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20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London

Keep reading to find out 20 things you need to know before visiting London!

Whenever you visit a new place it’s always good to get tips from a local of things you need to know. Especially if you want to have as less ‘touristy’ experience as possible. Well, you’re in good hands because I’ve lived here for 10 years and have built up a lot of knowledge about the city. Here are 20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London.

 

1. Don’t stand in the middle of the escalator!

There’s a rule in London that when you go on an escalator you stand on the right and walk on the left. If you don’t, people are not afraid to let you know and may hear a very loud ‘EXCUSE ME’ behind you.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of London Underground)

 

 

2. You can get cheap theatre tickets with this trick

Some theatres in London offer a great day seat scheme where they offer tickets at a reduced rate if you queue at the venue on the day of the performance. See more about how to get cheap London theatre tickets here.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of London Theatre)

 

 

3. Travel during commuter hours gets very busy

Travel between 7:30am – 9:30am and 5pm – 7pm gets very busy. Avoid travel between these hours if you can.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture inside a London tube train)

 

 

4. There is so much free stuff to take advantage of

If you do your research beforehand you will find loads of free stuff to do in London including museums, galleries and parks. Alternatively, you can just check out my guide to 100 free things to do in London. I’ve done all the hard work for you!

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Natural History Museum)

 

 

5. Central London is totally walkable

While public transport is good, Central London is very walkable and you’ll get to see loads of things on your route rather than wasting it on the tube. I have created a self-guided sightseeing walking tour that takes you past 20 of London’s iconic landmarks. Check it out here.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of people walking)

 

 

6. Whatever you do, don’t get the tube from Leicester Square to Covent Garden!

I made this mistake once. It takes about 4 minutes to walk from Leicester Square to Covent Garden or an expensive and pointless 5-minute tube ride. There is a map on my London transport guide that shows you which stations are easier to walk between.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Covent Garden sign)

 

 

7. Avoid tourist traps like Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus for restaurants

It’s touristy, crowded and overpriced. Walk a few minutes down the side streets or to surrounding areas for a better less touristy experience.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Piccadilly Circus)

 

 

8. Don’t wait until you get to the gate to find your ticket

Sorry, but there is nothing more frustrating than people fumbling at the gate to get their ticket out and delaying the people behind them. Us Londoners get very frustrated by that.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of London travel ticket)

 

 

9. Don’t drive in Central London if you don’t have to

There really is no point driving in Central London because you’ll spend more time in traffic than actually getting anywhere. Plus, the transport is excellent! If you do drive, remember we drive on the left.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Mini car)

 

 

10. Go to Camden Market and Borough Market during the week not the weekend if you can.

Camden and Borough Market are two of the busiest markets in London so if you can go in the weekday and not the weekend. Both markets are so much less crowded and completely different places Monday to Friday. Check out my guide to London’s best markets here.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Camden Market)

 

 

11. Don’t take cabs.

I’ve got nothing against cabs but London traffic is insane and you’ll end up racking up a lot of time and money getting nowhere.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of London Taxi near The Gherkin)

 

 

12. Book everything in advance or use WalkUp.

Booking as much as you can in advance is must when you visit London. That includes attraction tickets, travel tickets and restaurant bookings. You may even save some money if you book early on. Alternatively, if you’re interested in a restaurant but it doesn’t take bookings have a look if it’s on the WalkUp App. WalkUp allows you to get in a virtual queue without going to the restaurant. You have to be near though. Even if you’re in the pub next door!

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of a diary)

 

 

13. When the weather is nice, London is a totally different place.

The sunshine makes London sparkle even more than it already does. You’ll notice people seem happier, stay out later and eat & drink alfresco.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of St Paul's Cathedral)

 

 

14. Public transport is actually really good.

London has a lot of transport options and it’s usually very frequent and easy to navigate. Check out my guide to London transport.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of London Bus)

 

15. It can be expensive

If you’re visiting from other parts of England you’ll notice London is more expensive than most other parts of the UK. Especially alcohol which can be double the price to what you’re used to. Budget accordingly. Here are some great money-saving tips.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of someone paying via debit card)

 

 

16. Contactless is just like an Oyster Card.

If you have a contactless debit or credit card you can use it just like an Oyster rather than buying one for £5. The only difference is you can’t top it up. Instead t just debits from your account. Find out more about London transport here.

 

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of Contactless Sign)

 

 

 

17. CityMapper will change your life.

I cannot tell you how much you need to download CityMapper to help you get around on your trip to London. It is SO easy to use. It even will give you alternate routes if there are problems and delays.

 

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of CityMapper logo)

 

 

18. Avoid school holidays if you can.

School holidays are hellish and everywhere is busy x 10000000. Avoid if possible or do the popular sights as early in the morning as you can.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of a busy street)

 

 

19. Don’t just ask for ‘tea’

If you ask for ‘tea’ you’ll get the answer ‘which one?’ because London has so many different types available. If you want a good old cup of tea, ask for an ‘English Breakfast’.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of a cup of tea)

 

 

20. We’re not rude … just not that talkative!

You’ll notice on public transport we keep ourselves to ourselves. Probably because we’re on our way to or from the office. Don’t be offended if we don’t chat much. That’s just us.

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London (Picture of a woman standing in front of a train)

 

I hope you learnt lots of helpful insider tips on my blog of 20 things you need to know before visiting London!

 

20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

1 Comment

  1. Jasmin
    15th August 2019 / 6:59 pm

    Any suggestions for places to party on new year’s eve that aren’t too touristy?

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