Tourists have got a pretty bad rap here in London. To most Londoners, the common tourist is a scourge on our beautiful city. They block the bridge pavements, walk painfully slowly down Oxford Street, and occasionally even end up whacking you with their extendable selfie sticks. But, while most of us see them as foolish for blindly spending hours on end queuing for Madam Tussauds and The London Dungeons, we forget their oblivious wisdom. Sometimes they do get things right, so here are eight tourist attractions that are actually popular for some bloody good reasons…
1. Hyde Park
All of London’s parks are, in our opinion, definitely worth a visit, but we had to give Hyde Park a special shout-out because Serpentine Lake’s Serpentine Bar & Kitchen sets this park above the rest. You honestly couldn’t find a better spot to spend a warm summer evening in London. Just imagine yourself looking over the lake, a glass of cold rosé in hand, watching the sun slip away. Bliss.
2. Somerset House
With hundreds of free exhibitions and events held here each year (not to mention the ticketed ones) Somerset House is so much more than just a pretty place to take pictures. Although, admittedly, Somerset House is an excellent place to do just that! This place is downright charming. Oh, and let’s not forget how incredible Skate at Somerset House is every winter. Bring on November!
3. The Tate Modern
The Tate Modern is an absolute gem. Loads of seriously cool installations – like Fujiko Nakaya’s immersive ‘fog sculpture’ – pop up all the time, so it’s well worth keeping your eyes peeled! (Hungry? Find the best restaurants near Tate Modern.)
4. Liberty London
We don’t really know how anyone can manage to walk past Liberty of London without taking a sneaky picture of the flower display outside the entrance or (at the very least) popping in for a quick browse. Think Harrods with extra charm and far more room to breathe! You just can’t fault this quirky little London landmark.
5. Covent Garden
Yeah, we know, Covent Garden can be uncomfortably busy at times. But who can blame the tourists when this place looks so good? While you have to be careful about when you choose to visit (and where you choose to eat, for that matter), Covent Garden is undoubtedly a jewel in London’s crown. Constantly changing but consistently beautiful. Just steer clear of the living statues!
6. The Shard
The Shard is one of the best places to go if you’re looking for a great view, but for goodness sake, don’t pay for The View from The Shard. Instead, go to one of The Shard’s six stunning restaurants and treat yourself to a set menu or a couple of cocktails for the same price as the viewing platform ticket!
7. The Globe
You can’t get much more tourist-y than a tour of The Globe, but the building’s history is just the tip of the iceberg. This season The Globe’s Summer Of Love brings us four new Shakespearian adaptations and three groundbreaking plays. The good news is, there are 700 £5 standing tickets for every performance so you don’t even have to break the bank to see The Bard.