No amount of time is ever enough to get the full taste of London. Most locals can’t even claim to have visited every district or borough in the 1500 square kilometre city. With 32 boroughs, 12 tube lines and more than 700 bus routes, navigating the English capital could be deemed a tad daunting for a first-time guest of hotel rooms in London. That’s why this blog will provide some tips that can help you pack, prepare and dive into one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.
Wait Until You’re In The City Before Exchanging Money
Generally speaking, exchange rates tend to be better in the country you’re visiting, rather than they are at home. That being said, London is predominantly a cashless city. Most shops allow you to pay by card and therefore you may not have to withdraw money at all. If you do have to use cash at any point though, for instance in the case of emergencies, think carefully about the amount you’re withdrawing. You’ll lose more money in the exchange when withdrawing smaller sums.
Pack Durable Shoes
London is a city that’s built for walking. Even in the Underground stations, you’ll end up walking through long thoroughfares to reach your platform. Good shoes are vital to remain comfortable. For guests of hotels near Marble Arch, your hotel is in close proximity to historic green spaces such as Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, which when combined, are bigger than the Principality of Monaco. A tourist could easily walk 15 kilometres in a day, even if just exploring a single museum.
And A Raincoat!
Regardless of the season, London’s weather patterns can change on the flip of a coin. It’s simply the nature of the UK. If you don’t want to get more drenched than a swimming pool in a spa hotel in London, then it’s suggested that you pack a light raincoat or umbrella.
Give Yourself Enough Time to Travel
London’s rail, underground and bus systems are all efficient and easy to use, but they can be prone to delays. This is especially so during peak times (6.30 am to 9.30 am and 4 pm to 7 pm), when the roads are congested, and the tube stations are far busier. Cycling can save time as well, with rentable bikes in abundance around the city centre thanks to Santander Cycle docks. If travelling from one side of the city to the other, give yourself at least an hour of transit time and always keep an eye on travel apps such as Google Maps or City Mapper.
Many Museums Are Free
London might seem expensive on the surface, but many of its most popular tourist attractions are actually completely free to visit. The Tate Modern and Britain, the National Galleries, South Kensington Museum trio and British Museum are all free of charge for visits to their permanent galleries. Many free museums do have touring and temporary exhibitions that come with an admission fee, but you could spend an entire week exploring the cultural institutions of London for just the price of your travel fare.