London Travel Tips

Our TOP TIPS and FREE things to do in London

Tower Bridge in London
Tower Bridge in London

Want to make your visit to London even better. Then be sure to read all of our top London travel tips. Theres plenty of advice to make your trip more enjoyable and save you money.

Below you'll find our best tips for planning your trip to London — Tips on getting around, dining, things to do, hidden gems and free alternatives to some of the more expensive activities.

If you are arriving in London at Heathrow Airport, the Heathrow Express, in spite its name, may not get you into Central London much quicker than the Tube. That's because the Heathrow Express goes to Paddington Station and you'll still have to transfer to the Tube to get to Central London. You can read more on our Airport Transportation page.

The best way to get around London is on the Tube as you can get within walking distance of pretty much anywhere you need to go. Some London bus routes are good for sightseeing and even operate the old Routemaster buses.

The best way to pay your fare is to get an Oyster Card. It's convenient and your daily rate is capped at the same rate as a day pass.

For a less crowded journey try to plan riding the Tube (and buses) outside of the morning (7:30-9:30am) and afternoon (5:30-7:30pm) rush.

You'll do lots of walking in London so wear comfortable footwear.

Check the weather forecast before heading out. It can change rapidly and be quite inclement, so be sure to carry suitable clothing.

Be extra careful as a pedestrian, especially If you're from a country where traffic drives on the right-hand side, which is the majority of countries. You should always look both ways before crossing a street, but, in London it is extra important to look to your right as that is where the traffic will be coming from and it can catch you by surprise when you are not used to it.

Gratuities for meals in London are usually around 10 to 15%, but they are often added to the price of a meal automatically, so check your bill first.

London is an international city offering every type of cuisine imaginable, but, do try something really British such as fish and chips, bangers and mash, steak and kidney pie or roast beef with Yorkshire pudding. For something lighter you could enjoy afternoon tea and scones.

London is an expensive city, but your visit can actually be very inexpensive. There are world class museums galore and all of the public museums in London are free. Another very British thing you can see for free is the Changing of the Guards in front of Buckingham Palace and the Horse Guards Parade. Add the many historic landmarks, beautiful architecture and Royal Parks and you can easily enjoy your entire visit to London for just the price of food, accommodation and transportation and there are ways to keep those costs low as well.

Another free activity in London to enjoy is one of the free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church in Trafalgar Square which is also a must see. You may want to make a small donation though.

For a free alternative to visiting the Shard Viewing Gallery or the London Eye book a free visit to the Sky Garden — a unique landscaped garden with spectacular views from the top of London's newest skyscraper. You'll have to book this far in advance though. You can also make a reservation or try your luck as a walk-in at the SkyPod Bar in the same building where you can enjoy a light meal and a couple of cocktails with your stunning view for the same price as just the view at the Shard. Granted the view is not 360°, but it's still a fantastic view. The Sky Garden is located at 20 Fenchurch Street near Monument Tube Station and across the river from the Shard.

Some other great places to enjoy views of London are the top of Primrose Hill or Hampstead Heath.

If you'd like to take in a performance at one of London's theatres and aren't set on a specific show, you can get discounted tickets from various vendors around Leicester Square and Covent Garden.

Londoners are proud of their city and usually more than happy to help tourists with directions or advice. This includes the London Bobbies who are plentiful in the busy tourist areas. Good manners go a long way, so start out by saying something along the lines of "May I please ask you a question?" and you're likely to get an enthusiastic response.

You can save money on accommodations, by staying outside of Central London. Find something close to a Tube Station and you can still get into the city quickly. Check out some of our recommended hotels near the Tube.

Do check out our complete list of attractions and things to do in London before and or during your trip.

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