London was thrust into the limelight in 2012 when it hosted the Olympic Games and after it’s success and the celebration of the Queens Diamond Jubilee, more people are flocking to see the beautiful parks, Buckingham Palace and the hundreds of museums.
Here are our top five tips to surviving the capital:
1) Buy an Oyster card
London has an excellent transport system whether you want to use the Tube (underground) or the iconic red double decker bus. While you can buy a day travelcard ticket you would be much better off paying the £5 (which is refundable when you return the card) for an Oyster Card and loading it up. You then scan it every time you go in and out of the Tube and you are only charged for the individual journey. It will charge you no more than the cost of a day travel card on any one day so for those days where you use less public transport than anticipated you will save money.
2) Stand to the right or keep moving
Whenever you are stood on escalators (especially on the Tube) make sure you stand to the right. Londoners can be quiet impatient and want to get to their next destination quickly. If you block their way while they are dashing down or up the escalator they will tut, grunt and never forgive you. You may very well be on holiday but they are probably trying to get to work on time. Once off the escalators the flow of people generally moves at a quick pace so it does help to either move out of the way or go with the flow.
3) Get lost
London is a beautiful city and sometimes its best seen on foot rather than going from place to place on the tube. Wander the streets, take the small side alleys and just explore and get lost. There are also so many little parks and gardens that are simply amazing and usually off the tourist trail. You will never be far away from a Tube station or bus stop so give it a try.
4) Don’t be friendly but be polite
During the Olympics, London felt different. Those who live in the city were polite. They didn’t grunt at you when you got in the way on the Tube and they actually spoke to you. Don’t expect that now though! Londoners wear their headphones for a reason. They tend to like their own space and generally don’t talk to each other so don’t expect much if you try to strike up a conversation with them. By all means feel free to strike up a conversation with somebody but don’t be offended if they look at you in a strange way. That said, when it comes to manners the British can be incredibly polite. You can’t say thank you enough and if there is a queue don’t even think about pushing in line, that just isn’t cricket.
5) Spend the chilly wet days in museums
There is nothing worse than a wet day. This is especially so on a city break seeing you spend most of your time outside and England is known for its wet weather. However London is full of very good museums and some of the best ones are free. The British Museum has floors full of human history and culture and Tate Modern is not only a beautiful art deco building but you’ll also find modern and contemporary art from the 1900’s. You also have the Natural History Museum, Design Museum and the science museum. There are plenty on museums to fill those wet, rainy days.
Do you have anymore tips on making the most of London?