Here at the Evan Evans Blog, we tend to write a lot about different places and experiences you can have in London. Given that most of us live here, it’s easy for us to forget that the city can be confusing for first-time visitors.
Every country has it’s unique set of quirks and customs that can be difficult to navigate if you’ve never visited before. That’s why, this week, we’re dishing out our seven top travel tips for anyone visiting London for the first time. When you arrive at Gatwick or Heathrow, make sure you’ve memorised these words of advice and you’ll set yourself up for a fantastic, worry-free trip.
Book in advance
London is a very busy city. It gets over 30 million visitors from other countries every single year. That’s a lot of people who want to visit all the best attractions. If there’s something specific you want to see or do, you simply must book in advance.
Master the tap
The underground is your best bet for getting around the city. You can either buy an Oyster card at one of the ticket machines or use your contactless payment card to ‘tap’ in and out of the station gates. Make sure you avoid ‘card clash’ by taking your card out of your wallet first or you might end up paying more than you wanted to.
Stand on the right
Don’t forget the tradition for escalators here in the city; walk on the left, stand on the right. If you use the tube to get around, you’ll find yourself on these a good deal, so make sure you follow protocol and don’t get in anyone’s way when they’re in a rush.
Museums are free
Well, maybe not all of them, but the best museum’s across the city are all funded by through government grants or private donations. From the Natural History Museum through to the National Gallery and Tate Modern, you can come and go as you please. Some exhibitions might require you to pay an entry fee, however.
Take a walk (especially at night)
Personal safety is important in every city across the globe and you should always take appropriate measures to keep yourself safe. That being said, London is a pretty safe city, and you shouldn’t expect to encounter problems walking at night. We highly recommend a walk down the Southbank once the sun has set. The city lights are breathtaking.
In some cities across the world, being forthright and assertive can help you get what you want quicker. This isn’t the case in the UK. British people are more responsive to a polite demeanour and a little patience. Try it out and you’ll be surprised at how effective it can be.
Don’t fuss over the tip
Tipping is always welcome, but never required in the UK. If you’re footing the bill at a restaurant, you might consider giving an extra 10% if the food or service was great. Taxi drivers also appreciate a few quid on top of your fare. However, nobody is going to give you a dirty look if you choose not to tip.
Keep these basic tips in mind and you’re sure to have a fantastic time. For those looking for new, exciting ways to explore the capital, take a look at our London tours page.