London is a pretty tolerant and liberal-minded city, but even in this haven of free speech, free healthcare and free coffee (if you know where to shop), you can still get into hot water if you don’t follow a few simple rules…
1. Don’t hassle a Queen’s Guard
Queen Elizabeth II has ruled over the UK for over 60 years – and she’s done so uninterrupted because she’s surrounded by an army of rock-hard blokes looking out for her. Yes, they may look like upturned bog brushes, but you really don’t want to get on the wrong side of these heavily armed and highly trained killers…
…and whatever you do, don’t laugh if they mess up.
2. Don’t jump into the River Thames
There’s plenty to do in the English capital if you’re an adrenalin junkie. However, jumping from the bridges on the River Thames is not recommended. A 17-year old thrill seeker nearly drowned in 2015 when his leap from Tower Bridge went belly up. He did though, clock up over 1 million YouTube hits within a week.
3. Don’t try out your rugby skills on the Tube
There are a series of unspoken rules of etiquette that most Underground users abide to. Those travelers that don’t are instantly pilloried with dirty looks, tuts and the kissing of teeth (the passive aggressive equivalents to social exile). It’s simple stuff but worth noting: always let people off the train first before boarding, avoid bashing your fellow passengers with your backpack and always, always stand on the right when using the escalators.
4. Oh yeah, and don’t ski on the Tube either
Angel Islington station plays host to the longest escalators on the Underground network and the fourth-longest in Western Europe. Impressive as they are, they were not built to be skied down. That said, it didn’t stop an adventure-sports nut-job from taking on the challenge in 2009. All the more reason to stand on the right.
5. Don’t ride in a rickshaw
Rickshaws may be a customary way to travel throughout Asia, but in London – with its notoriously congested roads, bustling bus lanes and swarming cycle paths – they are regarded as a hazard. What’s more they can also pose a serious risk to your budget. In the summer of 2015, a less-than-discerning rickshaw rider was caught on camera charging over £200 for a one-mile journey.
6. Don’t be fooled by the term ‘London’ in an airport’s name
London is home to Heathrow – the world’s third busiest airport. You can reach Heathrow by tube, train or even a bus. London Oxford however, is not nor is London Southampton. Other airports have adopted the capital’s name into their monikers and fortunately this can be excused as they located relatively near London. Always check where you are flying into and how you can get from the airport into the city – and do make sure you get a window seat, the views can be amazing.
7. Never walk slowly and never stop to take pictures
Seriously, never walk slowly anywhere in London (except Royal Parks). Tourists tend to walk slowly and they always seem to stop to take pictures of everything and this is extremely annoying for the local populace. Just think if you lived and worked In London and you had to go through, what Londoners have to go through, you’d be more understanding. Most of the locals acquired a talent dodging between slow tourists or they just started to walk on the road. Londoners do understand their city is beautiful and worthwhile your camera skills, just don’t walk too slowly and you’ll be fine.