I have now lived in London for just over three years. There is not a day which passes when I do not love this City a little bit more. There is a mind boggling amount of things you can do for free. There’s an even greater number of things you can do if you pay for it. I have completed a healthy combination of the 2 activities in the past twelve months so I’ll share a few of my experiences.
The London Eye
I went on the London Eye as part of a London sightseeing mission with my eldest sister, brother in law and nephew. The staff are well organised, friendly and, although the queue to collect tickets was long, the waiting really wasn’t all that bad.
We shared a pod with about 18 other people. Everyone was really well mannered and took it in turns to share the best viewing angles with very good grace. It was a gloriously clear day.
It’s easy to forget just how many iconic landmarks London has when you live here. I take it completely for granted that I can cycle around Trafalgar Square any time I like or that the glory of Tower Bridge lit up at night is 40 minutes from my house. Plenty of comedy photos were taken by everyone in the pod and there was a general feeling of awe at the views. I was not an exception to the comedy photo’s or the ‘ooohhh’ing and ‘ahhhh’ing. My favorite comedy picture is of me holding the bridge up. It was ever so heavy.
As enjoyable as the London Eye was, I would have been horribly upset if I’d paid the full £19 adult fare. My advice would be to get a voucher. If you can find a voucher to take the cost below the £10, it’s worth the money. I would begrudge anything more than £10.
The trip I made to Madame Tussauds was as part of a milestone birthday celebration in London weekend bender. I was very hung over and tired. i actually believe that this enhanced my enjoyment of Tussaudes as I had the pleseant ‘this might not actually be real life’ angle on the whole experience.
Firstly, the queues for Tussaudes are horrific. We queued for nearly 2 hours. There is ‘in queue line’ entertainment in the form of a DJ and some quiz type things but, essentially, it’s a two hour long queue. A queue that long is never fun.
The wax works are as impressive as you expect them to be. The content of the rooms is regularly updated so there will always be the latest teen heart throb wax work getting mobbed by the girls (Robert Pattinson in my case). I was too busy stroking Patrick Stewart’s head to take notice of Robert but the Birthday girls were not.
There is a great selection of classics and modern works. You also have you staples e.g The Queen & Prince Phillip, ex-Prime Ministers you want to melt down into candles and musical legends like Jimi Hendrix. I particularly enjoyed the Marvel Heroes 4D experience. I can confirm, Ironman does have buns of steel…
The dungeons at Tussauds are suitably scary too. I basically screamed and ran through as fast as I could so I can’t comment on much about it. I had my eyes closed quite tightly and my fingers in my ears.
It is a staggering £29 to get into Tussauds if you buy your tickets on the door on the day. For me, Tussauds is not worth the £29, on the day, entrance fee. The tickets are cheaper if you pre-book or go during off peak times. I would put my maximum price for Tussaudes at £18-£20. Any more than that, and I would feel robbed. I would also say that Tussauds is a one time visit attraction. There would be no point, for me personally, in going back to see th elatest updated works at all. I will enjoy my comedy photographs for a long time though. If I do go to Tussauds again, will be for my milestone Birthday celebration.
St Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s has long been iconic and a major tourist attraction. I had never been before because religious buildings tend to give me the heebie jeebies. I can’t explain it, they just make me feel unsettled. However, a friend got some complimentary tickets for St Paul’s so I decided to get over the jitters and go. The ‘Occupy London Stock Exchange’ protest camp was set up quite resolutely outside. Our complimentary tickets were courtesy of the London Stock Exchange. I had to have a little chuckle.
Once inside the Cathedral, you can pick up an audio guide. I would highly reccommend this. It is informative and well presented. It really did thoroughly enhance my visit. It is well thought out and guides you around all of the major aspects of the Cathedral without really imposing itself on you. Some audio guides cause mass and simultaneous thoughts of suicide when they drone on for too long on one subject but the St Paul’s one is very good at keeping the information in digestible amounts.
You’re not really supposed to take photos of the interiors of the Cathedral but, once you get up the stairs and out in the open, you can snap yourself happy. If you are physically able to, you should climb to the top of the Cathedral. The views are simply stunning. You can see the City of London just behind me here.
It’s important to remember that St Paul’s is a fully functional place of worship. There are songs and prayers throughout the day which visitors are welcome to stay and attend. As I am very skittish about these sorts of things, we chose these times to do all of the stair climbing and outside exploration.
There is also a crypt to explore at St Paul’s but we ran out of time before we could fully look around it so I will be going back another day to finish off St Paul’s completely.
I would never have gone to St Paul’s had I not been offered a free ticket. Having been around once now, I can, with my hand on my heart, say I would happily pay the £14.50 entry fee to go round again. It is a truly magnificent building. Not only that, but it is a work of architectural genius which has been lovingly restored. The audio guides are fantastic, the staff could not have been more helpful, the interior decoration is awe inspiring and the views from both levels of the dome are stunning. By far my favourite London attraction this year.