Welcome to our Living in London series. We are going to tell you the best ways to enjoy our beautiful city. These are tips and hacks written by us, that we use, and we know are great. This week we are telling you about things you should know about London.
The tube really is the lifeblood of London. But if you’re from the South of the river you are likely more au fait with the train. South London is as much a part of London as anywhere else. Just because of the tube map and lack of stations many people forget it’s there. Don’t be one of those people. The train is much more spacious and enjoyable than the tube anyway (Yes, I live in South London).
Londoners call the underground, the tube. The metro is a word for underground systems in other cities and it is NEVER called the subway. The tube isn’t as quick as you think it is either, dear reader, as it depends on the line you’re getting and where you’re going. The Jubilee and Central lines are probably the fastest for getting into central London.
Remember to stand on the right when you take the escalators. I have seen people screamed at for not following this. Londoners are in a rush, and you will be yelled at if you slow someone down. No one will think this is unusual either. When you get to the tube remember to stand to the side to let people off first. You have plenty of time and there’s no need to rush on, you’ll just annoy everyone who is trying to get off.
Ahh Londoners are a mixed bunch. Many Londoners have families and roots in other parts of the world. We are very accepting here, and multiculturalism and diversity is what makes our city great. London is open to all but remember you must also be tolerant to everyone. We can learn more from accepting each other than judging each other.
Overall most people think Londoners are unfriendly, non-plussed and aloof, but it’s not true. We are just trying to get to somewhere. We just don’t have time to stop and deal with everything we see, or even react. We can’t stop and say hello to everyone because there are 8 to 12 million of us. That said, do not try to start a conversation on the tube with a stranger. That is weird and people will not appreciate it. Go to a language exchange for that.
I haven’t checked but the average Londoner’s walking speed is about half the speed of light. Get. Out. Of. The. Way. it’s probably because we’re late… because of tube strikes or delays!
London is divided into multiple zones. First you have the 32 boroughs and then, more importantly, the travelcard zones. If you don’t know where someone is from (Where is Selhurst? Or Meridian Water? Orpington… what?) You can just ask them what zone that is and that will be enough to at least kind of orientate you.
Speaking of travelcard zones don’t fall into thinking that the lower the number the better. Some of the best parts of London are the far-flung suburbs. Chislehurst caves? Yes please. Shopping in Bromley… pure joy. Going for a wander in Epping Forest, why not. Go Ape in Cockfosters! The point is staying out of the center is the best way to discover the true beauty of London.
Standard door to door journey times in London is an hour. It’s usually less but hopefully not much more. Rush hour is a thing and is usually from about 4 – 7:30. If you can avoid travelling at this time, you’ll have a much better time in this city. There is also a morning rush hour from about 7:30 – 9 am and it’s pretty uncomfortable and very hot especially on the tube. If you want to avoid being squashed into a carriage like a sardine, then avoid those morning and evening times.