The big mistakes tourists make when visiting London – and how to avoid them

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LONDON is one of the most popular cities in the world for tourists, but a lot of them make big mistakes whenever they visit.

Going to the wrong restaurants, getting caught in tourist traps, or just not doing your research can limit visitors’ enjoyment of the English capital, and can also cost a lot too.

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Tourists often end up eating in expensive touristy places instead of finding really good authentic placesCredit: Alamy

But if you read up before you visit, you can learn a couple of local tricks that will help you fully enjoy London, without needlessly spending a load of money.

Fish & Chips

No trip to London is complete without a trip to a proper chippy to sample the UK’s finest dish, especially for foreign visitors.

However, there are some places in the more touristy areas of the city, where prices are high, but quality of food is not.

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It’s worth visiting a “local” chippy instead – somewhere slightly off the beaten track. As a rule, if the locals are happy to pay for it, so should you be. If not, go and find somewhere else.

Another error tourists make when not au-fait with the chippy tea is to only try the basic fish and chips, but not venturing into the array of condiments, sauces and sides that enhance the meal.

Saveloys, mushy peas and scampi to name a few, are all more than worth a try, alongside a host of other options.

Rickshaws

The number of rickshaws in the centre of London is increasing and are often used by tourists visiting for the first time.

The bicycle-driven carts, often draped in fairy lights and blaring tacky pop music can be found around Soho, as well as loitering near the parks during the summer music festival season.

A Mashable investigation into the issue found one company, London pedicabs, hired around “£5 for a short trip in Zone 1”.

But there have been countless stories about passengers being ripped off for very short journeys.

Two young tourists were once filmed in a fracas with a rickshaw driver who tried to charge them £150 for a half-mile journey.

Listening to the Vengaboys while weaving through the city is fun for a few seconds, but the novelty wears off very quickly and you’ll probably soon realise you’ve wasted your money.

Buses and Tubes

A lot of tourists are fond of the open-top bus tours that you find in almost every single city nowadays.

However, in a city famous for its double-decker buses, it seems a bit silly to pay the best part of £30 for a day ticket, when the public buses are capped at £4.95 per person per day.

Download an app like Citymapper, or even just use Google maps, and you can find out which buses pass the sites you want to see – it’s a much cheaper alternative.

Those apps are vitally important for using public transport anyway, with tourists often getting lost in the labyrinth of the underground.

Like bus tickets, tube tickets are also capped at £8.90 for passengers using Oyster Cards or contactless, but some tourists still buy individual tickets for each journey.

That way, the costs can really add up for people making the most of the underground to explore the city.

Theatre tickets

Buying theatre tickets in advance is a good idea if you’re aiming to see a specific show, on a specific day.

However, if you’re willing to be flexible, you can purchase on the day and save a small fortune.

Any return tickets go back on sale and can be picked up with a considerable discount, so theatre-lovers can see big shows, for small fees.

Restaurant queueing

Visitors will spend ages queuing for popular restaurants, when they really don’t need to.

The Dojo app allows people to queue virtually for a table, so they can do it from a pub or other attraction nearby, meaning they don’t have to waste time standing in line and can still get tables at the best places.

Free samples

One of the best places to visit for food in London is Borough Market, but with so much to choose from, tourists will often end up going home without trying everything there.

However, those who can’t decide what to eat don’t need to pay out for loads of dishes, or miss out on the great food.

Instead, you can ask for a sample – most of the stalls are willing to give one out, hoping customers will then pay for even more.

That way you can try a few things first, before making a decision on what to order.

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Meanwhile, you can spend a weekend in London for less than £125pp.

And this tourist went viral after writing a review of London with Tesco among his favourite places to visit.

Tourists can download some apps that will help them make the most of their trip to London

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Tourists can download some apps that will help them make the most of their trip to LondonCredit: Alamy

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