Tourist in London: tips for first-timers

London is a huge, bustling city. A feast for the senses. A hub of multiculturalism. Never short of things to do or see.

As a first-time tourist in this great city, things can get a little overwhelming. But with a bit of inside information on your side, and some street savvy, you’ll be navigating the city with ease. Here are the AIRGO-FX top tips for London newbies.

  1. Make the most of free activities

Not all tourist attractions come with hefty prices. There are numerous free activities you can do in London - all you have to do is look! Most of the museums are free - including greats like the Saatchi Gallery, Natural History Museum and Science Museum - and they are all excellent. Hours of fun for adults and kids alike!

There are a plethora of beautiful parks and gardens, and on a warm day there’s nothing better than bringing a picnic and relaxing in the shade of a tree. Wander through the city’s vibrant markets, like Covent Garden or Camden, and savour cheese and fresh food at Borough Market.

  1. Have a pint in a British pub

To visit London without a trip to one of its many pubs would be something close to sacrilege. Brits are famous pub-goers and London has more than its fair share of public drinking houses. Grab a pint and enjoy the hazy ambience. To find one, simply walk down any street.

If we’re talking food, there are a great number of excellent gastro-pubs, where the food is taken as seriously as the beer. And if you want to go really authentic, enjoy some fish and chips or a Sunday roast; incomplete without gravy, spuds and Yorkshire pudding.

  1. Travelling around

With the oldest tube line in the world (the first of its kind opened in 1863), and a huge network of buses and trains, public transport is the best way to get around London. It’s easy, fast and (relatively) affordable. Some tube lines have also recently started running 24 hours, so coming back after a night out no longer requires forking out for over-priced cabs.

But don’t pay for endless tickets - invest in an Oyster Card and receive discounted prices for all your city travel. When you finish your trip, you can return your card and receive £5 back.

As for black cabs, while they may be an iconic London symbol, they’re extremely expensive and not the best way to get around.

TOP TIP: If possible, avoid travelling on the tube during rush hour, from 8-9am and 5-6pm.

  1. Be smart when exchanging foreign currency

When it comes to exchanging your foreign currency, it’s too easy as a tourist to get ripped off. Avoid changing currency at the airport, the post office or the bank. These may seem like the logical places to get currency, but they incur the most extortionate fees.

At ACE-FX we offer the most competitive exchange rates in the city. If you do find a better rate, come and show us and we guarantee to beat it!

  1. A foodies heaven

Misconceptions about London are common. When it comes to food, they are most definitely unfounded. Eating in London is not only a must, but often one of the absolute highlights of a trip to the city.

Any dish you can imagine, you will be able to find within the jumble of London; here exists a real A-Z of cuisine. Feast on dumplings and greasy Chinese noodles in Soho; enjoy a romantic dinner on the South Bank; dine on all-you-can-eat curry in Brick Lane. For a quick refuel, there are endless fresh sandwich shops and boutique cafes across the city.

Published date: 06/11/2018