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europeannovice Jan 26th, 2010 05:52 AM

Madam Tussauds
What do most people think about Madam Tussauds? Is it a complete waste of time fighting the hordes of tourists who are scrambling to get a picture next to the wax figures? Or is it worthwhile to say been there done that?

I know you can get the 2 for 1 tickets if you have a paper travel card so at least it would be half price. However, how long are the lines to get in? What is the best and worst time to go? Is it worth it to go at all?

stokebailey Jan 26th, 2010 06:26 AM

I don't see how it could possibly be worth the time taken away from all there is to do in London. I mean, wax statues?

europeannovice Jan 26th, 2010 06:59 AM

Plus I read that people push and shove others out of the way to get their picture taken with the wax figures. Doesn't sound appealing especially if you have to wait 1-2 hours for the privilege. But, others talk about it and say it is something to see.

BikerScott Jan 26th, 2010 08:10 AM

I've lived in London for more than two years, visited a half dozen times before I moved here, and have never had the vaguest desire to go to Tussauds...

There's a "branch office" of Madame Tussauds in Victoria BC which I have been to - not as crowded but the same statues - not worth the lower cost of admission.

Having said that, based on the crowds that DO go, it must be appealing to many...

Michel_Paris Jan 26th, 2010 08:56 AM

If I remember correctly the tour groups go in first, and the plebes line-up. I've seen some long line-ups. When I went, it was somewhat OK, but I did not 'get it', if there was not a sign I would not have recognized a lot of them.

As such, I'd say if you are going to go, be there for opening.

Cholmondley_Warner Jan 26th, 2010 10:03 AM

I think you can buy a "VIP" ticket that lets you queue jump.

You can certainly buy a ticket that combines Tussauds, the London Dungeon and the London Eye for much less than the cost of paying for each individually.

But, honestly, why bother?

It is a standing joke that no Londoner has ever been to Tussauds - and like all stereotypes it has it's roots in truth.

I haven't been since I was a kid.

nytraveler Jan 26th, 2010 10:04 AM

I simply don;t get it. Even for kids there should be more interesting things to do. And for adults - a complee waste of time - and standing on a hideously long line to see what?

janisj Jan 26th, 2010 10:22 AM

OK - you don't have to queue at all. If you buy your tix from one of the nearby ticket sellers (where they also handle tix for the H-o-H-o buses) - you can walk right in. But my guess is using the 2-for-1 vouchers, you <u>would</u> have to wait in the long LONG line because you have to exchange the voucher and show the paper travel card for your admission. So using the 2-for-1 would save ££ but cost a lot of time. The queue can be hundreds long - around the block.

Most who say don't go haven't been. However -- I would never <B>EVER</B> recommend a first or second time visitor spend the time or money going to Mme Tussauds. It actually isn't as dire as some warn - and IF one got it on a slightly less crowded day it can be lots of fun. I've been (I think) 4 times - in 4 different decades and it is interesting to see the changes in who/what is famous now compared to years ago.

But don't waste the time/money until you have seen most of the other major sites in London.

Cholmondley_Warner Jan 26th, 2010 10:39 AM

Janis says what I was trying to say.

Tussauds could be anywhere in the world. There's nothing british about waxworks so why come here to see them?

If it was a fiver and it kept the kids quiet - fair enough, but I think it's about £60 for a family - ie $100.

If you can't think of better ideas ask here - you'll get lots of good ideas.

For God's sake I could scare your kids to death on a trek for £60. (this is not an offer BTW). London Walks will do it for about £5 a head.

flanneruk Jan 26th, 2010 10:40 AM

What on earth is the point?

When the place started, London had loads of "attractions" like this: pictures, re-enactments or models of famous events or people. But that was over 200 years ago.

Now we can all see these celebrities in hundreds of different ways. So what on earth are those people all queueing up to do? If they want a picture of yourself with a rap star, wouldn't it be quicker to learn Photoshop?

FWIW, one of the many advantages of a provincial upbringing is never having been taken to Tussauds as a child. And there are literally thousands of higher priorities to take visitors to these days.

So I've never been. What - apart from a queue - have I missed?

Palenque Jan 26th, 2010 11:43 AM

You, flanner, as usual have missed a lot - i went to Madame 'Too-sods' the first time i went to London and a few times after - yup it may not be so unique now with so many clones - both by the Tussauds group (owner also of the Eye Over London Ferris Wheel i think) but it is still the original Madame Tussauds, linked with the real Madame who made casts of folks heads after their were beheaded in Paris.

Now if you have kids then it would be huge for them - the younger the better perhaps.

Anyway it's just one of those oddities - a fun place everytime i've be there. The London Planetarium housed next door would also appeal to kids and families - also owned by Tussauds Group.

And for the bit about no Brits being there there always have been a fair number when i have been there - and many of the waxed figures are more of interest to Brits than foreigners - like soccer stars and royal family, etc.

But it is very expensive these days.

The London Dungeon is said to be London's top paid tourist attraction - so these things do have appeal, though not to the upper crust folks with raised noses like those who inhabit Fodors for the most part.

Rebecka Jan 26th, 2010 11:49 AM

I kind of agree with janisj too.

Years ago when I visited Tussauds I liked seeing the historical figures: Henry VIII and his six wives, the original wax portraits modelled by Madame Tussaud herself -from life - of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, as well as other famous people like Samuel Pepys. Some of the likenesses were really quite good. I wonder if they still have the "breathing", reclining Madame Dubarry on display; it was rather cool. Of course, portraits interest me so I can appreciate this sort of thing anyway.

But after having seen all that already, I'd probably give it a pass next time I visit London.

As for the London Dungeon, I would give it a pass unless torture is your thing and you have a very strong stomach.

Nikki Jan 26th, 2010 12:05 PM

When my daughter was in college we spent a few days in London and Madame Tussaud's was one of the things on her must-see list. It had figured in some books she had read; at the time her tastes ran to horror, history, gothic romance, Shakespeare, and Star Trek. We arrived late in the day and there was no line; in fact I think we paid less than full admission because it was after a certain hour. It was March, so not high season.

We both had fun. During the same three night visit, we saw a production of Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well with Judi Dench, a great Pirates of Penzance, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the British Museum. But I still like the pictures I took of my daughter with Jean-Luc Picard and Will Shakespeare.

Narnya Jan 26th, 2010 12:06 PM

For my first trip to London I had Tussauds flagged as a "must see," but I was wrong. I don't even count it as a "been there, done that" kind of thing to brag about -- more of a waste of time. There was a line, but the wait wasn't so bad. I just kind of breezed through because what was on display (mostly pseudo-celebrities these days) was ho-hum and there were just hoards of people groping the statues, and taking photos and, basically, acting like kids on a school field trip. There are SO many other worthwhile things to see in do in London...

europeannovice Jan 26th, 2010 04:39 PM

As always, thanks everyone.

I think on the day we want to be near Regent's Park, I will take the 2 for 1 vouchers with us and check the line. If there is no line (highly unlikely) or a little wait then we might go for it just to see what it is all about. However, if the line is long, then we will skip it altogether because not worth the effort to stand on line to see wax figures. I'll let you know what we end up doing in my trip report.

Cholmondley_Warner Jan 27th, 2010 12:56 AM

I'm pretty sure the Planetarium is closed.

And Flanneur - did you never go to the waxworks in Blackpool? I thought that was compulsory for all kestrel stranglers.

flanneruk Jan 27th, 2010 01:37 AM

"compulsory for all kestrel stranglers"

Southerners just can't understand the subtleties of the real world.

Lancastrians went to Blackpool for holidays. Proud citizens of the Scouse Republic are essentially Celts, and weren't, aren't and never will be, Lancastrians.

Before Ryanair made getting to Cyprus cheaper than a train to Lancashire, we holidayed in the other autonomous Celtic statelets: in our North Welsh seaside suburbs (aka LlanChernobyl on Sea), the Isle of Man or the more charm-bypassed Dublin resorts.

Blackpool was strictly for nightime chara trips to see the Lights. Where any spare cash was spent in Yates's before it got tarted up (or on a packet of crisps for us kids left on the chara while everyone else was in Yates's): not in gawping at wax models.

PatrickLondon Jan 27th, 2010 02:17 AM

>>Lancastrians went to Blackpool for holidays<<

<i>There's a famous seaside place called Blackpool,
That's noted for fresh air and fun,..
They didn't think much to the Ocean:
The waves, they was fiddlin' and small,
There was no wrecks and nobody drownded,
Fact, nothing to laugh at at all.</i>

europeannovice Jan 27th, 2010 05:49 AM

I read in some guidebook that the planetarium is closed as well.

However, the Royal Observatory in Greenwich is still open. We hope to go there on a different day than the Regent's Park day.

I am getting a good education from the fun banter on these boards. It is fun.

AtlTravelr Jan 27th, 2010 07:11 AM

Okay - have to admit - we had a good time at Madame Tussuads, but we were with our kids. It was one of those things that they really wanted to see and my husband REALLY didn't, but as it turns out it was a fun few hours and something different from the other sights we saw on our trip. The "english" part of it was yes, getting my son's picture with Lord Baden-Powell (founder of Boy Scouts), the James Bond actors, etc. Having said that, even for my kids it ended up being something more along the lines of glad we did it once - their favorite London site was Westminster Abbey. And I see you mentioned Greenwich - my husband LOVED that and I was not as enthralled - but part of the fun of a family trip is doing things that different people want to do. Bottom line on Tussauds - If you don't have kids, skip it.

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