It has been six weeks since I first got to London and I would like to share some of the lessons that I have learned while exploring the city.
1. Travel In Small Groups
London is a big city, but you will quickly find that the shops, cafes and restaurants are pretty small. I recommend traveling in groups of two to four. When it gets to five or six, it can get more difficult to find seats at cafes and restaurants, and to even stay together on the tube or bus because it can get crowded. It is much easier and more effective to travel in small groups. Also, having a large group in a restaurant sometimes means that you will have to pay a service fee.
2. Carry wet-wipes and napkins
In London, there are many markets in alleyways and streets. Often times, many food places are small so you’ll eat in the street or while standing up. Wet-wipes always come in handy during these times. London can be cold and windy at times as well so I always carry napkins so I can blow my nose when I need.
3. Use the restroom whenever possible
Public restrooms are very hard to find in central London and in many situations, you’ll have to pay for them. They aren’t expensive (10 to 30 pence) but if you’re traveling, it can be inconvenient to pay for bathrooms. So I would recommend using the restroom before leaving cafes and restaurants.
4. Walk to different London landmarks
Many of the landmarks and sights are close to one another in London and you won’t have to take the tube as much as you think you have to. For example, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus are fairly close to one another. Also Central London is very pretty to walk around, especially with nice weather. You can take the tube or bus when you move to a different area, for example from West London to East London. Also, public transportation is not cheap!
5. A zebra crossing means pedestrians get to go first
In London, you will find zebra crossings that look like white stripes across the road. A zebra crossing means pedestrians get to go first, so the cars will stop for you. You should still be careful and look at the traffic, but don’t wait for the cars to go first because pedestrians have the right of way. It is similar to crossings with yield signs.
P.S. Always be prepared for rain. For most of the part, the forecast is correct but you will be surprised by how many times it rains out of nowhere in London.
Hope this was helpful!