As we walked across the Westminster Bridge in an attempt to get to our hotel, we had to weave and wend our way through thick crowds of photographers, oglers, knick-knack sellers, and buskers — some playing the bag pipes. It was difficult to navigate, to say the least.

Why are all these people here? Why is crossing the bridge similar to trying to cross a mosh pit? The Westminster Bridge is sandwiched between two of London’s most known and photographed landmarks: the London Eye and Big Ben.

The view from our hotel was of the London Eye and the difficulty in getting there made it worthwhile. However, even though we were within spitting distance to the entrance, we did not go for a spin. This is London’s most popular paid tourist attraction, and during our first visit to London the line-up was overwhelming. For our second visit, rain and fog made us happy to experience drier pursuits with better views.

We had more luck with Big Ben and I’ll let you in on a little secret. While everyone crowds the Westminster Bridge in hopes of getting that perfect shot that doesn’t include throngs of people and really bad traffic, serious photographers cross Westminster Bridge Road and head along the pathway next to St. Thomas Hospital. Taking photos of Big Ben from here is uncomplicated and a peaceful affair.