The UK’s one of the most open, tolerant and fair-minded nations you could wish to visit, yet that said; there are a number of things to consider before arriving in its capital…
Let’s face it; Britain’s climate and weather are, well, notorious for being fine, warm and sunny one minute; cloudy, chilly and rainy the next. To that end, you’re advised to make sure the clothes you bring for your trip ensure you can dress appropriately each day – and at different times of the day. How? Be smart when you pack by planning ahead – bring clothes that go together well as layers (which you can put on and take off as suitable throughout the day). And don’t forget to pack an umbrella too – you’ll pretty quickly discover it’s essential!
The world’s your ‘Oyster’
Do yourself a favour; buy an Oyster card – and do so before you get to London. The near all-encompassing electronic-based payment system for public transport, not least on the ubiquitous London Underground (Tube), the Oyster card is incredibly useful. And that’s because it makes getting around the city a doddle; you just touch in and out whenever you’re on the Tube or a bus and top it up with paid credit when it runs too low. And, if you do a little planning ahead, it’s possible to pre-purchase a Visitor Oyster card for a relatively small outlay, have it delivered to you and topped-up with credit, ready and waiting for you to use when you arrive in the city – that way you’ll ensure you’re properly prepared to get to your accommodation in London as soon as your flight lands at the airport.
Book accommodation early
Let’s get it straight; it’s not a good idea to travel to London should you have not pre-booked accommodation. Yes, London’s absolutely brimming with quality hotels, but it’s also absolutely jam-packed full of visitors all year round. So, it’s only logical then, arguably imperative that you don’t arrive in the centre of the city – especially if you’re intending a weekend away or break with a loved one – and discover you can’t find anywhere to stay. There’s no shortage of great hotels in the city (like the Park Grand London Hyde Park) and loyalty schemes too (such as Premier Club Rewards); be sure of getting a room by booking in advance!
Avoid rush hour travel
Finally, as noted, the Tube’s a fantastic, easy and quick way to get about London. Indeed, millions rely on it every day. Which, it has to be said, is a moot point because it really is best to try and avoid all those millions when using this underground railway network – if you can. Travelling on the Tube (or indeed on buses, or in taxi cabs or on bicycles) during rush hour is a pretty crowded, claustrophobic and potentially stressful experience; if you’re from out of town and not used to it, you’re best advised to organise and arrange your day so you steer clear of it.
For reference then, the weekday rush hours in London occur between 7.30am and 10am in the morning (when everyone’s going to work) and 5pm and 7.30pm (when everyone’s leaving work) – rush hours don’t really occur at weekends. Moreover, public transport fares outside of these hours (off-peak) are understandably cheaper – win-win!