So this week, the tourist influx has really hit, so here are my do’s and don’t for visiting London.
First up, welcome to London! It’s lovely to have you, I think that London is a fantastic place and couldn’t be more pleased that you’ve come to check it out. However, London is a working city and we’re not on holiday so here are a couple of things to bear in mind.
Do buy an Oyster card. They’re cheaper and easier to use and can be used on the Tube, Buses, DLR and Trams. You can buy them at any Tube station or online. If you’re here for over a week, consider buying a Travelcard as it’ll probably work out cheaper and can be loaded on an Oyster card.
Don’t travel in rush hour. I know you want to get out and see as much of city as possible but getting in and out of the city during in rush hour is hard for us poor commuters, remember our schools are still open so we don’t have extra summer capacity until the end of July. We have to be there, you don’t. Also buggies (strollers), children and rush hour just don’t mix, it’s horrible and a bit scary for small children to be on a very crowded train. Please do us and you a flavour and travel after 9.30am!
Don’t stand on the left of escalators or allow your children to muck about on them. There are signs all over the place about this and it’s one of the rules of the Tube that make it more civilised and less dangerous for everyone.
Do wait for people to get off the train before you try to get on. That’s another of those rules that make everyone’s life easier.
Don’t forget to walk. London is surprisingly walkable and there’s always something to see!
Do get yourself down to the South Bank and have a wander around. There’s the London Eye, the Aquarium and there’s always stuff happening near and around the Royal Festival Hall and National Theatre. Further up, there’s the Oxo Tower, Tate Modern and the Globe. From there you can cross the river at the wobbly bridge (it doesn’t wobble anymore though!) to St Paul’s.
Do visit the Natural History and Science Museums and the V&A.
Don’t forget about the parks. Kensington Gardens, Hyde Park, Regents Park are all in Central London but Richmond Park is worth a visit too as are Greenwich and Hampstead Heath. If it’s sunny that is!
Do go to the Tower of London and Tower Bridge. I know it’s a bit touristy and it is expensive but it’s a better combination than Westminster Abbey and Big Ben. Trust me on this.
Do ask for help. Lots of people tell me that Londoners are unfriendly but I’ve never found it to be the case. We are busy but most of us are more than happy to give directions and help if asked. However, if you are completely lost, get a taxi.
Don’t be surprised at the cost, London is an expensive city. There are things to do for free here but it is expensive.
Do try and see some theatre. I love the theatre and there’s lots of it in London. I recommend the National Theatre, because there’s always something good on.