London is one of the most famous and regularly visited cities in the world, and with its cosmopolitan vibe and an enormous array of things to do for travelers of every age and background, it’s easy to see why. But before you pack your bag and head off, there are some things you should know with our ten tips to help you make the most of your trip.
London is a very busy city and in order to reduce pollution, it operates a congestion zone charge of £15 ($18) per day to drive in the city, so rather than sit in traffic and pay for the privilege, it’s worth considering using public transport.
Tip 1 – Buying an Oyster card will allow you to use any form of public transport (such as the tube and Boris bikes) except for taxis and open-top buses.
Tip 2 – If you decide to hire a car and drive yourself, remember that traffic in London and the UK drives on the left side of the road and priority at roundabouts is given to cars approaching from the right.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic caused worldwide disruption, many of London’s iconic restaurants have not returned to their previous opening hours so it is wise to plan ahead if you want to eat out, especially at one of the more popular options.
Tip 3 – Plan where you want to eat and book a table before visiting. This not only ensures that you will be able to eat where and when you want, but you will also benefit from a clearer schedule, allowing you to plan other activities with greater certainty.
Tip 4 – If your chosen eatery isn’t open when you plan to be passing, consider eating at one of London’s famous street food markets. You’ll enjoy an enormous choice of freshly prepared and incredibly delicious food, served in a buzzing atmosphere.
British films might have you believing that all the men in the city wear suits and the women dress in stunning, floaty dresses, but in reality, most people in London are incredibly busy and trying to get from home to work and back again in the quickest possible time, so clothing in the city tends to be practical and comfortable although Londoners are known for dressing stylishly.
Tip 5 – There is no dress code for tourists but as London is a large city, with hard slab sidewalks and grit paths through its parks and green spaces, sensible and comfortable walking shoes or trainers are recommended over heels or flip flops.
Especially if you are traveling with children, or have planned a day of picnics in the park rather than visiting attractions, you may be wondering what to do when you need the bathroom. London is fairly well set up with a variety of public facilities, many of which are free or very cheap to use, but it’s wise to check a map as there are fewer facilities than 20 years ago.
Tip 6 – London overground railway stations have facilities available for a small charge and some cultural attractions offer their bathrooms for free to non-customers. If you plan well. you can enjoy the attraction and ensure that you remain comfortable!
Things To Do
London offers an incredible selection of activities and museums so there is something for every weather condition, preference, age, ability and background. You may be a fan of religion and culture, want to see where the Queen lives, or focus on discovering a hidden gem.
Tip 7 – Visit London’s list of 101 things to do will give you some great ideas.
No trip to London is complete without a trip into the theater district. The West End encompasses Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden including 38 theaters, all offering a choice of musicals, plays and operas to delight the senses.
Tip 8 – You will need to pre-book if you wish to visit the theater.
Tip 9 – British weather is famous for its extremes – either pouring rain or blazing heat so it is sensible to pack for all weather conditions.
Tip 10 – You can start a conversation with almost any Londoner with a comment about the weather. It’s a national obsession.