The capital is famously friendly, welcoming and incredibly diverse. However, like every other city in the world, there are many unwritten rules dictate how the locals get by. If you don’t want to be considered a ‘typical tourist’ when exploring London, you should get to know how to live like a Londoner. A little British etiquette goes a long way when traveling in London.
Check out our list of rules that will help you mix in with the locals and make the most of your holiday.
Stand on the Right of the Escalator
The ‘Tube’ transports up to 5 million passengers per day. Things can get busy down there, and stressed commuters have little patience for those who don’t follow the escalator rules. If you want to stand still, stay to the right so that others can walk by on the left. Unless you absolutely need to, you should avoid the London Underground during rush hour.
Respect the Queue
Long queues can be frustrating, but Londoners never push in or cause a fuss. It’s what they’re known for; they remain calm and wait their turn. You should too if you want to earn their respect. Try to jump ahead, and you’ll almost certainly cause unanimous disgruntlement. Also, please do let people off the bus or train before getting on.
Offer Your Seat to Those in Need
British people love their manners. Helping others out is a part of the local culture in London. If you’re in good shape, you should offer your seat on the bus or Tube to somebody who needs it more than you. This is Britain – gratitude is what we’re known for. You’ll receive a well-deserved ‘thank you’ for showing goodwill.
Avoid Showing off Your Cash
Not only is it dangerous, but flashing wads of notes in public is also considered a little tacky here in London. Generally, people don’t talk about their finances; it’s considered a private topic. Like any major city, London also has its fair share of pickpockets roaming the streets and public transport. Avoid making yourself a walking target and keep that cash firmly in your pocket.
Know When to Tip
London’s tipping culture differs from that of the US. While it’s normal to offer a tip of between 10 and 15 % in a restaurant, tipping in a typical pub isn’t necessary or expected. Showing your gratitude to a taxi driver or performer by handing them a few extra quid will be much appreciated. However, don’t worry too much if you’re a little strapped for cash.
Don’t be Afraid to Apologise
Us Brits are infamous for our unreservedly apologetic nature. We apologise all the time, even when it’s not our fault. As crazy as it sounds, saying sorry to somebody who accidentally bumps into you is completely normal and they’ll almost certainly apologise, too. Good manners go a long way in London, and if you want to fit in brush up on your manners.
Try Not to Be in the Way
London is a big, busy city where the locals are often in a hurry. If you need to check your phone for directions or stop to have a chat, stand to the side rather than in the middle of the sidewalk. There is nothing worse for a Londoner trying to go from A to B than having to traverse a crowd of people blocking their way.