Samuel Johnson said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.” Funny that, because I followed his footsteps from our hometown of Lichfield to London wondering why he betrayed our little-cobbled city. I guess when a woman is tired of London, she’s just tired of London…because it happens all the time to me.
Turns out London is big, bustling and beautiful. After a while, you grow to love it because it’s so connected and there’s always something going on.
1. Get on the bus to learn the city
If you’re struggling to know where the hell you are, hop on a bus and watch the city as you go. Get off, then get on the bus on the opposite side of the road and make your way back. When I first moved to London I used to go to work solely on the bus, which took me one hour, when the tube would’ve taken me 10 minutes. But I learned where everything was really quickly (and it was cheaper and I always had a seat!).
2. Avoid the tourist areas
Avoid Oxford Street. Avoid, avoid, avoid. Unless early morning weekday or middle of the day weekday. Similar tourist areas are a nightmare on weekends, most Londoners stick to areas that aren’t so crowded.
3. The overground is better than the underground
The overground is superior in that it has air conditioning, you get a bit of a view sometimes and you might even get a seat. The tube is good, but entirely frustrating at peak times. Around 9am you can expect to be squashed against the double doors.
4. Use the TFL website
Instead of walking around the tube station scratching your head, use the TFL journey planner to find out what tubes you need to use to get where you want to be. If you don’t know the nearest tube station check on Google maps and plan beforehand. You can also insure your travel cards!
5. Don’t wear heels
Even the most fashionable of women wear a pair of flats during the commute. That’s because you might have to walk an awful lot. If heels are essential to your outfit, bring them in a bag and change when you arrive. Standing still on the tube doesn’t help your feet either.
6. Find a good rooftop bar
A view of London is not hard to find. We love the Radio Rooftop Bar, but there are tons more dotted around London. Grab a cocktail, take it in and enjoy the view. You don’t need to pay for the London Eye.
7. Go see a museum
Take the time while you’re in London to do some of the free things like museums. You aren’t a Londoner until you’ve traipsed around the British Museum. My favorite is the Natural History Museum!
8. Use a weekday to go shopping (if possible!)
For example, Christmas shopping. The kind that requires you to actively visit stores. If you can do it on a weekday you are sorted. If you can’t get time off to go shopping (the life!), drive to a shopping center after work, like Brent Cross or Westfields. It’ll take you a while to get there because of after work traffic, but the shops will be empty.
9. You will not be able to sit outside of a pub after work
No matter how hot it is, no matter how early you leave, it just won’t happen. On the hotter days of summer, we couldn’t even sit outside a café at around 11am. There are lots of people who are better at saving outside seats.
10. Use contactless
Contactless cards are the way forward. Everything is paid for with contactless, and you can use the tube and public transport with your cards, too. It’s pretty futuristic if you ask us. And only takes a tap.
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