Planning a trip to London can be really exciting, and once you get there, there’s definitely no shortage of opportunities for some fantastic tourism. From national landmarks and historic buildings to exciting things to do, you probably won’t be able to get through everything in the capital during your stay – unless you’re there for a good few weeks. Since London is a city like no other, it’s best to be prepared before you visit.
Here are five top things that you should know before visiting London.
Get the City Mapper App
As a tourist, getting your head around the London Transport Systems can be a bit confusing. As if the tube routes weren’t enough to try and figure out, there’s also the buses and trains to get to grips with as well. The citymapper.comapp is pretty nifty, using GPS to make sure that you get from A to B with ease.
Buy Theatre Tickets on the Day
If you’re pretty spontaneous and want to visit the world-famous theatre when you’re in London, you’ll be glad to hear that you might be better of deciding what you’re going to see and buying your tickets on the day. Soho and Piccadilly Circus are home to a number of reputable ticket shops that offer you highly discounted tickets to all the top shows. If you like to be more organised then lastminute.com is known for its theatre deals.
Watch Out for the Service Charge
The majority of London restaurants add a 12.5% service charge on top of your bill. This occurs more often in the most upmarket or heavily tourist populated areas. The charge is optional – but if you’ve experienced anything but really bad service, it’s an unspoken rule that you’re expected to pay it.
Learn the Shopping Alternatives to Oxford Street
If you’re a shopaholic, learning where’s best to go other than Oxford Street will help you no end. Oxford Street can be hell even for shoppers, especially on the weekend. Although it’s famed for its range of shops, there are a number of other shopping areas in London that offer the exact same shops, but less of the manic crowds. Covent Garden, Regent Street, and Westfield Shopping Centre are all good choices. Still busy but not quite as manic as Oxford Street.
Those from another area are probably used to paying for public transport by cash. However, in London there is no cash taken on buses, and it could be a lengthy queue to the ticket office at train and tube stations in order to pay to get on. Before you visit London, you should pre-buy an Oyster card and top it up – that way, all you’ll need to do is swipe it to get onto any public transport links. If you’re thinking of driving around London, bear in mind that the roads are usually very busy in the centre – but the good news is, you can usually find a parking space with yourparkingspace.co.uk.
If you’ve visited London before, what great advice would you give to other tourists making the same journey? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.