Planning a visit to London? Equip yourself with these handy London tips before you go – how to get around, ways to stay safe, practical information and more.

From iconic landmarks like Big Ben and Buckingham Palace to its vibrant streets brimming with culture, London has an enchanting allure that never fails to captivate. But before you embark on your journey, there are a few insider tidbits you ought to know. 

Whether it’s navigating the tube like a pro, deciding which London landmarks to visit, or savouring the best fish and chips in town, consider me your trusty guide. 

So sit back, relax and get ready to unlock some useful tips for travelling to London.

Top 5 London Travel Tips

Get Familiar With the Currency

First of all, you’ll want to get a handle on the money situation in the UK. We use the pound – though you’ll hear Londoner’s using quid interchangeably. 

Paper notes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50, while coins come in all shapes and sizes: 1p, 2p, 5p, 10p, 20p, 50p, £1 and £2.

It’s worth noting that while cash is widely accepted in London, card payments are also commonplace. So, whether you’re swiping your card or counting your quids, do your homework to navigate the world of pounds like a proper Londoner.

Check Your Visa Requirements

Schengen Visa

Whether you need a visa to visit the land of tea and crumpets depends on your nationality. You can easily check if you need one before taking the plunge.

Now, even if you don’t need a visa, there are still some hoops to jump through. You must meet the Standard Visitor eligibility requirements. You can apply for a Standard Visitor visa online, and it’ll set you back around £100 for up to 6 months in the UK.

Learn the Language and Slang in London

Covent Garden Market

If you’re reading this, I imagine you’ve got a pretty firm grip on English and won’t have any issues in London. 

That said, don’t be surprised if you encounter some unique British slang and expressions that might leave you scratching your head. Embrace the local slang, like calling friends “mate” or saying “cheers” to express gratitude.

Decide on the Best Time To Visit London

Big Ben and westminster bridge in London

While London is a year-round destination, it’s no secret that the summer and pre-Christmas period can get pretty crowded and pricey. 

If you prefer more breathing room and wallet-friendly options, consider visiting in late spring or early autumn. Picture pleasant weather, blooming flowers, and fewer tourists—it’s a win-win.

However, if you crave the hustle and bustle of summer, expect crowds and higher prices. The longer daylight hours and lively atmosphere make it a tempting time to visit, especially with parks, riverside bars, festivals and the likes of Wimbledon in full swing.

Check out this handy London travel guide to help you pick the best time for your visit.

How To Stay Safe in London

London and London Explorer Pass

Though I generally believe London is a safe city, there are pockets of crime and things like pickpocketing are more common. But don’t panic. Just be cautious with your belongings and be aware of your surroundings. 

In bustling Central London, the constant flow of people offers a comforting sense of security, lasting well into the evening hours. Additionally, London’s police force are equipped with surveillance cameras and boast rapid response times.

Now, the tube might introduce you to some colourful characters — perhaps a tipsy troublemaker or rowdy teenager — but here’s the trick: avoid eye contact and don’t pay them any mind. And those signs warning about pickpockets and thieves? Take them seriously and keep a watchful eye on your belongings.

Tips for Visiting London: What You Need to Know Before You Go

Stay in a Central Location

Buckingham Palace

When you’re on a mission to explore every nook and cranny of London, you need a place that ticks all the boxes. This includes readily available transport, being close to attractions and a hassle-free journey back if you decide to paint the town red until late hours.

Planning where to stay in London is an important factor to consider. For most tourists, central London is the place to be, where the action unfolds and the top attractions await. 

London’s efficient public transport system will be at your fingertips, so booking accommodation near a tube station is wise. Trust me, it’s a time, cost and hassle-saving hack worth its weight in gold.

Land at One of the More Central Airports

When visiting London, it’s wise to consider the airports you fly into. Opting for one of the more central airports can save you time and hassle. London Heathrow, Gatwick, or London City Airport are excellent choices as they offer convenient transportation options to the city centre.

Check Your Credit Cards

Credit cards are widely accepted in London, but make sure yours has a chip and a 4-digit PIN for smooth transactions. And before you jet off, check if your card offers free foreign transactions. If not, consider getting one that does to save yourself a bundle.

Here’s a word of caution. When paying for everything with a card, it’s easy to lose track of prices and forget to mentally convert them into your hometown currency. Stay sharp and watch those expenses, or you might find your budget taking an unexpected nosedive.

Navigate the City Efficiently

Carnaby Street

Grab your smartphone and arm yourself with the Citymapper. You can thank me later.

This trusty companion will be your guiding light in manoeuvring the bustling streets of London. It shows you the best routes and subway connections and suggests alternative modes of transport like buses or bikes.

Londoners Drive on the Left


Here’s a crucial nugget of wisdom before you hit the streets of London: they drive on the left-hand side. If you’re accustomed to cruising on the right, this little switcheroo can catch you off guard.

So, keep your wits about you, focus on traffic direction and pay attention to the trusty road signs. If you ever find yourself unsure which way to look while crossing the road, latch onto a group of locals marching in the same direction and tag along

Use Ride-Hailing Services and Black Cabs

When it comes to getting around London, the best tip is to embrace the tube. But, for times when you do need a taxi, use ride-hailing services like Uber/Bolt (or hop into one of the iconic Black Cabs).

With just a few taps on your smartphone, you can summon a comfortable ride to whisk you to your desired destination. No fussing over directions or worrying about language barriers with the drivers.

The Tap Water Is Safe To Drink

London’s tap water is perfectly safe to drink. To stay hydrated, bring along a trusty refillable water bottle. Not only will it save you from splurging on pricey, bottled water, but you’ll also be doing your part in reducing plastic waste.

Buy a London Pass

London Paddington Station

Grab the London Pass for access to 85+ top sights and attractions. 

Sure, the pass itself may seem steep at first – £89 for adults, £54 for the little ones, and options for one, two, three, six or ten days. But it’s a worthy investment if you plan to visit multiple landmarks in a short amount of time.

Staying Connected

To stay connected when you travel to London, check with your current provider about international plans – it might save you a few quid. Consider purchasing a local SIM card, an e-SIM or a portable Wi-Fi device. You can find pay-as-you-go SIM cards at supermarkets, convenience stores or airports.

Bring a Universal Adapter

London uses a type-G plug, so remember to carry a type-G converter. I would recommend buying one in your home country to avoid the hassle and expense of hunting one down in London.

Also, remember to pack a universal adapter for your phones and other electronics. Trust me; you don’t want to cause a power outage because your hairdryer couldn’t handle the voltage.

Pack Comfortable Shoes

Allbirds Tree Runners Shoes

Don’t forget to add a pair of comfortable trainers for walking around the city. Here’s the deal: while London boasts an impressive array of public transportation options, it’s easy to overlook how walkable it is. 

You can take in the sights, soak up the vibes and discover hidden gems you might have missed from the confines of a bus or the tube.

Take a Walking Tour


Now that you know to bring comfortable shoes, lace them up and join a walking tour. It’s the ultimate way to immerse yourself in the sights, rub elbows with the locals, and unravel the city’s hidden secrets. 

From pay-what-you-want tours (don’t forget to show those hard-working guides some love) to specialty and literary-themed tours, there’s a walking adventure for everyone.

Rent a Bike

If you’ve got a knack for balance (unlike yours truly), biking around London is a fantastic way to explore the city’s iconic landmarks. Biking is also budget-friendly and popular, so you’ll blend in with the locals.

London has many bike rental facilities, making it a breeze to hop on two wheels almost anywhere. You can rent a bike from a street bike bay using your trusty debit or credit card. Just remember, getting a little lost is all part of the biking charm.

Visit As Many Museums As Possible

British Museum

London boasts a multitude of museums, each one worthy of a visit. So, why limit yourself to just one or two when you can challenge yourself to conquer as many museums as humanly possible in a single day? 

From iconic showstoppers like the National Gallery and the British Museum to hidden gems like the Petrie Museum, London has a museum for every taste and interest. And here’s the best part: many incredible museums won’t cost you a single penny.

Keep Right on the Escalators

Here’s a pro tip for navigating the hustle and bustle of London (and avoiding some angry side-eye): keep right on the escalators. Trust me – it’s a big deal.

Londoners are always in a hurry. So, by standing on the right, you graciously make way for hasty locals to zoom past you on the left. It’s an unwritten rule, a small act of courtesy that keeps the city in motion.

Book As Much as Possible in Advance

Hagrid's Hut

London’s attractions are often jam-packed with tourists. If you want to breeze through the gates and avoid disappointment, book everything you possibly can in advance online – especially when planning a high-season visit.

Online bookings not only save you time but can also score you some awesome deals. Some places like the Shard and the Sky Garden (which, by the way, is free) require reservations ahead of time.

Arrive at Attractions Early

Hogwarts in Warner Bros Studios

If you plan to do a lot of sightseeing, another tip is to arrive early before the hordes of tourists descend upon these iconic landmarks. Remember, the early bird not only catches the worm but also avoids the long queues and enjoys the attractions with fewer crowds.

Eat Like a Londoner

The Smoking Goat

It would be a shame to visit London without savouring the local cuisine. Be sure to check out the best places to eat in London, or embrace British tradition by treating yourself to a roadside plate of fish and chips.

But don’t stop there – London is a melting pot of culinary delights, so venture beyond the usual restaurants and explore the vibrant street food scene. From mouthwatering international flavours to innovative food markets, there’s something to satisfy every palate.

Be Mindful Of Tipping at Restaurants

Tipping isn’t obligatory in London like it is across the pond. Most restaurants already include a 12.5% service charge on the bill, but if the service has been dreadful, you can have it removed.

If you’re happy with the service or the charge is absent, a 10-15% tip will suffice. Of course, if you’re feeling extra generous, sprinkle some more pounds.

Take a Day Trip


Why stop at London? The UK is brimming with historic sites and breathtaking landscapes to explore. If you have the time, don’t limit your adventure to just the city. 

There are many exciting day trips from London to discover the wonders that lie just a short drive or train ride away.

Bring an Umbrella

The UK has gained quite a reputation for its unpredictable weather. When visiting London, always consult weather forecasts in advance and make it a habit to carry an umbrella with you at all times.

Visit the Markets

Portobello Road Market

London’s markets are a must-visit, so leave some time in your itinerary to explore some of them, including Borough Market, Camden Market and Portobello Road Market. They’re not just shopping spots but lively hubs filled with delicious food, a vibrant atmosphere and cool souvenirs.

Look Out for London’s Street Art

Street art in London's graffiti tunnel

London’s streets are an open-air canvas. Keep your eyes peeled for the mesmerising street art that adorns the city’s walls. The city has a dynamic art scene where masterpieces magically appear overnight. 

So, as you wander through the city’s colourful streets, prepare to enjoy the ever-evolving beauty of London’s street art.

Visit London’s Iconic Pubs

Soho Pubs - The French House

No visit to London is complete without indulging in the age-old tradition of pub-hopping. Whether you’re a fan of the classic pint or craving some mouthwatering pub grub, the city has many options. 

So, raise a glass and enjoy the merry atmosphere at some of the best pubs in London for an authentic British experience.

Go Off the Beaten Path

I get it – London is bursting with iconic attractions you can’t miss on a short trip. But here’s my insider tip: sprinkle in a few offbeat spots for an unforgettable adventure. 

There is a delightful mix of weird and wonderful things to do in London that would be a shame to overlook.

Step into the mysterious world of the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities, Fine Art & Natural History for a truly unique adventure. It’s filled with oddities and curiosities that will amaze and bewilder you. 

Want to delve into London’s darker side? Take a ghost tour or a Jack the Ripper walking tour after dark.

Psst… I’ve written a book about all of London’s weird and wonderful attractions!

Best Travel Tips for London: Frequently Asked Questions 

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