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20 Things You Need To Know Before Visiting London

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 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 you’ll hear a very loud ‘EXCUSE ME’ behind you.

20 Things You Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 cheap London theatre tickets here.

20 Things You Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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

If you do your research beforehand and you can 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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

6. … and 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 or a stuffy 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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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, not the weekend. They 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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

12. Book everything in advance or use WalkUp.

You will thank me for this tip when you’re not stuck waiting in queues rather than enjoying yourself. Book as much as you can in advance and 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 do have to be near though. Even if you’re in the pub next door.

20 Things You Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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, it just debits from your account.

 

 

 

 

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, really detailed and comprehensive. It even will give you alternate routes if there are problems and delays.

 

 

 

18. Avoid school holidays if you can.

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

20 Things You Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

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 Absolutely Need To Know Before Visiting London

 

 

Wait! Before you go…

You might also be interested in …

London Area Guide

London Area Guide: How Best To Explore London As Told By A Local

 

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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