London, one of the biggest and most visited cities in all of Europe. It has become the number one travel destination for most travelers all around the world with its endless attractions, fancy restaurant, and abundant shopping. The hustle and bustle of the city is absolutely contagious.
If you’re planning to visit London this year, there are a few things you should know that will make your trip to London easier and more enjoyable. Plus, you’ll find some amazing and helpful information like the best time to visit London, Transportations tips, and the best App to use in London and more in this helpful guide.
1. Different Side Of The Road
In England, they drive on the left-hand side of the road. Because most people who come to London are not used to that, the city put some markings on most of the pavements at intersections saying whether you should look either right or left so that you can stay safe and sound.
And if you’re interested to rent a car and drive around London, don’t forget that you should drive in the opposite way, keep that in mind.
2. UK Currency
This is one of the basics, but it’s very important to know. The currency in England is the POUND, this is the sign for it “£”. Also if anybody says QUID, that’s just another nickname of the pounds, so if they say 10 quits it means 10 pounds.
The smallest paper note in pounds is £5 pounds, and then in coins, you have two pounds, one pound and a bunch of other numbers below one like £0.50, £0.20 and £0.10, £0.05, £0.02, £0.01.
£1 = $1.3 Make sure to check the exchange rate before traveling.
3. Transportation Are Cashless
This is a little bit different than lots of countries, but in London, you can’t pay with cash to use a transportation system. So you will need an Oyster card or a contactless debit (credit card) to be able to use London Transportation.
There are two types of Oyster cards you can get when you come to visit London, There is the Visitor Oyster card, which is only for people who are visiting London. And then there’s also the “regular” Oyster card, which is what Londoners use every day, but also visitors can use as well.
Both of the cards can be used to pay all types of transportations from the buses to the underground trains.
4. Your Safety
London is optically a safe travel destination. However, you do need to take all the usual precautions typical for big cities, like avoiding less touristy areas, especially at night.
London is unfortunately also full of professional pickpockets, so hide your wallet, passport, and all of your other valuables somewhere safe and pay attention to your bags, especially in all the crowded areas like in the major attractions or even when using the underground trains.
Also, there are a lot of scams, targeted mostly at tourists, so make sure you always buy your tickets at the official ticket office or online on the official website and not on the streets. If you perhaps faced a problem there, the emergency services, call 999.
5. London’s Weather
London is one of the popular cities that is known for its unpredictable weather. In general, the climate is mild year-round, but don’t forget to pack a lightweight raincoat to keep in your daypack. The hottest month of the year in London is usually August, and the coldest month is January.
Also, it’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast before traveling. You can expect rain in London in practically any season so prepare your umbrella.
6. Train in Rush Hours
If you can avoid using the tube at rush hour, just do it. All tubes get very crowded at rush hours, and if you’re only going a couple of stops, just walk yourself there and explore more places.
If you can’t avoid the Train at those rush hours that’s completely fine, but you need to give yourself extra time because usually what happens is you end up waiting, and a few trains will pass before you can actually get on the Tube.
7. London Is a Big City
London is a huge city with a population of 8 million people, It is the capital and the largest city of the United Kingdom. Most people don’t realize it until they get there.
So even if you’re sticking with only seeing some of the most major attractions, you could be hopping all around the city to get to those spots. So the best way is to make sure that you’re making your daily itinerary and grouping things that are close together, otherwise, you could be spending a lot of time on public transportation.
8. Best Time To Visit
London’s High season is between May and September and in December. The low season is January and February and shoulder season is between mid-September and November and then again in March and April.
Your best time to travel to London is from April to June and September to November when the weather is usually warm and dry. Not only will you be able to avoid the big crowds, but the accommodation and entertainment rates are less expensive compared to the high season.
Also, it’s a good idea to travel during the week to avoid all kinds of big crowds and higher prices. Don’t worry about the major attractions, because London is a year-round destination. You’ll be able to see all the major attractions regardless of when you travel.
9. Restaurant Service Charge
When you go to any restaurant in London, when you get the bill, double-check to see if there was a service charge added on, usually, this is around 12.5%, If there was a service charge added don’t worry about tipping on top of that.
However, if there’s no service charge at all, then tip between 10 and 15%. The service charge isn’t that expensive, however, you can choose to not pay it if the service was really bad.
When in London you definitely will need a special UK power adaptor to be able to charge your phone and other devices. This is what the UK power plug looks like.
It is always a good idea to purchase a power adaptor before traveling to anywhere in the world and not just London.
11. London’s App
You will love your smartphone even more while in London, Your smartphone can be your best buddy. Here are some of the best apps to use: Citymapper.
Citymapper is probably the most popular app you should use there, It’s a public transit app and integrates data for all urban modes of transport, from walking and driving to cycling, with an emphasis on public transportation.
12. Pubs Vs Bars
Unlike where you live, you might not know the difference between a pub and a bar. Pubs are a pretty casual affair, and they’re actually quite family-friendly because most of them serve lunch, dinner and there’s a really big food focus along with the different drinking.
On the other hand, bars tend to not open till the evening, and they’re much more about cocktails, drinks and sometimes dancing, and they are definitely not family-friendly.
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