London has been, is and will be fashionable. Although at first glance it looks like a city that is somewhat repellent, with bad weather, somber, vain, and sometimes badly educated, it has something that strongly attracts everyone who visits it. Maybe not right now, we can not call it love at first sight, it’s something that is entering little by little until you win.
If you have also been bitten by the worm of London, you will surely come up with a few tips for your trip and avoid some shit than another.
Here are 10 tips for traveling to London :
1. Prepare the visit with a book or movie
If you want to start living your trip from the sofa or armchair in your house in advance, here we recommend a few movies and books to let you take the current or past London:
Movies: Love Actually, Notting Hill, Match Point, The Bridget Jones Diary, The King’s Speech, Harry Potter, Sweeney Todd, The Da Vinci Code, 28 days later, Sherlock Holmes.
Books : London Stories (Enric Gonzalez), Oliver Twist (Charles Dickens), This is London (Sasek Minolslav), The portrait of Dorian Gray (Oscar Wild), London (Virginia Wolf), London (Edward Rutherfurd), Story of two cities (Charles Dickens), The great mystery of Bow (Israel Zangwill), Meanwhile in London (Rebeca Rus).
2. Where to change euros for pounds
Hold on, resist the temptation to do it at the airport. The idea is to change in some exchange house in the center of the city, which is usually concentrated in the stations and tourist places. And do not do it in the first one you find, compare prices and decide after visiting several. Nor do banks usually offer bargains. Our recommendation is to use the card for all the payments we can, change little at the airport (an amount of security), and make the fat change in the exchange house that offers better rates.
3. How to get from the airports
London is connected to the rest of the world through six airports: Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton, Stansted, London City and Southend. Until they arrive several low-cost airlines in some of which probably you have booked your trip. But do not you know how to get to central London from your airport? The GoEuro website has an infographic with all the possible alternatives for and more info with the airports to fly to London.
4. Know the transport in London
The transport network in London is one of the most efficient in the world. It consists of metro, bus, train, DLR light rail and boat. The best way to explore central London is on foot, but if you need transportation, the metro and the mythical red buses are the best options. Here are some tips on transport in London:
Areas: it is divided into 9 zones, of which 1 and 2 are the ones that concentrate most of London’s tourist attractions and their accommodations.
Fee difference: there are two different rates to move around London depending on the schedule: the Peak, which is more expensive, which is applied on daily days from 06:30 to 09:30 and from 16:00 to 19:00; and the Off-Peak, the rest of the day. This differentiation does not apply to buses and trams.
Individual tickets VS bonuses: It will always be more profitable to travel using bonds and cards than buying individual tickets. The transport card par excellence is the Oyster card, although there are also the one- and seven-day Travelcards and the one-day tickets for buses and trams.
Daily cap: One of the advantages of traveling with the Oyster is that there is a daily spending limit, regardless of the times you use the transport. This limit is marked by the type of transport you have used (the cap for the metro and train are higher than those of the bus and tram). Keep in mind that the days count from 04:30 in the morning, so you will be within that limit until 04:29 in the morning of the next day.
Rates for children: there are special rates for children under 16 on all transport.
Online help: to plan the trip, locate your hotel and the most important attractions, you can have a look at the official Transport for London website.
5. Transportation voucher and London Pass
What is clear is that it is convenient to get a transport voucher since individual tickets are very expensive, it all depends on the duration of the trip: we see some cases:
As for the London Pass, we only see it advisable if you plan to visit a lot of attractions and the sum of the tickets will cost you a peak. Be careful, some of the most important points of the city are not included. You also have the possibility of joining an Oyster Travelcard transport card, valid during the same period, but they do not usually compensate if compared to the “daily cap” of a normal Oyster card.
Okay, now what transportation bonus suits me and I decide for the London Pass? It always depends on the number of days and the number of things you want to visit. We put several examples:
From 1 to 5 days and preference for free attractions. Oyster Card.
6 to 7 days and preference for free attractions. Travelcard 7.
6. Apps to help the traveler
They are a fundamental tool of the traveler of the 21st century. These are some applications that will help you in your visit to London:
– CityMapper . It is a very popular application and it helps to move around the city in public transport. We indicate a point of origin and another of destinations and offers us all the possibilities we have to move.
– City Maps 2Go / mTrip / Maps.me . These apps are very useful to create our own custom maps and use them offline.
– Hotel Tonight. To get last minute hotel rates. If you have already made a reservation but you can cancel it without cost, go take a look from time to time to the offers that appear in this app and if it appears the one that suits you, reserve and cancels the other one!
7. Free attractions
Not another thing, but London for this is the world capital! It offers lots of free attractions and you know “everything that is free is good”. You can visit without scratching your pocket museums such as the British Museum, the Tate Modern, the National Gallery or the Southbank Center, parks and open spaces such as Hyde Park, Primrose Hill, and Hampstead Heath and attend events as typical as the Changing of the Guard in Buckingham Palace. Also if you agree on the “First Thursday” you may have some “gift” in the galleries and museums you visit
Also, do not forget the free tours around the city, several companies offer them and, although they do not have a fixed price, a tip is always welcome. And you will always have many free events scattered around the city, see here .
8. Coupons: a way to save in restaurants
There are websites where you can find real bargains: 50% menus, 2 × 1 and many more offers. Sign up before you go on a trip and check out the existing promotions to enjoy deluxe backpacker pocket-size dining experiences.
vouchercloud.com/with your ap
And of course, the ” happy hours “! To find some sites you can have a look at this website.
London is a living city, it does not sleep, it does not rest, it does not stop evolving, it does not get bored! So if you want to squeeze it as much as possible, check the events scheduled for the days of your visit. You can take a look at some of these websites: calendar of events in London, and events in London.
10. Check the opening dates of the markets
Camden, Portobello, Bricklane, Borough … in London, the options for enjoying life at the top (and the occasional purchase) are not lacking. In the city there are dozens of markets and, although most reach their peak on Sundays, during the week you can find many alternatives. Check which of them are open on the dates of your trip to London:
Camden: Monday to Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Portobello: the antiquarian market opens only on Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. On Friday there are plenty of open stalls and during the whole week there are fruit and vegetable stalls.