London: Filthy, expensive, rude ... and beloved by visitors

London: Filthy, expensive, rude ... and beloved by visitors

A new TripAdvisor survey highlights the love-it-hate-it paradox of megacity tourism. Should we believe it or not?
Buckingham Palace, London
Traditional, chilly welcome.

Unfriendly, dirty, terrible value. That, according to the results of a recent TripAdvisor survey, pretty much sums up London's reputation among travelers.

So with all the griping, how is it that London was also voted the best city in the world in the same TripAdvisor 2012 Travellers Choice Awards?

Love 'em and hate 'em cities exist -- we've covered this ground before with loved Paris and loathed Paris -- but something else seems to be afoot with the London rankings.

"While London hasn't ranked particularly highly by those that have reviewed the city this year, it's important to remember that many of the respondents may have experienced London before major changes were made (after) the events of the summer," said Emma Shaw, a spokesperson for TripAdvisor, as reported by The Sydney Morning Herald.

The world’s largest travel website, TripAdvisor included 40 cities in its study and based the results on responses from 75,000 site users.

London ranked 28th for safety, 26th for cleanliness and 35th for value.

Londoners themselves were considered the second least friendly locals, just behind Muscovites. Residents of Cancun, Mexico, were picked as the world’s friendliest.

Tokyo was voted the world’s cleanest city and deemed to have the best taxi services and friendlest taxi drivers.

London’s taxi services placed fifth. The introduction of Wi-Fi in the city's black cabs next year will likely improve that ranking.

Singapore and Zurich were selected as the second and third cleanest cities; Lisbon, Budapest and Bangkok ranked highest in terms of value.

New York was voted best city for shopping, with London coming in a respectable fourth position behind Bangkok and Dubai, second and third respectively.

According to TripAdvisor, the least popular city is Moscow, whose world's-most-unfriendly taxi drivers and worst taxi services would seem to complement its most unfriendly locals. Moscow also finished last in the ranking of good shopping cities.

The lesson seems to be that while there's no such thing as a perfect city, London has enough positive attributes to overcome its negatives.

Or maybe there's just something about London people love to hate. Chuggers and night buses, anyone?

Winners of TripAdvisor city survey (40 cities included)

Friendliest locals: Cancun, Mexico
Friendliest taxi drivers: Tokyo
Best taxi services: Tokyo
Cleanest streets: Tokyo
Ease of getting around: Zurich
Best public transport: Tokyo
Best value: Lisbon
Best for shopping: New York
Safest: Tokyo

Lowest ranking performers in TripAdvisor city survey (40 cities included)

Least friendly locals: Moscow
Least friendly taxi drivers: Moscow
Worst taxi services: Moscow
Dirtiest streets: Mumbai
Most difficult to get around: Mumbai
Worst public transport: Hanoi
Worst value: Oslo
Worst for shopping: Moscow

Mary Kavanagh is a student of life who loves to write and travel. She enjoys simple everyday pleasures such as eating, drinking, sleeping and having a good laugh.

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