London eye

Tips for traveling to London for the first time

London is one of my favorite cities in the world. Diverse, cosmopolitan, full of history and movie corners. In this post, I leave you some useful information and tips for traveling to London for the first time.

Perhaps London holds a special place among my traveling memories because this was the first European city I visited and it was also where I made my first trip alone. The truth is that the city fascinated me.

Despite the fact that it sometimes has an unfairly bad reputation (rainy weather every day, cold people, everything is expensive, etc) I believe that London has something to offer everyone, you just have to discover it.

  1. Stay several days in the city

London is a very big city with a lot of things to do. My first recommendation is that you allocate at least 4 or 5 days to explore the city quietly. If you stay less than this amount on your first time in the city you will be running from one place to another and you will not really be able to enjoy it.

  1. Free tour of London

Something I like to do when visiting a city for the first time is to take a free tour to get to know it. These tours are completely free, you only pay a tip at the end at your discretion. Civitatis offers several tours of London with a guide in Spanish:

Free tour of essential London: an excellent tour to start your visit to the city. Pass by the main historical sites of London.

  1. Book the accommodation in advance

Accommodation in London is quite expensive, so the earlier you book your accommodation, the better the prices are likely to be.

If you are going to book an apartment through Airbnb, you can use this € 17 discount on your first reservation.

For more information about hosting you need to read my article on the best places to stay in London including hotels, hostels and apartments recommend.

  1. Save on transportation with the Oyster Card

Getting around London by public transport is a breeze with the Oyster Card. This card is rechargeable and you can get it at any metro station. I bought mine at the airport station upon arrival.

The Oyster allows you to access lower fares on both metro and bus trips. The card has a daily limit of ₤ 7 and once you reach this limit, no more money will be deducted from your balance for that day, that is, you will travel without paying.

It is also possible to use credit or contactless cards instead of the Oyster Card and the discount works in the same way. Although this is not convenient if you are, for example, from Argentina because you have to pay a surcharge for the expenses of the card.

  1. Bring your adapter

One of the best tips I can give you is to always carry a universal adapter on your travels. It’s much simpler than shopping for an adapter at every location, and you can buy one for just $ 10 on Amazon.

In England, the plugs are type G, different from the ones you will find in the rest of Europe. This was something that I did not know when I first traveled to London and had to buy an adapter at a very expensive price.

  1. Required documentation

Before making any trip it is important to check the necessary documentation. If you have an Argentine passport, you can enter England and stay up to 6 months without processing any visa.

Spanish citizens and citizens of European countries only need a DNI to enter England, although it is advisable to carry a passport to speed up immigration controls.

On this government page, you can check what documentation you need according to your country of origin.

  1. You are going to need pounds sterling

The official currency of the United Kingdom is the British pound. No matter how hard you try to pay with euros, they will not accept them anywhere so it is important that you change some cash to have.

I recommend you avoid exchanging money at the airport since the commissions are very high. You can look for an exchange house in the city center, it is full.

Obviously, you can also use your credit card although depending on the country you are from, you can have extra costs for each purchase in foreign money.

You may also like to read, 22 Tips For Traveling To London For The First Time