Tourist Temptations Too Costly For Some

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 118 months ago
Tourist Temptations Too Costly For Some
Tower of London

Love London as we do, we know that some of this city's tourist "attractions" don't exactly represent value for money. According to a survey by the Sunday Telegraph, London's fee-paying attractions are among the most expensive in the world.

The newspaper compared the cost of visiting nine popular attractions in London and ten other cities across the world, and found that a sight-seeing trip here would trouble the family wallet by the sum of £549.30, compared to £376 or a mere £216 in Dublin. Citing the inexplicably popular Madam Tussauds as an example, the Telegraph discovered that our globe-hopping family would need to cross the waxy-palmed staff with the sum of £85, whereas in Hong Kong a mere £27 would grant entry.

So, London is expensive for tourists. No surprises there. But hang about - it's only a rip off if your idea of a good holiday involves posing with waxworks of Kylie or poking about Queen Liz's smalls. Unlike other cities compared in the survey, London's wealth of museums and major art galleries are mostly free to enter. Pop down Exhibition Road and you can while away entire days between the Science Museum, Natural History Museum and V&A and pay not a dollar, euro or ruble or in entry fees.

We do feel for those who've forked out £16.50 (yes) to visit the Tower, though. In the annal of disappointments, gawping for a few pointless seconds at the Crown Jewels in all their dull (un)glory must be like seeing your Dad dressing up as Santa and catching Mum hiding a coin under your pillow in lieu of the Tooth Fairy. On the same day.

Photo of the Tower by Sam Knox via the Londonist Flickrpool

Last Updated 21 July 2008


If you're put off by the price, it's worth knowing that most of London's attractions are part of a 2 for 1 ticket offer (valid with a national rail ticket - so maybe just get a one stop one from Waterloo?) which is nearly always on, even in the summer.


I've gotta disagree with you about the Tower, Deano. £16.50 sounds a lot, but there's so much to see at the Tower you could easily spend three hours. This includes a Beefeater-led tour of 950 years of history, a peak inside two of London's oldest chapels, the armoury, Renaissance graffiti, a military museum, those crown jewels, and plenty of other rooms to poke around. Plus the chance to doom London by destroying a few ravens. All for the price of a round of beers.


It's easy to sneer at predictable, traditional landmarks, especially in the way tourists go around taking pictures of themselves in front of the offending monument as if to prove to the folks back home that they really did go to Europe.

However, many of them are famous for a good reason (Tussaud's excepted, perhaps).

To open up a new angle of debate, shouldn't there be a discount for already-skint residents?


As a new Londoner I can attest to this. Shit's expensive, yo. I mean, sure, the TATE is awesome but the majority of the other big, free galleries are full of the same, staid antiques while a lot of the smaller, more contemporary galleries are definitely not free. 8 pounds for the Design Museum? 8 for the "Skin and Bone" exhibit at the Embankment? Yikes.


M@ - fair point, but I'm going on the opinions of a few friends who've visited from the US and Canada, all of whom have felt fairly underwhelmed and distinctly out of pocket after a trip to the Tower.

I think I'd prefer the round of beers, particularly if it's on the dubiously cheap Queen Mary where (apparently) six beers and a "mystery" gin concoction will set you back just thirteen quid.


By far and away, London's biggest group of international visitors hails from North America.

London's never going to be a cheap destination, it's more about value and what visitors can get with their cash (which, it seems, is an unrivalled experience, if the numbers of overseas visitors to London is anything to go by - and repeat visitors at that).

The exchange rate has made London pricier over the last couple of years, but even so, it hasn't cut off Americans from coming here and enjoying it.

Maybe, as the article says, it's because some of our best museums and galleries are the National ones (which tend to be in London and are free). These make up 7 of the top 10 visitor attractions in London.

Of the remaining 3, one is the Tower of London and another is Madame Tussauds so they're clearly not doing badly: