London is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities in the world, but it is advisable to prepare your trip well in advance. It is a very big city, quite expensive, with many places not to be missed if you stay there for a few days. Here are some essential tips to know if you are going to London soon!

Plan your route

London is a very big city with many attractions. So that you don’t find yourself overwhelmed when you are in England, make a list of the sites you want to visit now. This is how you will easily organize your route based on their proximity. For example, on the same day you can take a stroll along the Thames, see Tower Bridge and ride the London Eye wheel. It is with a good organization that you will be able to see a maximum of tourist places when you are in London.

Use public transport

London’s public transport network is very efficient. You can take the metro (Tube) and buses to get around the city easily. It will not cost you at all, and will give you access to all the most interesting places in the capital.

The ideal is to get an Oyster card in order to have a transport pass at a reduced cost.

Ideas and advice to perfectly visit London

Explore the neighborhoods

If we know London for its tourist places like Big Ben or Buckingham Palace, we know it a little less for its neighborhoods. However, they are just as interesting to discover.

London is made up of many distinct neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and attractions. So don’t limit yourself to the city center and explore neighborhoods such as Camden Town which is the most famous alternative district and Notting Hill which is the colorful district of London. Covent Garden is known for its historic old market. Soho is also another district not to be missed, a very trendy district and well known for its diversity and its many shops.

Getting lost in the streets of these neighborhoods will leave you with beautiful memories, and above all, you will inevitably discover places little known to the general public!

British Museum

Allow time for museums and art galleries

London is home to some of the best museums and galleries in the world, and most of them are free! Among the places not to miss are the British Museum, the Tate Modern and the Victoria and Albert Museum.

For information, the British Museum brings together more than 7 million works from all over the world. It is also the most visited site in Great Britain.

Taste the local cuisine

London is a cosmopolitan city offering a variety of cuisines from around the world. But if you are in England, take the opportunity to taste English cuisine.

Try traditional British dishes such as “fish and chips” or the Sunday roast which is a roast beef that is traditionally served with Yorkshire pudding.

There are also plenty of street markets. You can taste a lot of delicious dishes there at very interesting prices.

Preparing for the weather

The weather in London is often changeable, so it is advisable to bring clothing adapted to the climatic variations.

Even in summer, it is advisable to bring a light hooded jacket or even an umbrella because the weather is often rainy.

Enjoy parks and green spaces

We often have the image of London as a business city, with large avenues and large buildings. But there are several great parks known all over the world!

This will be an opportunity to relax, have a picnic or take a break. Hyde Park is the best known park, but you can also go to Regent’s Park and Richmond Park which are also among the biggest parks in London.

In conclusion …

… by following these tips, you should be well prepared to make the most of your trip to London.

In a city as big as this capital, beyond any preparation, let yourself be surprised by going to less touristy places and getting lost in the beautiful streets of London.

The main thing is to explore and soak up the unique atmosphere of this exciting city!

Reminder of formalities for French nationals

Since October 1, 2021, French people entering British territory must have a passport. An identity card is no longer sufficient.

The UK’s final exit from the European Union on December 31, 2020 put an end to freedom of movement.

Since January 1, 2021 and the entry into force of the new law on immigration, only visits (family, tourist or, in specific and limited cases, for studies or professional reasons) of a maximum duration of 6 months are not subject to visa requirements. Any other type of stay (to work or settle in the United Kingdom in particular) can only be authorized under cover of a visa.

Entrance fees to enter British soil?

It will soon be a reality. The United Kingdom is gradually introducing an electronic travel authorization (ETA), for travelers who can travel to their territory without a visa.

Like the ESTA, which has existed in the United States since 2009, the travelers concerned will have to pay the sum of 10 pounds sterling (about 11.6 euros) to receive this ETA, which will be digitally linked to the passport. The ETA will be requested for all tourist, professional or student stays of less than 6 months, specifies the British government site which details the measure.

Only for Middle Eastern nationals for now

From November 15, nationals of Qatar will need ETA to come to British soil. They will be able to request this authorization from October 25, underlines the government. It will be valid for 2 years, or until the expiry of the passport of the traveler concerned, if this occurs sooner.

A new step will be taken from February 22, 2024, since the obligation to present an ETA will be extended to nationals of six additional countries: Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait, Oman and the United Arab Emirates.

No other country is currently concerned, but the British government specifies on its site that “other nationalities will be added later”. It is not specified whether European countries could be targeted.

Text by Quentin Pakiry