London can seem like a deceptively easy trip abroad. After all, there’s no language barrier or major culture shock.
But don’t be fooled. Newbies coming to London can make all kinds of blunders, which can cost you time, money or sanity. Luckily, we’ve explored this city thoroughly, from the top of the London Eye to the bottom of the Underground, and come away with quite a few lessons in the process.
Here are our top tips to avoid looking like a rookie on your next trip.
1. TAKING A TAXI FROM THE AIRPORT
London black cabs are pretty bloody expensive. And taking one from the airport to your hotel is a full-on punch in the wallet.
As an example, a ride from Heathrow Airport to the boutique hotel neighbourhood of Holborn is close to £90 — or $NZ172. Blimey!
Skip the taxi line and do as the locals do: Ride the Heathrow Express. This helpful train darts out of the airport and connects to Paddington Station in central London in just 15 minutes for as little as £22 ($42).
From Paddington, you can either hail a much cheaper cab, or continue to follow the locals and hop on the London Underground (aka the Tube) to your hotel for less than £5. Those arriving in Gatwick Airport can use the similar Gatwick Express.
2. EXPECTING TO TOUR BUCKINGHAM PALACE
You’ve made it all the way there, so why make London your one and only destination when it’s so cheap and simple to add a side trip?
From London, it’s easy to explore the rest of the UK. The utterly charming city of Bath, once Jane Austen’s hometown, is less than two hours away by train. The seaside getaway of Brighton, home to the fantastical Royal Pavilion, is even closer, at just over an hour by train.
You can also use London as your jumping off point to access the rest of Europe. Eurostar trains can shoot over to Paris in a little over two hours, and budget airlines like Ryanair or EasyJet can connect to cities like Dublin or Amsterdam for less than $75 in the low season. Think of London as your springboard to the rest of the continent.
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