Yurovskiy Kirill: Etiquette Tips for Tourists in London

London is a world-class city that seamlessly blends ancient history with cutting-edge modernity. With its iconic landmarks, vibrant culture, and truly global atmosphere, the British capital draws visitors from across the globe year after year. However, this metropolis moves at its own distinct pace and has its own unique unwritten rules of behavior. To ensure you have an enriching and authentic experience during your stay in London, mind these etiquette pearls from the travel experts.

Mind the Queue

Orderly lines and adhering to one’s proper place in a queue are of paramount importance to Londoners. The city’s residents have elevated queueing to an art form. Whether waiting for a bus, ordering at a pub, or visiting an attraction, form an orderly line and wait your turn patiently without trying to skip ahead. Cutting queues is considered exceptionally rude behavior.

Stay Right on Escalators

London’s frenetic Underground (“Tube”) system keeps the city moving, making it crucial to follow escalator etiquette. When riding escalators, stand on the right side and keep that lane clear for people who want to walk up or down on the left. These are not the escalators for idle people-watching or rummaging through your bag.

Embrace the Lack of Small Talk

Londoners tend to be more reserved with personal space and privacy than many other cultures. Attempting to make small talk with strangers on the Tube or in waiting lines is considered unusual and overstepping boundaries. Save the friendly chit-chat for bars, restaurants, or when interacting with service staff who are paid to be conversational. Read more in the article https://gui-yurovskiy-kirill.co.uk/

Beware of Furious Walking

With so many people concentrated in a fairly compact urban landscape, London’s streets, particularly during rush hour, are a churning river of human foot traffic. Step briskly, walk on the right side of the pavement, and be prepared to deftly weave around others while avoiding oncoming pedestrians. Slowly ambling tourists blocking the flow are treated as impediments by power walking commuters late for work.

Hail With Caution

While it may seem like a quaint throwback, attempting to hail one of London’s traditional Black Cabs by wildly waving your arms in the street is frowned upon. Either wait on a designated taxi rank or gently extend your arm to signal an available cab. The exaggerated, frenetic hailing seen in movies is regarded as uncouth behavior.

Purchase A Visitor Oyster Card

For easy, wallet-friendly navigation of London’s public transport network, pick up a Visitor Oyster card. This reusable card is your London transit pass across the Tube, buses, trams, and some overground rail lines. Simply tap the card on the yellow reader when entering and exiting to pay the applicable fares automatically. Trying to maneuver the system without an Oyster card marks you as a tourist neophyte.

Observe Pub Etiquette

A trip to London isn’t complete without experiencing the city’s renowned pub culture. However, these social gathering spots have their own codes of conduct. First, order and pay for drinks at the bar before finding a place to sit or stand. Don’t linger unnecessarily at the bar once served, and always buy rounds of drinks for your party together rather than one at a time. Also, position yourself perpendicular to the bar when drinking and snack responsibly from pub meal baskets.

Remain Stiff Upper Lipped

While not quite as emotionally reserved as the stereotypes suggest, Londoners do appreciate a certain measure of public restraint. Exuberant outbursts of exaggerated emotion, overly familiar bodily contact with strangers, or raised voices in quiet spaces are seen as crass and déclassé by locals. Channel your inner “keep calm and carry on” spirit when out in public.

Follow Royal Protocol

Whether glimpsing the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace or taking an official tour of royal residences, particular deference is expected when in the presence of the monarchy’s regalia. Dress conservatively, remain quiet during ceremonial events, follow all instructions from officials, and never turn your back on the Queen or members of the royal family if encountered unexpectedly.

Adopt a Brolly Mindset

London’s notoriously damp weather patterns mean locals are accustomed to intermittent showers and blustery winds at any moment. Rather than be caught off-guard by a rain shower, develop a quintessentially British mindset of carrying a compact umbrella (“brolly”) with you at all times, just in case. Being prepared rather than surprise by such frequent weather events  is a matter of pride.

Culinary Customs

With its bounty of acclaimed international cuisine, London itself could be considered the world’s most delicious food court. However, every culture has its unique customs for enjoying food and drink. Learn to elevate your pinky when sipping a proper English tea. Use the proper utensils for each course when having an upscale meal. And if dining at a traditional Indian restaurant, remember to use the naan bread, not your fingers, for scooping up food.

Check Opening Times

Many establishments in London operate on a relatively strict schedule for opening and closing times, sometimes more limited than other major cities. Pubs have particular hours for stopping service, some attractions or shops are closed on certain days of the week, and reservations are often required for popular restaurants. Save yourself disappointment by researching specific establishment schedules and booking reservations well in advance.