Rookie mistakes: what not to do on a visit to London


Any newcomer to an exciting yet comprehensive destination is bound to make some rookie mistakes; however, making them can be the difference between having a really good time and a terrific time in the place you’ve chosen for a short-break. So, should you be heading to London (perhaps staying at the Montcalm Royal London House and so, also, looking to indulge in the M By Montcalm Spa), here’s what you ought to try avoid doing to have trip possible in the UK capital…


Don’t skip the city’s free attractions

It’s an age-old cliché that everything in London is expensive to see and do. Yes, the UK capital’s not the cheapest city on the planet but it’s also jam-packed full of fantastic things that don’t cost a penny. For instance, none of the major museums or galleries require payment to enter (although they more than welcome ‘contributions’ on the way out); the British Museum, the National Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum, the V&A, the Tate gallery, the Tate Modern and so on. Moreover, every one of Central London’s gorgeous and voluminous public parks are entirely free to enter (as is Hampstead Heath and Primrose Hill), a walk along the Thames, the terrific markets (like Borough Market and Camden Market are popular) and the supreme views from the Sky Garden. See you’re spoilt for choice!


Don’t miss a trick when paying for the Tube/ buses…

This one’s simple in theory; takes a little effort in practice – don’t make the mistake of buying individual tickets on the Tube. It costs so much more than going the paperless (far more environmentally-friendly option) of buying a visitor Oyster card – an electronic top-up-able payment card. You can get hold of one at any Tube station or you can order one online and have it delivered to your address before you leave home. Note: you’ll also effectively need one for bus travel; buses in London no longer accept cash payments.


… But don’t take the Tube everywhere either

Once you discover just how awesome the Tube is, there’s a danger you’ll become so reliant on the thing you miss out some of the experience of just simply being in London… you, know, above-ground. Which, let’s face it, is why you’re visiting the city in the first place. The fact is that many Tube stops in the centre of town can be be pretty close to one another, so unless it’s cold or bad weather, it sometimes pays not to descend underground but to get from ‘A’ to ‘B’ on foot instead. It also *pays* by saving on your wallet too, of course (even if you’re already making cost savings as a Montcalm Club member or not)!


Don’t stand on the wrong side of escalators

Getting dirty looks as you’re using escalators in London – and have no idea why? This could have been avoided if, before you’d travelled, you were aware of which side om many escalators in the capital you’re *supposed* to stand on, freeing up the other side for people in a rush (i.e. commuters) to walk or run up/ down. In short, there’s an unspoken, definitely unwritten (unless you’re on the Tube where it is written on discrete notices) to ‘stand right; walk left’. It all started on the Tube, as you can imagine, but has now spread – thanks to the ubiquity of London’s subterranean train network – to practically everywhere in town. Like it or not!