If you are a first-time traveller to London, you might find it overwhelming to plan the trip. Once you have your UK visa application, you should finalise your itinerary and learn the essentials of staying in this city. Here are a few things you should know before you arrive in the UK.
The UK is not England or Great Britain
The United Kingdom or the UK is a political and historical union referring to England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, and Wales. Meanwhile, Great Britain refers to England, Scotland, and Wales, and is more of a geographical term. Finally, England is a separate nation from Scotland and Wales, and its capital is London.
Prepare for highly variable weather
You will quickly learn that in London, the season is not a reliable indicator of the day’s weather. The country stays between four to about 23 degrees Celsius throughout the year, but summers can be cloudy and grey. One thing you should always prepare for, though, is rain. Have a sturdy umbrella with you at all times, as the average in England is ten to 15 days of rain per month.
Make sure you pack items that you can quickly add or remove as the temperature changes. Pack a coat and scarves to keep yourself warm, but include blouses or shirts fit for sunny days as well. Since you are a tourist, you will also need comfortable shoes, for all the walking you will do. Finally, include at least one complete outfit you can wear to an upscale restaurant or a fancy event.
Consider your electricity needs
Any traveller knows to pack chargers and power banks for a trip. However, some people do not consider the plug and outlet types of different countries, and later find that they cannot use their appliances during their trip.
The UK uses Type G plugs and outlets, so if your country uses a different plug shape, you will have to buy an adapter. You can get this at any travel store. Furthermore, some countries like the US have appliances that use a different voltage. You can ask your visa agency about voltage requirements for gadgets that you will bring from home.
Be familiar with the city zones
Travelling on the tube needs a bit of getting used to, and your ticket cost will vary depending on the number of zones you go through. For example, if you are coming from Heathrow, which is in Zone 6, and headed for central London, which is Zone 1, you will pay either £12.70 (for off-peak hours) or £18.10 (for regular ones). The fare will be lower if you’re moving between zones closer to each other.
Bus and rail travel in the city is almost entirely cashless, so you will need to get a card to ride. Make sure you check the balance on your card before commuting and top up the balance as required.
Read a lot about the transport system
Walk or cycle to places when you can; it is the cheapest way to get around the city. The next affordable option is getting a pay-as-you-go card, which you can buy online or at the airport. Use this card on the tube, on trams, or buses.
Download an app that lists train schedules and travel during off-peak hours whenever possible. The busiest hours are from Monday to Friday, 6:30 A.M. to 9:30 A.M., and then from 4:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.
There are plenty of things a tourist can experience in London; it is one of the most culturally and historically significant cities in the world. Before you arrive, you should know enough about how to get around this bustling capital so that you can make the most of your stay.
Start your travel plans on the right foot by ensuring a successful visa application with Travcour. We are a visa agency in London offering passport services and visa applications, and our specialists have a 100 per cent success rate. Get in touch with us today for queries.