London is my home city, and yes I may be incredibly biased, but there is nowhere else like it. There may be capital cities but none with the history, diversity, and culture of my own, and rightly so we have a plethora of visitors every year.
But… (there had to be a but right!)
But it frustrates me how everyone’s experience of London could be improved with just a few small changes and some heartfelt advice. This article isn’t meant to be a bitch fit rant at tourists, but a few tips from a local might make your trip a bit calmer!
Please let people off the tube before boarding
The whole carriage is trying to empty, and you are forcing your way onto the tube, it’s just awkward for everyone, and someone could get hurt, especially on platforms that have a step up and a significant curve on them. I have sadly seen people slip and fall, please don’t make it worse by being impatient. Commuting is when Londoners come across as dickheads as they have seen the consequences of what could happen.
Know when rush hour is
The busiest times to travel is between 7:30-9: 00 am and 4:30-6: 30 pm. If you get on the tube then, be prepared. Commuters are heading to or have had a long day at the office and have even less patience than usual (which is pretty limited tbh). So for a less stressful journey, either travel at other times or use the bus or walk.
Be spatially aware
London is a super busy place, like all of the time. Like a chronic insomniac, it never sleeps. There is a population of over 10 million people plus all our wonderful visitors. When out and about, be aware that if you stop suddenly, someone will collide with you. Step to one side or slow down rather than stop, it helps with accidents. This is the same with selfie sticks! Please watch where you swing them and yes I have been hit by them too many times to count.
Watch out for people who will take advantage of you
The vast majority of Londoners are lovely people, despite how cold and distant they may appear, but some people will want to take advantage of tourists, so be a little be travel savvy. Avoid the rickshaws on Oxford Street; they are stupidly priced (I heard that someone was charged over £600 for not even a 5-minute journey). Watch out for pickpockets on the tube, so bring bags with zippers or that fully close.
The vast majority of our museums and galleries are free but rely on donations to enable access to all, so give generously when you visit. We want everyone to have so much access to our history and culture without fees, so do give where you can. The UK is an incredibly charitable nation and join us in that spirit! Treat my home city with respect, don’t graffiti, damage or litter and love London.
London is a vast and diverse city, was small clusters of cultures and such fascinating people. Explore beyond the standard tourist attractions, eat different foods in local hotspots. Allow yourself to be lost in London.