Are You A London Traveler? Here are a Few London Travel Tips
You’ve arrived in London England and now you want to go somewhere. A few London Travel Tips might be of help. Is London the same as your hometown or city? Surely not, and if you’re from a small city or town in the U.S. it’s probably quite a different atmosphere from what you are used to. Are there things you need to know or rather be aware of in London when you want to get certain things done?
Here’s a few London Travel Tips. If you are a London traveler and you find you need directions, a cab driver or a newspaper vendor will be a good source of information. If you are in a busy shopping area of London, you may find a policeman that will be able to point you in the right direction.
In London, Black Cabbies own their own vehicles. You should never leave garbage or food in their taxis. But of course you wouldn’t do that in any cab or transportation vehicle, would you? They take care of their cabs and take pride in the appearance so don’t make their working life harder. If your Cabbie is sociable, they can be a great source of information. Some Black cab drivers will not pick up someone who is extremely drunk, and prefer that you do not smoke in their vehicle. Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t want people to smoke in my vehicles either. The same in my house, no smoking allowed.
London has a new law. As of July 1, 2007, you are not allowed to smoke in restaurants, pubs, bars, the Tube (London’s underground railway system), and in theaters. You will be issued a 200 pound fine if you violate this law. This also includes enclosed places where people work. That’s a pretty hefty fine so if you do smoke in London it would be wise to obey that law, or at least do it somewhere where you are not likely to get caught.
Become familiar with the local Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and M&S foods. These are grocery stores and you can purchase inexpensive snacks and lunches to take back to your room. This is a good and more economical alternative to eating out every night.
M&S is one of Britain’s most reliable and trusted stores, famed for selling high quality food, clothing and lingerie and household goods. Its ready meals, cakes, and desserts are some of the best on the market. The sandwiches, fruit and vegetables are of a consistently high standard, though not exceptionally cheap.
Marks and Spencer (M&S) is actually a world famous department store with a food department in it. This enduring retail partnership began back in 1894 in a small shop in Manchester, but Marks and Spencer (M&S) now boasts more than 300 stores in the UK and 400 stores worldwide.
Another of our travel tips is to plan on visiting London during the summer months if you can. Be sure the hotel you choose is equipped with a good air conditioning system. Many hotel rooms do not have enough cross ventilation and you may find your room unbearably stuffy and hot. Now that might be something an experienced travel agent (who has been to London) could help you out with. When traveling the Tube, know that the temperature can be up to 10 degrees higher than outside. Try to wear layers of clothing that you can peel off.
Don’t try to keep up with the locals when it comes to drinking alcohol. Drinking in London is a large part of the social culture in the UK, and British beer is stronger than US varieties. You should also know that the Imperial Pints served by the London pubs are 4 oz larger than the pints served in the US. Three British pints add up to 5 bottles of American beer. This is definitely one of the best travel tips to keep in mind if you drink, so don’t go overboard.
When ordering in a restaurant or pub in London, you may signal by holding up 2 fingers for 2 pints. Whatever you do, make sure your palm is facing the waitress or bar maid. If the back of your hand is facing them it is the British equivalent to giving someone the finger. This will take some forethought before you hold up your hand because here (the USA) there is no such meaning unless you are really giving someone the finger.
One of the very important travel tips if you’re in London and you come across an unattended bag or parcel you may be tempted to touch it, but don’t. Do not touch it. Call 999 the emergency help number, this is also true in any type of emergency where you require assistance. This number will also get you in touch with the police in an emergency, and obtain lifeguard assistance. This number can be accessed from any pay-phone. You may also dial 112 to harmonize with other European areas that use that number. If you dial 911 from a mobile it will be directed to the 999 number. 911 will not work on any pay-phone. Try to remember the 999 for emergencies.
Take care when crossing the street, as cars in London are driven on the left side and Americans have had the phrase “Keep to the Right”, burned into their brain for years. It can be a bit confusing to you and London van drivers move quite fast down small side streets. Try to cross the street with a group and not alone.
If you want to see the famous attraction in London of the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, you’d better get there at least an hour early. It’s hard to get close after that once the tour buses unleash their crowds. The street is crowded with people. However, during all other times the street the guards walk down is a nice large street, with Buckingham Palace at the end.
Remember that in the UK prices will normally be higher than the U.S. for many things. Since the value of the American dollar has been falling for quite some time you will feel it in London. Your money won’t go very far and since it’s in pounds the reasonable costs for some things might fool you when you convert that price to dollars. We hope these London travel tips will be of help when you travel to London.
Copyright © Charles L Harmon
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