After years of singing “London Bridge Is Falling Down” to your child, you and your family are finally going to see it in person. Of course, the Tower Bridge isn’t the city’s only notable landmark; there’s Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, the Shard, the Royal Observatory—where the global standard for time zones is based on—famous museums, and theatres. Being a city rich in history and culture, it’s no surprise that London attracts 40 million international visitors annually. If it’s your first time in the city, here are some tips to make the most out of your visit.
London is home to the Tube: the oldest and one of the most extended metro railway systems in the world. It has 11 lines and stops at 270 stations. If you need to get around London to check out spots like the Piccadilly Circus, the subway is the fastest and cheapest way to do it.
To save yourself from lining up for tickets, buy Oyster Cards for everyone. These cards are contactless and work by storing electronic tickets with different time validities. Also, they can store electronic cash, which can be reloaded and deducted per use. It can also be used on buses and other train lines like the DLR and Overground.
If you’re planning to explore places near your hotel, then rent a bicycle instead. Barclays Cycle Hire or Boris’ Bikes offer bicycle rentals, which can be rented for an hour, day, week, or even for a year.
For travelers on a budget, there are affordable hotels in Bath City Centre. Bed and breakfasts near the heart of London are also good alternatives. They’re usually near the city, which makes it easier to travel.
Staying in touch
Planned itineraries can give way to spontaneous trips seen from the corner of one’s eye. You have to decide whether to split up and explore places individually or as a group. Now, to keep in touch with each other, you can opt to buy SIM cards from local telecom providers. They offer daily or monthly plans with international compatibility. Also, they have mobile apps available for iOS and Android users. These types of services are ideal for groups or families.
The cuisine extends beyond the “fish-and-chips” and “tea-and-scones” diet. It draws inspiration from its Anglo-Saxon roots, as well as an influx of Indian, them being the largest foreign group in the country. There is an emphasis on starchy and hearty dishes like meat and potatoes. Establishments in London are generally tourist and pocket-friendly. See where the locals dine regularly. Chances are the food there is delicious and cheap.
Make sure to pack and dress light, since you’ll be walking most of the time. If you’re lost, don’t hesitate to ask; people in London are amiable, and there’s always a Queen’s Guard walking around. Early to bed, early to rise. You’ll be able to explore more that way, though London’s nightlife is just as, if not more vibrant.
With the sheer amount of places to visit, London will overwhelm even the most seasoned traveler. Nevertheless, with the proper preparation, you can experience all the fun within your means.