When any of my non Londoner friends come and visit, something a lot of them say is that they want to go to the “touristy” sites.
The Tower of London? Solid touristy fun in a nice area.
The Tate? It’s free and if you’re artsy, it’s definitely a place to go.
The London Eye? I mean, I guess the view is nice but is it really worth your money?
Leicester Square? Nope. Absolutely not. Don’t do it. Please don’t do it to yourself.
I understand the impulse. I really do. Flashy lights, cool buskers and M&M world is a culinary wonder but beyond the facade, what you really have is overpriced food in the middle of the pigeon district.
Let’s break this down.
You’ve exited the Piccadilly line at Leicester Square (you’ve made two mistakes already but we won’t go into that) and are ready to see the true authentic London. You take your expensive DSLR camera out, still loitering outside the station because clearly you don’t value yourself or other people.
So you’ve been knocked over twice after figuring out maybe the best place to stand isn’t by the doors with a whole lot of people coming and going. As you quickly move to a less congested area, you feel a gentle tug on your camera. The next tug is not so gentle, and you’re about to have your first fight with a pickpocket.
Luckily, it’s seriously crowded and you get away, but little do you know, you’re about to be pickpocketed again.
Because you’ve seen an Angus Steakhouse, and have decided to go in for a nice hearty meal. Can you hear me screaming from a random corner “Don’t do it?”
If you can’t, just imagine it. I’m doing it for your own good. I don’t want you to part with your money because of your quest for authenticity. Because when you eventually hate London, I’ll take it really personally.
Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Let’s carry on. After a bland, overpriced meal at Angus Steakhouse, you’ve decided you want to wash your troubles behind with a drink. So what do you do? You go to a “Traditional English Pub” (I’m not joking, that’s what’s written on the sign) serving “authentic fish and chips.”
For some reason you’re surprised that the clientele isn’t full of English lads having a pint; it’s confused tourists just like you. And as your bank account slowly drains, you’re wondering why people like London in the first place
After a disappointing day, you decide to turn in for the night, not even checking out the cool nightclubs in Soho. In your badly lit hotel room, you draw exes in your map and make a note of where you’re going to visit in the coming days.
M&M world, followed by Caffe Concerto, and to finish it off, you’ll take the trusty underground to Covent Garden and see the sights there.