World-famous attractions, Michelin-star restaurants, “loads of hot sex” (if you ask Michael Gove) – London has it all for visitors. So it comes as little surprise that the British capital was the most reviewed city in the world in 2014 on TripAdvisor, the online travel site.
But not everyone is impressed. A look at reviews that place attractions in the lowest quality category – one out of five stars – has revealed a seething underbelly of discontented, angry and, frankly, grumpy visitors. This community of ‘one-starrers’, as we shall term them, have misery as their default setting, and seem to visit attractions just so they can complain about them.
Dr Johnson famously declared that “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”, and these people are no exception.
The London Eye was the UK’s most-reviewed attraction by domestic visitors, and gained five stars from most TripAdvisor users. You can see why – the broad sweep of the Thames, set against the backdrop of the Palace of Westminster, and the towers of Windsor Castle glinting in the distance. ‘Ahem, hold on’, said the one-starrers. “Very boring, waste of time, and expensive”, wrote one. “It’s just so boring I’m lost for words”, said another.
Then we come to the Shard, which houses the UK’s most reviewed restaurant, the Aqua Shard. This received a similar backlash, despite attracting overwhelmingly positive feedback. The one-star reviews went from the philosophical, to the absurd. One person commented that the building was “just pieces of glass”.
Another one-starrer apparently had an epiphany mid-review, questioning why he had ever visited the building in the first place. “What is so appealing about seeing the Houses of Parliament or the Millennium Wheel at a greater height and it being smaller?” he asked. Then, to round it off, one visitor had a moment of sheer genius: “Did not enjoy the view – there’s glass in the way”.