Travel Tips: London by Morgan

We know that the capital can be a confusing – and expensive – place to navigate. Morgan Shelly tells us her advise from transport tips to cultural customs

  • If RSA Passport – Be ready for immigration (Have print out of return fights and know details of your stay i.e. Duration, Itinerary, accommodation etc.) Do your research (YouTube = great place)
  • Get an Oyster Card – Buy Visitors Card for 3 Pound (Access Bus & Train service) (Maxes at 6.90 per day)
  • “TAP IN” and “TAP OUT” at train stations (no tap out on bus) even if the gate is open otherwise it will charge you more.
  • Enter bus at the front, exit out the middle.
  • Bus drivers will not always stop at every stop Press the “stop” button before your need to get off.
  • Buy a Three sim, load 25 Pound, Buy 25 Pound add on (1 month unlimited data, 300 mins etc.)
  • Walk around/get lost – find hidden gems, saves money, burns calories
  • If you really need to, use the bus instead of train = Second best way to see London
  • Citimapper & Google together – Both have their strengths (CM = Price comparison, Google= Accurate)
  • Happy hour – Almost everyone bar/pub has them
  • Find out where the locals eat (Lunch time) – Best Value e.g. Meal deal
  • Venture out of the city – visit places like Richmond park (deer, celebs, scones)
  • Average beer = 5 Pound
  • Average glass wine = 5 Pound
  • Average main = 8 – 10 Pound
  • Average coffee = 2.80 Pounds
  • Average Cocktail = 9 Pounds
  • Service charge of 12.5 % generally added to the bill so check before a tip
  • All Card machines are contactless
  • At most lunch places you save money buy ordering a takeaway – (20%) VAT not charged
  • If you are on a budget, cooking and making your own food is essential. 1 night out could give you a weeks worth of chow from Tesco, Sainsbury’s
  • Instagram and Zomato are your best friends to find the best food.
  • Stand on the right of the escalators
  • Unless you are spending more than 200 Pound on something don’t bother claiming back VAT – Service charge is massive
  • TK MAXX sells high-end brands at a third of the price – Jeans and Handbags etc.
  • Go to the toilet whenever you get a chance, Toilets are few and far between and most of them your need a code for, which you can only get by purchasing good form the shop/restaurants.
  • Put down the Pret, Costa, Nero, Starbucks etc. etc. (More expensive and often tastes really bad)
  • NB: download the apps INTO and ModelVillage for some great discounts
  • Pay attention to announcements made on trains/buses and at train stations – destinations can change.
  • Look at the destination of the bus/train before you get on it.
  • Stay away from the expensive tourist attractions e.g. Madame Tussauds. You will find much more exciting things to do for free and the queues are often really long
  • Look out for “Intro” offers to yoga spots/ gyms. These are often a great deal and fi you aren’t staying for a long time you can hop between places. E.g. ‘Inro’ at HotPod for your first month, then an ‘Intro’ at Triyoga for your second month.
  • Poundland is a good place to buy cotton wool, toiletries etc.
  • Try keep a small backpack with you at all times – you never know what you might buy or do
  • Charged power bank – you don’t want to be stuck at rush hour having no clue how to get home.
  • Don’t waste your time with currency cards – Just notify your bank that you will be traveling before hand and you can use your normal cheque/credit (charged conversion rate at the time + 2.75% Service Charge)
  • ALWAYS KEEP CASH ON YOU – Cash is king, you never know when you may need it
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help! People are very friendly in that part of the world and the service is next level.
  • Don’t at the first place you see for food or drink, generally the food and drink is better and cheaper if you just walk around the corner?
  • Be prepared to wait in quest for restaurants, especially brunch