London; not so bad as a tourist…

We normally only go to London for work – which is pretty dull, not only because it’s work (which sucks 😉 ), but because it is also very busy, dirty and not by choice. So, thanks to our opportunity to be in London (at IBM’s expense; a big thank-you for Laetitia’s hard work) we took the chance to visit a few tourist attractions that normally don’t get a look-in between rushing to the office and back to Euston to get back home again.

We kicked off with the Science Museum (having seen the National History Museum already). This was interesting, but to be honest, a bit of a let down. We had expected a far far more interactive experience, and a lot more “how stuff works” than simply endless display cases of historical gadgets.

Next on the hit list was the Millennium Bridge and St Paul’s Cathedral.

St Paul's Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge
St Paul's Cathedral from the Millennium Bridge

The bridge was great. Views in London are tricky, always blocked by bloody great big buildings, but from the bridges over the Thames it all looks much more impressive.

However, St Paul’s Cathedral was a big let down. Not the building – that’s a fantastic piece of architecture! They have started charging a £10 entrance fee! That’s a lot of money. Sure, as they say it costs £7m a year to maintain the cathedral. But they also say that they get 1.5m visitors a year. By my reckoning that is somewhere near £15m in entrance fees (maybe a bit less because of concessions etc.). So, even after staff costs for operating and securing the entrance cash desks, there’s surely a fair profit in there to visit a church!!! :angry:

Back across the Millennium Bridge is the Tate Modern, which is free. 🙂 Shown below is the massive exhibit that made me feel like I’d walked into a scene from the “War of the Worlds”! Not sure I’d call it art, but it was certainly creative.

Tate Modern
Tate Modern

Walking back towards Covent Garden we passed this little piece of home… 😎

Australia House
Australia House

5 thoughts on “London; not so bad as a tourist…”

  1. The Turbine Hall was empty when I went to the Tate Modern in September. Out of all the other gallerys, my favourite was the one with 4 or 5 big screens and the busy, almost epileptic array of videos that were being shown. Did you see that one?

    St Pauls is a big shame. We went in the door and walked back out again.

  2. That’s what we did. Such a shame it’s so expensive. I wonder if you have to pay if you go to a service – assuming they still do those!

    We didn’t see much of the Tate Modern – actually, we only went in at first to use their facilities. Philistines!!! I hadn’t realised it was free so I’d always avoided it previously. Will have to go back and take a proper look one day.

  3. Hello
    Technically, I believe churches can’t charge for entry. If you say you are going to worship, they must let you in. I suspect the maths are based on the fact that, with charging £10 entrance, they won’t get 1.5 M visitors in future!
    Paul T

  4. Ooooh you provincials, you!

    St Paul’s is fab actually but I would not pay that much to go in. About 12 years ago it cost £8 to go into the Tower – so I didn’t (but I had been as a child). If we still had proper British passports we could perhaps produce them for free entry. Of course Pete would still have to pay 😀

    I’d recommend the National Gallery and NPG rather than Tate modern. For that stuff you can try the baltic at Newcastle; it’s closer. Good bridges there too! 😆

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