Any city comes with its quirks and unspoken rules, some of more significance than others. As a whole, London is a relatively easy city to become accustomed to although, like anywhere, there are a few tips, tricks, dos and don’ts which make life much easier.
Do spend time exploring as many of London’s amazing neighborhoods and villages as possible. It’s easy to go back to the more touristy areas – like Oxford Circus and Trafalgar Square – over and over again, but take the time to see the quirkier areas as well. Try Hackney, Camden Town or Shoreditch.
Don’t stand on the left side of the escalator. There is a firmly held rule in London that the right side of the escalator is for standing and the left side is for passing. Standing on the left puts one at risk of being trampled and yelled at by London locals.
Do buy an Oyster Card. An Oyster Card is the London equivalent of a Metro Card, but it lets you avoid the annoying fees of buying daily passes for public transportation. They’re easy to fill up, quick to use and you can’t ride a double decker bus without one.
Don’t try to imitate a British accent when out in public. Just don’t.
Do see as many quintessential London tourist attractions as possible. There’s nothing better than a tourist day out in the city and, even if you don’t want to admit it, everyone wants their picture taken in a red phone booth. Also, take advantage of all of the free museums which London has to offer – like the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum. Not many cities are willing to offer free entry, and London has some of the best museums in the world.
Don’t complain about the weather. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it’s beautiful and sunny; London weather is infamous for its unpredictability. But you have two options: sit inside and complain about the weather or grab a raincoat, some extra layers and get out to enjoy everything this amazing city has to offer.
Do spend the nicest days wandering through the parks. London has more parks than any other city, and whether you’re walking, biking, running or just sitting on a bench, it’s a wonderful way to spend a very London day. Check out Hyde Park to see both Kensington and Buckingham Palace or climb up Primrose Hill in Regent’s Park to get a beautiful, panoramic view of the city.