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Are you travelling to the UK soon and looking for some London travel tips to help you plan your stay? We are here to help!

London is one of the most visited cities in the world. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned pro, there are always new things to see and do.

To help you make the most of your time in London, we’ve put together a list of travel tips.

big ben in london

⏱️ IN A RUSH? Here are the top 3 London Travel Tips

1️⃣ Stay in Zone 1 or 2
2️⃣ Use Public transport with a contactless card and Do not rent a car
3️⃣ Get a London Pass if you plan on visiting more than 2 paid attractions

And to help you avoid some common mistakes, we’ve also included a few warnings.

London is a very big and expensive city so there are a few things you should be aware of before you visit.

1. Stay in zone 1 or 2

Hotel in London near Tower Hill

London is a very big city. It might not look like it is but if you look at a map closely, you’ll realise that London actually takes up a huge portion of England.

To give you an idea, it’s 15 times bigger than Paris!

This is important when it comes to choosing your accommodation. If you look at the map without context, you will not realise how big the city is and will be tempted to book accommodation in zone 4, 5 or even further.

It is much cheaper so it’s normal to be tempted however, it’s something you should avoid.

Firstly, most of the money you will save on accommodation will actually be spent on transport so there is not much point here.

Secondly, you will spend an insane amount of time in the tube.

Nobody comes to London to spend 4 hours per day on public transport!

So, as much as possible, try to stay in Zone 1 or 2.

If you stay in zone 1, you won’t have to spend all your time on public transport.

This is where you’ll find Big Ben, Buckingham Palace and all the major attractions

Now, I know that accommodation in central London can seem super expensive but here are some good options for you:

  • Budget: Pickwick Hall is a cute hostel located in Bloomsbury. They offer both bunk beds in dormitories and private rooms making it the ideal place for budget travellers.
  • Mid-range: If you are looking for something a bit more unique, opt for the Georgian House Hotel. It’s located in Pimlico which is a quiet and beautiful neighbourhood. If you are a Harry Potter fan, make sure to request their Harry Potter-themed rooms!
  • Luxury: Cheval Three Quays and the Savoy are the ultimate hotels in London. When it comes to 5-star hotels, you can’t beat them. If you are looking to splurge, these will be perfect for you.

2. Use your contactless card (or get an Oyster Card)

oyster card in london

Public transport in London is extremely modern, well maintained and the network is simply amazing.

When it comes to paying for taking the tube or the bus, the easiest (and best) option is to use your contactless card. This will save you time, spare you the hassle of having to find the right change and is so convenient.

Basically, you just need to walk in (the station or bus) and tap your card. This will record your trip. If you are taking a bus you won’t need to tap out but you if you take the tube or the train.

This is very important since otherwise your journey will be marked as incomplete and you will be charged the maximum fare.

That having been said, don’t worry about forgetting to tap out since it’s very obvious when you have to do it and most of the time, the gates won’t open if you don’t tap out anyway.

If for some reason your contactless card doesn’t work or you don’t want to use it, you can buy an Oyster Card from any underground station. You can load it with money and simply top up as needed.

The Oyster card costs £5 but this will be refunded if you bring it back.

In effect, it will act exactly like a contactless card but obviously only for public transport (don’t try to pay in a restaurant with it!).

Finally, if you have Apple Pay or Google Pay on your phone or watch, this will work as well!

3. Use Wise to exchange money

Screenshot of wise.com

Having a contactless card is super important in London. You will need it for the tube and it’s so much quicker than paying in cash.

Also, if you are not used to the currency, it may take you a while to wrap your head around the different coins and banknotes.

If you don’t have a UK bank card, chances are that you are being charged a fee by your bank for using your card abroad and will probably give you a terrible exchange rate.

The best way to get GBP (British Pounds) and a card is to use Wise (formerly known as Transferwise) or Revolut.

To do that you need to create an account (this part is free). Then you can order the card which is only £5 (or $7) and it’s a one-off fee, not a monthly fee.

Lastly, it comes with an amazing mobile app that gives you live notifications with what you spent and how much you have left.

Here is how it works. Instead of actually changing the money, you will send the money in your original currency (let’s say dollar for the sake of the example), to a Wise bank account in the same currency (so dollars).

Then Wise will top up your account with the money in the currency you requested.

By doing that, they don’t actually exchange the money, they just move it in different places.

For this reason, they can offer the best exchange rates and super small fees!

Also, it takes 3 seconds on the app to do so.

In summary, it’s easy, cheap and so convenient.

Since you will get a card you will be able to pay everywhere in London (and will actually look like a local haha)

Click here to open a Wise account.

4. Get a London Pass

Tower Bridge in London

It’s no secret that London is an expensive city and unfortunately, most of the attractions charge an entrance fee.

For this reason, I strongly recommend getting a London Pass if you are planning to visit more than 2 attractions.

First of all, it will allow you to skip the line at most of the attractions which is so handy. London is a busy city and nobody likes to stand in line for two hours!

Secondly, it will give you access to all the main attractions including the Shard, Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.

You will also get a 1-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket which means that you shouldn’t need to pay for the tube on that day.

A one day ticket costs around £62 but if you take 2 or 3 days the price per day goes down a lot (you can take up to 10 days).

Personally, I think the best technique is to take a 2-day London Pass and do as many of the paying attractions in Westminster and the City of London as you can.

This means you can do: the hop-on-hop-off bus, the Shard, Tower of London (just that is over £25 alone!), Tower Bridge Exhibition, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Golden Hinde, Beefeater Gin Distillery and a River Thames cruise.

Click here to see the prices.

5. Do not rent a car in London

Underground in London

This is the number 1 mistake to avoid in London: renting a car.

This needs to be very clear: DO NOT RENT A CAR IN LONDON.

Firstly, London is huge and public transport is excellent so you do not need a car.

Secondly, having a car in London will be a huge pain in the backside as well as being incredibly expensive.

Driving in central London is subject to a toll. If you enter the congestion zone (toll ring), you will have to pay £15 per day!

Also, parking in central London is either impossible or super expensive.

In other words, you will spend just as much for your car (which you won’t use) as you will for your accommodation.

Finally, there is simply no need and driving in London is quite stressful. If you don’t know the city, it will stress you out and you won’t enjoy the experience.

Also, we drive on the left-hand side in this country and if you are not used to that, this will add even more stress.

In summary, just don’t take a car. Use public transport. London is one of the best-connected cities in the world so you should make good use of that.

Please note that this advice is valid also if you decide to go on a day trip. There are loads of train that departs from London and will bring you everywhere you need!

Alternatively, you can also opt for a day tour.

6. Book the attractions in advance

London Eye in London

As previously mentioned, London is a busy city and lots of people want to visit the attractions.

For that reason, if you don’t book in advance, some attractions might run out of tickets by the time you arrive. It’s actually quite rare (almost impossible) to get tickets for the main attractions such as the London Eye, Tower of London or the Shard at the last minute.

I strongly recommend booking online as soon as possible so that when you get there you won’t be disappointed and actually get to see all these fabulous places.

Also, if you book online you will often have the option to add a skip-the-line and/or to book the time of your choice.

This will save you a lot of time once you get there.

Finally, it’s actually much easier to book everything online!

7. Use Get Your Guide

Get your guide Screenshot

Get Your Guide is one of the best websites and apps when it comes to travelling.

Most of the attractions in London are available on Get Your Guide (as well as the London Pass) which means you can easily book your tours and keep everything in the app.

The app is very easy to use and even sends you notifications before your tour so you don’t forget it.

Your ticket (with QR code) is stored in the app which means you don’t have to go through all your emails.

You will also find the directions to the meeting point with Google Maps which is super handy.

Finally, you can cancel for free up to 24 hours in advance so it really doesn’t get better than this!

Click here to go to Get Your Guide.

Wear comfortable shoes

This is pretty much a rule when travelling, but it cannot be more important than when visiting London.

London is such a big city so you will be walking a lot. Most of the streets are in a very good state but you will also find some cobblestones (it’s still Europe after all!) so having comfy shoes is essential.

You will do a lot of walking while you visit London (and yes, even if you take the tube!).

If you don’t have comfortable shoes, it’s going to ruin your trip.

You don’t need hiking shoes, it’s not that wild but you do need good shoes that you can wear all day.

I usually recommend leather boots, ankle boots or snickers like Vans or Converse.

Since London tends to be rather wet, it’s better if you take waterproof or leather shoes. That way if it does rain, you won’t be walking around with wet feet (which we all know, is awful!).

Bring an umbrella or wear a rain jacket

Manchester in the rain
This photo was actually taken in Manchester but at least you can see the kind of rain jacket and umbrella I’m referring to.

Speaking of the weather, it’s no secret that it rains a lot in England.

While London is actually not the worst place in terms of rain, it’s always fair to expect rain when visiting.

For this reason, make sure to take a good umbrella or to wear a rain jacket.

I personally prefer wearing a good rain jacket like this one from Lighthouse clothing. It’s pretty stylish (actually, it looks great on photos), it has a hood and it protects from both the rain and the wind.

Umbrellas are great but it’s quite easy to forget them when you stop for a coffee and they can be a bit of a pain to carry around when it does not rain.

For this reason, I find that a good rain jacket is more practical. If it starts raining, you put your hood up and if it stops, you put it down! And that’s it!

Opt for street food

Stalls at Borough Market in London

London can be an expensive city when it comes to food as well which is why eating street food can be a great way to reduce the costs of your trip.

Also, you will find loads of food markets such as the famous Borough Market or South Bank.

There are plenty of food trucks selling food from all over the world.

Not only is it cheap but it’s also absolutely delicious.

A lot of Londoners opt for that for lunch and that’s what you should do too.

The atmosphere is also always very good. People are friendly and it’s such a fun thing to do.

Book your theatre tickets in advance

Wicked Musical in London

London is a paradise for theatre lovers, especially the West End. There are so many great musicals to see such as The Lion King, Wicked or the Book of Mormon.

Here again, you should book your tickets in advance online.

Most of the shows get booked off quite early and if you wait until the last day, you might not get to see the show you wanted or will end up with seats that don’t fit your wishes or wallet.

While it is entirely possible to get same-day tickets (and sometimes even for a very good price), you just don’t know what you are going to get.

If you want to see a show in particular, you definitely need to book in advance.

If you have a tight budget, same thing.

That having been said, if you are flexible in terms of budget and show, you can score some good deals at the box office when it opens.

READ MORE: How to get cheap theatre tickets in the UK

Please note that if you want to see Harry Potter and the Cursed child, you will need to book ASAP. Ideally, as soon as they release the tickets.

This show is sold out very quickly and since there are two parts, you will need to take that into consideration before booking the other activities.

READ MORE: 13 Best musicals in London You Must See in West End

Choose your airport carefully

You may have not realised that but there are 6 airports in London and they are not that close to the city.

The best ones to fly to are London Heathrow and Gatwick. They are relatively close to the city and it’s very easy to get to central London.

Lutton, Stansted and Southend are much further from the centre than you would expect. It takes at least 90 minutes to get from these airports to central London so that’s something you need to take into consideration.

A lot of people don’t realise that when they book their flights but it can make a big difference especially if you are only staying a day or two.

Ryanair flights usually go to either Lutton or Stansted and you can find amazing deals so a lot of people rush to book and then are a bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with these airports. They are completely fine but they are much further away than you would imagine.

Also, if you are meeting up with someone, make sure you are flying to the same airport otherwise it could be confusing.

If you have the choice, then Heathrow and Gatwick are better choices since you won’t waste as much time on public transport.

If you do fly to the others, it’s not a problem but make sure you land at a ‘decent’ time since a taxi from Lutton or Stansted would cost you a fortune and you need to make sure that there are still trains and/or National Express buses running.

Don’t take the Gatwick Express train

While we are on the subject of the airports in London, let’s talk about express trains.

If you arrive at Gatwick, you will see signs for the Gatwick Express everywhere. If you ask people how to get to the centre, they will tell you to take the Gatwick Express as well.

While this is an option, it’s not the one a local would take. Why? Because the Gatwick Express is actually super expensive and won’t save you that much time.

When you look at the signs, it looks like only the Gatwick Express is going to London but that’s not true at all.

There are many regional trains that run through Gatwick airports and go to Victoria Station, Clapham Junction, Black Friars and other locations in Central London.

Regional trains are much much much cheaper than the Gatwick Express and they only take 30 minutes (instead of 20 minutes with the express train).

If you head to the station in Gatwick, you will find the National Rail machine where you can buy your ticket.

You can also book it directly on the Trainline app and keep the ticket on your phone. It’s super handy.

Go on walking tours

If you love learning about the cities you visit, you will be in for a treat in London. There are so many walking tours! You will be spoilt for choice.

They are very informative, fun, social and will give you all the ins and outs of London.

I personally love these tours because it’s always engaging and they show you areas that you wouldn’t have discovered otherwise

The guides are also really good at telling stories and giving interesting facts that keep everyone interested. You learn about history but also about the local culture.

Also, since you will be walking, it’s a much more relaxed way of discovering the city. No matter what you do, you will be spending a lot of time in public transport in London so taking a couple of hours to simply wander around and let someone guide you is quite relaxing.

Finally, since London is such an amazing city and has so many stories, you can opt for themed walking tours!

Here are the best walking tours in London:

  • General walking tour. This one is perfect for first time visitors. You will discover Westminster and learn about the Royals, British history as well as the main landmarks in London.
  • Harry Potter walking tour. A lot of scenes in the Harry Potter movies were filmed in London so if you are a true fan, make sure to go on this tour. It’s good fun!
  • Jack The Ripper walking tour. This is arguably the best walking tour in London. It takes place in East London which is less touristy and you will learn everything there is to know about Jack the Ripper. Since he operated in the area, you will get to see some of the places where his crimes were committed. It’s a brilliant tour and I can’t recommend it enough.

PRO TIP: It’s important to note that walking tours are quite cheap and a lot of bang for the buck so if you are on a budget, it’s a great thing to add to your London Bucket List.

Go on a food tour

London is a paradise for foodies. There are so many restaurants and markets where you can grab delicious meals.

So much so, that it can sometimes be a bit overwhelming.

If you love food and want to learn about the local culture, you should join a food tour.

It lasts about 3 hours and is a great way to discover the food scene in the British capital.

You will go with the local guide to Borough market and get to try authentic dishes while learning about the history of the city.

It’s a great thing to do on the first day since you will learn more about the city and get insider tips from the guide.

Don’t hesitate to ask him / her more information and recommendations on places to eat.

Don’t underestimate how big London is

I know this has been mentioned here and there already but I really need to make a point with that one: London is HUGE!

When you look at the map, it looks like everything is quite close but the reality is, it’s not.

Everything is quite far away and you might find yourself spending a lot of time in public transport.

Before making any decisions, make sure to check on Google maps how much time it will actually take you to get to your destination.

If you don’t plan carefully, you might end up spending 3 or 4 hours in the tube every day.

This is not ideal…

To give you an idea, here are a few journeys that you might have thought were quick and are actually very long:

  • Tower of London to Portobello Road (Notting Hill) = 45 minutes with the Circle or Central line
  • Big Ben to Harry Potter studios = 1h15 with 2 tube lines, a train and a shuttle
  • Westminster Abbey to Kew Gardens = 45 minutes with the District line
  • Buckingham Palace to Shoreditch = 40 minutes with 2 tube lines or 1 tube and 1 bus

Visit the museums

London is a paradise for people who love museums. Some of them are incredibly famous such as the British Museum and the Museum of Natural History.

The thing that most people ignore though is that all these national museums are free!

Yes, that’s right, entirely free to visit!

This is quite a cool thing and actually one of the best travel facts about the UK. Everything that has to do with culture is very accessible.

Museums, libraries, art galleries… they are all free (unless they are private).

This means that if you are on a budget, you can still enjoy discovering all these places.

The British museum is home to the Rosetta Stone which was used by Champollion to decipher the hieroglyphs.

Of course, since they are free, they can be a bit busy but if you book in advance or make sure to get there early, you will be able to enjoy your visit.

If you want to learn more about these museums and the pieces they host, you can also opt for a guided tour but you don’t have to.

Finally, museums are a great thing to do when it rains since you will be inside anyway.

It’s always a good thing to have as a backup plan if you wanted to do an outdoor activity and then it suddenly starts raining.

Take the buses (instead of the tube)

When it comes to public transport, the tube is always the most obvious choice however, as a visitor it’s not necessarily the best thing to take.

You see the problem with the underground is that it’s … underground, which means you don’t get to see anything.

If you chose to take a bus instead, you will be seeing much more of London. Also, let’s be honest, who doesn’t want to ride a double decker?!!

No matter where you want to go, there will be a bus route for it. Sometimes it’s a bit longer or the bus stop is not as obvious but I promise it’s there.

To find the bus route, simply use Google Maps. Put your destination and click to Public transport. This will show you the various route available. Most of the time, you will find the bus option listed but if not, just untick underground from your settings so it doesn’t show you the tube.

Some of the bus routes are very scenic and just as good (if not more actually) than the hop-on hop-off bus.

The bus 24 is a prime example! You can take it from Victoria and will pass Westminster Abbey, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, the theatre district and Camden Town.

Route 15 is also pretty cool since you can take it from Charing Cross and will go along the Strand, pass St Paul’s Cathedral and to Tower Hill.

Obviously, it’s not always possible to replace the tube by a bus and if you are going very far, you may not want to do that but when possible, it’s a great thing to do.

At least you will get to do some sightseeing and enjoy London a bit more than in the tube.

Understand how public transport fees work

If you are using your contactless card or an Oyster card, you won’t exactly pay per journey but rather a fee for your use in the space of 24 hours.

Fares are capped per day. The price depends on how many zones you travel to but in effect, once you reach the cap it won’t go any higher than that.

For this reason, it’s better to gather all your trips during the same days. It will cost you more to take the tube once a day for 5 days that it will to take it 5 times in one day.

So if you can, try to gather all the attractions that are within walking distance on one day and then all the ones that are pretty far on the same day. It will save you quite a bit of money on public transport.

Please note: You do not have to do anything to reach the cap, it will be done automatically. You do need to use the same card though otherwise the system won’t understand you are the same person. As long as you use the same contactless card or Oyster card, it will all be fine!

Shop in charity shops

This one is not exactly a London travel tip per se, as in, it won’t really help you to discover the city however, if you love shopping, you might be happy to know about this one!

The UK is a paradise when it comes to charity shops. If you love second hand clothes, then you will be in for a treat!

I am not talking about ‘crappy’ clothes. These charity shops don’t put bad inventory in their stores. Everything you will find is in good shape and quite frankly, like new.

Whether it’s the British Heart Foundation, the Cancer Research, Oxfam or another, you can be sure to find amazing pieces for a very small price (usually under £5).

But that’s not all. Here is the real tip! You should go to the ‘fancy’ neighbourhood such as Chelsea or South Kensington.

The reason for that is that a lot of locals (usually quite wealthy if they live in these areas) give clothes to the local charity shops and that means that you can score some amazing bargains!

It’s not rare to find designer clothes in charity shops and who wouldn’t like to score a designer dress for a tenner?

So, that’s it. Forget Oxford Street for a bit and go thrift shopping! You will get much more out of it (and will make some people very happy along the way since the money goes to the charities).

Take a few day trips

London is a great city to explore but there is much more to discover in England and you should make sure to go on at least one day trip while you are around.

London is a bit of a world of its own and the rest of the country is so different. Exploring beyond the city is such a great experience and you shouldn’t miss out on it!

Here are some of the best day trips you can take from London:

  • Oxford. Known for its university, Oxford is a super cute town with loads of history and lovely cafes and restaurants. See prices here.
  • The Cotswolds. These quintessential English villages look like they are straight out of a fairytale. See prices here.
  • Seven Sisters. Perfect for outdoor lovers who want to discover beautiful white cliffs and the coast. See prices.
  • Stonehenge and Bath. Perfect for people who want to discover the most famous English landmarks! See prices.
  • Harry Potter Studios. If you are a fan of the Harry Potter movies, then you must visit the studios. They are located in North London but you will need pretty much a full day to visit. See prices.
  • Downton Abbey tour. If you loved the series then you will be happy to know that you can actually visit the mansion that is featured in Downtown Abbey. It’s not far from London at all. See prices.

Bring an adapter

This one is an easy tip but yet, essential!

The electric sockets in the UK (and Ireland) are not the same as in the rest of the world. Therefore, if you are travelling from outside of the UK, you will need an adapter in order to plug your belongings.

Most hotels and B&Bs will have a hairdryer and other essentials so you don’t need to worry about that however, if you want to charge your phone (which I’m sure you will), you will need an adapter.

You can buy one from Amazon beforehand. It’s very cheap.

If you do end up finding yourself in London without having bought one beforehand, then please avoid souvenir shops. They will charge you a fortune for it!

Some of them will ask over £10 for a simple adapter. No, big no no!

Instead, head to Primark and you will find them by the cashier. They should be under £2 and are just what you need.

Go for an afternoon tea

If you are a foodie and want to try some local dishes, going for an afternoon tea is a must-do!

There is nothing more British than a good afternoon tea!

An afternoon tea is basically a meal which is composed of sandwiches, cakes and scones. It will also come with a cute pot of tea.

Everybody loves afternoon tea but if you are in London on a girls weekend, then it’s even better!

Here are some amazing afternoon teas in London you should consider:

  • Fortnum and Manson. A classic!
  • Harrods. This famous department store also has a tea room and they serve amazing afternoon teas!
  • Doubletree by Hilton. This is a good one if you are looking for a unique setting. They have see-through pods outside where you can take your afternoon tea. It’s very cool!
  • Afternoon tea cruise. This is perfect for people who wanted to do a cruise on the River Thames as well. You can hit two birds with one stone!
  • Afternoon tea bus. This is another way to do some sightseeing while enjoying your meal. It’s very good fun and you get to see all the famous landmarks!

Discover some hidden gems

Neals Yard in London

London may be home to some of the most famous landmarks in the world but it doesn’t mean they are the only things you should see!

If you love to explore new places, then you should definitely add some hidden gems to your London itinerary!

There are so many cute and unusual places in London!

Here are some of the best ones:

  • Neal’s Yard near Convent Garden
  • St Dunstan of the East
  • Camden Passage

READ MORE: 10 Beautiful Hidden Gems in London You Must See

Get a UK Sim Card

If your phone plan already gives you access to data in the UK, then feel free to ignore this tip.

If that’s not the case though, I’d highly recommend getting a UK sim card so you can use Google Maps and have the internet on your phone.

As previously mentioned, Google Maps is so good in London. You can use it to see the best itinerary with public transport which is so handy!

No matter what, you should download the map beforehand so you have access to it even without coverage but if you do have internet, then you can see the live updates.

Also, having access to a working phone comes in handy for many reasons. Even if it’s just to call to book a restaurant for the evening.

You can get a pre-paid UK sim card for only a few pounds so it’s not worth the hassle of asking for wifi everywhere you go.

Here is how you can get a UK sim card:

  • Order it online before your trip so you are good to go as soon as you land.
  • Get it from a local bookshop or convenience shop when you land. O2 and Three both offer prepaid sim card that will give you a few GB of data and minutes.

Book the Harry Potter Studios in advance

Hogwarts express in London HP Studios

If you are a Harry Potter fan and are coming to London so you can visit the WB Studios, then you need to book well in advance.

There are only a certain number of tickets available for the studios and they sell out quickly. Sometimes even months in advance!

If you are planning to visit at Christmas for example, you really need to book at least 3 or 4 months in advance.

This is if you want to book your ticket directly through the studios (which is cheaper but doesn’t include transport).

If you haven’t booked that much in advance and there are any tickets left (or they are too late), then you can still score some more last-minute ones but you will need to book a tour with transport. Click here to see prices.

This is quite convenient since they organise everything and you won’t have to worry about transportation, however, it’s a tad more expensive (though not as much as it seems since once you paid for the tickets, the shuttle and the train to Watford, you end up spending pretty much the same).

READ MORE: The Ultimate Guide for visiting the Harry Potter Studios in London: tips, tricks & Review

Also, make sure to book the earlier slot possible. While people spend in average 4 hours at the studios, there is actually no time limit which means that you can stay there the entire day if you want to!

This means that the earlier you go, the more time you can stay. If you go there late afternoon then you will have to leave when they close which potentially will rush you out a bit.

READ MORE: 20 Best Harry Potter Things to do in London

Do not cut the queue

British people (and yes, even Londoners!) are almost obsessed with politeness and one of the principle of queueing is particularly important to them.

No matter what you do, do not cut the queue. Not only will everyone think you are rude but it will piss off a few people.

In the UK, people stand in line almost religiously. You should do the same.

Wear layers

The UK might be known for its bad weather however, it doesn’t mean that it is raining all the time.

As a matter of fact, the weather in London is actually very good compared to the rest of the country.

However, it’s pretty unpredictable.

You might come in November and it will be bright sunshine and quite warm for example. You never know what you are going to get.

For this reason, I highly recommend packing a lot of layers. That way, you are good to go!

There is nothing worse than exploring London and being wet and cold. That’s why layers (as well as good shoes and a raincoat) come in very handy.

Drink tap water

There is no need to pay for water in London since tap water is completely fine (and free).

If you want to save a few pounds, just pack a reusable bottle and fill it up as you go.

If you go to the restaurant, you should also be asking for tap water since they won’t charge for it.

Most places will bring tap water anyway but some restaurants near the touristy sites tend to try to force bottles of water even though it’s not needed.

Know the tipping etiquette in London

Cocktails at Las iguanas in London

Should you tip in London or not? That’s one of the most common questions people ask before visiting London.

The short answer is: no. Waiters in the UK are paid at least minimum wage and do not ‘rely’ on tips to live.

However, since London is such an expensive city, tips are always appreciated.

What you might see though, especially in the touristy areas, are restaurants that charge a service fee (usually 12.50%).

This is, even more, the case since lockdown.

This charge is not mandatory which means you can ask them to remove it however, if the service was good, it won’t be that appreciated.

So, in summary, if there is no service fee, you do not have to tip.

If you decide to tip, 12.50% would be the maximum expected.

No matter what, just remember that this is not the United States. The system is different here and that’s why tipping is appreciated rather than expected.

If you are getting street food from a food truck, there is definitely no need to tip there. You can do so but no-one is expecting it.

Check if they are any events on

London is one of the biggest cities in the world so there are always loads of events on.

Before heading to London (or even choosing your dates), you should check if there is anything going on.

Bonfire night (November), Christmas lights (December), festivals… there are many things that are worth checking out.

It’s a great way to do something a bit different and unique.

Watch movies about London and visit the filming locations

There are so many movies that were filmed in London including Harry Potter, Love Actually, Bridget Jones, Notting Hill and more!

Before your trip, it could be a good idea to watch some of these movies.

Firstly, it will put you in the London mood and that’s a great place to start! Secondly, it will make you look forward to your trip.

And lastly, once you do get to London, you will love discovering all the filming locations.

It will make you feel like you are in a movie yourself!

If you like this idea, you should join one of these two walking tours:

Don’t over plan

Here is our last London travel tip (but not the least!). Do not over plan your trip.

So, I know I’ve been going on and on about how you should book in advance and have an itinerary in mind.

While this is true, I want to make sure you are not going to go overboard and start planning every single minute of your trip.

Many things can happen while you are out and about and having too many things planned will take away the magic of wandering.

No matter what you do, you will walk in front of something that you didn’t know about and will trigger your interest, may it be a bakery, a theatre, a museum, a restaurant or anything.

If you have too many things to do, you won’t have time to stop for all these cute and unplanned things.

Also, you may get lost at some point. I’m not wishing that on you but let’s be honest, you don’t know the city so you will probably get one or two things wrong at some point.

This is fine, it happens to everyone! Even Londoners! Especially Londoners actually…

Anyway, if you start getting lost somewhere and have to rush because you’ve got too many things booked, you won’t enjoy your trip.

It will become stressful and that’s not what holidays are all about.

So, in summary, book in advance but just enough to keep your busy-ish, not overbooked!

And finally, don’t forget the most important thing of them all: HAVE FUN!

London is such a fun city and if there is one thing you should do, it’s to enjoy your trip and have fun!

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