Tips for London travellers

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London is a massive city, so getting to grips with it can feel like a daunting proposition if you’ve not been before.

So we thought we’d flag up a few things to be aware of to make your experience of the UK capital a little bit easier.

Queues

It’s an unavoidable fact that popular attractions in London will have queues of people waiting to enjoy them. Take the London Eye, for instance. You can’t walk past its location on the South Bank without seeing a long row of expectant visitors waiting their turn.

But there are ways to beat the queues, or at least spend less time in them. For instance, leading attractions such as Madame Tussauds offer visitors the option of booking in advance, so you can get in through a different door and be processed much more quickly.

Some places also offer Fast Track tickets. While they might be more expensive, it’s definitely worth it if it means you can gain quicker access to the place you want to see.

Transport

London is so big that you will undoubtedly find yourself relying on the public transport network at some point to get to your destination. There are plenty of buses and trains available, as well as regular services on the London Underground. But if you want to make your travel experience as simple as possible, make sure you purchase an Oyster Card.

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It’s a much cheaper and easier alternative to purchasing a ticket on every single service you board, and the travel smartcard can be used on everything from the London Underground to the Thames Clippers river bus service.

To make it even more convenient, you can get it delivered to your address before you arrive in London, so you can hop on board whatever mode of transport you like as soon as you get there.

Machines to keep your Oyster Card topped up are handily located all over the city, so you’ll have no trouble making sure you have enough to pay your fare. Just make sure you get your Oyster Card out of your wallet or purse before arriving at the entry or exit gates, or else you risk annoying your fellow passengers by holding up the queues!

Of course, there’s another great travel option if you wish. Black cabs can take you anywhere and everywhere in the capital, but be advised they are more expensive than other means of transportation.

Eating out

London is crammed with different restaurants, so how can you possibly know which ones to make a point of going to? We would highly recommend taking advantage of sites like TripAdvisor, which offer impartial and unbiased reviews and ratings from consumers, and an easy way to search and compare the most highly regarded.

Alternatively, the online restaurant guide TopTable could be a mine of useful information that lets you find exactly what you’re looking for.

Learn about local customs 

London has a few distinctive quirks and rules that you must adhere to unless you want to make yourself very unpopular with locals and fellow tourists!

Perhaps the most crucial one for visitors to bear in mind is that if you’re travelling on the London Underground, keep to the right hand side when you’re on the escalator. This leaves space for those who want to walk to get past quickly and without obstruction.

Plan your journeys in advance

While we love a bit of spontaneity on our holidays, it really pays to have the bulk of your trip planned out in advance.

By doing your homework as much as you can before setting off, you don’t need to stand in busy gangways studying timetables and leaflets. Instead, you can confidently march on the bus or train you wish to board, without causing obstructions to others.

Planning ahead is actually very easy, as Transport for London has an online journey planner. This free tool lets users input their starting point and intended destination, what time they intend to travel and what mode of transport they want to use.

It will then process this data and come up with a clearly explained and easy to follow route.

Visitors could also make a point of downloading apps such as London Bus Times Live to their phones before setting off. Having these resources at your fingertips means you can have real-time updates on what’s going on and a clear idea of exactly how long you’ll be waiting for your onward connection.

We hope these tips make your next visit to this great city much more enjoyable and relaxed.