Essential information for first-time visitors to London
Planning a trip to London? Need more information before you travel? Fear not! We have the answers to some to the more frequently asked questions.
Is it true what they say, does it rain every day?
In short, no! Contrary to popular belief, London is a relatively dry city. On the whole, British weather is fairly seasonal but that can change in a flash, so always have your umbrella handy.
Apps to download: BBC Weather
Is it possible to explore London on a shoestring?
This is easier than you might think! Many of the world’s most celebrated museums and art galleries are in London, and, believe it or not, offer free admission. There are plenty of ways to explore all the other famous sights thanks to countless special offers and discounts, meaning you don’t need to spend a fortune to have a great time. Getting around London and visiting its many landmarks is easily done by foot, saving you extra money on transportation, too. Be sure to invest in an Oyster Card if you intend to use the Underground and bus networks.
Apps to download: Time Out London; XE for currency Exchange rates
What are the locals like?
Londoners might appear serious at first, but don’t judge a book by its cover. They are actually very friendly and are always willing to help a visitor in search of a good pub and a chat, usually about their preferred subject: the weather. London is a melting pot of people from all over the world and is considered to be one of the most diverse and tolerant cities on the planet.
Apps to download: Get to know the locals up close and personal by booking your accommodation through the Couchsurfing app, or by connecting with people via the Meetup app
How about using the public transport?
It’s very straightforward! London has one of the best public transport systems in the world and getting around the city—be it by the Underground, train, bus, tram, taxi, foot or even by boat—is relatively easy. There are several apps available that can help you plan your route around the city, all of which cater for personal preferences.
Apps to download: CityMapper, National Rail Inquiries, Bus Times, London Tube Map
What do I do if I get lost?
Ask for help—Londoners are extremely approachable! And in most central areas you’ll usually see a friendly bobby” (policeman), as well as subway station staff, bus drivers and taxi drivers, all of whom are knowledgeable about the city. There are also tourist information centres located at various points across London.
How can I buy discounted tickets to West End shows?
For cheap same-day tickets and incredible half-price promotions, head straight to TKTS in Leicester Square. If you’re heading to London in January or February, take advantage of the Get Into London Theatre deal, which offers discounted tickets to over 65 fantastic shows, with prices ranging from £10 – £40 (on sale from December). For an authentic Shakespearean experience, head to The Globe, where you can buy standing tickets for as little as £5.
Apps to download: TodayTix
What clothes should I pack?
In London, anything goes! As the weather tends to vary, the ideal wardrobe selection would include layers, a lightweight raincoat and an umbrella. Don’t forget a warm coat for the winter months. And you’ll need sunscreen in the summer, because, despite what they say, the sun does shine brightly in the capital!