The other day, chatting with Russell and Ben and Paul and Tom, the idea emerged of creating a little guide for visitors to London. It would be very brief, a series of bullet points, a single sheet of paper, and would probably begin with “On escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left”.
We came up with a few more and a couple of days on I still like the idea. So here are our first suggestions, although you can probably think of better:
On escalators, stand on the right and walk on the left.
Don’t take the tube between Covent Garden and Leicester Square: it’s a very short walk.
Don’t arrange to meet anyone at Covent Garden or Leicester Square tube stations; they’re too busy.
The London Eye is a tourist trap but it’s also well worth a spin.
All the free museums are good and, given your limited time, it’s not worth paying for their special exhibitions unless you’re super keen on the subject.
We recommend avoiding Oxford Street, but if you must go, don’t bother with any of it east of Oxford Circus.
Don’t leave your cellphone on the table when in a cafe or pub; it will get stolen.
Then I thought up a couple more ideas:
[What’s the best way to pay for public transport while here for only a week or so?]
[Something about how best to get a cheap pay-as-you-go cellphone for the trip. Any idea?]
And I thought it would also be handy to include the kind of cultural and consumer knowledge you only pick up through living in a place for a while. For example:
- The main British supermarkets in rough order of quality and price (expensive first):
- Marks & Spencer, Waitrose
- Sainsbury, Tesco
- Asda, Morrison’s, Somerfield
- Aldi, Lidl
I’m sure you can come up with some more ideas. Is there anything people should be encouraged to do, or warned away from? What do you always tell visiting friends? Is there anything you always see tourists doing and know they shouldn’t?
UPDATE: Another one thought of since this was written, mainly for Americans: Don’t omit the “Road”, “Street” etc from the names of roads. Not only does it sound very wrong to British ears, but it’s also confusing: You say “I’m staying on Pembridge” and you could mean Pembridge Villas, Pembridge Road, Pembridge Gardens, Pembridge Place, Pembridge Crescent, etc. (3 October 2014)