London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. But there are some things not to do in London, and you should know them before visiting this fabulous city.
There are many things to see and do in London. But some huge mistakes could ruin your vacation, so here are some tips on what NOT to do in London as a tourist.
I visited London for the first time in 2011, then moved here in 2013 (so you know how much I fell in love with this city).
I, unfortunately, made some of the mistakes I listed below while visiting London. But I learned from them, so I am sure this list will help you make your London travel a success that you will remember forever.
Save this article full of tips for traveling to London for the first time and plan the best trip of your life in the English capital.
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Hi! I’m Valentina,
I help people plan the most organized trip of their life by providing all the necessary information and tips. Be part of my FREE VIP AREA to receive weekly travel discounts, itineraries, packing checklists, and more.
Avoid these common mistakes to make the most of your visit! Knowing what to avoid when exploring this bustling city is always helpful whether you're a first-time or frequent visitor. Keep reading to discover the top mistakes to avoid in London.
So please sit back, relax, and let me take you on a tour of all those mistakes that could ruin your holiday in London...
89 London Traveler Mistakes to Avoid on Your Trip
If you like this article, feel free to comment below and share it with your friends; maybe someone you know is planning to visit London.
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This article is divided into these sections below:
LET’S DIVE RIGHT IN...
Planning a trip to London
Here are all the mistakes first-time travelers usually make when planning a trip to London.
1. Don't forget to plan a more significant budget:
If you are wondering what to avoid in London, one of the worst London travel mistakes is visiting it without enough money.
London is very expensive for tourists (and also for locals). There are too many places to visit and too many activities to do.
If your budget is tight, follow all my advice in " Tips to Visit London on a Budget" and save more money than you think you need to explore this wonderful city.
CHECK OUT LONDON ACTIVITIES DISCOUNTS:
Book in advance to save money and time.
You won't regret it!
2. Don't plan to stay only for a weekend:
Unless this won't be your first time in London (many people come back to feel the city, party and do some shopping), try to stay at least one week if you can. Two weeks would be even better, in my opinion.
London is a big city. There are too many places to see, and the distances are considerable (even if public transport is fast).
3. Don't think there are only expensive Hotels in the city center:
There are some beautiful hotels on a budget and very affordable Hostels where to stay in the middle of the action and save money. Just make sure to book yours in advance. Budget accommodations in Londo go sold out pretty fast.
4. Don’t book accommodation in zone 6 to save money:
Staying in the city center (zone 1 and 2) will allow you to be right in the middle of the action. You won't have to spend too much time using public transport because you can walk around.
If you go out at night, I advise hiring a cab to return home. London is relatively safe during the day, but don't risk it at night if you are a solo female traveler visiting London.
Call an Uber and get home safely.
Travel Tip: As soon as you book your next adventure, buy good travel insurance in case you need to "unfortunately" delay, extend or cancel your trip. I recommend VisitorsCoverage for short trips and SafetyWing to stay longer than a month.
5. Don't forget to check the safety of an area before booking your accommodation:
Many of my friends asked me if London is dangerous and if London is safe for tourists. Bad things happen everywhere, and you must know which areas of London to avoid.
One of the mistakes that can ruin your trip to London is booking accommodation in a not-so-safe area.
The most dangerous neighborhoods in London are:
Hammersmith and Fulham
Kensington and Chelsea
You are probably wondering how Camden, Kensington, Chelsea, and Westminster can be among the most dangerous neighborhood in London. They are famous and full of hotels, restaurants/pubs, and clubs.
If traveling with our family, check out how to visit London with kids to make the most of your time in the big capital.
NEED SOME LONDON TIPS?
Check out “The Ultimate London Travel Guide“ and read all my articles.
6. don’t forget to research how to get to your hotel:
Researching how to reach your hotel in London from the airport is something you have to check even before booking your accommodation.
Look for a hotel/apartment you can easily reach without changing too many tube lines and buses. And remember that many tube stations don't have an elevator/lift.
7. Don't avoid booking an airport transfer:
Booking a private transfer to reach your accommodation from any London airport is an excellent way to save time and energy if you don't travel on a budget.
Remember that if you are in 3 or 4 people, it is also cheaper than a coach or train.
Check here for the best airport transfers in London. Book it in advance and save money!
I also wrote an article, "How to Plan Your First Trip to London," where you will find all the tips and info to plan the best vacation.
8. don’t forget to plan for jet lag:
One of the things to avoid when traveling to London is to forget you might have jet lag. Most people must fly for many hours to visit London (unless you come from Europe).
Remember that you will be tired and feel all the annoying jet lag symptoms, so take it easy on your first days in London.
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9. don't forget to book a day trip outside of London:
If you plan to stay in London for more than a week, remember that there are so many beautiful places outside of London, like Stonehenge, Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury, and Bath; they are worth visiting if you have time.
Travel Tips: I advise you to book a tour where you can see more places on the same day. When I first came to London on holiday, I did one of them. I went on the same day to visit Windsor Castle, Stonehenge, and Oxford. That is a perfect way to invest money and save time at the same time.
Click here to see all the tours available, book one in advance, and save money.
10. Don't book a day trip to Paris just because there is a direct train:
I wanted to do it once because many people started to say that you can go to Paris for a day trip and how fantastic it would be to go to Paris in the morning and return in the evening. But it took me 4,5 hours to go from my workplace to Paris, meanings 9 hours of travel in a day.
Absolutely no! I went o Paris from London with Eurostar for a weekend, which was great because I went there for two days. Otherwise, it could have been my most tiering day trip!
11. Don't think that it is impossible to visit London on a Budget:
It is possible to visit London on a budget. I know because the first time I visited London, I spent 2 weeks exploring the city and did it on a budget.
Follow all my tips and tricks; you will love this magical city without breaking the bank.
European Travel Alert!
If you don't have a Europe passport, from November 2023, you must complete an ETIAS visa waiver form before your trip and pay the €7 ($7.25) fees. This easy-to-complete form should give you instant approval, but it's recommended that travelers plan and submit their documents a few weeks in advance of their departure date.
Once you are in London
12. Don't exchange money in London:
In London, you can pay by card almost everywhere.
I never change my money abroad. I always use my Revolut Card. It is a prepaid card that you can top up anytime from your phone (There is a beautiful app for it).
Travel Tip: The Revolut app offers many discounts and cashback in London's shops, cafes and restaurants, so it'a a good way to save money
13. Don't plan to see only the most touristic places:
I know there are some famous places in London that you cannot miss visiting, like Big Ben, Buckingham Palace, etc., but London is more than that! And this is a mistake tourists always make in London.
There are many beautiful places to discover, like hidden gems, parks, shops, and much more. If you are confused about what to see and do, check out my 23 Top Sightseeing Tours to Explore London.
14. Don't forget there are Free Museums to visit:
Most of the principal museums in London are free to visit, so if you love art and culture, add them to your itinerary:
Natural History Museum
Victoria and Albert Museum
Museum of London
National Maritime Musem
Imperial War Museum
National Portrait Gallery
Camden Art Center
Sir John Soane's Museum
Bank of England Museum
Museum of London Docklands
Royal Air Force Museum London
V&A Museum of Childhood
National Army Museum
Grant Museum of Zoology
Royal Academy of Music Museum
So don't forget to add them to your itinerary just because you want to save money; they are free.
15. Don't forget to look right before looking left:
This is the United Kingdom, so cars come first from the right and then from the left when crossing the road. Not looking in the right direction when crossing the road is one of those things that could ruin your trip to London.
Check the floor before crossing the road; it is written where you have to look first. I always look at both sides, just in case.
16. Don’t stand in the middle of the pavement:
When visiting London, don't forget you are a tourist in a big city where people live, work and spend between 2 to 3 hours a day commuting.
Respect that people must get to work or run back home, and you and your friends are standing in the middle, blocking the passage.
17. Don’t think you can pay by cash everywhere:
This is one of the mistakes to never make in London, never leave your accommodation without your debit/credit card. In some country is the opposite; most shops don't accept card payments, but London is different.
In London, some shops ONLY accept card payments, so always have your card with you.
Travel Tip: If you arrive in London too early for your check-in or your departure time is too many hours after your check-out, and you need a place to store your luggage, check out Radical Storage in London, a website that shows you all the safe places to keep your bags while still exploring London.
18. Don’t forget to plan a suitable itinerary:
Don't plan a good London travel itinerary is one of the worst London travel mistakes. London is a vast city, so you must plan a good itinerary. You need to know where you want to go and which area of the city you wish to visit.
Having an itinerary is also an excellent way to see everything you wish and avoid forgetting to see something essential for you.
19. Don't over-plan:
Distances in London are more significant than you think. Places are busier than you could imagine, and you will walk so much that your legs implore you to stop at the end of each day.
Avoid planning to see places located on opposite sides of the city, like being in the morning in Canary Wharf and visiting Richmond in the afternoon.
I advise you to plan wisely and finish your exploring around 4 pm. This way, you can return to your accommodation for a shower and rest before getting ready for dinner.
20. Don't plan too much for your first day:
You will arrive tired after the flight (maybe you woke up mid-night to get to the airport or had to fly for more than five hours to get to London).
It can take up to 5 hours for you to go from the airplane to be ready to explore from your accommodation.
21. Don't forget to purchase everything in advance:
Some people hate to purchase tickets in advance because they think it will cost them more. This is far from the truth most of the time, and it is one common mistake London tourists always make before coming to London.
Buying your skip-the-line tickets in advance will guarantee you a fast entrance instead of spending 1 hour or more in a line waiting to see an attraction. Imagine if you want to see three attractions that day.
Want to check out prices and availability for London attractions and activities?
If you are looking for some London top attractions bundle to save money and visit your favorite London spots, these are the best ones and most popular:
London City Card: a discounted London combined ticket to visit the Tower of London, the London Eye, 24-hour hop-on hop-off, and audio guide app: the Royal London walking tour, plus an additional 10% discount on any other attractions tickets. Click here to check prices and availabilities.
London Eye and Madame Tussauds London combined ticket: if you want to go for a ride to the famous London panoramic wheel and see life-size wax replicas of celebrities & historic icons. Click here to check prices and availabilities.
Tower of London + The Shard: a London combined ticket to see the Crown Jewels of London and enjoy a fantastic London city view from the highest London point. Click here to check prices and availabilities.
22. Don’t spend too much time in Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus:
You have probably heard of the famous Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus, where everyone goes. Well, spending too much time in these places is a big mistake to avoid in London.
Do yourself a favor and don't spend too much time there. They are just tourist places, always very crowded, and all the shops and restaurants are tourist traps.
23. Don’t underestimate the walking distance:
On the map, London seems small, like any city map. London is huge, and to go from A to B, might take hours sometimes. Plan and do your research to find out what is your best option to get to a place.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT LONDON?
Check out “The Complete London Travel Guide“ and read all the articles I wrote about it.
24. Don't plan to see sights in different areas on the same day:
The best way to explore London (and any other big city) is to divide the city into areas and focus on one of them each day.
This way, you get to that area (by Bus or Tube), walk around and explore everything the area offers.
Example: I live in zone 4 and work in zone 1. A weekly pass zone 1 to 4 costs £50.50. But I know that I have to go from my area Tube Station to my work Tube Station and then return for five days. So I "pay as you go" and it only costs me £28.50 per week.
Doing this saves me £22 every week (at the end of the year, it's a lot of money).
25. Don’t try to see all the top attractions:
London has so many attractions to see that, trust me, it adds up. You could quickly spend up to £300 on attractions you might not even care to visit.
Check all the attractions available here, see prices, and book only what you can't miss visiting.
26. Don’t think the weather won’t change throughout the day:
London weather is crazy. It might be sunny in Camden Town and raining in Westminster simultaneously.
You might leave home with heavy rain, but it could be sunny and warm around lunchtime. So avoid one of the worst travel mistakes tourists make in London and always check the weather forecast and bring an umbrella with you.
27. Check the weather forecast before leaving your hotel:
The weather forecast is pretty accurate in London, I usually check the BBC weather website, so I know how to dress up before leaving home.
28. Don't plan too much on Sunday morning:
Many road and train lines maintenance works are done on Sunday morning because most Londoners are home sleeping, so I highly advise you not to book a flight or an activity on Sunday morning.
29. Don't forget this is a multicultural city:
As an Italian speaker, I would be rich if I got a penny whenever Italian people talk about their private things on the Tube.
London is a multicultural city. More than 250 languages are spoken here, so if you have to say something about someone next to you or tell your friend an intimate secret, please don't do it in public.
There is a high chance that someone will understand you.
30. Don't confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge:
I never understood why many people call London Bridge the Tower Bridge. They are two completely different bridges.
The Tower Bridge has two enormous towers on each side, and the London Bridge is just a simple flat bridge.
31. Don’t only visit the central area:
London's central area is zone 1 on the tube map. Most attractions are in Zone 1, but many other beautiful places are in Zone 2 or 3, so don't get stuck in the city center; go and explore.
Do your research and plan what you wish to see; I can guarantee there is much more than Zone 1 in London.
32. Don’t visit famous tourist traps if on a budget:
London is full of attractions made for tourists, like Shrek Adventure, Madam Tussauds, the London Eye, and Sherlock Holmes Museum.
You can visit them, if you want to, I would NEVER tell you what to see or not, keep in mind that they are expensive and not a real London attraction. They have been made for tourists.
33. Don’t pay for the shard view if on a budget:
The Shard is a very famous skyscraper. I have been there for dinner a couple of times (if you book a window table on the north side is pretty amazing at sunset), but it is expensive.
If visiting The Shard is one of your dreams and you cannot wait to enjoy a good glass of Champagne on the top of London having a romantic moment with your loved one, click here to see prices and availabilities.
34. Don’t miss the free city viewpoints:
There are many places where you can enjoy a free view of the city. After all, London has plenty of tall buildings.
Some of the best free views of London:
One New Change's sixth-floor roof terrace next to St Paul's Cathedral
Sushi Samba (it's a bar and restaurant, but if you dress up smart, you can say at the entrance you want to go up for a drink, enjoy the view and then get out without drinking anything).
Click here to book your free Sky Garden ticket. You can book it up to 1 month in advance; new dates and times are usually released on Monday morning. Don't wait too long, it gets sold out pretty fast.
35. Don’t waste hours waiting in lines to see top attractions:
London has so many attractions that you could spend half of your vacation in line. I'm not joking. So decide what you want to see and book all your tickets in advance here.
36. Don’t think you can visit a museum in only one hour:
London museums are so big; you can spend a whole day in one of them. I recommend visiting one museum a day, to don't spend too much time indoors.
How to move around London
37. Don't Ride a Bike in London:
I know many people advise renting a bike to visit London. Yes, it would be a fantastic experience, maybe during the Covid lockdown, but not on a typical day.
London traffic is crazy, and you don't know the streets. You have no idea how many cyclists die every year in London.
38. Don't take the Tube to move by one stop:
Many Tube Stations look very far from each other on the Tube Map but remember that what you see on the map is not how it is in reality.
I read an article that says tourists waste millions of pounds yearly to ride the Tube for 1 stop when they could walk for 5 minutes.
Download Citymapper, the best free app to move around London.
39. Don’t use black cabs to go everywhere:
Black cabs are fabulous and one of the symbols of London, but they are expensive. The Tube is cheaper and faster.
40. Don’t think your daily trip will go smoothly:
London roads are always under renovation or maintenance, London traffic is crazy, and there are always some problems with tube trains.
If you have to be somewhere at a particular time, leave your accommodation in advance and always check the best and fastest way to get there on Citymapper.
41. Don’t use google maps in London:
Unfortunately, Google Maps is not very accurate in London, it doesn't tell you how much will cost your journey to your destination and doesn't let you know if a tube line is not working.
Every Londoner uses Citymapper, it is the best app to use to move around by walking, bus, tube, and train.
42. Don’t ignore the signs in London:
Everywhere in London, there are signs to show tourists the attraction directions, and at every corner, you will find a map of the area you are in, so you cannot get lost.
Also, after every tube station gate, there are indications of all the exits available with the attractions nearby.
43. Don’t rely on the underground:
Depending on the time of the day, London tube trains can be so crowded you have to wait for more than 1 train to get on board (remember, there is a train almost every 2 minutes). Also, different reasons sometimes cause some delays, so always leave earlier.
Do you want to see everything London has to offer and save time and money at the same time?
Check here all the activities and tours available. You won't regret it!
44. Don't form a wall with your friends while walking on the pavement:
Walking with your friend and standing together in the same line can be nice while exploring the city (I used to do it all the time when I was young).
Still, you are not the only person going somewhere. You cannot force others to risk their lives by walking in the street just because you form a wall and no one else can overtake you.
45. Don't stop in the middle of a walkway:
London is a bustling city, and you will notice that people don't walk in a relaxing way (only tourists do it), and you could end up being pushed or getting the devil's eye from locals by stooping in the middle of the pavement with your friends.
Londoners run; we always have a place to be; we have to spend an average of 1 hour going from home to work, so we try to do it in the fastest possible way. So please, don't stop right in the middle; thank you.
46. Don't avoid public transport:
I often hear that tourists who live in small cities are scared to use public transport like the Tube (Metro in London) because they are scared to get lost. London tube network is easier than you think to understand.
My mom is 64, she doesn't know a single word of English, and she spends her time hiking mountains instead of in the city. But as soon as I explained how to use the Tube network, she took me around like a local.
So you can do it, too; grab a tube map from one of the tube stations and follow the direction signs.
Travel Tip: if you want to move around London by bus, use the app City mapper to see the best option to go from A to B, and it will also tell you when to get off the bus in real-time. Just leave the GPS on.
47. Don't buy a day travel card:
There is no need to buy a day travel card. Get an Oyster Card and top it up with the money you know you will spend or a weekly pass. You will save a lot of money.
Travel Tip: you can purchase an Oyster Card at any Tube Station for £5 that you can get back before leaving the city just by returning it. You can also get back the money left on the card up to £10.
48. Don’t buy an individual ticket for the tube:
By buying individual tickets for the tube, you will spend more than paying with an Oyster Card.
The bus fare is £1,75, where you can have unlimited bus and tram journeys within one hour of first touching, and the maximum you can spend a day is £5.25 (after this amount, you will travel for free).
The fare for the Tube depends on the zone you are traveling, and the daily caps are:
zone 1: £8.10
zone 1 and 2: £8.10
zone 1, 2, and 3: £9.60
zone 1,2,3, and 4: £11.70
That means you can top up your Oyster card with as much money as you wish, and you will never be charged more than the daily cap.
49. Don't Forget You Can Use the Oyster Card Also on Trains:
Oyster Cards are for Buses, every Tube line, Overground, Trains inside London, the DLR, and the Tram in south London.
You can also use the Oyster Card to pay for the Emirates Cables Car. It is not included in the weekly pass, but if you top it up to move around London, you can pay with it.
50. Don't forget to tap your Oyster card when you get in and out of a Tube Station:
Most Tube Stations have gates to enter and exit, so if you don't tap your Oyster Card, you won't be able to get in or out.
But some of them might have the gates open for maintenance, or some overground stations, don't have gates at all. So if you catch the Tube and forget to tap in or out, you will be charged as a daily pass, which is £14.90.
51. Don't stand too close to the edge of the platform:
Unfortunately, someone falls from the tube station platform daily or gets pushed (by mistake or not). Always wait for your train by standing near the wall.
During peak time, tube station platforms get so overcrowded that you cannot even move up and down the platform.
52. Don't travel during peak time:
Peak time in London goes from Monday to Friday (not public holidays) between 6.30 am to 9.30 am and, from 4.00 pm to 7.00 pm. Avoid traveling during these times of the day if you can.
It is when Londoners go to work and when they go back home, so I highly advise you not to travel during these times. Buses and Tube lines can be so crowded you will feel like a sardine inside a can.
Travel Tip: Get out of your accommodation after 9 am and go back to rest before 4 pm, so you will have time to shower and rest before going out for dinner or see a Musical while the rest of London is stuck inside a train.
53. Don't stand on the left side of the escalator:
The first rule of the escalator on the London Tube is "stay on the right side." The left side is for people in a rush or who don't want to stand still while waiting to get to the end of it.
Please don't put your luggage on the left side; keep it at your back (so it will be easier to get off the escalator and avoid falling on it), and let the left side free.
Travel Tip: some Tube Stations have an elevator, so look for the " lift " sign. Getting on an escalator with a big suitcase can be dangerous.
54. Don't forget you cannot pay by cash on the bus:
It is not possible anymore to pay by cash on the bus. You will need an Oyster Card, or you can use your contactless debit/credit card.
PLAN YOUR VACATION TO LONDON
Check out all my articles in the "London Travel Guide" and get all the information you need to make your next travel a reality.
55. Don't forget there is no phone service on the tube:
It would be awesome to have a phone network on the tube, but unfortunately, there is none.
But there is free Wi-Fi in every tube station and on the platforms.
56. Don’t pay for touristy boat trips if you are on a budget:
Taking a boat trip along the Thames can be a good experience if there is a sunny day and you wish to take some stunning pictures of London from the river. Otherwise, they are too expensive.
If you only need to go (for example) from Westminster to Greenwich, you can easily use your Oyster Card to pay the cheapest price on the regular ferries.
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Eating out in London
57. Don't forget to research where to eat:
Lunch and dinner in London can be costly if you don't know where to eat. Avoid tourist traps where you will pay double the price, and the food won't be exceptional.
Do your research and know where to eat in every area you will explore.
58. Don’t think English food is terrible as they say:
English food is delicious. It is mainly full of meat and veggies, and most sauces are made with beer, so how can it not be good?
My favorite English foods are:
Meat pies (my favorite one is chicken, bacon, and leeks)
Chicken Tikka Masala (it was invented in London, not in India, did you know it?)
A Delicious Afternoon Tea
The Eaton Mess
59. Don't eat only at the Pub:
I love London pubs; the atmosphere and the food are mostly excellent, but London restaurants are not only pubs.
There are so many places where you can eat. Research and plan your travel in the best possible way.
You won't regret it.
60. Don’t expect table service in pubs:
Pubs are not restaurants. You will find the menu at the table to choose what to order, and then you will have to go to the bar counter to order your meal and drinks (don't forget to check your table number, it is written on the table).
61. Don't think that British food is only fish and chips:
I think fish and chips is a delicious meal, the fish is soft on the inside but crunchy on the outside, they give you mushy peas and chips with it, but hey, British food is not only this.
There are so many other great and delicious choices:
Bangers and Mash (sausages and mashed potatoes with delicious gravy),
Jugged (can be a game animal stew or fish cooked in a casserole with veggies),
Toad in the hole (meat or sausages cooked in batter),
Scotch eggs (absolutely to try because they are delicious, even better when warm).
Give it a try; you will love it. British food is a bit heavy, but you will walk all day, so don't worry; you will digest everything in a couple of hours (hopefully).
62. Don’t eat fish and chips in a pub:
You can find good fish and chips in most pubs, but the best places to eat authentic fish and chips are Fish & Chips Shops because they are specialized in them.
Nowadays, you can find it not only made with cod but also with halibut and hake.
The best places to eat fish and chips in London are:
Poppies (in Spitalfield, Camden, and Soho)
63. Don't be afraid to try different cuisines:
In London, you can eat everything you want and find every possible cuisine from all over the world. Don't be afraid to try them.
You can eat Korean for lunch and Persian for dinner, Mexican, Peruvian, Italian, Turkish, Ethiopian (I love it), Japanese, Chinese, French, Hungarian, etc.
I can go on and name every country in the world. So give it a try.
64. Don't eat in Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus:
Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square are the most tourist areas in London. Everything is overpriced there, so avoid it at all costs.
There are so many lovely places to have a better meal nearby at the most affordable price.
65. Don’t eat only in restaurants:
Restaurants in London are excellent, but when exploring the city, mostly at lunchtime, there are so many incredible local food markets and halls where you can eat everything your belly is craving.
The Best Food Markets in London are Borough Market, Bang Bang Oriental, Broadway Market, Camden Market, and Greenwich Market.
Drinking in London
66. Don't drink coffee at big coffee chains:
If you are a coffee lover like me and want to drink delicious coffee, avoid big coffee chains on the main roads that sell mediocre coffee that become drinkable only if you add tons of sugar or syrup.
Try some more local and independent coffee shops on secondary roads instead. The coffee there is most of the time delicious, like in Italy. And you will also help a small business instead of giving money to a big company.
67. Don’t forget there is a 12.5% service charge included in your bill:
You don't need to give any tips when in London. You will see a fee of 12.5% extra to pay on your bill, which is the service charge that goes to the employees' pockets.
Remember that according to Uk law, the service charge added by a restaurant is entirely optional.
If you are unhappy with the service, you can ask it to be removed and leave as much tip as you wish.
68. Don’t order an imported beer. Drink local beers:
English beer is delicious, and many London breweries make tasty beer you can find in pubs or supermarkets, so drink them instead of an imported beer you can easily find at home.
If you don't know which beer to order, ask the bartender for some advice. This is how I do when I fancy a beer. I'm not a big beer drinker. I prefer wine, but when in a pub, I always ask for advice on beer to order.
69. Don’t underestimate how strong English Ales are:
English beers are usually dark brown and contain between 4% and 6% alcohol by volume. They tend to be bitter and hoppy.
England serves beer in a more oversized glass than in America or other countries. A pint volume is 90 ml, so you might get drunk faster.
70. Don’t forget to take advantage of happy hours:
There are plenty of bars that offer a Happy Hour discount. If you are on a budget, you should go for a drink between 5.00 to 7.00 pm.
71. Don't forget to bring with you an ID card:
If you plan to go out at night to spend some time in a pub or club, don't forget to bring with you your ID card. Securities might ask for it even if you are in your forties (take it as a compliment).
Shopping in London
72. Don't shop in Oxford Street or Regent's Street:
Oxford Street and Regent's Street are so overcrowded in the afternoon and during weekends, with tourists that think they are the best shopping streets, that you won't enjoy your shopping time.
You can find the same shops in other areas of London where you will shop peacefully, far from the crowds. Look for them on Google.
73. Don’t go shopping on the weekends:
Shopping on weekends is one of those things to avoid in London if you visit it as a tourist.
You are on holiday in London, after all, so you can go shopping every day of the week. Please avoid doing it over the weekend when also Londoners are doing it.
Shops can get so crowded you won't enjoy the shopping in London you dreamed about.
The best time to have all the shops empty for you, to shop in peace, is from Monday to Friday in the morning when Londoners are at work.
74. Don’t only shop at big chains and famous shops:
London has so many independent shops where to find little treasures that if you shop only at big chains, you will make a big mistake.
75. Don’t forget there are many outlets in London:
If you want to buy some world-leading fashion and lifestyle brands at extraordinary prices, you should check out some Outlets in London.
Here are the most famous London Designer Outlets:
London Designer Outlet Wembley: my favorite because not too far from where I live. Here I buy all my GUESS and Kurt Geiger clothes and shoes
TK MAXX: From beauty and fashion to homeware and food gifts, here you can find luxury articles at an affordable price
The Box: in Hackney, you can access their incredible pop-up sample sales and retail events from luxury labels and famous fashion designers
ICON Outlet at the O2: incredible fashion brands and lifestyle items
Simple etiquette and misconceptions
75. If meeting with a British person, don't be late:
British people are very on time and don't like when someone is late, so keep it in mind if you have to meet someone.
76. Don't try to touch the King's Guards:
This is absolutely one of those things not to do in London! Taking a picture standing next to a King's guard is fine, but don't try to get too close.
And please, never try to touch them. They are very silent but you don't want to hear them shouting at you in front of everyone because they will do it if they have to. They are guards, not a tourist attraction.
77. Don’t make the opposite of the peace sign:
Making the opposite of the peace sign is one of those things to avoid doing in the United Kingdom.
I did it once when I moved to London. I was taking a picture with my colleagues. I had no idea it meant a very different thing (f--- off). So please don't do it!
78. Don’t think Londoners are rude:
I heard tourists saying that Londoners are rude, but that is far from the truth.
If you need some indications, don't stop someone on the street that might be late for work, just you enter a shop or stop a police officer. I can guarantee they will be pleased to help you if they have the time.
79. Don’t think London is England:
London is a big metropolis, and the people who live here (like me) come from every country.
So if you wish to see real England, you should visit some minor cities outside the capital. My favorite ones are Cambridge, Oxford, and Canterbury.
80. Don't skip the queue:
English people are very rigid about it, and they are right. If there is a queue, you must join it and wait like anybody else.
Don't even try to skip the line and pass in front of everyone (unless you got a skip-the-queue ticket, of course); otherwise, you will hear from them.
DO YOU WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT LONDON?
Check out “The Complete Guide of London“ and read all my articles.
81. English people call things differently from Americans:
If you come from America, you have to know that English people call some things differently from you.
For example, in England, a jumper is a woolen pullover to wear in winter, not someone who committed suicide by jumping from a building.
Rubber is not a condom but an eraser for a pencil; the first floor is the floor above the ground and not the ground floor of a building.
Blinkers are not car indicators but flaps attached to a racehorse, soccer is called football, and trainers don't make you work out at the gym, but they are sneakers.
A casket is a jewelry box and not a coffin, the toilet is called the loo, and gravy is a thick brown sauce served with meat. If an English friend gives you a ring when they get home, they will call you to let you know they got home safely.
A fancy dress is an informal party outfit when you want to look like a well-known person and not a formal party outfit, while a boot is not a type of footwear but the trunk of a car.
A flapjack is a trendy oatmeal snack, not a pancake, and a biscuit is a delicious and sweet baked treat to eat with tea or coffee.
A geezer is not an old man but a gang member, a purse is a wallet, and a handbag is a purse. I live in a flat, while you guys live in an apartment.
When you hear the word "homely," it doesn't mean someone ugly, but it describes a comfy home. To go upstairs, English people take the lift, not the elevator, and the trolley is the shopping cart to shop at the supermarket.
Pants are underwear, not trousers; the shag is not a type of carpet but means having sex.
Crisps are thin-cut, deep-fried, packed potatoes, while chips are your fries.
If you know any other words called differently in English, please comment below and let me know if I missed anything!
82. Don’t forget to respect the locals:
I know you are on holiday but remember that people live and work in London, so be nice and respect other people's jobs.
83. Don’t be too loud in public:
I see this happening so often, you have no idea. Please, don't start to speak too loud and shout in the middle of the street. I'm pretty sure you don't want to have everybody around looking at you like you are crazy.
84. Don’t use the tube like a tourist:
This is one of the biggest mistakes to avoid to do in London. Follow the signs and the rules, and do as locals do.
The tube is not your private transport in London. Step aside when the doors open and let people get off the train before you get on. Don't be too loud; leave a seat available for disabled or pregnant women.
85. Don’t wear a backpack on the tube or a bus:
This very annoying thing happened to me last Saturday.
I was on a pretty crowded train when a man wearing a big backpack stopped behind me and started moving his body from right to left and from left to right, pushing my back every ten seconds with his backpack. t was pretty annoying, so please, on public transport, remove your backpack and avoid hurting people.
86. Don’t make fun of the Royal family:
English people love the Royal family, so please avoid at all costs to make fun of them while in the United Kingdom, especially in London.
87. Don’t stare at people on the tube:
Staring at people on public transport can be a big mistake in London.
Someone could take it as sexual harassment; unfortunately, someone else could take it as an invitation to follow you. So keep your eyes down, play with your phone, read the free metro newspaper, and mind your business.
88. Don’t forget to say sorry:
English people are so polite you will be surprised. If they barely touch you by mistake, they will promptly tell you, "I'm sorry."
So if you touch someone in the street or in public transport, don't forget to say sorry.
On your way back home
89. Don’t think you have seen everything in London:
London is such a big city with so many beautiful places to see and things to do that you could not do everything, even if you lived here.
I know that because I still want to do so many things after so many years in London.
My final thoughts about mistakes to avoid in London:
London is a beautiful city that deserves to be visited at least once in a lifetime. If you plan your next dream vacation in London, all my articles will help you plan the best and super-organized trip.
These I wrote above are mistakes most tourists make on their first visit to London. I made some of them, too, at the beginning. But you found this great list of things not to do in London, so follow my advice and be a good traveler.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to comment below.
More travel resources:
Learn all the tips & info before visiting London by checking my “The Complete London Travel Guide“ as well as these popular articles:
BOOK YOUR TRIP TO LONDON: My Personal Tips & Tricks
Book your Flight to London
Book your Accommodation in London
Never forget good Travel Insurance:
You are covered against illness, theft, injury, and any cancellations by purchasing good Travel insurance. Never start your travel without one. I usually buy mine on VisitorsCoverage for short trips and SafetyWing for longer trips.
Activities in London:
Ticketmaster is to book gigs, musicals, and more.
To explore London by yourself, We Go