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20 need to know London tips

London is an incredible city, and although I have only spent a couple of days there, I will be spending a lot of time there in the near future.

Which means I am currently trying to research and understand London so I don’t stick out like a sore thumb; you know, the tourist you can spot immediately!

  1. Purchase a UK SIM card for your phone and there is free WiFi all over the city.
  2. Always carry an umbrella because you never know when it will rain.
  3. Comfortable shoes are a must as there is a lot of walking and this will generally get you around quicker than waiting for the tube.
  4. Wear what you want because there will be a neighborhood where you fit in perfectly. Black is a standard as well as you won’t ever go wrong with smart casual.
  5. Carry a lightweight scarf or shawl with you and layers are a necessity.
  6. There are quite a few museums that are free.
  7. Tipping in bars and pubs are not required. However, restaurants may add-on a service charge so you need to ask when you first get there, to avoid double tipping. Most hotels will include a service charge and a 10-15% tip for taxi drivers is customary.
  8. Save money by getting snacks for your day trips at the grocery store.
  9. Be vigilant as pick-pocketing is very real.
  10. Bring an adapter for the United Kingdom for your American chargers.
  11. Carry a zip-able backpack / day-pack while wandering around the city.
  12. Travel throughout Europe is relatively inexpensive.
  13. Dryers in homes are rare.
  14. Plugs have on/off switches.
  15. Eggs will not be found in the refrigerator aisle and fresh foods have a shorter shelf life.
  16. Make sure to research where your local resources are close to home; supermarket, tube entrance, etc.
  17. Learn how to walk really fast, because apparently everyone in London does.
  18. Talk about half as loud as you’re used to and don’t feel the need to share your life story when you first meet someone.
  19. The food scene is incredible and steer-clear of overprices chains in touristy areas.
  20. Keep your politics private, especially if you are a Republican.

A little London history:

London is the capital of England and the United Kingdom, which is one of the largest and most important cities in the world. The area was originally settled around 6,000 B.C., and built around the River Thames.

The Romans founded a port and trading settlement called Londinium in 43 A.D., and a few years later a bridge was constructed across the Thames to facilitate commerce and troop movements. But in 60 A.D., Celtic queen Boudicca led an army to sack the city, which was burned to the ground in the first of many fires to destroy London.

The city was soon rebuilt, but burned again about 125 A.D. More rebuilding occurred, and within a few generations the population exceeded 40,000 people. After the fall of the Roman Empire in 476 A.D., the city was attacked numerous times by Vikings and other raiders, and soon London was largely abandoned.

The city’s fortunes began to change in 1065 when Westminster Abbey was established and in 1176 a wooden London Bridge that had repeatedly been burned was replaced by a stone bridge.

In 1665, London was hit by the Great Plague which killed about 100,000 people. About a year later, the population had risen to about 500,000 but was reduces to ashes in the Great Fire of London. By 1804 the city had grown to 2 million people and unfortunately lots of unsanitary conditions.

When Queen Victoria was reigning, London was on its way to prestige. The city has continue to flourish and is notably one of the best cities on the map.

Have you been to London? What tips would you like to add?

44 comments

  1. Thank you for this post! In a time when traveling seems like playing a game of try your luck I really appreciated this little moment of peace reading it and feeling like I got a glimpse of what it would be like to travel to London.

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  2. It’s been on my bucket list to go to London and this post was refreshing and informative in understanding what is needed to go there. Can’t wait!

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  3. I really did enjoy reading the interesting items on the list. The sim card and plug switch ones are very helpful. Where do we find eggs if not in the refrigerated section? haha.

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  4. These are great tips! I visited London last year for the first time. Comfortable walking shoes and an umbrella are a must! Also, having an adaptor is so important. Thank you for sharing!

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  5. Literally a dream place for me! I haven’t been yet, but these pictures are making me want to go ASAP! I will be saving this for when I go! Your list of 20 things are very helpful, thank you!

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  6. I love London so much!!! I’ve been coming for over 30 years (as I have family there) and even thought we *KNOW* it rains ALL THE TIME haha, we didn’t bring an umbrella on our most recent trip and I ended up buying on from the IWM. I remember the first time I saw eggs in the cupboard too and I freaked out haha. Can’t wait to come back!

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  7. Tesco is the place to go for snacks! I always packed snacks on day trips while I was studying abroad in Oxford, and Tesco has some of the best snacks for the best prices!

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  8. Tesco is the place to go for snacks! I always packed snacks on day trips while I was studying abroad in Oxford, and Tesco has some of the best snacks for the best prices!

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  9. I Love the bullet point of tips. It is a good reminder to carry layers, check out free museums, and no need to tip at restaurants. Also – generally good to avoid discussing politics. Great post!

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