Europe,  Travel Guides

Travelling in London: The essentials

London is a city bustling with culture, great food, and diversity. But it is also a place sprawling with density, neighbourhoods galore, and a wide network of trains and buses.

This guide aims to help you navigate London with speed and ease!

Yes, you need an Oyster card!

The Oyster card is a contactless payment card that enables you to ride across a multitude of transport networks, pay for various items, and saves you time and money.

Master Travellr’s recommendation: Pick one up when you get to London at an Underground station. It costs £5, which is refundable at the end of your trip, and is easy to top up as needed.

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Alternatively, you can pick up a Visitor Oyster card which you must order in advance, but enables you access to discounts to local shops, museums, and attractions. It costs £5 to activate, but is non-refundable.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. The network of Underground, Overground trains, and buses can be overwhelming, and many Londoners are more than happy to help.

Book reservations and tickets in advance

London’s Oxford Circus (Winston Sih)

London doesn’t really have a peak tourist season. There are visitors all year round, so make sure you purchase tickets and book restaurants in advance.

Find many hot restaurants on websites like Eater, and must-see attractions like Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, Tower Hill, London Eye, Borough Market, and Notting Hill were on the top of my list.

But be warned: London loves a good queue! Places book up fast, so don’t waste time.

There are so many free events and attractions

Check out the Visit London website here. You’ll find a fresh list of local events and attractions offering free admission and is a good start to designing your itinerary.

Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace (Winston Sih)

Don’t miss the Changing the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and get there early to see and hear the sights and sounds. Crowds fill out quickly.

Dress for the weather

I went back in the fall, with weather fluctuating and on-and-off rain, but other parts of the year are sunny and hot. I found I had to pack for an array of weather conditions and wide range of temperatures, so do your research before your flight.

Spring: March to May

Rain in London (Winston Sih)

You’ll find temperatures hover between 11-15 degrees, but plenty of spring rainfall is typically expected. So, pack an umbrella!

Summer: June to August

Summer is a great time to visit, with temperatures hovering around 25-30 degrees. A lot of sun, but it gets busy!

Fall: September to November

Autumn is a good time to enjoy the city’s change of seasons. There are many Autumn festivals and you can see London transition into a festive mood.

Winter: December to February

If you want cheaper times to visit, January and February are quieter, but weather can be cooler.

Winston is currently a freelance technology and travel broadcast journalist, consultant, and is the creator and founder of Master Travellr—Canada’s destination for travel news, guides, and budget recommendations.

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