Europe, Holidays, Tips, Travel

London as a Tourist: The Big Culture Shocks to Prepare For


When a trip to London is broached, most people think about all of the wonderful attractions that are available – and rightly so! After all, the UK capital has firmly established itself as one of the best tourist destinations in the world over the decades.

Something that isn’t always spoken about are the culture shocks. In short, life in the UK is considerably different to a lot of countries – even those located a short distance away in Europe.

Bearing this in mind, today’s article has been put together. Let’s now take a look at some of the big culture shocks you need to prep yourself for as you plan a trip to the Big Smoke.

You need to plan in advance for the transport system

More and more people are arriving in London, before venturing away on short breaks around the country to really get the most from the UK.

Some people might grab a hotel in Bournemouth, spend a few days there, before navigating their way around the South Coast and eventually arriving back in the capital. It’s becoming a more normal way of seeing the UK.

However, when you do opt for this approach, you naturally need to give some consideration to transport systems. The train is the most common method, but the pricing structure in the UK tends to be a lot more volatile than other countries. Book on the day, at a peak hour, and you could comfortably spend three figures on a ticket. Book in advance, and you may even get change from a ten-pound note.

The dining hours are vastly different

Heading to Spain? You should know that most restaurants don’t hit their peak hour until 9.30pm – at the very earliest.

In the UK, this is where things completely turn on their head. It’s at 9.30pm where the restaurants are starting to empty and if you dare to enter after this time, there’s every chance that you will be turned away.

Things do stay open a little later in London, but even if we turn to pubs many are closing their doors before midnight. It means that you have to reset your body clock somewhat and get used to eating and drinking much earlier than in other countries.

The same rules apply with the shops as well

As we all know, most city breaks consist of a lot of eating, and a lot of shopping. Granted, there’s some sightseeing as well, but for the purposes of today’s article there shouldn’t be many culture shocks in that regard.

When it comes to the shops, you need to arrive early, though. Again, the stores in London do stay open slightly later, and if we were to compare to somewhere like Spain again we should point out that there are no siestas where everywhere shuts down for large portions of the afternoon. Nevertheless, the high-street does close its doors earlier, meaning that late night shopping isn’t always a possibility.

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