Boring but useful tips you should know before you go.
- The trains, tubes, Underground, whatever you want to call it, are super convenient. They run pretty often and all of the stations have tickers showing you when the next train will be arriving. The system is also very easy to understand, with large maps at each station indicating all of the stops along that line. You won’t even need Uber (or Gett, which is another popular ride app).
- Don’t forget to tap in/tap out with the Oyster Card. It’s the card that’s used for all public transportation. You load money on it, and the fare is calculated according to which zone you got on and off. If you forget to tap in, it will automatically charge you the max fare when you tap out.
- Take the Thames Link from the airport. Especially if you’re in a group – you can get a group discounts. For our group of four, we paid about £21. Separately, it would have cost £8 per ticket. You can buy the tickets at the airport.
- The London Pass might not be worth it for you. It’s pretty pricey and it’s not flexible. You have the option of buying a one, two, three, six, or ten day pass, but if you buy a multi-day pass, you must use the pass on consecutive days. The site says that you have access to over 80 attractions/tours, but chances are, a lot of these won’t appeal to you or will be too out of the way. The main ones you’d want to check out are probably the hop on/hop off tour, Thames River Cruise, Windsor Castle, Westminster Abbey, and Tower Bridge. We bought the 6-day but we didn’t plan it out very well, due to day trips outside of London we wanted to take, so we lost out on a couple of days. Plus, a lot of the attractions close at 5 pm, so there’s only so much you can pack into one day.
- Customs will take about 40 minutes on a Saturday. It’s not the best, but it’s not the worst either.
- You do need to tip in London. It’s typically about 10-15% but a lot of restaurants automatically add a 12.5% service charge, so make sure you double check the bill.