Useful London Tips

I would like to share with you some practical tips about moving around the London. In general we could say that the London is very well organized town and that moving around it despite its size is not a huge issue. Here are some tips where we tried to write down some tips that you might find useful while staying in London:

 

The Tube - Recommended (London's Underground rail network, or 'the Tube') whenever is possible, because it's the quickest, simplest and most practical way of transport around the London.

If you stay in London for more than one day, then you should really consider purchasing the Oyster Card, because the price of the ticket is considerable cheaper than it would be if you would purchase single tickets and it will charge you max the same price as the daily Travelcard. In order to purchase this plastic touch-and-go card, you will need to go to one of the counters in any Tube station since it's not possible to purchase it on the ticket machines. The card itself costs 5 pounds. When you are leaving London you can return you Oyster Card and you will be reimbursed the 5 pounds plus any additional money that you could have remaining on the card. If you come to London more often, maybe you can keep your card to speed the process next time you arrive to the city.

The price of the single ride with the Oyster card is cheaper than with the single ride ticket, and it differs if your ride is in peak-time hours or off-peak time hours. Off course, it's cheaper in off-peak hours.

The current amount that you have on the card can be checked on any ticket machine by just touching the yellow circle with your card. It is quite easy to top up your card since you can add funds on any ticket machine with cash, debit or credit cards (please take note that the Tube doesn't seem to accept Maestro cards issued outside the UK). There is also possibility to fund card on the counters if you don't like ticket machines, but it may be crowded from time to time. Our experience with the stuff is that they were very polite, and they will help if you are having troubles.

Avoid Peak time!!! Peak is before 09:30 and between 16:00 and 19:00. Off-Peak is anytime between these hours. Peak time is actually the crowded possible situation in Tube, since people are going and returning from their businesses. The crowd can be enormous, and that is not the best place to be with your smaller kids. Sometimes is quite impossible to enter desired train and sometimes you will have to wait for several trains to pass-by to catch first free train in that direction. It is more accommodating to travel during Off-Peak and the prices are lower. Again, take extra care with your kids because sometimes is quite difficult to keep control of your movements when a wave of people running in different direction distracts you and your kid can be separated from you - something that I believe anyone wants to avoid.

It's quite difficult to miss the station, since whenever your turn around you will find all needed information. We travel around the world quite often and without any doubts from all large cities London Tube is simplest for orientation. It is important to know where you are, where you want to go, and in what direction is your destination (important!) and very simple map of the Tube will show you the rest. It's not hard to believe that this map is template for all other subways around the world.

You would also need to take some care while moving around the underground corridors and escalators. On escalator people that stay in place keep their position on the right side of the escalator, while the passengers that are in hurry will take the left side and overtake those on the right side. It's impressive to see how this very simple rule makes that enormous people river to flow without any obstacles. And then, in during Off-Peak time you can see some tourists that don't know or don't take care of those rules and there is a congestion in no time.

 

Tickets

The major number of tickets can be purchased on-line for some not-so-impressive discounts. But please, take great care of the conditions since for some tickets you need to select exact day and time of visit to the attraction, what can become a major problem if you cannot get at scheduled time. Nevertheless, its good to have tickets in advance and skip queues and unwanted possibility that the show is sold-out. It is quite common to get some extra discount if you purchase combined ticket for several attractions (for example London Eye and London Aquarium). It is also sometimes possible to buy family tickets, and the general rule is that if you have two kids, second kid would be allowed for free. Since London is full of attractions and you will probably want to see most of them during your visit, but please keep in mind that the ticket to the attractions on our voyages to London came up to be financially the most expensive item on our list.

There is also possibility to purchase London Pass which allows you to visit number of attractions for free, and on some attractions to use the priority line, but please be sure that the list of the attractions meets your list. It can be also used instead of the Oyster Card. Unfortunately we couldn't use it since just few attractions where on the list.

 

Food

It is always unthankful to five advices about the food since the tastes are so different. It's good that London is real multicultural city where you can most definitely find any type of food you wish. The problem is if you are with a teenager that doesn't eat anything besides fries and chicken nuggets :) While you can find that type of food all around, the rest of your party may wish to eat something else. You can always drop by to one of the supermarkets which do have nice choice of everything so sometimes even a handmade sandwich will do. The prices in the markets are substantially lower than in the fast food restaurants in the center of the town. An then, there are Italian restaurants which we gladly recommend since at least our family found it to be consistent in every part of the world.  Pizza and pasta are always the same - wherever you are :)

 

Accommodation

Its difficult to give good advice here. It is always about money and your expectations. It is possible to find luxury accommodation on desired spot in the town, but is also possible to stay in fewer-stars hotel and still be satisfied. During the reservation take care of the fact if your room will have bathroom and shower in the room, or it is shared bathroom. I know that for many people event the shared bathroom will do, but we prefer to have our own privacy. It's also good idea to check if the hotel is near the Tube station or some other means of transportation.

Clisk here to check hotel availability in London on booking.com.

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