I’ve been to London twice, does that make me an expert, no. But it does mean that I get to think I know what I am talking about. And today I am talking about What You Need To Know Before Visiting London and my 10 tips. There are better tips out there, more informative ones. But these are mine and they are based on my experiences I’ve had and lessons I’ve learned. So please learn from my mistakes. Because there are definitely some I’ve made a twice already. So here’s hoping during the third visit I’ll actually follow my own advice.
Tip #1: The Rain in London is Real
What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that the rain in London is real. Although it’s not as bad as people make it out to be getting caught in a downpour is no fun especially outside the Buckingham Palace. Where there is no cover and you were eagerly awaiting the changing of the guards (unless you don’t mind that kind of thing – then good for you). Make sure you pack according to the season so rainboots and a raincoat might be an essential. Also, make sure that your “raincoat” is actually a raincoat. Not a coat that isn’t actually waterproof but looks like it is so you were tricked into believing it would be then your left with a soaking wet coat at the end of the day that you end up hating.
Tip #2: Buying a SIM Card is not that Expensive in London
Buy a SIM card or upgrade your phone plan. I bought into a pay-as-you-go plan while I was in London, What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that it’s only 15 pounds. And my goodness it was the best 15 pounds I spent. Because for 15 pounds ($30 CAD – at that time), I got for unlimited data for a month plus I was also able to use in other countries (within Europe). Whereas I’m all for “digital unplug” it is so nice to know where you are going, not to have to stop and search (hunt) for the nearest wi-fi is nice. It’s also a bonus because you can occasionally check-in with family back home.
Tip #3: Oyster’s are you friend in London
What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that Oyster’s are you friend – if you were planning to follow my 5-day London itinerary. I assume you would be flying in and out on other days so that puts you in London at around 7 days. Do the math and see if it makes sense to buy a week Oyster pass. Trips here and there add up and it’s nice to have the freedom of unlimited rides. Especially if you have been walking all day and just want to take the train 2 stops. Even when the walk is only 15 mins (yes some stations are that close together) and walking in and out of the stations would taking you just as long, you just want to sit and be moving while you sit so you feel rested and productive.
Tip #4: Pre-Plan and Map it Out your London Adventure
Map everything out – things are definitely closer than it seems What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that it’s very much a walkable city. I love to walk, you get to uncover so much more hidden nooks and cool looking things. And if you are planning to take the train at rush hour, then walking might be better if you want to avoid the sardine pack cars. My general rule is that if it was less than a 20-30 min walk (depending on my level of tired) I would choose to walk. Because that way I get to see the city more and the more I walk the more calories you burn and the most delicious food you can eat.
Tip #5: Bring Comfortable Shoes, If You Don’t Have Any, Buy Some.
Wear comfortable shoes. I have a bad knee – yes I am 24 years old and when I walk too much, my left knee swells up if I have on bad shoes. Because comfortable shoes aren’t always the cutest shoes, I wear insoles and let me tell you as lame as that sounds they are the best thing I ever bought, cause now I get to wear #ALLTHESHOES and have it be super comfortable. In the summer months, I wear Birkenstocks. I use to think these were hideous and made everyone feet look enormous but I quickly changed my tune when I rolled my ankle and needed something with a bit more support.
Tip #6: Take As Many Personal Photos As You Can While In London
Take as many pictures as you can. Don’t just take pictures of the scenery, take pictures with the people you are with. Chances are there are better photos online of the places you been, but they’re aren’t any of the people you are with, so take photos, vlog yourself and ask strangers to help you. Then you will not only remember the places you went to but the stories as well. I have this one photo from my first trip to London in front of the Buckingham Palace. I have a look on my face that says”look at these silly royal horses.” And whenever I see that photo and get brought back to that moment and the fits of giggles that we erupted into. It was an in the moment funny, so I forgive you if you don’t understand.
Tip #7: If It’s Sunny Go Outside and Explore London
Don’t waste a nice day – If it’s sunny with blue skies and your plans were to go to one of the museums, change your plans. Just head to a market instead. Trust me, it will probably rain one of the days you planned to go outside and that will suck. What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that if the weather is nice, enjoy it for what it is. You can always go to the museum in the evening when it’s dark outside or duck into one when it decides to rain a couple hours later, that happens, A LOT. There is just as much to see on the streets as museums and the best part is if you go to market that has old stuff you can touch it, unlike museums where that is frowned upon.
Tip #8: Eat Cheap, Eat Often, and Try Everything in London
Eat small cheap meals often. What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that the food is expensive. Also, the CAD dollar stinks against almost every currency so it makes it even more expensive. But the food in London is so good – so you are left with a debacle of going broke on food, or eating at places like Mcdonalds so you don’t spend all your money. And the answer you guys is research. Before our second trip to London, I came across this amazing list of cheap eats in London on Buzzfeed. And let me tell you, the food on here is incredible the ones I actually tried are:
- Sourdough pizza from Franco Manca – Literally so good, filling and best of all cheap.
- A doughnut from Bread Ahead – Warm is best, these were great and Borough Market was full of Cheap Eats.
- Bao from the Bao Bar – It’s on the smaller side, but it’s still really really good.
- Pho from Mien Tay – Pho / Vietnamese Food anywhere what was bumping was good on that block.
- A lobster roll from Smack Deli – I don’t even want to tell you how much we ate here.
- A Pie from Pieminister – A classic in its own right.
Tip #9: How to Find the Cleanest Toilets in London
What You Need To Know Before Visiting London is that you should make use of the museum + hotel toilets. I hate a lot of public bathrooms they are often gross, it’s incredible because even in a room full of hygienic looking people there’s alway a few that absolutely disgusting when they use the bathroom. I don’t get it, who are you and who taught you how to use the washroom? Anyways most hotels and museums have top of the line public bathrooms. You just gotta walk in like you own the place / know where you are going and usually no one suspects what you are doing.
Tip #10: Eat in Bumping Non-Tourist London Neighbourhoods Areas
When in doubt eat in Soho (or any bumping non-tourist area). If you are sitting there starving but can’t decide on where to eat, go to Soho and eat there. You won’t be disappointed unless you pick the one bad restaurant if you did then sorry about that, live and learn right? But all in all, I think the competition is so high in that area that everyone is on their A-game when it comes to food.
And That’s What You Need To Know Before Visiting London.
Those were my tips and my lessons from the two times that I went to London. I hope you enjoyed and can walk away with a tip or two. If you didn’t I hope you were at least entertained.
Thank you for reading my post, and for staying on this long.
Talk to you later!
Love, Jennifer An Bui