London Part Two: The things that didn’t float my boat

So before I kick this post off with a discussion about the things that have made me feel about London the way I feel about some of my ex-boyfriends, I have an announcement!

After my post last week I was feeling very uncertain about the future – and not in a fun “which country next?” kinda way. I was worried that my time at university was going to be a waste, but it turns out that my nervousness regarding the subject may have been unfounded.

I got a graduate position as a registered midwife! Not only that, but I got a position at my first preference hospital! I start in February next year and it is such an exciting step forward for me.

There have been advertisements for skilled and registered midwives to work in Ebola stricken West African countries this past month, but these jobs require a minimum of two years post grad experience. So once I have my two years of work under my belt, I will be packing up and heading to O/S to work in third world countries where everyday women are denied the basic human right of having a skilled midwife present during labour and birth, resulting in a disturbingly high number of preventable deaths of mothers and babies. So watch this space! I will definitely be travelling between now and then, but I think the future will make for some pretty interesting writing.

So anyways! London! Possibly one of the most visited cities in the world, and as it seems from what you – my lovely readers – have told me, possibly one of the most loved. So why is it just not really my thing?

1. People

Now this isn’t to say that I don’t like people! Believe me, I do. But there are a lot of people in London. A lot. Going places and doing things in London, anywhere, any day, any time, you are pretty much guaranteed to be half swallowed in throngs of other tourists wanting to do and see the exact same things as you. For someone like me, I find it very draining. Hostels are always packed with other Australians too, so I don’t seem to get much alone time in London, which I kind of need to “recharge” everyday.

2. Money

London is pretty stupidly expensive, there are definitely things to do and see that are free or cost very little, but basic things like transport, accommodation, food and beer cost a lot of money; money that sometimes isn’t warranted. I have had many experiences where I have spent 30 quid on a meal only to find it a bit of a let down.

Also – The London Dungeon and Madam Tussauds – fun and kitschy they may be – but they are also a bit of a waste of money. However I admit that despite the stupidly overpriced nature of London in general, I still have a soft spot for the London Eye on rainy days.

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3. The general vibe

I am sure that anybody who has travelled a fair bit has had an experience such as the following:

– Every single person you have ever met loves *insert city here*
– You try to keep standard expectations but secretly are excited to see the amazing *insert city here*
– Arrive in *insert city here* and find that it just doesn’t vibe well with you
– You cannot quite put your finger on it, but you get the distinct feeling that *insert city here* just isn’t for you

I guess that London is just one of those cities for me. I think I will go back again and see if the tides have turned, but for now, it’s just not my place to be.

Oh and I also have a disturbing and unrelenting hatred for M&M World. I just cannot fathom what the point is and who on earth that appeals to, but I digress.

Oh and Stonehenge! It is such a tourist trap! Sure I may be smiling in the photograph below, but I think it’s due to a complete disbelief that I spent actual money to come out and stand in the cold for 45 minutes at a bunch of rocks that really are not anywhere near as remarkable in real life. Instagram filters can really do a lot for photos apparently.

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So tell me! What do you like/dislike about London? Should I give it another go?

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20-something year old Australian backpacker writing her way around the world.

34 thoughts on “London Part Two: The things that didn’t float my boat

      1. I think Cornwall to the tip of Scotland probably wouldn’t even take that long, literally the length of the UK!
        Bless us and our tiny old landmass.

  1. The main attractions in a lot of cities are like that though, and i think sometimes the trick is to find places that aren’t so promoted. There is a lot of free stuff but you have to find it.
    it’s hard for me to see London objectively because I’ve been here since I was 15, and believe me compared to the suburban nightmare town I grew up in London is just wonderful.

    1. I really agree. In Australia all the tourist stuff is very expensive and full of people too. The natural world there is free and by far and away the best thing to see – beaches, birds, trees, animals etc.
      In London apart from the Tower of London which really is a good visit, the best things are the parks, the river, the museums, the DLR, the great churches, and the cafes. I agree it’s expensive certainly eating out. You need to know where to go and that usual means out of the very centre.

  2. London is quite massive and there are definitely parts of the city that are crammed with people 24/7 aka Leicster Square, but there are so many cool spots in the city to hang out. A few are Brixton, Greenwich, and surprisingly the King’s Road is quite peaceful during the week.
    But as with every city that you visit there will be things that just don’t sit will with you.

  3. We had a similar reaction to London when we were there last year. Lots of cool stuff to see, but not a beautiful, graceful city like Paris. The subway was ridiculously expensive, and a lot of the modern and post-WWII architecture did not appeal to me at all, especially as many different styles are kind of jumbled together.

  4. My parents have lived in London for the past few years so my visits are somewhat different. I agree about the cost although I don’t feel like Australia is much cheaper. What I like about London is definitely not the tourist attractions- we went to Stonehenge and it was a major bust! Far, freezing and nothing but a good photo opp.

  5. I loved it! But I have lived in NY and I am a sucker for big cities haha. I like Paris better but London reminded me of NY in a way. I also tend to not do all the tourist-y stuff everybody does. I usually just choose what I really want to see( London eye!) and then make sure I have plenty of time to just walk around, get lost and pretend I’m a local. But everybody is different…I thought I was going to be overly impressed by Prague and no! I thought it was very pretty but…

  6. Stonehenge I don’t get. I grew up just under an hour away from it and I remember my dad once forcing us to go there (because how could you not when you live so close?). All I remember was my mum and I not even bothering to get out of the car because we just didn’t see the point in it.

    As for London, it’s definitely not a ‘one size fits all’. I think it depends on what you do/want to do. Whenever I visit, I’ve always loved just wandering along the South Bank and Covent Garden. The Natural History Museum is a great place to go as well (and that’s also free and close to Hyde Park).

  7. Definitely another chance. Can’t really counter argue the ‘chemistry’ part, if it’s not there it’s not there. For me this happens with Paris. But Tussauds and London Dungeon are enough to spoil the best of experiences. Haha. Never, ever go there! Next time make sure you visit my blog for the best places to out ‘out of the tourist track’ http://www.taksidin.com πŸ˜‰ Enjoy travels.

  8. I felt the same way about London. The best part in my opinion were the theatre shows and food markets (Borough, Brick Lane and Camden) but maybe my expectation for the city was too high, the exchange rate to the AUD too crap or just the sheer amount of people!

  9. I agree with you on so many things: everything’s overpriced, M&M World, Madame Tussauds and London Dungeon are absolute wastes of money and time, and Stonehenge is one big tourist trap. I now start wondering my own sanity and why the hell I love it so much that I’m willing to leave my home country to move to England and to live and work in London… mmm… But all that aside, during my time I spent in London I got to know all these non-touristy places which made me fall in love with the city (clichΓ©, I know, I know). There are still so many places in London that aren’t overcrowded, and that have a lot of nature, culture and history. However, most of these places you don’t get to see on a short break. But then again, you can’t love every city that ‘everyone’ loves. So who am I? πŸ™‚

  10. “– You cannot quite put your finger on it, but you get the distinct feeling that *insert city here* just isn’t for you”
    YES. Paris for me. I actually liked London, London Eye notwithstanding. Second your thoughts on Stonehenge. I was amazed that for such a major destination they didn’t even have a museum there, just audio tours. The trip would have been a complete washout except for Old Sarem.

  11. It’s a shame London wasn’t your thing (at least for now). I agree with you on ‘cost of everything’ and ‘amount of people’, but if you avoid the tourists’ traps, London has tons to offer and plenty of FREE stuff too. I guess it’s difficult to achieve if you are there for a very short time, but please, don’t give up on London, give it another try at some point, stay away from the costly touristy places and, I hope, you won’t be disappointed.

    Congratulation on your achievement! (Sorry, I should’ve start with that first πŸ™‚
    I’ve randomly came across to your blog recently and I can not stop reading your entries. You are very inspiring and admirable person!
    Best of luck with everything! πŸ™‚

  12. Honestly, I felt the same way with Paris, but I loved London! I agree with what other commenters said – you’d probably have better luck going off the beaten path and away from the hordes of tourists. But on the other hand, you don’t HAVE to like London just because so many others do, so don’t feel like you owe London anything. I enjoyed the read! Hopefully the butterbeer made it worth your while!

  13. I just read this post and I agree. Don’t get me wrong I love London, I’ve been countless of times but the amount of people is truly overwhelming. The tube at first was a nightmare, but I got used to it. I am currently at Lisbon airport waiting to fly back to London, but after three days exploring the city I’d like to spend the last week exploring other towns or villages around England. Manchester, Leeds, Bristol, Brighton etc. Maybe check those out if ever you find yourself back in the UK?
    And for me the city that didn’t vibe so well with me was just this past trip to Lisbon, not sure why.

  14. I used to feel the same. I always had a nice enough time in London, but seemed to enjoy leaving more than I have other cities. That was until I visited with a friend who took me to Borough Market and then we walked to the Tate Gallery. The market was bustling and vibrant and brilliant, the food was fab, and the walk took ages but we stopped to peek into tiny churches and admire street art and performances. There’s a also a cute little cafΓ©, almost opposite the meeting point for the start of the Jack the Ripper Tour (sorry I can’t be more specific). If you visit again, I’d recommend there too. Inexpensive, loved food. That trip definitely left me with some positive feelings towards towards London.

  15. Totally with you on MnM world. What gets me the most is that they don’t really sell MnMs… just cushions and PJs… bit naff.. After returning home from USA and falling in love with Peanut butter MnMs and finding them nowhere I thought MnM world must sell them. Nope… Pointless

  16. Yes, definitely give London another shot. It’s one of those places (like Moscow or New York) where you just have a much better time if you have a local or two to show you around. There are almost as many great value hidden gems as as there are overpriced tourist traps. Sometimes you have to be sneaky with your timings though to try and avoid the crush of people. x

  17. I’m with you! I got the 2 year work visa and was out of London in 2 months. I have no idea why people love it. x

  18. Hi there! Thanks for following my blog πŸ™‚ I had to come and see what you said about England – love that Stonehenge is close enough for you to regard it as London! As a northerner, we find London to be too busy / touristy / over-priced too. There are some great places, but for me I much prefer the wide open spaces. Never been to Australia (yet!) but I imagine I’d be overwhelmed by the vastness – our moors and Scottish highlands blow me away and they must seem tiny to you! I look forward to reading more of your adventures πŸ™‚

  19. London is definitely outrageously expensive (especially the public transport) and there are far too many people – locals think so too! πŸ™‚

    Having said that, there are many very interesting museums to see in London if you like art, history or science and they are all free… and if you like a bit of nature, you can spend a nice relaxing day far from the madding crowd in Kew Gardens (although that’s not free), on Hampstead Heath, along the riverbank in Richmond or Greenwich… you wouldn’t think you’re still in London.

    As for M&M World, I lived here for some 15 years but I don’t even know what that is!

    My *insert city here* is Paris! It’s okay but nothing to write home about… πŸ™‚

  20. Coming from Bristol, we tend to view London as a nice place to spend the occassional weekend – see a west end show, have a fancy meal, etc. The kids also seem to enjoy seeing where the Queen lives, but I this isn’t probably most people’s cup of tea. If you like Scotland, then you’d most likely also enjoy visiting parts of Cornwall – best to come outside of school holidays though, and of course find a night to stop off in Bristol on the way.

  21. Personaly I love to visit London. But only for a day or so. I love to see the different developments there and watch an event at the O2 arena or the Ahtletics stadium.

    If you do visit the UK next time, I really reccommend North Wales and Northern England, as the people up here are very friendly.

    My personal favourite places are Llandudno in Wales, where there is a nice walk and also the best Fish and Chips around. In the North of England I reccomend visiting Liverpool and Manchester.

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