7 Things That Tourists Should Never Do In London
We talk a lot about what you should do and where to explore London but, in this article, we want to share with you what you should AVOID at all costs. This is a MIND the GAP article. We hope this article will help you avoid some tourist traps and as an explorer you are, you will enjoy other things more.
- Travel On Public Transport (rush hour)
Always stand on the right-hand side on public transport. This is a golden rule. Do not, under any circumstances stand on the left of an escalator in the London Underground. The left-hand side is for walking, the right-hand side is for standing. This act will immediately single out as a tourist and earn you plenty of disapproving tuts.
Rush hour in London is crazy, you should avoid it at all costs as in the summer it’s very sweaty and a lot of people are moody – going to work that is. It’s better to travel after 09:00 when everything cools down and you can have the trains nearly to yourself. Rush hours start from 07:30 until 09:00 usually in the morning and 16:30-18:00 in the afternoon.
You might want to avoid travelcards as well as it’s cheaper to use an Oyster card and will save you cash. Not to mention by using the Oyster card you will fit in with the locals! There is an experiment we are doing to see if actually using contactless is cheaper than the Oyster card – but this will be discussed in another article.
- Take The Tube Rather Than Walk
We can’t argue that London’s tube system is one of the best in the world. It’s the best for a couple of reasons; the first reason is that it’s very efficient and effective; it rarely has delays and if it does there is always an alternative. But because it’s so effective we sometimes forget that some distances are easier to cover just by walking rather than taking the tube. Actually, sometimes it’s faster to walk than take the tube. As an example; it takes four minutes to walk between Leicester Square to Covent Garden stations which is half of the time it takes to climb the notorious 193-step stairway in Covent Garden station. If you want, you can check a walking map as well, you can view it here for your next visit.
- Don’t Fall For Expensive Tourist Traps
We truly believe that you can enjoy this astonishing city without breaking the bank. There is a misconception that London is expensive, hence we wrote an e-Book last year called ‘Explore London Under £300‘. You can download it free if you want. We believe that you can avoid overcrowded attractions like Madame Tussauds and Big Ben. You can visit London’s unrivalled collection of free museums and galleries. In our recent episodes on Instagram and Facebook ‘Arthur Explores,’ we shared with you two great destinations to go and visit. You can see Da Vinci and Van Gogh at the National Gallery, or if you want to explore dinosaur skeletons you can visit the Natural History Museum. All for free. If you want to have a beautiful view of the city, and enjoy a breath-taking skyscraper then this is for you. Rather than buying tickets to London Eye or going to the Shard you can visit Sushi Samba (next to Liverpool Street station) go to the 39th floor, buy a drink for £5 and enjoy beautiful views. You can book a visit to the Sky Garden as well, it’s free and you get to view impressive views of London skyline.
4. Don’t Eat At Angus Steakhouse
Most tourists know Angus Steakhouse because it’s right next to Leister Square Station, and because you can see their restaurants in every touristy spot in every country of the world. You can’t miss the place. It looks like it’s always full and busy.
London has over than 85 Michelin stars restaurants and a choice of cuisines from almost every nationality in the world, you just can’t go and eat at Angus Steakhouse. They don’t have the passion as other independent restaurants have. And you know, at here at Central Hotel London we are all about trying independent restaurants, chefs that are passionate about what they do.
If you want to try delicious plant-based food only there are 153 vegan restaurants in the capital. We will share in another article where you can go and explore your taste buds in great restaurants in London that are not overpriced chain restaurants so you can explore more and do more.
5. Look, Sorry, Stare At Strangers
British people are generally quite reserved, that doesn’t mean that they will not talk with you. The problem is when you stare at strangers, some people have mental health problems, some people are weird, some people just are just plain stupid. So the best thing to do regardless of how weird, funny or controversial somebody behaves don’t stare at them, walk away because sometimes when you stare at somebody for too long they might want to get into a fight with you. It’s rare but you know, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
If somebody is reading a book on the train – don’t disturb them. Go about your business and start a conversation with somebody else, plenty of people in London (Locals) will happily speak with you. Choose the location and the timing wisely.
- Go Cashless
We live in a world where cash is disappearing and the rise of plastic money is on the rise. So we tend to have less and less cash. Exploring in London is so much fun and you will get thirsty, you will buy an artisan coffee, water, lattes and drinks this will make you want to go to the toilet. Some public toilets in Central Stations like Waterloo will require you to pay a pound or fifty pence to enter. In Kings Cross, for example, you will need to pay for the toilets but if you walk to St Pancras the toilets are free. It’s better to have small cash on you just in case you need to go urgently. But we recommend you use coffee shop toilets and some hotels.
- Don’t Buy Tickets In Advance
We’ve been taught to buy tickets well in advance, in some cases, we might find them cheaper, in some cases we will not. Depending on what you want to do and what kind of tickets we recommend buying tickets last minute (sometimes). most of the time companies/attractions have special deals. Sometimes some shows might sell out yes, but sometimes they don’t. It depends on what tickets, what date and what period. Waiting for last-minute comedy show on a Saturday night is a bad idea, going to a comedy club on a Sunday night is a better idea.
So there you have it, seven things absolutely not to do as a tourist in London! You can share it with a friend of yours, of course you can because you never know what points somebody might find valuable or you can save it for your next trip to London. If you want to sign up to our complimentary newsletter where we share more content about London, you can do it here.