London is a beautiful city. It hosts the worlds most famous Royal Family, beautiful architecture, hundreds of historical sites and is a hub of creativity and individuality.
That being said, weather conditions, transport and manoeuvring the city can at times be tricky.
So if you’re planning a trip to England’s capital, make sure you check out this list of what to pack.
Even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable. A heat wave one moment, clouds and gales the next!
Make sure you are covered for all eventualities. Bring a thermal coat, make sure you have a lighter jacket, thick socks and clothes you can layer and un-layer with ease.
It might rain on your trip. Then again, it might not.
A collapsible umbrella you can keep to hand is your best bet. Nothing too clunky, so it doesn’t hamper you if not needed. That or a waterproof coat with a hood.
As said before the weather can never be predicted.
Checking out the forecasts may help, but on so many occasions they can wrong. Most infamously was the Great Storm of 1987, where the forecaster had quoted it would be a lovely, mild day.
You can pick these up at any station or tourist information point. Better still, print one off beforehand so you are aware of how they work in preparation.
The tubes are simple and easy to manage once you know-how and getting used to them shouldn’t take too long. But there’s no harm in a head start.
You can download one here.
Public transport in London is relatively inexpensive, even if you wish to buy a travel card (which you can buy at all stations).
It’s cheaper still if you use an Oyster card, as you only pay for what you’ve used. All you have to do is top it up and remember to tap in and out of every journey on the yellow pads, so you are charged the correct amount for your journey.
Or if you haven’t been convinced and still wish to go ahead with a travel card, here is a rundown of the costs.
London is a beautiful city to walk around. The greenest major city in Europe and the third greenest city of its size in the world, according to a report commissioned by the City of London Corporation.
In the UK the currency is pounds. Make sure you get the best exchange rate and come prepared with your shillings!
If you’re a first-timer to Old Blighty, read this article to help understand British money.
Recently there has been a revamp of the currency, so make sure you have been given the correct coins as many establishments now will not accept old ones.
The UK uses different plugs to the EU and US, so make sure you pick up some plug converters to tap into that power!
These are easy to find, even if you leave it till you land. Grab them at the airport, or any big supermarket!
Things to Remember
- When on an escalator keep to the right if you just want to stand.
- The drinking age is 18 and you will be ID’d if you look even slightly under 21. Take it as a compliment.
- Cars drive on the left. I know its unusual, but just be wary.
- You can drink on the street and Brits do exactly that. In fact, the drinking culture is so massive, that even with a hint of sun you’ll see people congregating with an alcoholic beverage on any patch of land going!
- While health care is free to all citizens through the NHS if you do find yourself in need of their services, you may be asked to pay a fee.
- Never, ever jump a queue. In the UK, everyone lines up, even for a bus and if you don’t want to be a social pariah, you’re going to have to wait your turn too.
- ‘Sorry’ isn’t always an apology. It has many meanings in England. Yes, it’s used traditionally as an apology, but it is also used if someone wants you to get out of their way, or when someone hasn’t heard what you said and would like you to repeat your sentence.
- In the UK they drive predominantly with gear sticks and you may be mocked if you can’t. So if you are hiring a car and can’t drive Manual, make sure you request an Automatic. Just be prepared for a few sighs.