Tips and Tricks for those Visiting London for the First Time

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Visiting a new city can be daunting, so we’ve created a list of a few small tips and tricks for those visiting London for the first time, which are certain to make your trip that little bit smoother. 

Buy a travel card

For those visiting London for the day, it’s wise to purchase a day travelcard, which allows you unlimited use of all of the public transport services in the city. A 24-hour travelcard costs as little as £20 to £30 depending on where you are travelling from, whether you are travelling in peak or off-peak times, and whether you have a railcard. This is a great way to save money because it means that you can travel all over the city without having to pay for each tube journey individually! 

London overground train pulling into Canary Warf

Buses are your best friend

If you’re looking for an easy and inexpensive way to get around London, familiarise yourself with the bus system before setting off. The buses in London tend to come every eight to 12 minutes and cost a set rate of £1.65 per person per journey. Unlike the tube, London bus prices don’t increase when travelling in peak times and you can pay by tapping your contactless card or Apple Pay once onboard.

photo of a red london bus with big ben in the background

Book to visit the Sky Garden

While London is notoriously expensive, it is possible to see some of the city’s best-loved sights for free. One of the most popular free attractions is the Sky Garden, which is located on the top floor of  20 Fenchurch Street, also known as the Walkie Talkie. It is completely free to enter the Sky Garden, although tickets do need to be purchased in advance which can be done via the website. This viewpoint boasts immense scenery of London’s skyline, and features a chic bar and stylish interior. 

the view from the sky garden terrace

Visit food markets

Visiting some of London’s famous food markets is a great way to save a bit of money, and make sure that everybody is happy. Notable food markets include Borough Market and Camden Market, where there is a wide variety of different cuisines served, from sustainable Cypriot street food to Taiwanese bao buns. A food market is a brilliant place to try something new, plus it’s typically cheaper than restaurant dining. 

photo of some london street food

Bring a zip-up bag

While London is often romanticised, there are a range of scams that operate around the city. We recommend that you keep your wits about you, particularly in busy or touristy areas. Make sure you don’t walk while on your phone, and bring a bag that zips up to prevent pickpockets from targeting you. 

photo of a thief trying to steal a ladies purse from her bag

Research free walking tours

Much like other cities, there are a number of people born and raised in London who now lead free walking tours of the city. This is ideal for those travelling with a group, or those looking to budget while learning more about London. If you’d like to find out more about when and where these tours take place, visit this link

photo of a man stood with a union a jack umbrella saying 'free walking tours' on it

Download Citymapper

If you ask any Londoner whether they have Citymapper downloaded on their phone, it is highly likely that they do. This app provides users with live updates on travel restrictions, delays, and timetables, meaning that you can find the quickest route to any location with the click of a button. While it is wise to ensure that you understand the tube maps and bus system ahead of time, Citymapper makes this a whole lot easier. 

photo of a london sign post