One way to take the magic out of travelling is getting lost in a crowd of map-bearing, slow-walking tourists. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with being a tourist – especially not if you’re staying in the heart of the action, at hotels near London Paddington.
But if there are thousands of you in one place, it’s fair to say it’ll make your experience a little less special.
At some of the world’s top attractions, big crowds are pretty much unavoidable. After all, no trip to Paris would be complete without a visit to the Eiffel Tower. No trip to New York would be the same without seeing the Statue of Liberty. And no visit to London would be a truly British occasion without trying to spy the queen at Buckingham Palace.
So, don’t feel like you have to avoid these hotspots. You just need to be a little smarter when it comes to planning your visits. To help get you started, we’ve put together some of our best tried and tested tips for avoiding crowds at major attractions.
A tip that seriously never fails. As you walk past a ticketed attraction, from London’s Madame Tussauds to Paris’s Louvre, you’re sure to spot two different queues – one for those who’ve prebooked online or by phone, and one for those who are paying on the day. I don’t think we need to tell you which one is ALWAYS shorter. As well as often saving you cash, booking online can save you HOURS of queuing time, so always do it when you can.
Get up early, or go late
Another popular tip is to go to the attraction at off-peak times of the day. That can mean getting up eye-wateringly early to beat the early risers, or by staying up late to avoid the evening rush. Although this can feel a bit painful on your holidays – you’re supposed to be relaxing and resting, after all, seeing the world’s most exquisite sights at sunrise or as the stars come out can offer a really intimate and breathtaking experience you’ll be glad you set your alarm for.
Change up your eating routine
Popular restaurants across the globe will always have a longer wait at standard, local dinner times. And if you encounter theatre fans in New York or London, the queue for a meal can be well over an hour.
To combat this, dine a bit earlier or later than you normally would. For guests of The Devonshire, easy and quick access to The Devonshire Restaurant and its delicious menu will make combatting crowds (and your hunger!) a breeze.
Hire a private guide
If you have the time and budget, a really good way to get an insider glimpse of some of the best sights in the world is to hire you own personal guide who can take you on a (pretty much) access all areas trip around the site.
As well as helping you beat the queues, they’ll be able to tell you everything you want to know about the location and are sure to be on-hand to offer expert tips about other great things to do nearby, too. In certain lower-income countries and cities, these sorts of guides for hire can be surprisingly affordable, too.
Book a hotel near the main things you want to see
While there are plenty of great hotels near the best attractions in London, there’s one area of the city that’s a cut above the rest.
Hotels near London Paddington – including our own Devonshire Hotel – are wonderful places to stay, especially if Buckingham Palace is high on your list of things to see and do while here.
Travel out of peak season
As well as visiting attractions at certain times of the day, avoiding those busiest periods, it’s a good idea to plan your whole trip around quieter seasons.
This will, of course, vary depending on where you’re going, as different countries and even cities in said countries will have differing peak periods.
For example, it often comes as a big surprise to tourists visiting the UK just how many holidays our school children have. What’s more, they’re dotted throughout the year (though the main one is during the summer, where they’re off school for an average of six weeks in July to September).
Get some tips from the locals
After all, these are the people that know your new surroundings best.
They’ll have been visiting the hotspots (or avoiding them) for years, so they’ll know the best times and days to do just that. Get chatting with natives at bars or restaurants, or cab drivers are notorious for being helpful in terms of providing insider tips.
If you don’t know anyone in the city, you could ask a waiter at The Devonshire Restaurant who will be more than happy to help you.
Dinner and some local insight? Perfect!
Consider avoiding some of the most trodden paths
Although you’re bound to want to see the main highlights of your new surroundings, you could consider skipping some of the biggies and take a look at some of the more hidden delights, off the beaten track. This is a great way to avoid the big tourist trawls and to experience the place like a local. To find them, read blogs written by real locals in the area to see what’s best to check out.
Keep an eye on the weather forecast
Particularly in countries and cities where high rainfall isn’t common, you’re likely to get a lot more peace and quiet on the streets and at the top attractions when the weather isn’t so great.
Rain can be a great deterrent, with many preferring to hide away indoors rather than bracing the downpour exploring. However, bear in mind that in certain countries such as the UK and France, the rain stops no one and nothing.