Moving around London can be one of the most exhilarating yet terrifying things you’ll ever experience. The city that never sleeps – there are people everywhere, ALL the time! Here are our top tips on how to get around London for the first time:
Don’t leave on time, leave early. It’s so important to do this if you actually want to get anywhere on time. London has an uncanny ability to consistently surprise you. Tube lines are no strangers to unexpected delays whether it is due to a technical fault, the train ahead or someone trapping their bag in a door. Should something unplanned happen, by leaving early you will have enough room for the misfortune and still have time to get to your destination.
Buses can be just as unpredictable as trains. You might expect them to come at a certain time and they don’t or you will get the bus that you wanted but then find yourself in unimaginable traffic. Sometimes there is nothing you can do but with enough planning ahead you should be fine.
Prepare for crowds
London is one of the busiest cities in the world and this becomes apparent when travelling at peak times, especially if you’re travelling to the city. Everyone leaves home early to embark on an invisible race to get to work, university or school and don’t have time to faff about until they reach the finish line. Don’t be surprised to find some subtle pushing and shoving happening en route – this doesn’t mean Londoners aren’t a friendly bunch, we just don’t necessarily have time for pleasantries at 8am. We are lovely though…really!
Have an emergency stash…of cash. All that running around can take its toil and you are bound to drop something or watch your shopping bags disappear through a tunnel on a train while you’re stood helplessly on a platform. This is not because you’re the world’s clumsiest person – well you might be – but more often than not, its life simply throwing lemons at you. Carry spare cash, that way if you do lose your oyster card or worst case scenario bank card, you have a Plan B. If you lose your oyster card, go to the nearest station where a TFL member of staff will be able to help. Otherwise you can purchase a new oyster card from a machine or kiosk. If you do lose your bank card, get in touch with your bank ASAP.
Staying hydrated is essential so be prepared and have a drink at hand. On the days when dealing with crowds, rush hour and losing your stuff is just too stressful, stop off at the nearest bar or off license to drown your sorrows- Just kidding! All jokes aside though, having a bottle of water will do you the world of good, especially in the summer when everything is hot and sticky. You need to keep cool and on top of things.
If you need any further assistance or information about getting around London then you can go to the TFL website or sign up to their newsletter for all the latest travel information. If you have an iPhone then Citymapper has proven to be an extremely useful app in navigating your way around.
Most importantly – enjoy it! Experience all that London has to offer, embrace the crowds, don’t get too stressed about being late and take it all in your stride.