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12 Things You Should Know Before Visiting London for the First Time

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One of the most famous cities in the world that is worth traveling to would be the beautiful city of London. Not only is London home to all sorts of famous sights, like the London Eye and the Tower of London, but it also has a vibrant culture.

Despite its usually gloomy weather, London is anything but dull and boring if you know where to look.

Depending on where you come from, London might feel familiar to you, or you might get a bit of a culture shock. No matter which one you are, it is good to know what parts of London are worth knowing about beforehand.

If you plan on traveling to London for the first time, there are several things that you should know:

Major art galleries and museums are free

When you are planning out any trip, you have to consider the costs of amenities for your day-to-day. If you want to make the most out of your experience, you want to look for affordable experiences that are worthwhile as well.

Better yet, you want to go to experiences that will not cost you a dime.

One such experience that you can have in London for free would be museum hopping.

There are more than 250 registered art institutions in London alone. With that said, there are 20 museums that you can enter for free in London.

If you are a fan of museums and galleries, then definitely go and check out the significant museums and art galleries for free.

Use public transportation

Another way you can save money when you’re traveling is by making use of the public transport available to you.

The public transportation In London is quite iconic. Double-decker buses are something that you probably know about London. Another one you probably know would be the signs for each train station.

Using public transportation is a great way to experience local life. However, make sure that you use luggage brands that are known for their excellent carry-on luggage.

That way, you will have an easier time bringing your bags with you when you use public transportation to get around.

Learn their lingo

It’s always interesting to go to English-speaking countries to get to know their unique adaptations of the language.

If you’re in London, consider learning a bit of their casual lingo there when you can. Although it’s probably not a good idea to say it out loud unless you have the most convincing accent ever.

Some key lingo you probably need to know about would be that the dialect for the bathroom or the toilet is “loo.” Locals can also call ATMs a “cashpoint.”

Knowing essential slang like these will make it easier for you to ask locals for help around the city.

Stand on the right side of the escalator

When you’re on your way to ride the train, you’re going to go through escalators.

Escalator etiquette in London is that you stand by the right instead of the left to let people in a hurry to pass you. Don’t be that clueless tourist that is getting in the way of locals trying to go through their day.

Meanwhile, if you are in a rush, make sure that you pass through the left.

Cars drive on the left side of the road

Speaking of passing on the left, another interesting tidbit that you might want to know is that the vehicles primarily pass through the left side of the road.

If you’re not used to this, there are signs around intersections reminding you of where to train your eyes when driving around London city.

Score discounted theatre tickets on the day

For any theatre fans out there, you might want to buy theatre tickets the day of the showing if you want to catch a West End show.

Of course, if you have a particular show that you wish to watch, it is better to buy beforehand to ensure that you get the best seats. Booking beforehand is especially crucial if the show is quite popular.

However, if you are looking to watch a bit of theater on a whim, then you can score discounted theatre tickets in shops located around Soho, as well as the Piccadilly Circus. You can get tickets for half the price, which is a steal!

Purchase The London Pass for fast entry access

Since London is quite popular, you might end up queueing in some of its famous attractions.

Instead of getting stuck in one attraction for the majority of your day, consider getting the London Pass that will get you faster entry access.

Of course, the catch is it is much more expensive. But if you want to go through sites fast, then it may be worthwhile.

Know what the tipping etiquette is

Generally, in the UK, people don’t usually tip their restaurant or bar. The reason for this is that there is already a service charge added to your bill.

Before you go around not tipping all the time, you should go through your receipt first to check whether there’s already a service charge included.

You can tip extra if you like, though, but do check if the service charge is already there.

Use your credit card for payments

Although you can bring cash for smaller purchases around London, you can pretty much get away with only using your credit or debit card.

VISA and Mastercard are widely accepted all over London, so you’re safe if you have those.

Buy snacks at local grocery stores

Another way to save some cash when traveling to London is by holding off on eating out too often. Instead, you can buy some snacks from local grocery stores to tide you over.

The local snacks are a great way to get to know the local food culture too.

No need to worry about WiFi when out and about

If you need to access the Internet while you’re out and about in London, you don’t have to worry. A lot of major destinations and restaurants in London have free Wi-Fi.

What you do need to know is that these are public, so you shouldn’t enter sensitive information.

Bring a power adaptor with you

Even when you are not traveling to London, you should bring a universal power adaptor or plug with you. That way, you can always charge your electronics wherever you are.

Now that you know some of the things that will help you have an easier time adapting to the London lifestyle, you can now start planning your trip. Hopefully, these fun tidbits help you prepare yourself for your trip. Enjoy and bon voyage!

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