London can be a rather overwhelming place to visit for the first time, and that’s why it’s always good to come as prepared as you possibly can. At the end of the day, London is city which will require a lot of energy from you, with nightlife racing on till sunrise and the afternoon and morning rush hour hubbub, you’ll find that especially in the summer months, the city centre will be incredibly busy. As a first time visitor looking for some rest and respite at one of the many luxury London hotels, coming with a little knowledge of what to expect will no doubt go a long way.
Guard your oyster card with your life
Oyster Cards are your ticket to saving on travel. These handy little touch and go cards will allow you to pass in and out of buses, Santander Cycles and tube stations with complete ease. These cards can be topped up at tube stations and even in corner shops, meaning that there’s always somewhere close by. On top of this, the savings deals on weekly and daily travel cards and daily oyster card cap will save you lots of money, especially if you’re travelling around the city all day.
Avoid rush hour like the plague
Rush hour is incredibly busy and the fare prices rise exponentially on public transport. What’s more, you’ll find train and bus services to be incredibly busy and slower than usual, especially on buses where the central London streets will be rife with congestion.
Understand the London zone fares
The further you’re travelling, the more you’ll be charged on your oyster card. This is the same with all train services but is especially important in London, especially if you’re buying a week travel card for, say, zones 1 and 2 but don’t realise you’ll get charged extra for a journey to zone 4. On this note, if you’re staying within zone 1 and have a lot of time on your hands, it’s actually very easy to walk to most places.
Know that there are 6 different airports
Getting into London is actually surprisingly easy from abroad. The wide range of airports and transport links from them to the city centre are becoming increasingly easy to traverse. Whether it’s the direct to Paddington Station line from Heathrow airport or the half hour train trip on the Gatwick Express, getting to London by plane is very easy indeed.
That being said, if possible you should try to fly into an airport near your destination. For instance, if you’re staying at the Montcalm London City Suites, it would be best to go to Stansted or City Airport due to their east London proximity.
Get to know your escalator etiquette
Escalators can cause a lot of grief if you don;t know your radiator etiquette. This is due to the stand on the right rule. If you’re in a rush and need to get somewhere fast, make sure your walking down the left hand side of the escalator. One thing you’ll learn very quickly about London is that the average Londoner, loves a good bit of ordered queueing on their public transport.
Check out the free attractions
London is full of free attractions. Whether you’re looking for a great museum or a free gig in a dingy pub, there’s plenty to choose from in London. Whether it’s South Kensingtons museum row or a free comedy gig in a Bethnal Green Basement, you’re more than likely to find something fun to occupy your day for next to no money at all. Just scratch under the surface and it’ll be there!