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Last Updated: Tuesday, 17 January 2006, 01:10 GMT
London 'place to be at a price'
Brad and Lori Fowle
On the tourist trail at Horse Guard's Parade
London is the place to visit for its club scene, theatres and improving restaurants but it all comes at a very high price, a new guide claims.

The newly published Lonely Planet guide criticises London for its "horrendously overpriced" underground and some of the world's most expensive hotels.

Visitors are also warned to expect to hear the F-word - without it Londoners are apparently left dumbstruck.

But the guide said everyone can expect to be greeted with tolerance.

"What's amazing is that the capital (London) - ancient and modern, sprawling and compact, angry and indifferent, stolidly English and increasingly multicultural - works quite as well as it does," the guide reads.

Especially given the recent events, including the July bombings, it's very easy for Londoners themselves to get tunnel vision about the negatives
Sarah Johnstone, author of guide

The guide's authors also criticise London's lack of affordable housing forcing many young people out, a proliferation of coffee shops and laments the conversion of traditional pubs into "alcoholic theme parks".

East London came out on top in terms of areas with Hoxton, Shoreditch and Spitalfields regarded as enclaves of cool.

While Victoria was unattractive, Pimlico "apathetically plain" and Chelsea had lost much of its "stylish oomph", according to the guide.

'City improved'

A preconception that Londoners are "reserved, inhibited and stiflingly polite" is dismissed as "total untruths".

One of the guide's authors, Sarah Johnstone, said: "It shouldn't have been a surprise that London won the bid to host the 2012 Olympics.

"Especially given the recent events, including the July bombings, it's very easy for Londoners themselves to get tunnel vision about the negatives...

"However, in the past few years the city has just continued to improve. This guide is a reminder that Londoners should get out and see more of their own city."

James Bidwell, chief executive of the Visit London organisation, said he was delighted the guide pointed to London's ongoing improvements making it one of the pre-eminent visitor destinations in the world.

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