Today I’ve got a fabulous guest post from Katie at Creative Travel Guide – Katie is sharing her 9 essential travel tips for visiting London. As you may know I have lived in the city most of my life so it’s great to get an outsider’s perspective – I just take my city for granted I guess!
London is a bustling, never ending city that can excite, engage and wow you at every, and any, given moment. It can also be confusing, frustrating and making you want to throw up in the nearest bin – but good luck finding a bin on the underground or at any train statin!
I digress. So, for those wanting to visit London here are the 9 essential travel tips you need.
1 – Currency
The UK uses the Great British Pound (GBP) and very few shops accept anything other than the Pound or card payments. Money can be withdrawn from any ATM but to avoid transaction charges, head to an ATM outside a chain supermarket or a bank.
2 – Weather
The weather in London can be hit or miss. November through to March is fairly cold and windy, June to August is (most of the time) warm and sunny but incredibly crowded. April, May, September and October gives temperatures around 18-20 degrees and is my favourite time to head into the city. Regardless of when you visit, bring an umbrella – it will randomly rain at any given point
3 – When to go
London gets very busy during the British school holidays. Through the months of July and August the queues are unbearable, as are the Christmas events during the week leading up to Christmas. It’s one of those cities that is always busy, but to get the best weather and least crowds, September or June are great times to explore.
4 – The London Underground
Slightly daunting when you first use it, but the underground is by far the best way to get around the city. Taxis are too expensive, buses are too slow and the city is far too big to spend all day walking around. Instead, pick up an oyster card, use the machines to top it up and download the London underground map onto your phone to help you. The TFL website also gives you specific directions from one attraction to another and tells you exactly where you need to change or get off.
5 – Costs
London is expensive. Unfortunately, it just one of those cities that is very pricey – but for locals like us, it does make everywhere else look ridiculously cheap! Expect to pay around £100 a night for a decent private room, at least £4 for a pint of beer, £7+ for a lunch at a café and upwards of £25 per person for a meal.
6 – Save Money
Yes London is expensive but there are a few ways you can save money. For a cheaper pint, head to the Weatherspoon chain pubs, which are also a great place to have a cheaper meal too. Visit the free attractions or purchase a London Pass before your visit.
7 – Food
The UK has a few must eats when you visit and London offers them all. Book yourself an Afternoon Tea at one of the fancy hotels (The Ritz or The Kensington Hotel are popular choices), go to a small local café for a Full English Breakfast and don’t forget to try some fish ’n’ chips. (Note from Alex: we also have some incredible craft beer!)
8 – Attractions
Of course, there is so much to see and do in London. The most popular attractions include seeing the Big Ben, watching the changing of the guards at Buckingham Palace, exploring the Tower of London or shopping ‘till you drop on Oxford Street. But don’t miss some of the other amazing attractions in London; take a canal boat up the river at Little Venice, sample the flavours of London Borough Market and get an amazing view of the city from the Sky Gardens.
9 – Accommodation
Book your hotel or hostel in advance. London is not the type of place you show up and walk in – unless you want to be charged triple the prices on booking.com.
And these are your essential tips for visiting London. Have a great trip!
Thanks so much for sharing Katie!