What to Know Before Staying in London

Are you visiting the city for the first time? London is arguably the biggest reason to visit, with a seemingly endless number of things to do, see and eat. The hustle and bustle is contagious the atmosphere infectious but there are a few things to consider before your trip. Where to stay is the biggest decision. A hotel? Air BnB? Hostel? Apartments are surely the best way to go. You benefit from a homelike space often in better locations, simply put there is more freedom. Find some here: https://londonservicedapartments.co.uk/luxury-apartments/

Firstly, the UK doesn’t have the same culture of tipping as other countries. In America especially, it is usual to tip servers 10 -15%, but that is because servers rely on tip money. As often they aren’t paid a fair wage. In the UK, that isn’t the case, there is a national minimum wage, ensuring that everyone has a wage they can live on, although we still tip in certain situations. For more upmarket restaurants the gratuity is often added to the bill. Some establishments do not pass on tips paid for on a card, so cash is best, and most of the time a couple of pounds is fine. Do not tip in a pub or a bar, unless you are getting table service. For taxis and the like, often you just round up to the nearest pound.

Public transport is a great option and often cheaper than taking too many taxis. An oyster card is the way to go if you will be using public transport often on your trip. You can top up the card as you go, and the daily maximum spends on buses and trams is a very reasonable £4.40. There are also peak travel times which are weekdays 6.30 am–9.30 am and 4 pm–7 pm, which is rush hour essentially when everyone is commuting. If you travel outside of these times the off-peak rate makes it cheaper. Also, if you are bringing children on your trip with you, kids under 11 go free when travelling with an adult. You can also get kids 11–15 travel cheaper, simply ask someone at the tube station to set an oyster card with the young visitor’s discount.

London can be pricey; there is no getting past that. So, on your trip be sure to take advantage of the free museums, most simply ask for a donation towards the upkeep. You could fill your trip wandering around the museums of London. Two of the must-see museums are the British Museum and the Natural History Museum. Speaking of ways to make your trip cheaper, instead of spending money buying food at your destination, the good old British meal deal can’t be beaten. Supermarkets such as Sainsburys, co-op and Tesco offer a ‘meal deal’, it consists of a sandwich, a snack and a drink and often costs only around £3.

Finally, avoid the tourist traps for a day. Explore some neighbourhoods, such as Chelsea, Notting Hill, Brixton, Hampstead and Battersea. Each neighbourhood is unique with its own architecture, shopping and eats.

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