Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

 You are in:  Talking Point
Front Page 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Tuesday, 9 April, 2002, 09:40 GMT 10:40 UK
Is London a bad place to visit?
London is a city full of yobs, bigots, dirt, homeless people and pigeons, according to a new Lonely Planet tourist guide.

The book also attacks Londoners' attitude to other people saying they would "no more speak to a stranger in the street than fly to the moon".

On the Metropolitan Police, the guide says they are "not always as colour-blind as people would like to believe".

But despite the criticism, Lonely Planet says the city is a "world-class" city and offers particular praise for the London Eye.

Is London a bad place to visit? What are your views of London? Is the criticism fair?

This debate is now closed. Read a selection of your comments below.

Your reaction

Still my favourite city, having lived and worked there in the fifties and visited several times since. Best place is British Museum. Always find Londoners friendly and helpful when visiting. Saddened by negative comments, but was not happy about the charges for entry to St Paul's when BM free or a donation in '99. Expensive yes, but so is Tokyo.
Truda A, Australia

I found it quite comforting

Andrew, USA
Upon arrival in London, a few years back, I experienced one of those "bad attitudes" many complain of. Being from New York City, I found it quite comforting.
Andrew, USA

Despite living relatively near to London, I never really felt at home there - in fact I felt more at home in other European cities like Munich and Paris. But a couple of weeks ago, I was in the West End with my friends, and I had a blast! It's fair to say London has it's share of bad points, but it really has its own atmosphere - I can't wait to go again.
Laura Honey, UK

I agree with the comments entirely. London is rapidly becoming an embarrassment to the rest of the country. It's dirty and nothing works properly. Livingstone should go to New York and learn something.
Paul Anderson, UK

I simply ADORE London. How can anybody question the possibility of visiting it? Paradise - that is what it is.
Mary, Argentina

We have been back four times since then and we love it

Lynn, USA
My daughter went to the University of London for a year and that is when we had the opportunity to visit and learn a bit about London and England. We have been back four times since then and we love it. We have found the people overall friendly and helpful. Any big city you go to you are going to find some bad and some good.
Lynn, USA

I have visited New York, Paris and Tokyo but London remains my favourite city in the world. It brims with history, its restaurants are to die for, its museums are free and in abundance, it has great nightlife and architecture. Everyone is welcome and it is not only the capital of England but also Great Britain, the UK, the Commonwealth and arguably the world! I can't wait for the St George's Day celebrations on April the 23rd. London is the greatest city on earth.
Kahlid Mahmud, Coventry, England

I love Britain but I hate London. It's one of the most stressing, dirty, annoying places in the UK. Most people are incredibly rude! When I go to a shop in London I hardly ever get a smile, it's almost as though they think they are doing me a favour by selling things to me. I absolutely hate the place!
William, UK

I live in London but spend the greater part of the year in Sunderland where I am a student. Yes, London is expensive, dirty and busy. Sometimes it may feel like people don't have time for you - but I wouldn't have it any other way.
Penelope, UK

I used to live in London. I escaped. Compared to London, anywhere else is bliss.
Alex Keenleyside, England

If as a child growing up in London, I had only one ambition, it was to live elsewhere.

Sarah, UK
If as a child growing up in London, I had only one ambition, it was to live elsewhere. Why given the choice anyone would live there is beyond me. Here in Devon we have clean air, pleasant weather, history, architecture, breathtaking scenery (like the east Devon coast Path, a World Heritage site) friendly people - and all at a fraction of London's prices. I feel sorry for Londoners.
Sarah, UK

I have had the luck and privilege to have lived in Norway, America, France and stayed in many European cities. When you compare London to many of these places they do seem dirtier and the people are sometimes a little remote. But London is a city full of history and character. The people I have met in the East end of London, market traders and those true cockneys are very friendly and approachable. It is only in the main business areas where people are rushing from one meeting to another where you might find some remote people. London does have a crime problem though. More and more police stations are adopting a single police per beat or car. this is not only endangering the offices but also the public. It is sad to say but I felt a lot safer when I lived in Boston than I do when I work in London. I must point out I live in London and married a typical East end London lass. You could not find a more loving and caring family than those found in the East end.
Nick Bishop, UK / London

What major city of the world isn't polluted, crime ridden, expensive and full of vagrants? However if you focus only on the negative that is what you will experience. London is a wonderful place to visit, full of history and character.
Lynda Kyle, Aussie in the US

Maybe the experience will make Londoners pause the next time the are about to redirect yet more public money away from Birmingham

David Hazel, UK
London is not a bad place to visit. Neither is Birmingham, yet it often receives short shrift in terms of its touristic qualities, especially from Londoners and people in the South East. As a Brummy myself, I find it slightly amusing to see London getting a little of the vitriol it often directs at the Second City. Maybe the experience will make Londoners pause the next time the are about to redirect yet more public money away from Birmingham.
David Hazel, UK

I have never lived anywhere else (by choice). However I have visited other 'unfriendly' places such as southern Spain and Paris - even Liverpool was unfriendly (especially when they found out we were Londoners) and showed no signs of its famous humour. If you skip the tourist parts and go to the real London with real Londoners, you will find friendly people who are the most tolerant in the whole of this country, no matter if you are a northerner or from across the other side of the world. And those people who don't like living here would save themselves a fortune by moving somewhere else.
DF, London, UK

Every city in the world has its good points and bad points. London's attraction is its very high-quality culture, available at reasonable price. On the other hand, London's worst point today would be its public transport, which is both unreliable and expensive. In Tokyo, where I work now, the situation is completely reversed, with very reliable public transport at reasonable prices, and exorbitant prices for any piece of culture, though some of them are quite good. Concerts I went to during my sixth form years cost me between 5-10 pounds, but the same concert in Tokyo would cost at least 10 times as much!!
Hiroki N, Japan (lived in UK for 10 years)

London is simply unique. There is no other city in the world to match it!

Martin P Leggett, London, England
London is simply unique. There is no other city in the world to match it! If you only want beauty go to Sydney, Cape Town or Rio. If you only want culture go to Venice, Florence or Rome. If you only want energy go to New York, Los Angeles or Chicago If you only want history go to Athens, Istanbul or Prague. If you only want good food and drink go to Paris, Brussels or Bordeaux. But if you want the lot come to London. I have lived overseas and travelled most of the world. No other city has the combination of beauty, culture, energy, history and great restaurants, bars and pubs like dear old 'London Town.'
Martin P Leggett, London, England

OK, so London is not the city it used to be. It is now as said a city full of homeless people, yobs and even paedophiles.
Todd Baker, England

I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with London. I hate it when I'm there but I miss it when I'm gone. But to the person who thinks Parsians are rude, try again. I'll come to London again of course, my best mate is a Londoner, but would I want to live there? No!
Milan, Canada/Sweden

People are free to express themselves in ways that you would not find in many other major cities across the world

Trine Dalfsen, Sweden
I think London is a very beautiful city. In London everybody fits in, no matter how different or individual you are. People are free to express themselves in ways that you would not find in many other major cities across the world. I have always met people who are polite and welcoming and even when I did have an unpleasant incident (my bag was stolen in Oxford Street), the police and walkers by were kind and helpful and apologising for the behaviour of the criminals. I felt very comforted and not at all lonely. I am under no illusion - London has drug and crime problems like every other major city, but I cannot praise London, its people and its spirit enough. It is where I ultimately hope to live when I have finished studying.
Trine Dalfsen, Sweden

I unfortunately can claim to be a Londoner born and bred and lived there until I managed to escape to a better environment. If it were left up to me I would never return there but my family are still based in and around London. The place is dirty, the people unfriendly, everything is over-priced and I for one never intend living there again.
Karen, UK

London is a fantastic place to live and work. However, we seem to be lacking one single and central resource to the cleanliness, attractiveness and healthiness of this great city - one which our Mayor could fix in an instant. Ken - buy some waste bins and allow people to dispose of their rubbish. As somebody who lives in London this is the only thing that I still find amazing - and tourists must find it even more so. Buy plastic ones if the metal ones are still seen as a terrorist threat.
Chris Gabriel, UK

I used to live in London and think it one of the most exciting cities I have ever lived in. Yes it was busy and hectic, but that just made it what it was. The people were friendly and I never had a problem whether I was alone or in a group. Lots of people are quick to put London down, but it is still one of my favourite places to visit.
Elaine Stockwell, GB

Dirty, expensive and crime ridden? Certainly. Public transport from hell? You're telling me! Still, there's no where else I'd even contemplate living in the UK. And if you think we're rude, go to Paris!
Will Salomone, London, UK

I am London born and bred and would rather distance myself from this city. I am not tired of life, but absolutely fed up with its filth, aggressive vagrants and pollution, not to mention the high price of commuting and the worsening quality of public transport provided.
Hazel, UK

London is a great place to visit. I have visited London for the last four summers. You can never run out of things to see and do. I have visited museum after museum, saw play after play, etc. - all with my son - starting at age 7. What better way to learn about history and the arts for a young American. I would recommend London to anyone - I do all the time.
Debra Gravois, USA

London is a fantastic place to visit and a fantastic place to live. I'm glad Lonely Planet said what it did. It keeps the riff-raff out. Everything it said about London is true for any mega city. It's still one of the best places in the world and I'm really looking forward to returning home (alas only for a short visit) next week!
Arri London, EU/US

People who loathe London have spent too much time in the centre.

Wayne, Bristol
I think the people who loathe London have spent too much time in the centre. Take a walk through the leafy districts such as Islington (yes I know they're expensive!)and you will see a different city. It's the London I love to visit. As for unfriendly locals - they're chattier and more open than your average Bristolian!
Wayne, Bristol, England

Having visited and lived in a fair number of European cities, I can confirm that London is the most dangerous and most expensive place in Europe to live. So why have I stayed here 5 years? Because it's also an incredibly dynamic place, bursting with creativity and individualism. There's nowhere else quite like it.
Mark, UK (London)

While London has it's bad points they are greatly outweighed by it's goods ones. London is one of the most multicultural cities in the world, it has great food, amazing art, beautiful buildings, and fun attractions. And what¿s more they say that Londoners are not friendly, but we are a very friendly group of people. What some tourists may perceive as being rude is simply that we are busy. Anyone who works in central London knows that they would never get to work if they stopped and answer every question they were asked. I have no problem answering people's questions when I am sitting on the underground or wandering around the west end, but when I am in a hurry to get to work I do not have the time, and I think it is rude of people to try and interrupt us when we are so clearly busy! How would they like it if we went to their home towns and got in the way of their day to day lives? And if you think Londoners are bad you have never been to Paris or New York. In my opinion London is the best city in the world and if you do not think that, don't go there, you definitely will not be missed.
Daisy, London, England

My advice for tourist... go to the French countryside.

Paul Sorenson, USA
I lived in London for nearly 2 years. The city has it's charms but for the most part the xenophobic nature and brutishness of the inhabitants makes it a hell hole. An American can't open his or her mouth without being derided or sneered at by an obnoxious Londoner. It even happened once that a Londoner stopped me to ask for directions but when I began to speak and he heard my accent, he turned his back on me and walked away. My advice for tourist... go to the French countryside. Despite the stereotype of the rude French, I believe they are more open, genuine and courteous than the English (or at least Londoners) will ever be.
Paul Sorensen, USA

I travel to London several times per year for business. It is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever visited, and it is historically one of the world's great melting pots. Graffiti and homelessness are serious problems shared by many of the world's great population centres. Those issues should be given serious attention wherever they exist. I love London because of its energy, its green spaces and its architecture. Come and spend some time in America and it will make you appreciate the way London drivers yield to pedestrians. It will make you appreciate the way London seems to be made of a multitude of contiguous neighbourhoods instead of a compact, concrete urban high rise centre surrounded by concentric rings of unaffiliated suburbs. London is a fantastic city with its share of problems, and I am grateful for every opportunity to return there.
Channing, Atlanta, USA

Last year I visited London with my family (I am an ex-pat). I have never heard so much foul language used so freely in public. I was also shocked at the number of persons roaming around intoxicated. For a first world city it is also incredibly filthy. This is not the London I remember from ten years ago. Unfortunately London is reflecting the state of the whole country.
Christopher W. Whybrow, Philippines

On my next visit I plan on bringing a bigger wallet.

Brendon, United States
I personally believe many of the opinions about London are based on how they were treated by Londoners. Although on my visit I was treated unfairly by many of the London citizens I cannot justify commenting negatively about the city itself. London has to be the most exciting corner of this earth - with the genius of being able to integrate its modernism with its rich history and culture. Although on my next visit I plan on bringing a bigger wallet.
Brendon, United States

London has to be one of the most unique cities in the world. I visited for three weeks, and I absolutely fell in love with the place. Coming from America where everything is so new, it was amazing to be in churches and buildings that were twice as old as the U.S. Visiting London has had such a big impact on me, that I actually plan to live there for awhile.
Dustin C., U.S.A

I would kill to live in London - it would be great to live in a city where there is always something to do, something you've never seen before, somewhere to go, something new to see. As for the homeless people and pigeons: they don't harm you, leave them alone!
Matt, UK

It was absolutely wonderful, vibrant, cosmopolitan and quaint.

Ashy, USA
I went on my first trip out of the US about 7 years ago and started in London. It was absolutely wonderful, vibrant, cosmopolitan and quaint, filled with interesting major sites and pockets of history. (Something around every corner for those who have eyes to see it.) When riding the "tube" I felt as if I was on a Disneyland ride going from "Victoria Station Land" to "Trafalgar Square Land," etc. Not everybody has such a comprehensive mass transportation system. The only negatives were in noting how unfortunate it was that the smog was causing such damage to the stoneworks. They should invest in electric buses, if possible. And I was almost run over by a bus, but that was because I kept looking the wrong way. Anyway, I lived, and hope to visit again someday.
Ashy, USA

I haven't visited London for several years now and don't miss it at all. However, from what I see on the television and read in the papers, I think it is developing like most other cities in the world. Being a country boy, I would not like to live there, but I am sure that most of the people who do, do so because they want to.
PhilT, Oman

I have only been to London three times but I found the people cold and unhelpful, the food tasteless, and a general feel of everything being dirty. I do enjoy all of the museums and sights of interest. But I have seen them so I won't be back unless it's at your airports. I do enjoy the rest of England as the problems of the city do not go beyond it's boarder. The rest of your country is a delight
Diana, USA

Is London a nice place to visit? Doubtless. Wouldn't want to live there, though.
Mike, UK

The tube is a sewer, spreading toxic air and raising stress

Andrew Cover, UK
Most of the West End's busiest streets have every spare ledge accommodating a drinks carton or a fast food container. The tube is virtually a sewer, a sub-surface health risk, spreading germs, toxic air and raising stress. Piccadilly Circus is a miniature Serengeti with herds of mice boldly going about their lives in full view of all visitors to this apparently first world city. Graffiti is messy, the human equivalent of dogs marking territory, and yet is tolerated. Civic pride and action don't exist and the desire to welcome guests to our capital has been long overtaken by the desire to squeeze as much out of them as possible.
Andrew Cover, UK

I LOVE London! It's exciting and fast, with fascinating history, architecture, style and culture. People who complain about London just don't like big cities. I can't wait to visit again.
Marco, Philadelphia, US

Coming back from weekends visiting my girlfriend in Leicester I used to relish the sight of the clock at St Pancras station which told me I was home in London - it was huge, imposing and covered inches thick in years of grime.
Gareth, London, UK

You are now twice as likely to get mugged in London as you are in New York and the transport system hardly needs mentioning. I have lived in London all my life, except for three months I spent in Sydney and four I spent working in Bangkok. I would far sooner my daughter went out on her own at two in the morning in the streets of Bangkok than in London and Sydney is so clean you can eat the fish that come out of the harbour! Just imagine doing that in the Thames!
Ben, UK

I love visiting London. The first few days I enjoy some of the numerous attractions London has to offer. Then I come down to earth realising I've blown three months mortgage. But if it wasn't for London, I wouldn't realise how lucky I am to live somewhere wonderful like Australia.
Tom, Australia

I wouldn't live in London if you paid me! It's OK to visit for a day or two to see friends but I was more frightened walking down Kingsway on a Saturday than I ever was when travelling across Moscow on my own. Whole swathes of the city are abandoned at the weekend, except for homeless people in doorways. Very scary!
Rowan, UK

You need a small bank loan to do anything for a night

Lonely Planet has hit the nail on the head! London has some of the most beautiful architecture, cosmopolitan areas and endless things to see and do. On the negative side, you need a small bank loan to do anything for a night. The air quality is abysmal, the drinking water appalling and commuting to work takes up a large part of the day, also being the most stressful part of the day. The city is dirty and litter-ridden, not to mention burnt-out cars and vandalism. To have a minimum standard of living in cramped conditions you need to be on an elite salary and absolutely everything associated with pleasure or enjoyment is at such a premium price that it is well out of the reach of the average person. I moved to London from the north three years ago and it's a tiring, unrewarding, unsatisfying and unhealthy place to live. I'm looking forward to leaving the city for good.

London wouldn't be London if it weren't for all the things mentioned by Lonely Planet. Who wants to live in a boring, sterile city anyway?
Tim, UK (London)

I am a regular visitor to London and cannot agree with the findings of the Lonely Planet report. I have usually found Londoners to be friendly and helpful, even if in a perpetual rush. There is a vibrancy and zest for living you seldom find in other UK cities. I can't have enough of the place. I am astonished at people who state that they hate living there. Perhaps they should move to somewhere like Doncaster or Morecambe, immortalised by a well-known comic as akin to "a cemetery with lights", where the local high life will match their low aspirations.
Peter Sykes, UK

You can't park; your kids are in mortal danger from muggers

I agree entirely, it's like Dodge City on a bad day. It's not so bad for visitors, after all they can go home. What I can't fathom is those people that CHOOSE to pay upwards of £350,000 for a tiny flat or house in order to live in the hell-hole that is our capital city. Why? What's in it for them? I can't work it out. The schools are violent, the streets are violent and robbery and car crime are rife. You can't park; your kids are in mortal danger from muggers etc etc etc. You could write reams of pages justifiably slating the place. I would rather commute for 2.5 hours every day and live in peace in a more spacious house.

I am delighted I live here

Mel, UK
If you all hate living in London so much would you all please move elsewhere? Then London would be filled with HAPPY PEOPLE. Like any other place it has its problems and it also has its glory. Highlighting the problems is pathetic. I lived in Venice for a while, that beautiful city of romance, where they have the same problems that you see in London and Manchester. London is magnificent, proud and beautiful...I am delighted I live here.
Mel, UK

I stayed in London for only three months. During my stay, I felt "How lovely London is!'' It's really beautiful. I'm sure that people understand my feeling when they come to Tokyo.
Mio, Tokyo, Japan

It's expensive but otherwise a great city. The Lonely Planet people just like slagging off Britain, which is not surprising seeing as it's often British ex-pats who write their guides.
Matt, England

Make York the capital of England

Simon, England
On my first visit to London (I was only passing through) I was appalled by the attitudes of both the London Underground staff and the Metropolitan Police, and I was also disgusted by the amount of beggars, pigeons, litter and drunks that I came across. I've never been back, and I feel all the better for it. This is supposed to be our capital? Make York the capital of England, its much nicer.
Simon, England

Think London's bad? Visit Manchester.
Paul McGranaghan, UK

If local councils spent as much money on run-down council estates as they do trying to lure tourists to the capital then claims of London being a dirty city could be better defended.
James, England

We're frightened of getting mugged!

Sue Hudson, London, UK
London is one of the scariest and most violent places. It's beautiful, with incredible history and fantastic buildings and beautiful outskirts like Hampton Court, Richmond and Hampstead Heath. It has fantastic restaurants, pubs, and clubs. London's a rip-off for tourists, with ridiculously high prices for eating out, drinks in pubs, theatres, and cinemas, mainly due to high business rates, a pathetic transport system and extortionate black cab fares.

A few months ago, my boyfriend and I saved a tourist from being viciously mugged; a year ago a heroin addict broke into our flat at 0500; a friend giving some people directions was attacked so badly that he'll never walk properly again; another friend had her mobile and purse yanked out of her hands! Is it any wonder that the Londoners appear unfriendly? We're frightened of getting mugged! We need the police back on our streets to make London a safer and "visitable" place, together with a reduction of the sky-high prices charged everywhere.
Sue Hudson, London, UK

I love London and think it's one of the most majestic cities in the world. Did you know that Big Ben's minute hands are 14 feet long? Or that the NatWest building is built in the shape of the NatWest logo but only when seen from above? Or that the whole of the Embankment is just a decking on top of massive sewage tunnels? Perhaps the most boggling fact about London is that 1,000 toilets are flushed in the city every second! London is tops!
David LJ, Isle of Man UK

There are no more anti-English views than those of some of the English left

Alan, UK

Lonely Planet's London guide is written in English and there are no more anti-English views than those of some of the English left. I've just finished living in south London for six months, and can say that while the lack of friendliness is true, that's more a feature of large multicultural cities where visitors are a daily occurrence than a specific problem of London's. As for dirt, yobs and homeless these remarks could just as easily be applied to almost any vibrant city of size. Lastly any sector such as the police will undoubtedly have the same prejudice problems as those around them but the Met has done more to cut out racism than any other force in the world and does not deserve to be painted in such a way. And all this from an anti-London northerner!
Alan, UK

I am a Londoner born and bred and love it. However it is an extremely frustrating place in which to live. I could moan about the tubes, pollution and the usual stuff people go on about, but it's not these things that rub me up the wrong way. What really gets on my nerves, having lived and worked in other world capitals (who believe me have their own hideous problems), is the fact that we don't have all-night opening of pubs, restaurants and other places. It's embarrassing and uncivilised. When friends from abroad come over here, they can't quite get it into their heads that we can't do much after 11pm! This needs sorting out IMMEDIATELY and would help sort out the binge drinking culture prevalent in the UK.
Alex, UK

London has retained its variety and its charm

Richard, London, UK
No, London has retained its variety and its charm. If anything, London has improved over the last few years - witness especially the improvement to London Docklands and the once grimy East End. Any city is likely to have its problems - and where you have private property you will always have crime - but on the whole things are not as bad as many want to believe. I have recently had visitors from the US and from Germany, and they have been very impressed.
Richard, London, UK

It is dirty, smelly, full of rude/mad people and tourists who all get in your way

Sarah, UK
I don't know about visiting but it is certainly a terrible place to live. It is dirty, smelly, full of rude/mad people and tourists who all get in your way. Travelling is a nightmare whether you walk, drive or use public transport. The weather is lousy and to top it all we pay an absolute bomb for the privilege of putting up with the place. If I lived abroad I wouldn't bother coming here. Other European cities are far more civilised.
Sarah, UK

Goodness me... what major city isn't full of dirt, homeless people and pigeons? And anyone who can't see beyond those things, and chooses not to visit, is missing out on one of the most exciting, diverse and fast-moving cities in the world. Yes, there are things wrong in London, but overall it's a great place to live. You just need to look beyond the surface.
L. Porter, London, UK

It has an unrivalled heritage and some beautiful architectural triumphs

Rachael, UK
I hate working and living in London. The transport system is crumbling, standards of living are far poorer than the rest of the country and our salaries do not reflect the incredibly high price of London living. I am on crutches at the moment, and two days ago at Paddington station, a woman (madly keen to get her train) ran into me, pushed me over and ran off, leaving me on the floor. Only in London would you find this selfish and unfriendly behaviour. However, for tourists, I think London is a wonderful city, albeit pricey. It has an unrivalled heritage and some beautiful architectural triumphs. They are masked from the widespread poverty in London if they stick within the centre. Even cosmopolitan Paris has huge areas of deprivation - the Sarcelles is, in my opinion, far more deprived than any area of greater London.
Rachael, UK

I live in London and anything that would discourage tourists and the tacky shops that cater to them has to be encouraged.
Rob Read, UK

As someone who firmly believes in the old saying about being tired of life when one is tired of London, I have to say that the criticisms ARE justified. But, like any city, there are good and bad things. The guide still describes London as "world-class" so it's not all doom and gloom. So, yes, London is still a great place to visit despite its less attractive side.
Reg Pither, London, England

London is extremely expensive when it comes to eating/drinking out etc. I really feel I am being ripped off - I don't feel that in Edinburgh or other continental cities I have visited.
Jane, Wales, UK

It remains a fascinating place and is by no means a complete disaster!

Chris B, England
The criticisms levelled at our capital are largely justified and I could add one or two more to the list. However, while London differs very little in these respects from most other major cities around the world, it also has more redeeming features than many others. So, whilst there's plenty of scope for improvement, it remains a fascinating place and is by no means a complete disaster!
Chris B, England

I think it's pretty accurate, especially the part about Londoners being unfriendly - I've never met so many unhelpful and rude people in one place in my life! To be fair though, most of the criticism could be levelled at every other British city as well. We are a nation of litter louts, drunken yobs, traffic jams and rip off prices. I don't particularly want to live here anymore, and if I were a foreign tourist, I certainly wouldn't want to come for a visit.
Gillian White, UK

Truth hurts doesn't it!
Ed, UK

I think they hit the nail on the head. Anyone who might pretend that it isn't dirty is either blind or a liar. Still, despite the down points, it is great fun, and one of the world's top cities.
Matt, Amsterdam, Netherlands (ex. UK)

London is a great world city with no more problems than anywhere else I've ever been

Jon Cooper, UK
What nonsense. London is a great world city with no more problems than anywhere else I've ever been, and considerably fewer than some cities. The variety of attractions in London is immense, something for everyone. And unlike other countries in the world, the beer is great!
Jon Cooper, UK

I don't think London is very different from any other big city in this respect and it would be unrealistic to expect a city not to have its share of homeless, hooligans etc. It's a shame people are dwelling on this aspect of our beautiful city. There's a lot more to London than that!
Anne, London, England

If London was so bad a place to visit, why would so many millions of peoples visit it every year. London is absolutely wonderful place to visit and has more character than some continental big cities. Plenty of places to visit but more importantly, character.
Jaakko, Finland

I'll never go there again

Jason, Manchester, England
Is London full of bigots, yobs, dirt, homeless people etc? ABSOLUTELY. They are the most nasty pieces of work on the planet. I'll never go there again.
Jason, Manchester, England

Yeah, it's full of Londoners!
Ian, UK (Scotland)

London deserves a caning. I hate the place. However, talk to a proper Londoner and you will not find nicer people. Crime and the fear of crime make London a very daunting place to live. I honestly feel sorry for indigenous Britons who have to live there.
Bob, England

Like any major city in the world, London has its good and bad points. We have our nice tourist areas and obviously have our rough inner city areas. Most tourist areas happen to be in the centre of London, which is a major traffic route for Londoners. So if tourists slow traffic, making people late, then obviously the tourists are not going to be loved.
Matthew T, England

London is culturally rich, lots of fun, and no more expensive than other world cities such as New York, Tokyo, or Paris. Lonely Planet are gradually eroding their credibility with travellers by constantly trying to sensationalise the bad points of various locations (not just London). One observation - tourists spend billions of pounds in the UK each year. Tourism is one of the biggest earners in the UK economy. If we're unfriendly to tourists (as some of the fatuous postings in this forum suggest) then they stop visiting us, we lose that income, and we all become, quite literally, poorer as a result.
John, England

See also:

10 Mar 02 | From Our Own Correspondent
Europe's 'filthiest city'
13 Feb 02 | Scotland
Travel guide paints grim picture
10 Dec 01 | England
London Eye aims to go permanent
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Talking Point stories