London, United Kingdom is a great place to visit and many millions of tourists arrive each year to experience the fantastic mix of the stately and historic with the stylish and modern. The city does have its problems, however, but ones that can be avoided or minimised by those in the know by following some simple advice.
Photo by TJ Morris
Many visitors either walk or take a taxi when getting from A to B within London during their stay, thinking that the tube is both dangerous and complicated. In fact, the Tube is convenient and easy to use and is also a ‘sight’ worth seeing in itself. However, be aware that the tube gets very, very busy during rush hour which in summer means being hot and uncomfortable. Also, make sure that you get an oyster card; these pre-paid reusable tickets cut the cost of journeys by more than half and mean that you don’t have to queue up every time you want to travel.
Having said that the tube is convenient, visitors should also make use of the excellent bus system. Buses take longer to make similar journeys compared with the tube but the view above ground is an excellent way for visitors to the city to orientate themselves and reduce the feeling of being totally lost which can overcome people as they emerge, blinking, from the underground.
There is certainly a lot to see in London, enough to fill even the longest of breaks with activities from dawn to dusk. However, if you are in London for a longer period you should incorporate day trips out of the city to get a feel for the countryside of England and also allow yourself a break from the hustle and bustle of the big city. There are a huge number of places to visit within an hour or two of Central London and if you are willing to stay overnight you could explore even further afield.
Hollywood A-listers regularly appear before us mere mortals on the red carpet at film premieres on London’s famous Leicester Square. Ask at your hotel or check online for any taking place during your stay as it could be the ideal place to come face to face with your film idols adding a huge dose of glamour and spectacle to your holiday. But plan to arrive early as the best places get taken quickly by avid fans.
Finally, although most people come to London with a very clear idea of what they want to do and see, it is important to build a degree of flexibility into your plans. Problems can arise, schedules overrun and you will find a whole host of new and exciting things that you had never thought of before. If you stick too rigidly to a pre-planned schedule you will miss the chance to experience the energetic spontaneity that characterises London so well.
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