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Top Tips for London

I know that most people are desperately trying to get out of London, and we feel for them one and all. However, if you have to be stranded in a city, this is one of the best. 

Having lived in London, I am often asked for tips when people are visiting. Here are some great restaurants, some top sights and a few things to remember about London:

Sights

If you are interested in history, do not miss Hampton Court. It was just the 500th anniversary of Henry VIII, so they have many things going on. You will need a day, but well worth it. If you buy this all inclusive ticket you can see all five palaces, including the Tower of London and the Banqueting house (amazing). Well worth the money,  http://89.151.104.52/supportus/membership/default.aspx

If you want to go a bit off the track the Royal Mews (Carriages and royal coaches) and the Queen’s Gallery are very good. Both are next to Buckingham Palace. You can see the Changing of the Guard and then visit both.

The top museums are the National Museum, Nat’l Portrait Gallery and then the V&A and Natural History Museum. Of course the Tate if you are into modern art. The modern art Tate is the one south of the Thames.

Avoid any of the Wax Museums unless you are a real fan.

Use the tube and the buses. Only use black cabs, avoid the mini cabs-not safe unless you are out very late and then the restaurant might call one for you.

If you plan on taking the tube and bus, which I recommend, you will want to purchase an Oyster card, as it will save you a fortune. It is less than ½ the cost of a normal ticket. Here is the website to look into it. https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do

Don’t eat from street vendors, very poor hygiene.

Avoid pub lunches in big tourist areas as the food is rubbish. All grocery stores have great sandwiches and drinks and crisps for local prices. Waitrose is one of the best and all the top department stores have very good restaurants on their top floors. The Harvey Nichols rooftop cafe is famous and really fab. Some like the Harrods food hall, however I personally avoid Harrods as it is always crowded and seems very touristy. Selfridges in Oxford Street is much better for shopping and have the same things.

Try and get tickets to the theater. Don’t skimp on the prices or you will be in the nosebleed section and not see anything. Tickets can be had at http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/default.aspx

“View London” is also a great site for all sorts of info on London and is designed for Londoners not tourists, so you avoid a lot of hassles.

Good local beers are London Pride, ESB and many others. They are not served warm, but rather cool. Lagers are served cold. 


Restaurants and Tipping

  • Reservations are usually required in most good restaurants. Book far in advance for the top ones. You can book a lot of good London restaurants at http://www.opentable.com/
  • It is not unusual for them to tell you that they need to have the table back in 2 hours. They are not being rude; they say that to everyone including the locals.
  • They will call to reconfirm and will often cancel if they can’t reach you, so give them your mobile.
  • Service of 12.5% is almost always included in the bill and you do not need to tip more unless they were amazing. If they were, you can leave an extra ₤5.00-₤10.00 in cash.
  • For taxis just round it up. Example if the fare is ₤1.70, just give them ₤2.00. They will be thrilled.
  • You normally don’t tip in pubs. Some spare change if you have had a few rounds is okay. However, most English do not tip in pubs.

Comments

bruha said…
Mmmmmmm! I have been tot half of the places you have written about. Now I can't wait to go to the others!

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