Practice English Speaking&Listening with: London Travel Tips: 10 Things to Know Before You Go

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- 10 things to know before you go to London.

I'm Chris, this is Topher.

This is Yellow Productions.

We do travel guides that are fun,

informative, and entertaining.

And in this video, we're gonna be

telling you everything you need to know

to visit London, the capital of Great Britain.

Number one, we're gonna start

with some general things about London.

The greater London area has 8.8 million

residents spread over 33 boroughs.

There's one of the boroughs called the City of London.

It's the old Roman city of London.

It's one square mile.

It only has 7,400 residents.

So you're actually gonna be spending your time here

in a lot of other cities, not just the city of London,

but in greater metropolitan London.

By the way, London has a very large

immigrant population now, so if the last time

you were here was 20 years ago when it was all

the jolly old English, well, there's a lotta people

from the rest of the world, including a lot

of Great Britain's colonies and part of the EU.

Also, talking about bridges.

Another big misnomer is that a lotta people

think this bridge is called the London Bridge.

No, this bridge is the Tower Bridge.

The London Bridge, it's actually really ugly.

It's just one bridge down the river.

The second thing to know before you

go to London is about when to go.

And so first, let's talk about

weather and when is the best weather.

The United Kingdom as a whole has a reputation

for being wet, rainy, and gray.

And while the country generally is,

London is actually the least wet, rainy, and gray

of the United Kingdom 'cause it has

its own metropolitan microclimate.

The best time to go is definitely

in the summer, June, July, August.

That's when temperatures are the best.

The highs are in the 20 Celsius, 70s Fahrenheit.

It can be a little humid and there can be

some thunderstorms, and yes, it is the most crowded.

The worst time to go for weather is

in the winter, think January to March.

But that'll be when the hotels are the cheapest.

But it will be the rainiest and the coldest,

like eight degrees Celsius and about

40 degrees Fahrenheit as the daily highs.

Shoulder season is September, October, November,

and then again, March and April.

If you don't like crowds, these are good times to go.

You'll only need a light jacket in shoulder season.

The third thing to know before

you go to London is about money.

In London, they use the Great British pound,

also known as pound sterling, also known as quid.

At the time I did this video in October 2018,

one Great British pound was equal to US $1.30 or euro $1.12.

A pound is broken down into 100 pence,

which is referred to as p.

The different notes have their nicknames.

A five-pound note is called a fiver,

and a 10 pound is a tenner.

Across London, credit cards are generally widely accepted,

but may require a chip and pin.

You'll find ATMs all throughout the city.

And the tax in London is called the value-added tax.

It's about 20%.

And yes, they do have a tax back scheme,

though you won't get all of it back.

The fourth thing to know before you get

to London is about getting into London.

Chances are you'll either be flying or taking the train.

We'll talk about flying first and the train second.

If you're flying in, there are six airports into London.

The major ones are Heathrow and Gatwick.

Stansted's probably the third.

That one is really popular

with budget carriers like Ryanair.

Heathrow is kinda the closest to the city.

British Airways is the major carrier there.

They operate 40% of the flights.

If you're coming into Heathrow,

the quickest way in the city is to take

the Heathrow Express that goes every 15 minutes.

It takes 15 minutes from Heathrow into the city.

And it'll cost you 22 pounds.

If you take a taxi from Heathrow,

it might take an hour and cost between 55 and 65 pounds.

Gatwick, a little further out.

It's also got a train that comes into the city.

Stansted, train's gonna be your best bet.

Trains from Stansted take an hour.

A taxi would cost a fortune, so just don't do it.

Also, if you're taking a train into London,

well, there's basically one major

train that comes in from Europe.

It's the Eurostar train.

It comes from Paris and Brussels.

It'll bring you into St Pancras station.

Those train fares can vary pretty wildly.

Make sure to book ahead of time for the cheapest fares.

And avoid coming into London on Friday evening or Sunday.

Those are the busiest travel days to come into the city.

Finally, getting in, don't drive.

Don't do it.

Traffic in London, parking in London's expensive.

It is not worth it, so don't bother bringing your car here.

Just take public transportation.

Speaking of public transportation, that's the fifth thing

to know before you go to London,

about how to get around London.

And simply put, it's all about

the Tube, or the London Underground.

Right there, a London Underground station.

They don't call it a subway.

It is the London Underground.

A subway is a pedestrian underpass.

The first thing you're gonna wanna do

when you get to London if you don't

already have one is buy an Oyster card.

The Oyster card is the stored-value card for London.

You can pick 'em up at any subway station, not subway.

See, that's me, New York City subway, I'm used to that.

You can pick it up at any Tube or Underground station.

They've got vending machines that sell them.

The Tube will take you almost everywhere you want to go.

If it doesn't, the double-decker buses are awesome,

and they go a lotta great places, too.

If you're riding the Tube, you'll tap in

to get in, you'll tap out to get out.

If you're riding the bus, you only tap when you get on.

If you wanna know more about riding the Tube,

I've got a whole separate video on how

to ride the London Underground.

Check that one out.

Link's in the description below.

To navigate your way around the system,

download the Citymapper app.

It's better than Google Maps.

It'll give you oh-so many more options.

It'll tell you exactly when the next departure times are.

It'll tell you what part of the train to get on.

Citymapper is what it's called.

Download it.

Another option for you to get around the city

is the classic London black taxis.

They're not all black anymore,

but they're very professional.

The London taxi drivers have to take

a really impressive test to become a taxi driver.

You'll seem them plying around.

If their yellow taxi light is on,

then it means you can hail them down and get on.

Uber has also started operation here in London.

I've used that a couple times.

It's been pretty quick.

I wouldn't say efficient because London traffic

is really bad, and so it can actually take

a long time to get around on the taxi.

Finally, use your feet.

Walking is really, really good.

And actually, I've found the times in the center of the city

to take a Tube one stop or two, it was better just to walk.

And finally, finally, there's this

whole shared bicycles here.

There's been one that's been here for a long time,

the Santander bicycles, but there's the new

dockless bike systems that are coming out

that are available in different parts of London,

so you can check those out for easy ways to get around.

I didn't do it because in London,

you have to ride your bicycle on the streets.

And while they've added bike lanes,

I didn't think a lot of them really looked all that safe.

The sixth thing to know before you

go to London is about the food.

London has a reputation of having really awful food,

but I'll say I've found the food game in London

in the last few years has really kicked it up quite a bit.

Pretty delicious things, classically British things

like fish and chips and meat pies,

but you'll find a range of international foods.

Definitely explore.

Your tummy will be happy in London.

And I'm not gonna cover food in more detail

in this video because I have two separate

videos just about food in London.

One is all about the best cheap eats in London,

and the second one is about the best food markets in London.

You can find links in the description below,

or click the cards in the upper right.

The seventh thing to know before

you go to London is about tipping.

First, tipping in restaurants.

A standard tip in a restaurant will be about 12%.

If service is really good, you could give 15%.

Make sure to check out whether the restaurant

charges a service charge or not.

If there's a service charge on your bill,

then you don't need to give a tip.

If you're in a pub or bar and all you're ordering is drinks,

then you don't need to tip, unless you're ordering food.

And if so, then tip just like you would at a restaurant.

If you're taking a taxi, most people just round up

to the next pound to give a tip,

unless it's a long ride or the service is really good.

Then you could give up to 10%.

Doormen or bellboys or things like that

that are handling your luggage,

a pound would suffice just fine for them.

The eighth thing to know before

you go to London is about the language.

It's English, but it's British English,

so there might be some phrases

and some pronunciations you might not be used to.

So these are some things you need to know.

The first one is the name of this river.

It looks like it's the Thames,

but it's pronounced the Thames, the River Thames.

If you wanna go to the bathroom,

that's often referred to as the loo, L-O-O.

Thanks is cheers.

The elevator is known as the lift.

If you're gonna get in a line, you're gonna queue up.

If you're gonna put something in the trash,

you might put it in the bin.

If you are putting something in the

trunk of a car, that's often called the boot.

An ATM is known as a cashpoint.

A pedestrian crossing or a crosswalk

is known as a zebra crossing.

If you need a drugstore, that would be called a chemist.

If you wanna get some french fries, those would be chips.

If you wanna get what you think are potato chips,

those would be known as crisps.

If you're getting some ketchup, that would be tomato sauce.

The ground floor of a hotel is the same as a first floor.

So if you go up to one here, that's the equivalent

of a second floor in most other places not being Europe.

And also, petrol is the same as gas.

The other couple things about pronunciation is,

Greenwich, Greenwich Mean Time, or Greenwich.

It's not Greenwich, it's Greenwich.

There's a square that looks like

it's called Leicester Square,

but it's pronounced Leicester Square.

And then the big famous church,

that's not Westminister, it's Westminster.

All right, so now you know some

British English to get you around.

The ninth thing to know before

you go to London is about shopping.

And good news for you.

London has a lot of shopping.

The mecca for shopping in London,

it's in the West End district,

particularly on this street, Oxford Street.

Oxford Street has over 300 shops on it.

It's served by four different Tube stations.

The middle of it is right at Oxford Circus.

It is busiest Friday nights and Saturdays,

when it seems like all of London is out here shopping.

And as you can see, I am here on a Friday night,

and it is quite busy, trying to make sure,

I'm kinda looking side to side of the camera

to make sure I don't hit anybody as I'm walking,

'cause I'm sure they wouldn't like that.

The largest store on Oxford Street is right here.

It's the Selfridges department store.

It's their flagship location, and this,

it's the second-largest store in all of the United Kingdom.

Lots of luxury goods inside.

There's a food hall, clean restrooms.

Definitely check out Selfridges

if you're here on Oxford Street.

Of course, no trip to London would

be complete without a visit to Harrods.

Harrods is London's biggest department store.

They have over 300 departments.

They employ 5,000 people.

They're located in Knightsbridge.

It's so ritzy, they have a dress code.

You can't wear shorts or flip flops.

But no trip to London is complete

without a visit to Harrods if you are a true shopaholic.

Now, while most shopping in London

is definitely on shopping streets like this,

if it's a particularly bad-weather day,

you wanna go to an indoor mall,

the Westfield shopping mall just outside

of the center of London is Europe's largest shopping mall,

also with over 300 stalls in that complex.

Westfield shopping mall is good 'cause they have late hours.

Many stores in Central London close

by six or seven at night, but the Westfield shopping mall,

they are open till almost 10:00 p.m. every night.

And the 10th thing to know before

you go to London is about museums,

and that is, many of the best museums in London are free.

The British Museum, London's most visited,

the second-most popular, most visited

museum in the world, is free.

The Tate Modern is free.

They may ask for a small donation.

And so if you've got a little extra money

and you wanna donate to keep the museum going, please do so.

But do take advantage of London's many free museums.

Speaking of free things, I've got a whole other video

about more free things to do in London.

You can find the link to that in the description below.

But something to know that's not free in a lotta places

in London are toilets, often known as the loos.

Those are gonna cost you money.

Make sure you have some change as you come around.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this video.

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Link's in the description below, too.

All right, thanks, bye-bye.

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