Do’s and Don’ts in London, England

    Do’s and Don’ts in London, England
    “Encontramos este lugar...Todo salio' perfecto.” By Mikel Ortega - Flickr: neal's yard, CC BY-SA 2.0

    London, England

    The Tube

    • Stand on the right of the escalator
      • The right is for standing, the left is for moving.
      • Don’t be the asshole who stands on the left.
    • Don’t talk to, make eye contact with, or in any way acknowledge other tube passengers
    • Don’t crowd the doors of the train, spread out
    • Don’t take the Tube when you can walk there faster
      • The Tube is an elaborate underground system and sometimes the crowds and effort needed to reach your destination isn’t the best use of your time when you walking is faster.
    • Don’t insult the Tube, Londoners will defend it fiercely

    Talking

    • Break the ice with the weather always
    • Don’t under any circumstances compare to the U.S.
    • Avoid talking about the Royals, they aren’t always that big of a deal to locals
    • Don’t talk loudly – it’s consider uncouth
    • You aren’t expected to answer “How do you do?” It’s just a formality, so don’t expect an answer either.
    • Don’t brag or speak of yourself unless asked.
      • British will always be modest of accomplishments, “I’m not bad at…”
    • Don’t mention money unless you are very very close with a person
    • Don’t say there is “no good food” in England; that won’t end well
    • Don’t ask locals if they know the Queen
      • “Do you know Barack Obama?” Uh, no.
    • Bathroom = Loo
    • Elevator = Lift
    • Line = Queue
    • Drunk = Pissed
    • French fries = Chips
    • Friend = Mate

    Behavior

    • British ladies cross their legs at the ankles, not the knees
    • While eating, keep the knife and fork in hand until complete
      • Keep the fork prongs down when taking a bite
      • Place fork and knife to the right side of the plate to signal completion
    • Don’t smile too much
      • A sign of a lack of control, education, breeding, etc
    • Don’t use the reverse peace sign
      • That’s insulting, means the opposite
    • Keep emails formal, never casual

    Exploring

    • Don’t go to the Natural History Museum during school holidays
    • Always check prices online beforehand to find discounts, free alternatives, and package deals to save money
    • Don’t spend more than 5-6 Euros on fish and chips
      • Go to the local “chippy” instead of the tourist spots that will charge you 10+ Euros for the meal
    • Avoid the tourist traps and find the local shopping and restaurants
      • Better prices and actual local, quality merchandise
    • Avoid Oxford and Regent Street
      • Don’t drive or shop
      • Has all the standard name brands you’ll find anywhere, nothing special
    • Get cocktails only during Happy Hour or your budget will take a huge hit
    • Avoid shops with “bespoke” suits and shoes
    • Avoid shopping sprees in general to save your budget
    • Don’t bother with high tea
    • Don’t attempt to over-pack your schedule
      • You can’t possibly see everything in only a few days, so plan accordingly
    • All airports are a distance from the city center, plan accordingly

    Tipping

    Restaurants: The expected tip is 10-15%, but check your bill for a service charge, added in some places at around 12%, to avoid tipping twice. It might also be appropriate to ask the waiter if they will receive the tip or the company (especially when paying with card).

    Bars/Pubs: You don’t tip in bars and pubs.

    Staff in Hotels: Leave tips for the staff at your own discretion.

    Taxi drivers: For regular service, round up to the nearest Euro and tell them to keep the change. For black cabs, 10-15% is typical. For longer trips and assistance with luggage/packages, tipping up to 5 Euros is recommended.

    Dress Code

    • Comfortable
    • Well-fitted
    • Smart
    • Clean
    • Flashy handbags, jewelry, or hats are welcome
    • Consider a sweater (jumper), nice pair of pants, blazer, trench coat, and a little black dress for the ladies on the town
    • Do NOT wear shorts and tennis shoes, portable plastic rain coats, or “survival gear” to avoid attracting negative attention

     

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