Get a London Pass
This will net you plenty of exclusive discounts and lasts all day – plenty of time to keep you busy! From walking, bicycle, and bus tours to
It’s used by 3 million people and is probably one of the most cost-effective ways to work around London.
A travelcard is one viable option for traversing the city: it’s a one-time payment paper card that lets you travel anywhere in London for the entire day. They’re valid on tubes, DLRs, London Overgrond trains, National Rail services, buses or trams. Simply put the card into the reader slot at stations or show the card upon request.
Bear in mind that travelcards are not valid on riverboat services; you’ll need to purchase a separate ticket for those, but they’re definitely worth the extra cost. Some riverboat tour services will even offer a 1/3 discount if you have a travelcard.
Oyster cards and contactless payment cards are the preferred tools of navigation for most Londoners. For visitors and tourists there are also Visitor Oyster cards, which can be used in exactly the same way but boast a host of special offers.
All you have to do is touch your Oyster/Contactless card on the yellow card reader at station gates when you enter and leave a station, and the fare will be automatically calculated for you.
For the purposes of staying safe, it’s best to plan your trip in London before you leave to embark. Though London is one of the safest metropolitan areas in the world of its size, it’s still worth being cautious in certain ways.
If you need a taxi or minicab, it’s important to opt for an officially registered one. Don’t be afraid to enquire about this when you board – it’s the driver’s responsibility to ensure your safety.
Generally, try to avoid walking by yourself at night, and stick to roads that are well-lit and offer good visibility. Cross roads safely by designated crossings, and only cross when the green man appears on the indicator across the road. Check the ground in front of you for ‘Look Left/Look Right’ markings, which should indicate which direction traffic is coming from.
In terms of the personal property you’re carrying, it’s best to keep it out of sight or safely under your table when you’re not engaged with it. Many venues even offer clips underneath the tables, so make sure you secure your bags to these when possible. Otherwise keep these close to you and don’t opt on carrying too much cash with you at once. Common sense solutions include not accepting drinks from strangers, and keeping track of your belongings at all times.
Dial ‘101’ for your nearest Police service in the unfortunate case that you do lose something.
Don’t miss out on one of London’s greatest assets: its claim to royalty. There are plenty of royal venues to explore and a long lineage of exciting British history to uncover. Visit Buckingham Palace, home of the Queen in London, and take a look around Hampton Court Palace, Henry VIII’s residence of preference. Make sure you catch the Changing the Guard ceremony – senior members of the royal family do!
See the Sights
To get the most from your time in London, it’s optimal to plan your journey ahead, and allocate the amount of time you’ll be spending and where you’ll be spending it. There are plenty of attractions all over the city, but the most prominent you’ll find in Central or Zone 1.
Check out the Science Museum, Victoria and Albert Museum, National Galleries, Buckingham Palace, British Museum, Natural History Museum, Greenwich Park, and make sure you don’t miss Big Ben!
Oxford Street is undisputed king of shops, if it’s big chains you’re looking for. You can find just about any well-known high street brand here from River Island to John Lewis. For those with more eclectic tastes, it might be a good idea to explore Camden, situation in North Central London, or Shoreditch; also chock-full of smaller shops. Many of these are fantastic gems – perfect for vintage clothes and less obtrusive consumer marques.
Stay somewhere nice
Make sure you complete your stay in lodgings that are comfortable and stylish. Try the Montcalm London City Suites, for instance, for one of the best luxury suites in London.