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London Travel Tips

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One of the great urban centres of the world, London is steeped in iconic landmarks from the Neo-Gothic Big Ben clocktower to Buckingham Palace. Fashionistas and ultra-cool hipsters will find bohemian boutiques and retro bars in places like Camden and Shoreditch, while lovers of musicals will love the razzle dazzle of the West End theatres.

 

Best Time to Travel

 

London is busy all year round, but with a spike of tourists in the heart of summer. Like much of England, London doesn’t experience extreme temperatures, aside from the occasional heatwave in summer or cold snowy patch in the depths of winter. If travelling in August, don’t miss the Notting Hill Carnival, a Mardi Gras-like celebration full of costumes, dancing, and merry mayhem. The late summer also hosts the Proms - daily classical concerts held for 8 weeks, usually in the grand Royal Albert Hall.

 

Not to Miss

 

Any visitor to London has to go on over to Westminster and check out the Victorian clock tower that stands above the Houses of Parliament – everyone knows it as Big Ben, although that's actually the name of the bell inside. Afterwards, you can pop along to Buckingham Palace, and catch the changing of the guards. For an unforgettable bird's eye view of the city skyline, take a trip on the London Eye. The shopping districts of Oxford Street, Regent Street and Bond Street will also please anyone after a bit of retail therapy.

 

Getting around

 

The city is well served by 2 main airports - London Gatwick and London Heathrow. Between them, they serve dozens of international destinations to pretty much anywhere across the globe. Once in London itself, the extensive Underground or Tube is surely the best way to get around, as there are stops in all the major areas. The public buses are efficient too, especially if you're heading to south London where the Tube network isn't as well developed.

 

Cuisine

 

As a proudly multicultural city, London’s streets serve almost any type of international food you can imagine, from Indian curry houses and Chinese takeaways to flashy sushi bars and all-out American-style eateries. For those looking to treat themselves, London also offers plenty of high end establishments, where some of the world's most renowned chefs perfect exquisite culinary works of art. For a real taste of old London, though, track down one of the few remaining pie and mash shops.

 

Customs and etiquette

 

If you’re exploring the city for more than a day, get your hands on an Oyster card at any station - this will reduce your travel costs for the Underground and buses. Bear in mind that the Underground rush hour can stretch from 5pm to 6.30pm, and trains can get uncomfortably crowded. Remember as well that it's both a written and spoken rule that on escalators you stand on the right and walk on the left, so standing on the left is sure to irritate London locals and rushing commuters.

Fast Facts

 

Population: 8.42 million

Spoken languages: English

Electrical: The UK runs on 230V, 50 Hz current

Phone Calling Code: +44 20999