England: How to Get The Most Out of a Visit to The Big Smoke

Red Bus, London

So, you’ve decided to spend a few days in London and want to discover all the fun and excitement it offers a visitor. Have you ever been before? If not, there are a handful of things you might want to be aware of before you set off – we have listed them below, we hope they help when planning your trip. Give the following a read…Oyster yourself up!

London Underground

The one thing you can’t be without when you’re in London is an Oyster Card which is the ‘top up’-able electronic travel pay card the vast majority of people use on the London Underground (Tube), Docklands Light Railway, Overground train, river taxi and bus networks. It saves some serious dough and time compared to trying to pay by any other means – in fact, so ubiquitous has the Oyster Card become that buses no longer use paper tickets. The city’s public transport network’s split into six different geographic zones (journeys being priced accordingly). Tube trains are now slowly starting to run 24-hours a day making getting around the city a whole lot easier. There’s also a cheap pay-as-you-go self-service bike option in the shape of the Santander Cycles.

Don’t forget your documents

Don’t forget to carry your ID (passport, identity card etc) with you (preferably in your wallet or pocket) as it is important when visiting a mega-metropolis like London, especially if you are an international visitor. Why? Well, first, should anything untoward happen you can prove who you are or anyone else can quickly find out who you are. And, second, should you be looking to indulge in the city’s fantastic nightlife during your time here, you may well find you’ll need to proffer some form of ID to get into many bars or clubs – yes, whatever your age!

WiFi works wonders

Wifi everywhere in London

Let’s face it; staying in touch is essential in today’s digitally-dominated world – and it doesn’t stop when you travel for a short-break or a longer holiday. But, fear not, there’s no problem in London thanks to the excellent WiFi coverage across the entire city – including in many of its restaurants, bars and accommodation. Check out the special offers at Shoreditch hotels, including M By Montcalm Shoreditch London Tech City. Also, if you arrive here and discover you have mobile phone issues, don’t worry you can pick up a very cheap pay as you go phone that you can top up at any time to ensure you can at least stay in contact with friends and family back home.

Big Smoke quirks

Setting foot in a big city you’ve not familiar with can be a disorienting experience; every major city has its own particular culture, etiquette and quirks. And London is no different. A good example is standing on the right-hand side of escalators only; never the left (people use this side to hurry up and down them). You’ll discover it’s de rigeur on the Tube, but increasingly it’s an unspoken rule elsewhere too. And what of that well-known British reserve? Well, as London’s become a global city and thus more cosmopolitan than other parts of the country, it’s less evident here, but you’ll still encounter it. Brits generally aren’t as boastful, loud and boisterous as other nationalities – especially on the Tube, where people like to keep themselves to themselves. You have been warned!

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