London Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

– 10 things to know
before you go to London. I’m Chris, this is Topher. This is Yellow Productions. We do travel guides that are fun, informative, and entertaining. And in this video, we’re gonna be telling you everything you need to know to visit London, the
capital of Great Britain. Number one, we’re gonna start with some general things about London. The greater London area has 8.8 million residents spread over 33 boroughs. There’s one of the boroughs
called the City of London. It’s the old Roman city of London. It’s one square mile. It only has 7,400 residents. So you’re actually gonna
be spending your time here in a lot of other cities,
not just the city of London, but in greater metropolitan London. By the way, London has a very large immigrant population
now, so if the last time you were here was 20
years ago when it was all the jolly old English,
well, there’s a lotta people from the rest of the
world, including a lot of Great Britain’s colonies
and part of the EU. Also, talking about bridges. Another big misnomer
is that a lotta people think this bridge is
called the London Bridge. No, this bridge is the Tower Bridge. The London Bridge, it’s
actually really ugly. It’s just one bridge down the river. The second thing to know before you go to London is about when to go. And so first, let’s talk about weather and when is the best weather. The United Kingdom as a
whole has a reputation for being wet, rainy, and gray. And while the country generally is, London is actually the
least wet, rainy, and gray of the United Kingdom ’cause it has its own metropolitan microclimate. The best time to go is definitely in the summer, June, July, August. That’s when temperatures are the best. The highs are in the 20
Celsius, 70s Fahrenheit. It can be a little humid and there can be some thunderstorms, and
yes, it is the most crowded. The worst time to go for weather is in the winter, think January to March. But that’ll be when the
hotels are the cheapest. But it will be the
rainiest and the coldest, like eight degrees Celsius and about 40 degrees Fahrenheit as the daily highs. Shoulder season is
September, October, November, and then again, March and April. If you don’t like crowds,
these are good times to go. You’ll only need a light
jacket in shoulder season. The third thing to know before you go to London is about money. In London, they use the
Great British pound, also known as pound
sterling, also known as quid. At the time I did this
video in October 2018, one Great British pound was
equal to US $1.30 or euro $1.12. A pound is broken down into 100 pence, which is referred to as p. The different notes have their nicknames. A five-pound note is called a fiver, and a 10 pound is a tenner. Across London, credit cards
are generally widely accepted, but may require a chip and pin. You’ll find ATMs all throughout the city. And the tax in London is
called the value-added tax. It’s about 20%. And yes, they do have a tax back scheme, though you won’t get all of it back. The fourth thing to know before you get to London is about getting into London. Chances are you’ll either be
flying or taking the train. We’ll talk about flying
first and the train second. If you’re flying in, there
are six airports into London. The major ones are Heathrow and Gatwick. Stansted’s probably the third. That one is really popular with budget carriers like Ryanair. Heathrow is kinda the closest to the city. British Airways is the
major carrier there. They operate 40% of the flights. If you’re coming into Heathrow, the quickest way in the city is to take the Heathrow Express that
goes every 15 minutes. It takes 15 minutes from
Heathrow into the city. And it’ll cost you 22 pounds. If you take a taxi from Heathrow, it might take an hour and
cost between 55 and 65 pounds. Gatwick, a little further out. It’s also got a train
that comes into the city. Stansted, train’s gonna be your best bet. Trains from Stansted take an hour. A taxi would cost a fortune,
so just don’t do it. Also, if you’re taking
a train into London, well, there’s basically one major train that comes in from Europe. It’s the Eurostar train. It comes from Paris and Brussels. It’ll bring you into St Pancras station. Those train fares can vary pretty wildly. Make sure to book ahead of
time for the cheapest fares. And avoid coming into London
on Friday evening or Sunday. Those are the busiest travel
days to come into the city. Finally, getting in, don’t drive. Don’t do it. Traffic in London, parking
in London’s expensive. It is not worth it, so don’t
bother bringing your car here. Just take public transportation. Speaking of public transportation,
that’s the fifth thing to know before you go to London, about how to get around London. And simply put, it’s all about the Tube, or the London Underground. Right there, a London Underground station. They don’t call it a subway. It is the London Underground. A subway is a pedestrian underpass. The first thing you’re gonna wanna do when you get to London if you don’t already have one is buy an Oyster card. The Oyster card is the
stored-value card for London. You can pick ’em up at any
subway station, not subway. See, that’s me, New York City
subway, I’m used to that. You can pick it up at any
Tube or Underground station. They’ve got vending
machines that sell them. The Tube will take you almost
everywhere you want to go. If it doesn’t, the
double-decker buses are awesome, and they go a lotta great places, too. If you’re riding the Tube, you’ll tap in to get in, you’ll tap out to get out. If you’re riding the bus,
you only tap when you get on. If you wanna know more
about riding the Tube, I’ve got a whole separate video on how to ride the London Underground. Check that one out. Link’s in the description below. To navigate your way around the system, download the Citymapper app. It’s better than Google Maps. It’ll give you oh-so many more options. It’ll tell you exactly when
the next departure times are. It’ll tell you what part
of the train to get on. Citymapper is what it’s called. Download it. Another option for you
to get around the city is the classic London black taxis. They’re not all black anymore, but they’re very professional. The London taxi drivers have to take a really impressive test
to become a taxi driver. You’ll seem them plying around. If their yellow taxi light is on, then it means you can
hail them down and get on. Uber has also started
operation here in London. I’ve used that a couple times. It’s been pretty quick. I wouldn’t say efficient
because London traffic is really bad, and so it can actually take a long time to get around on the taxi. Finally, use your feet. Walking is really, really good. And actually, I’ve found the
times in the center of the city to take a Tube one stop or two,
it was better just to walk. And finally, finally, there’s this whole shared bicycles here. There’s been one that’s
been here for a long time, the Santander bicycles,
but there’s the new dockless bike systems that are coming out that are available in
different parts of London, so you can check those out
for easy ways to get around. I didn’t do it because in London, you have to ride your
bicycle on the streets. And while they’ve added bike lanes, I didn’t think a lot of them
really looked all that safe. The sixth thing to know before you go to London is about the food. London has a reputation of
having really awful food, but I’ll say I’ve found
the food game in London in the last few years has
really kicked it up quite a bit. Pretty delicious things,
classically British things like fish and chips and meat pies, but you’ll find a range
of international foods. Definitely explore. Your tummy will be happy in London. And I’m not gonna cover
food in more detail in this video because I have two separate videos just about food in London. One is all about the best
cheap eats in London, and the second one is about the
best food markets in London. You can find links in
the description below, or click the cards in the upper right. The seventh thing to know before you go to London is about tipping. First, tipping in restaurants. A standard tip in a
restaurant will be about 12%. If service is really
good, you could give 15%. Make sure to check out
whether the restaurant charges a service charge or not. If there’s a service charge on your bill, then you don’t need to give a tip. If you’re in a pub or bar and
all you’re ordering is drinks, then you don’t need to tip,
unless you’re ordering food. And if so, then tip just like
you would at a restaurant. If you’re taking a taxi,
most people just round up to the next pound to give a tip, unless it’s a long ride or
the service is really good. Then you could give up to 10%. Doormen or bellboys or things like that that are handling your luggage, a pound would suffice just fine for them. The eighth thing to know before you go to London is about the language. It’s English, but it’s British English, so there might be some phrases and some pronunciations
you might not be used to. So these are some things you need to know. The first one is the name of this river. It looks like it’s the Thames, but it’s pronounced the
Thames, the River Thames. If you wanna go to the bathroom, that’s often referred
to as the loo, L-O-O. Thanks is cheers. The elevator is known as the lift. If you’re gonna get in a
line, you’re gonna queue up. If you’re gonna put
something in the trash, you might put it in the bin. If you are putting something in the trunk of a car, that’s
often called the boot. An ATM is known as a cashpoint. A pedestrian crossing or a crosswalk is known as a zebra crossing. If you need a drugstore, that
would be called a chemist. If you wanna get some french
fries, those would be chips. If you wanna get what you
think are potato chips, those would be known as crisps. If you’re getting some ketchup,
that would be tomato sauce. The ground floor of a hotel
is the same as a first floor. So if you go up to one
here, that’s the equivalent of a second floor in most
other places not being Europe. And also, petrol is the same as gas. The other couple things
about pronunciation is, Greenwich, Greenwich
Mean Time, or Greenwich. It’s not Greenwich, it’s Greenwich. There’s a square that looks like it’s called Leicester Square, but it’s pronounced Leicester Square. And then the big famous church, that’s not Westminister, it’s Westminster. All right, so now you know some British English to get you around. The ninth thing to know before you go to London is about shopping. And good news for you. London has a lot of shopping. The mecca for shopping in London, it’s in the West End district, particularly on this
street, Oxford Street. Oxford Street has over 300 shops on it. It’s served by four
different Tube stations. The middle of it is
right at Oxford Circus. It is busiest Friday nights and Saturdays, when it seems like all of
London is out here shopping. And as you can see, I am
here on a Friday night, and it is quite busy, trying to make sure, I’m kinda looking side
to side of the camera to make sure I don’t hit
anybody as I’m walking, ’cause I’m sure they wouldn’t like that. The largest store on Oxford
Street is right here. It’s the Selfridges department store. It’s their flagship location, and this, it’s the second-largest store
in all of the United Kingdom. Lots of luxury goods inside. There’s a food hall, clean restrooms. Definitely check out Selfridges if you’re here on Oxford Street. Of course, no trip to London would be complete without a visit to Harrods. Harrods is London’s
biggest department store. They have over 300 departments. They employ 5,000 people. They’re located in Knightsbridge. It’s so ritzy, they have a dress code. You can’t wear shorts or flip flops. But no trip to London is complete without a visit to Harrods
if you are a true shopaholic. Now, while most shopping in London is definitely on shopping
streets like this, if it’s a particularly bad-weather day, you wanna go to an indoor mall, the Westfield shopping mall just outside of the center of London is
Europe’s largest shopping mall, also with over 300 stalls in that complex. Westfield shopping mall is good
’cause they have late hours. Many stores in Central London close by six or seven at night, but
the Westfield shopping mall, they are open till almost
10:00 p.m. every night. And the 10th thing to know before you go to London is about museums, and that is, many of the best
museums in London are free. The British Museum, London’s most visited, the second-most popular, most visited museum in the world, is free. The Tate Modern is free. They may ask for a small donation. And so if you’ve got a little extra money and you wanna donate to keep
the museum going, please do so. But do take advantage of
London’s many free museums. Speaking of free things,
I’ve got a whole other video about more free things to do in London. You can find the link to that
in the description below. But something to know that’s
not free in a lotta places in London are toilets,
often known as the loos. Those are gonna cost you money. Make sure you have some
change as you come around. Well, I hope you enjoyed this video. If you did, please consider subscribing. Click this yellow ball right here for new videos a couple times a week. Follow us Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, or watch one of our other
videos here or here. Click either of them. Link’s in the description below, too. All right, thanks, bye-bye.


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