Winter is on its way out and Spring is almost here, meaning that London is coming into full bloom. The appeal of warmer weather, an abundance of gorgeous flowers decorating the busy streets and the promise of longer days all make our city incredibly popular in Spring – just make sure you know how to deal with lily pollen stains if you’re heading for the parks!
Whenever you’re heading to London, it’s always a good idea to get some tips from someone who knows it well before you go. This is where I come in! As a Londoner, I’ve put together some of my top tips to help you make the most of your city break.
Avoid Rush Hour
If you’re travelling on the tube, bus, train or any other kind of transport, always, always avoid rush hour when you can. These times tend to be from between 7.30AM-9AM and 4.30PM-6.00PM. It gets super busy so avoid at all costs!
Plan Your Day
Before heading out, make sure you’ve planned everything. The places you’re visiting, the right tubes to get there, food places nearby – knowing what you’re doing and when will make your days a whole lot smoother.
Get an Oyster Card
If you’re planning on using the tubes and buses, definitely get an Oyster card. They make travel much easier and will save you a whole lot of both time and money! Head to a tube station to pick one up for free.
Buses Don’t Accept Cash
Our city buses are completely cashless, meaning that if you want to hop on you’re going to need either an Oyster card or a debit or credit card that uses contactless payment. We really are living in the future over here!
A Free Day Out
If you want to save some cash, there are plenty of things that won’t cost you anything in London. Pop to museums such as The Natural History Museum, The Science Museum or The Victoria and Albert Museum which are all free. If you’re lucky and the weather is good, take a stroll in a park. There are a lot to choose from: Hyde Park, Regents Park, St. James’ Park, just make sure you know how to get rid of lily pollen stains if you’re going in Spring or Summer!
We’re Not Big Tippers
Sometimes a tip will be included in the bill in London, but if not then around 15% should be okay. Staff won’t get offended if you don’t leave an exact percentage, though. A restaurant meal is the only time you should always tip, really – they won’t expect it in a bar, taxi or café, though it can be nice if you’ve received good service.
Avoid Shopping on Saturday
I would definitely stay clear of Oxford Street and Regent Street on a Saturday if you can help it. It gets super busy and your relaxing shopping trip will turn into more of a crazy ordeal. Check out quitter places like Redchurch street in Shoreditch for some quirky shopping spots you won’t find anywhere else!
Travel on a Bike
Boris Bikes are a cheap, eco-friendly and fun way to get around London. You can rent a bike from one of the many docks scattered around London and then pop it back into another one when you’re done.
Check Out Markets
We have loads of great markets that are on throughout the week, including in Camden and Brick Lane – two hot spots for lovers of all things alternative and indie. Check them out online and find one that appeals to you, whether you’re more into fine food, stylish clothing or quirky finds!
Places to Explore
If you’re in need of some inspiration of places to explore, here are a few popular areas of London that could be right up your street:
• Notting Hill
• Covent Garden
Don’t forget to take lots of pictures and enjoy your trip!
Written by Guest Writer, Kira Kolosova