Splurge or Save? A Guide to London Attractions

Splurge or Save? A Guide to London Attractions

Alright, accommodation sorted now what are you going to do?  

Well almost anything but I’ll go through some of what I’ve done since living in London and give you my opinion, since you asked.  You want value for money right?  

So read this and you decide if there is enough value for your money.


1.  The London Eye

Although it is only 12 years old the London Eye is the most popular attraction in the city.  Interesting that London steeped in so much history attracts most people to one of its youngest structures.  When it first opened in 2000 it cost £5 to ride.  Currently standard tickets for ‘flights’ (yes that is what they are called) start at £17.01 for adults and £8.91 for kids if you book online and in advance.  One full rotation, or a flight, takes approximately 30 minutes.

Verdict:  Save, especially if your budget is tight.  I had a good time but I wouldn’t have gone if a friend hadn’t wanted to knock it off of his to do list before he moved back to Canada.  Alternatively try the Monument.  For £3 you can climb to the top and get a pretty good view.


2.  Greenwich Royal Observatory and Prime Meridian

Greenwich is definitely a cool place to hang out, and now royal, fancy that.  There is the market, the painted hall, the chapel, the naval college, the maritime museum, and the Queen’s House and now Cutty Sark which just reopened.  All are free except Cutty Sark.  Many people however flock to the observatory and the prime meridian to straddle the line.  You can straddle two hemispheres for the price of one!  Who doesn’t want to take a picture like that?

Verdict:  Splurge.  For £7 it is hardly breaking the bank.  You are getting access to a few things here and while on their own they aren’t spectacular together they are worth it.  Also all the free stuff I mentioned is nearby so that balances everything out.


3.  The London Zoo

Located in lovely Regent’s Park London zoo boasts a gorilla kingdom, lions and tigers, giraffes, reindeer, and  a new penguin beach that I see advertised everywhere.  We went on a very hot day and the animals packed it in for some shade and naps.  I surprisingly enjoyed the reptile exhibit the most, especially when a crocodile thought it was being stealthy making a move to bite us through its tank. 

After leaving I had visitor’s remorse.  Some guilt rose up from somewhere.  I know zoos do important conservation work but I feel like I never want to go to a zoo ever again.  Am I saying I will never ever visit another zoo?  No, never say never but most likely not.  The space allocated for the gorilla kingdom just seemed too small.  Putting those feelings aside the animals we managed to see were great.  Overall not the best day out but I do chalk that mostly up to the hot weather.  Also pelicans stink, a lot.

Verdict: Save.  At £22 this is fairly pricey.  I could see maybe going if you have kids, but if not then do not.  Visit Regent’s park though.  Alternatively, if you’d like to see wild creatures in their natural habitat go watch the hipsters in East London, fascinating.


4.  Alternative London Tour

While technically a free tour I’m sure you could manage to give a few quid to Gary, the guy who expertly runs this awesome tour of the east end.  If you want to see and hear about a different side of London then it doesn’t get much better than this.  D and I went last year March and I’ve been raving about it ever since.  I hope to go again soon.  

Not only does Gary show you street art he also talks about the history of East London.  Think 3 waves of immigration, French, Jewish, then Bangladeshi. Also think more grimly, this is where Jack the Ripper operated.  That however is a separate tour.  Gary discusses how those 3 waves of immigration shaped this part of London.  Moving through the history Gary then brings you up to present day detailing what is going on, some good some bad.  The passion he has for his community is infectious.

Verdict:  Splurge.  Like you had to guess, of course do it!  Here is the website: Alternative London Tours, I’d say a fiver is a good starting point price wise.  Book ahead, tours last two hours, nuff said.


Travel tip shared by Wanderlust23