Ah, London… one of the most iconic cities in the world, the financial capital of Europe and a multicultural melting pot for all. With architecture dating back to the 16th century and an incredibly complex and (sometimes) reliable transport system to see it all. Absorbing all of London for the first time can sometimes be daunting so we’ve made a list of the top ten things every new Londoner needs to know.
1. Oyster cards:
Despite the odd issue, Transport for London (fondly known as TfL has some great qualities - It runs all night during the weekend, is time-efficient and fairly frequent. All TfL train stations and buses have yellow card readers for you to top in and out with your Oyster card – we recommend getting an 18+ student Oyster to save money on your seasonal passes.
2. Nightmare commutes:
Be wary of any form of public transport in London coming into the city at peak times, these are between 7-9 am and 5-7 pm. There’s nothing worse than being on a packed tube directly under a stranger’s armpit on your morning commute.
3. Tube map:
You can see there is a trend here. Transport in London should be studied as carefully as a post-doctoral research paper. It’s quite easy to get lost on the Underground, so make sure you study your route beforehand.
London is filled with some of the most intriguing museums and exhibits in the UK, and most of them are free! Check them out when you can, you won’t be disappointed.
Just because the airport has London in its name doesn’t mean it’s actually in London. The key is doing research – don’t make the mistake of taking a 40-minute train from Tottenham Hale up to Stanstead just because it was three pounds cheaper than flying from Gatwick (talking from experience here).
6. Underground saunas:
We have a great tradition in this country of power walking from point A to point B and using the time in-between to do a bit of underground roasting. This is of course in reference to the tube (we do love our tubes). Don’t rule out cycling, getting the bus or even a boat to travel around during the summer months – the underground can get pretty toasty.
7. Where’s the best fish and chips?
This is a trick question. Nowhere. London has a huge variety of food from all different cultures. It may take a bit of exploration but if you put the effort in you can find the right dish for you.
8. The greenery:
London is a metropolis, no doubt about that. There are, however, many great parks from which you can enjoy incredible views of the cityscape and anything nicer than a brown brick wall. Hampstead Heath and Greenwich Observatory both offer some stunning views. Check out the Botanical Gardens in Kew too, they’re one of the best in the world.
9. Everything’s expensive in central:
It is as it sounds. If you’re on a budget don’t frolic in central London (Zone 1), you’ll go broke very quickly. King’s is the last bastion of reasonably priced food and drink in the heart of the city.
Last but not least. The backbone of England. On nearly every street you’ll find a hole in the wall where individuals from all walks of life come together to eat, drink and socialise. It doesn’t matter if it’s Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese or The Lamb and Flag, inhale the smell of ale and freshly-cooked chunky chips as you embrace what it truly means to be British!