Review: London Voucher and Guide Book

Mike Bradley www.brilliamstv.com

Having negotiated my way through the opening three pages of TakeTwo’s ‘London Voucher and Guide Book,’ I found myself recalling one of Groucho Marx’s funniest quotes, ‘From the moment I picked up your book up until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Someday I intend reading it.”

Published on behalf of the ‘SOS Children’s Villages’ charity, readers are urged to ‘…enjoy the best of London at half the cost.’ And enjoy the best of London at half the cost they certainly can – providing the London Wetland Centre and Fan Museum occupy the top spots on their ‘must-see’ list.

Several colour-coded indexes add to the untidy, cluttered design as do the pages of translated text which crop up at random intervals. A better idea would have been a separate section aimed exclusively at overseas visitors, further broken down by their country of origin.

And there lies the main problem for the book, just who is it aimed at? Many UK and indeed overseas visitors would set their own itinerary in advance no doubt focusing on the attractions and sites we could all reel off without research. However in the unlikely event they are tempted to sample a TakeTwo suggestion, one of the first on offer (the Vintage Red Double Decker Bus Tour and River Cruise) requires advance booking either by telephone or email. Could you be bothered?

If a trip to the Golden Hinde happens to be on your list, you’re in luck…providing you have three other people in your party as the guide book appears to imply their ‘2 for 1’ voucher is only valid when used by four people. I’ve lost interest already.

With gastronomic delights to suit all budgets scattered throughout our capital I was angered by the inclusion of Planet Hollywood which gets the ‘Places to Eat, Drink and Dance’ section underway. Hand on heart, would you?

Having already dug deep and paid a hefty £14.95 for the book, I doubt many readers philanthropy would further extend to spending an extra £29 on a three-and-a-half hour jogging tour or worse still, the special offer price of £30 for the, wait for it, ‘Hairy Goat Photography Mystery Tour.’ No, I hadn’t heard of it either.

Tremendous concept, commendable aim, questionable research, poor execution. Time to TakeTwo on the next edition.

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