You have settled into your new London rental and you are starting to make your way around the city. The best part about moving to London is that you’ll have the chance to really explore the city and immerse yourself in the cultural melting pot that is London. Just when you think you have figured London out, she throws you a curve ball and you get to start learning all over again. This is my ‘super-seven’ list of things you might not have thought about, but really should know about living in London.
- Avoid the tube during rush hour as much as possible. If you do not have to get to work then you can wait just a few minutes to avoid most of the early morning or evening crush on the Underground.
- Tube Map. Be aware that most of the maps of the Underground are not to scale and the actual distances from station to station vary considerably. It might be easier to get off the tube and walk. It will certainly be faster if you are travelling at rush hour.
- For all the charm of London it is still a big city and that carries its fair share of petty crime. Be very aware of pickpockets, and don’t display your wallet and other documents. Keep your wits about you and don’t leave your handbag or briefcase unattended for any length of time.
- Look the other way. The British drive on the left hand side of the road, so you should pay careful attention when crossing the road as a pedestrian while walking. It will be the opposite of what you are used to, and while London is well signed, you still have to take extra care when crossing at intersections.
- If you have just arrived and want to explore London and see all of the tourist sites, then you should get an Oyster Card. It handles all of your travel payments so you don’t have to get tickets for the bus/tube/train and a Pass that allows you to enter different tourist attractions, for much less that you would pay for a single ticket, as well as letting you avoid most of the queues (lines) to get in.
- When walking; really walk. Londoners walk fast, they don’t amble and they get irritated quickly with people who stroll along like they have nothing better to do with their time. Really irritated. Keep it moving even when walking up escalators.
- Living here is expensive. You need to find savings wherever you can. Many stores operate great voucher and coupon programmes and you will find that most companies and even restaurants have specials offers at certain times. Grab them when you can, it will make a huge difference.
Don’t be afraid to get out and experience this city as a tourist. You will only see things for the first time once, so take loads of photographs and write about your adventure of moving here. The memories will last a lifetime.