Great page! Looking forward to read impressions about Caravaggio.

  • pedersdottir's Profile Photo
    Feb 29, 2004 at 6:11 PM

    When I do stray from home, London is my favorite place to get lost in. So pleased you stopped by to view my patch of the world!

  • Nov 20, 2003 at 11:20 AM

    Intriguing facts on the intro page. No Big Ben here? And all those pigeons? Hmmm - I'm convinced: visiting Manchester first :-)

  • ania70pl's Profile Photo
    Sep 24, 2003 at 5:07 AM

    I have to go back to London. Thanks for some good memories.

  • whitecliff62's Profile Photo
    Sep 14, 2003 at 11:30 AM

    Normally i wouldn't rate anyones pages if they live near old trafford, but what the heck, hahahahahahaha, only joking, great london page, Oh and COME ON CHELSEA hehehehe.

  • rickyvilla81's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2003 at 3:47 AM

    Good tip on the pub, everyone take heed. Sadly, lots of places are the same.

  • camilo74's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2002 at 10:27 AM

    Beautiful Photos!, I'd like to visit this city

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