Frequently asked questions: London

Planning a trip to London? A few things you want to know before you go? Fear not – we at VisitBritain are the experts! Here are our answers to some FAQs about London we hope will quell any qualms…

Does it really rain all the time?

London
Caption

The short answer: No! Contrary to popular belief, London is actually relatively dry. And indeed, Britain overall has a temperate climate, but is prone to quick changes – thus the need to always be prepared with a brolly (umbrella) should there be a cloud burst.

Apps to download: BBC Weather.

How can I do London on a budget?

This is more possible than you’d think! Many of the world’s greatest museums and art galleries are in London – and amazingly many have free entry. There are all sorts of ways to see the other sights with special offers and discounts, and what’s great about Britain is you know you’re going to get a good value, memorable experience for your money.

You can easily walk between many of the main sights of central London, saving on transport too. Invest in a Visitor Oyster Card if you do plan to hop on and off the Tube and buses. Find out more with our value tips.

Apps to download: TimeOut London; XE for currency exchange rates.

What are the people like?

Shoppers on Oxford Street, London

Londoners may look like they might bite, but that’s just their resting faces. Really, they’re quite an approachable bunch only too keen to help you out if you need directions or a good pub recommendation, and they’re only too happy to spark up conversation about that easiest of topics – the weather.

People from all over Britain and the whole world merge in London, so you’ll find it’s one of the most diverse and tolerant places you could ever visit.

Apps to download: Meet some locals through your accommodation on Couchsurfing, or one-off groups with Meetup.

How easy is it to get around?

Really easy! London has the most comprehensive public transport system in the world and they’ve made it as easy as possible for you to travel your way around the city, be it by Tube (Underground), train, bus, tram, taxi, foot or even river boat!

Apps like CityMapper will tell you how to get anywhere within the city from your chosen location, giving different options according to your preferences, too.

Apps to download: CityMapper, National Rail Enquiries, Transport for London (TfL), Bus Times, London Tube Map.

What do I do if I get lost?

You can always ask a local for advice – we really are surprisingly friendly when spoken to..! And in most central areas you’re likely to see a friendly British bobby (police officer), staff in Tube stations, bus drivers and taxi drivers are all super knowledgeable about their city. Official Tourist Information Centres and Travel Information kiosks are located all over London.

How do I get cheap West End theatre tickets?

For excellent on-the-day deals and half-price bargains, head to the TKTS  booth in Leicester Square. If you’re travelling in January and February, make the most of the Get Into London Theatre scheme, which has more than 65 top shows selling tickets for £10-40; booking starts in December. For a genuine Shakespearean experience, head to The Globe where you can get standing tickets for just £5 for any performance.

Apps to download: TodayTix.

What should I pack to wear?

Soldiers of the Queen's Guard, London

Anything goes in London! The mostly mild but changeable climate means it would be sensible to pack layers, a lightweight rain jacket and umbrella for rain showers. Warm coats and jumpers for winter. And, shock of shocks, you will need sun protection in summer as the sun does make 1 or 2 appearances!