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12 Tacky but Terrific Things to do in London

by Katie Sorene

Planning a trip to London? You might think you’re too cool for London’s top tourist attractions but think again, tacky is terrific.

I could have spent my recent trip to London hanging out with the beautiful people in trendy Shoreditch or Islington but instead I got stuck into some of London’s top tourist hotspots.

“How tacky!” You might say, but I have to tell you, I had a ball.

Check out these 12 tacky but terrific things to do in London, grab your camera and your Union Jack T-shirt and off you go.

1. Buckingham Palace

Palace lake

Beautiful palace gardens

Guard

The Queen’s Guards

If you’re heading to London over the Summer you’re in luck as the magnificent Buckingham Palace state rooms and garden are open to the public during August and September.

For an extra treat, time your visit to coincide with the impressive changing of the guards ceremony – everyday at 11.30am.

 

2. London Zoo

Giant tortoise

Giant Tortoise – he stole the show

Penguins Zoo

Cute penguins

Travel from the Australian outback to Africa in minutes discovering all kinds of weird and wonderful creatures as you go.

My nephew Noah, who (quite aptly) adores animals, was in his element so a double thumbs up from him!

3. Oxford Street

Me Selfridges

Me, about to part with some cash

Granted the Super-Mall has arrived in London but Oxford Street is not to be missed.

Check out the food court at Selfridges and pick up a $10 dollar outfit from Primark, yes $10!!

4. Cream Tea

Carly Wolsey

My friend Carly, sipping jasmine tea at the Wolseley

Noone but noone should travel to the UK without experiencing the world-famous British Cream Tea.

I sampled afternoon tea at the Wolseley which was simply spiffing!

5. London Eye

London Eye

The London Eye by cesarastudillo

London eye view

Houses of Parliament to the right by C.K.H.

Spectacular birds-eye views of London you won’t want to miss.

Take a ride on the London Eye and, should you have romance on your mind, splash out on a private sunset capsule  – complete with champagne and truffles!!

6. Madame Tussauds

Obama Madame Tussauds

Wax-work Obama by cliff1066

A london staple, you can’t beat this phenomenal wax-work museum.

Obama’s there, along with every other famous figure that springs to mind from the worlds of politics, royalty, sports, film and fashion.

Don’t leave without paying your respects to the King of Pop by visiting the brand new “This is It” Michael Jackson figure.

7. Tower of London

Crown Jewels

Crown Jewels by googlisti

Take a torturous tour of the Tower of London. Learn about the site’s gruesome history and don’t miss the spectacular Crown Jewels.

Biggest diamonds you’ll ever seen in your life – guaranteed!

8. Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum by {eclaire}

Fun, educational and absolutely free! What more could you ask for?!

Gigantic dinosaur skeletons and other natural wonders all housed in a truly amazing building. Top marks!

9. Harrods

Harrods

Harrods at night by raindog

Shop like Princess Di in this wonderfully opulent department store.

Indulge yourself at the Champagne and Oyster bar and if you’re in town over the Christmas period, Harrods’ festive lights will make your year!

10. Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens

Kew Gardens delight by traceyp3031

Take some time out from the hustle and bustle of the city in this stunning botanical garden.

Don’t miss the tree-top walkway, badger tunnels and giant stag beetles!

11. Hamleys

Hamleys

Lego basketball player at Hamleys by Matt From London

Without a doubt, one of the finest toy shops in the world.

Even if you’re traveling without kids you’ll find it easy to while away a few hours in Hamleys.

You don’t even have to buy anything! The life-size lego figures and giant teddies are more than enough to keep you entertained.

12. West End Musical

Les Mis

Les Mis by alicedice

Grab a theater dinner in Covent Garden and sample one of London’s superb West End Musicals.

There are heaps of top class shows to choose from. My favorites are Les Miserables, the Phantom of the Opera and the Lion King – sure to sweep you off your seat!

Got more tacky but terrific things to do in London? Post up your comments below – we want to hear from you.

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18 comments… read them below or Add a Comment

Laura

The maze at Hampton Court!

jessiev

i love london and have been to all of these except the toy store – definitely a to-do! great list – i esp love shopping at selfridge’s. :) and harrod’s, their food court is incredible. WOW!!

i’d also suggest the british museum – i could spend DAYS there.

Vera Marie Badertscher

Some nice things mixed in with the tackies, there. London Tower, for instance is too full of history to be truly tacky. The souvenir stands, yes, but the Tower itself, not tacky. Also, I agree with Jessie the British Museum is a must, but the only thing tacky about it is their refusal to return the Parthenon marbles.
I’m waiting for your tacky NYC. Tacky Las Vegas is just too easy.

hussaing

i wish to come there because i love London.

Funkstop

I used to love going to Camden Market – it is still a great place, but that new shiny glass complex right at the entrance (along with the bar Gilgamesh…) has made it a bit tacky…
Still recommend it as a must do though!

Kim

Kim here from Travelogged Travel Carnival
Not sure that “tacky” is appropriate to include in this post. Apart from Madame Tussauds I think that they are all great. Madam Tussauds and the London Dungeon usually top any list of London Tourist Traps.

My London Faves:
- South Bank
- Science Museum
- Houses of Parliment tour
- London Eye
- Ride down the River Thames
and many many more….

marina k. villatoro

Tacky or not, I did all these things a number of times when I lived in London and they were some of my absolute favorite things to do!!!

However, I’ll tell you a secret, I look for these tacky things to do where ever I’m living or visiting:)

Katie

Me too – tacky is terrific!

Erica

My favorites (so far): Selfridges, Harrods, Kew Gardens and a traditional British afternoon tea. Still haven’t made it to London Zoo, the London Eye or Madame Tussauds. Will make sure to experience those things whenever I’m next in London. And, of course, I don’t want to miss a West End musical.

Yank

If you are at the zoo in the summer, then the gardens and fountains in neighbouring Regent’s Park are majestic in the summer sun.

Lisa at Wanderlust Women

Having lived in this great city for a bit, you definitely did hit the tacky. LOL I can’t agree with you about the zoo; to me, it’s a definite by-pass. Poor excuse for a zoo! And there are just so many more to add to this list, like: Portobello Road; Camden Market; Museum of London and on and on! Still my favorite city!

traveldesigned

The only 2 things I find tacky on that list are the Legoland and Madame Tussaud’s..but on that note, travel is all about having a good time,doing and seeing new things, so I say if that is your cup of tea..drink up and have fun!

Alistair

Great article and i love all those locations, for me though you need the V&A i think that place is simply awesome and i love going there… of course it isnt tacky just a fab visit, and if you go visit the cafe i have never been in a place like it before.

Bdox

Wow! I’m in love with Carly!!!

linda

when i went there i found the safest way to carry my money i put the whole wad directly into my bra cup. works out fine and i got used to it.

Hotel Olympics 2012

I don’t think they’re tacky at all. You do have to do them at some point when visiting London. It is my favourite place in the world, I go every year and you can never see all of it! I will be going again this year and in 2012 to see the Olympics.

Maria

Liv

What about covent garden – Shopping or going out for dinner my friend lives in west London and we went to some of the lebanese resturants and had their foood which was soo good (:

Camden is okay but what about leicster Square and the fountains lol

mastervegas

This is a beautiful article for London.London is always full with visitor who visit London from different-2 countries.This is the only magic of London to attract the people.Keep this type of article it is really interesting.thanx

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