Good ol’ London. Where ever you go, there’s always something to do and something to see. A world city that always remained good ol’ London, despite the millions of people that come visit it each year. It does not bother, aspire or even try to be more, seemingly contempt with what it is.
When one thinks of London, images of the London Eye and Buckingham Palace immediately jump to mind. A world famous city seemingly made up of iconic imagery. Even on a first time visit, the city feels familiar, thanks to films and tv. It’s recognizable designs and buildings have already made an impression in your mind long before you ever saw them in real life. Only cities such as New York are more iconic. While a visit to London allows you add a substantial number of items to your Things I’ve Seen in Real Life list, you can wonder if they actually are worth seeing. A lot of these sights are famous because they are famous, not because they are all that amazing. In a way, they are the precursors to reality-TV celebrities, minus the diva attitude. Indeed, had London not been as famous as it is, it could pass for any other regular city. Sure, the palace of Westminster is a gorgeous structure, and cruising down the Thames could be a lot of fun (haven’t tried it), but it’s not as unique as you might think or expect. It fails to stand out, one way or the other. For a city this size, it’s most unique aspect is not being unique.
I’m being kind of negative about London so far. Even the title of this article seems to have a negative undertone, but the word average is not used in a mean spirited way. Average simply is still a good way to describe the city. It feels like your average city, merely larger and more crowded.
Best (worst?) way to experience the crowds? Traffic. Going from one part of the city to another by car can take a very long time. So for those of you who have riding in a London cab on their bucket list, do keep in mind there’s a thing such London traffic. It’s not the crazy kind, but there is a lot of it.
Average is not the only way to describe the city, however, it might not even be the most accurate. Diverse is a description most fitting. And it’s not just diverse in terms of demography. City attractions come in many forms. If famous sights aren’t your thing, try the parks, or simply walk through one of the quieter Burroughs that make up the city. Apparently, it’s also a bit of a shopping Valhalla. Since that’s not my thing, I can’t actually tell why or what’s for sale. I’m sure you’ll forgive my lack of research into this matter. And then there’s the food. England (the UK in general, I suppose) has a bit of a bad reputation when it comes to food. Luckily there are plenty of restaurants serving more than just English food, should bangers and mash not be your thing. Afterwards, you might want to go for drink to wash your meal down, and there are plenty of pubs, bars and clubs to visit. It’s a lively place, and what London might lack in quality, it more than makes up for in quantity.
A trip to London is more likely to be positive than negative. The city simply has too much to offer, too much for just a few days. If your looking for chance to visit world famous sights and icons, this is the place to be, it also has a deep and rich history worth exploring. Visit Buckingham palace, visit Wembley, visit the Tower. Do all those things if you feel like it, as long as you have the time and money. If there’s one problem London has, it’s the price. On average (there’s that word again) London is a bit more expensive than other places. Taking quantity, quality and cost all into account, my London experience was good, but not amazing. The city is a little too level headed for true crazy antics, be they good or bad. Except for one; the changing of the guards. When you think about it, it’s just one shift taking over from the other. It’s when security guard Bob takes over from security guard Bill, but with more theatrics and fanfare. I’m not sure how this ever became a thing.
Perhaps appropriately, a visit to London is the travel equivalence of going to the pub. You can go there for a drink, perhaps a lot of drinks. There will always be company, some more interesting than others. There will be laughs, maybe a few embarrassments, a semi-deep conversation even. By the end of it, you had fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you enjoy going to the pub, you’ll enjoy London. Good ol’ London.