Avoid These Overrated London Attractions and Do These Things Instead


Once in a while we may visit somewhere and think to ourselves that the hype about the place was somewhat overrated. Don’t be misled; an overrated place is still worth a visit. But it should perhaps be placed at the bottom of the to-do list, below other far more exciting and worthwhile places.

We’ve put together a list of some of London’s most overrated attractions, all of which are only a stone’s throw from the Montcalm Royal London City and other hotels within the larger Montcalm Group. Take heed of the warning and be aware of our suggestion to make the alternative attraction your first port of call.

Buckingham Palace

The 1761 residence of Queen Charlotte still looks as impressive as it ever did, and a series of extensions built by some of the world’s greatest architects ensures the building is – if nothing else – a sight to behold and a delight to see.

However, unless the royal standard is flying, you won’t see a Royal because none are home. To top it all off, due to a glut of naughty people trying to clamber into the palace, the security is so tight around the fences and gates that if you spend more than half an hour or so there you are likely to be followed for the rest of the day by strange people in dark shades and anoraks.

What you should do instead

Why not try instead to book a tour around the state rooms of the palace? You may do this by checking availability on the Visit London website. Or, even better, avoid garnering the attention of the secret service altogether and take a pew in nearby Green Park for a chilled out afternoon before making your way back to your room at the Montcalm Hotel Shoreditch.


Most actual Brits avoid Harrods like the plague, despite it being towards the top of the list of attractions when people are eyeing up London city hotel deals. You may think that the place looks thoroughly British with the Union Jacks flying high. But, it is not somewhere the Brits go to do their shopping.

Harrods is a fine place to visit but you should view your visit in the same way you might a visit to a museum or art gallery: plenty of things to see but nothing you can take away with you. Of course, if you have always wanted to go to Harrods, then who are we to stop you?

What you should do instead

We think that instead of a trip to Harrods you should take in somewhere like Liberty London (on the corner of Regent Street and Great Marlborough Street) or Hamley’s Toy Store just around the corner. Even better (and marginally more British) is Carnaby Street, which is home to a number of independent fashion boutiques.

Leicester Square

What’s the fuss about Leicester Square? It is square and named after the Earl of Leicester who had a big mansion house built here in 1670. It quickly went downhill after the house was demolished to make way for commercial properties and, arguably, it hasn’t really picked itself back up. There are stores, a supermarket, a cinema and a handful of 1990s restaurant chains on offer, which considering you have chosen to come to the greatest city of Earth is hardly a good way to spend your time.

What you should do instead

We don’t think there is anything very handsome to see in Leicester Square which is why we say “move along” and keep heading east towards Covent Garden and the Strand. If you head north along Charing Cross Road you will soon come to Shaftesbury Avenue which has a host of fantastic shops. If you head south along Charing Cross Road you will come to Trafalgar Square, which will speak for itself.

Oxford Street

If you’re an avid shopper, then Oxford Street is for you. There are lots of London city hotel deals that include Oxford Street as a Number One destination. If you like to stick to big name shops then head there and you can spend the day browsing. However, if you want to get a feel for London and for the British side of the capital then you shouldn’t.

Oxford Street is packed with high street shops that have forked out for bigger flagship premises. And in terms of decent eateries you’ll find nothing of note. There certainly isn’t any history to see along Oxford Street (unless you count Selfridges’ basement being turned into a WW2 communications HQ for Churchill).

What you should do instead

If you want to shop independent, exciting and amid less bustle then head south towards Carnaby Street (already mentioned). If you want history, then head west down Oxford Street to Marble Arch. If you want a slightly grittier experience of London then head east towards Tottenham Court Road and Centre Point.

The London Eye and the Aquarium

The queues for the London Eye – the giant Ferris wheel across the river from the new New Scotland Yard – are astronomical. Day and night, you will queue just to buy your ticket and then you will queue twice as long to get on the ride, which is all it is. The Brit’s love queuing but even they can’t be bothered with waiting in line for the London Eye.

Then we have the aquarium, which was brought to the ground floor of the old council buildings in 1997. It is a great place to bring children – if you’re a teacher – but otherwise best avoided.

What you should do instead

There is so much more to see within a Klick of the London Eye and the Aquarium. There is the Southbank Centre: a gallery cum concert hall cum dance hall cum bar cum restaurant. And then there is the entire length of the South Bank to walk, all the way from Westminster Bridge up towards the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Bonus: if you make it to London Bridge, you’re only a short distance away from the many great hotels near Liverpool Street.