Things to know about London

Things to know about life in London and the UK

 

drinking in London Drinking

Drinking alcohol on the street is ok provided you are not drunk. Be careful. You can’t drink alcohol on public transport in London but can do so on national rail. If you are drinking on the train watch your step when it is time to depart.

It is a British custom to ask everyone in the group you are drinking with whether they would like a drink. This can make drinking with a big group expensive or cheaper for the tightarse who sits back, accepts and never buys a round.

If you wake up more than once a week confusing a kebab for your sexual partner it is time to get help and join Britain’s latest celebrities in rehab.

weird laws in London, Kevin Bacon in Footloose Weird laws

- Some drinking establishments need dancing licences so that their patrons can dance. This seems ridiculous until you see this and then you understand why London needs these laws.

- The head of any dead whale found on the British coast automatically becomes the property of the King, and the tail of the Queen, so don't take it back to your flat if you see one.

- If you're pregnant (and a woman) in the UK then you are allowed by law to relieve yourself anywhere you want – even in a policeman's helmet

- It could be regarded an act of treason to place a postage stamp bearing the British king or queen's image upside-down. 

- It is illegal to die in the Houses of Parliament.

tipping in London Tipping

Tipping when dining out is voluntary but is common and in many cases the right thing to do. Just think of the staff having to deal with a Gordon Ramsay type yelling at them and understand they earn peanuts for this privilege! 

Restaurants - 10% (most include the tip in the bill now at 12.5%)

Taxis - Round up to the nearest £

Food delivery drivers - Round up to the nearest £

Hotel porters/maids - £2 - £5 

Travel guides - As you see fit

TFL Transport

When using the elevator make sure you stay on the right hand side unless you want to overtake other people - this is done on the left hand side. 

Buying individual tickets for journeys is expensive to save money get an Oyster card or Travel card, as outlined in the Getting Around page.

The train tracks are electrified; unless you want to meet with Michael Jackson or Amy Winehouse steer clear of the tracks.

There is no public transport on Christmas day!

UK Post office Post Office

Mail is delivered 6 days a week! 1st class stamps are for next day delivery, 2nd class stamps are cheaper but take more time to deliver. When posting mail make sure you place it in the right box.

public holidays in England Public Holidays

Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Years Day, Good Friday and Easter Monday are all public holidays. The UK also has three traditional bank holidays on a Monday falling on the first weekend in May, the last weekend in May and last weekend in August. British children seem to always be on holiday, this website will give you an idea of term dates.

Wembley Stadium, sports in London Sports

Football:

  • England has not won a major football tournament since 1966 when they beat Germany at Wembley for the World Cup.
  • Since then the closest they have come arguably, is when they lost to Argentina controversially over Maradonna’s hand of God.
  • Manchester United always get 8 minutes extra time when they are losing, this is known as “Fergie Time”. 
  • Leicester City were shock 5000-1 winners of the 2015-16 Premiership season.

Rugby:

  • England won the world cup in 2003 against Australia, Jonny Wilkinson was the hero and is generally considered the best fly half of all time. 
  • England are consistently one of the best teams in the world and have a strong chance of winning the 2019 World Cup in Japan.

Tennis:

  • After many years of pain a Brit finally won Britain in 2013 when Andy Murray took home trophy and has since forged himself as a great of the game. When he wins he is British when he loses he is Scottish.
  • Tim Henman used to give the country hope until his traditional choke at the business end of the tournament to let everyone down. Everyone who does not have Centre Court tickets used to watch on the hill now nicknamed Henman Hill or Murray Mound.

Cricket:

  • England were 20/20 world champions in 2010. They haven't won the One Day World Cup and since 2005, the Ashes have changed hands regularly after 18 years of misery against arch rivals Australia.

Cycling

  • Britain is good at cycling although if you drive in London you may have a different view. Chris Froome and Bradley Wiggins are legends for winning the "Tour de France". Chris Hoy is a multi Gold medalist for competing at the Olympics

Athletics: 

  • Jessice Ennis-Hill (heptathlon) and Mo Farrah (Long distance runnuing) are two names that will be remembered in folklore for the 2012 Olympic games, both winning gold medals.

Darts:

  • The Brits are good at it and there is no one better than fabulous Phil Taylor 

British Celebrities Celebrities

Alan Sugar: Successful businessman and charismatic but scary boss (at least on TV anyway). I don’t know who would want to work for Alan but 12 people do every year in the British version of 'The Apprentice' and its entertaining television.

Ant and Dec: Are two British presenters who are witty and entertaining. No one in Britain knows which is which but we love them.

David Beckham: A.k.a. 'Golden Balls' used to play for Manchester United and England and is married to Spice Girl - Posh Spice, Victoria Beckham.

James Corden: Rose to fame with hit show 'Gavin and Stacey' and now hosts the 'Late Late Show' in America. Also well know for TV show 'A League of Their Own'.

Mary Berry: A national treasure who is well known for presenting the 'Great British Bake Off' and various other cooking shows.

Meghan Markle: Originally from America, famed for starring in the hit TV show 'Suits' and married to Royal, Prince Harry.

Piers Morgan: Hosts a morning breakfast programme and is opinionated and at times a controversial personality. You will be annoyed when you agree with him but he is a breath of fresh air in asking hard questions. 

Simon Cowell: It has been rumoured Simon Cowell has been admitted to hospital 5 times for wearing his trousers too high, however that is not why he is a celeb, it is because he is a highly successful music guru who has created many a talent show such as X-Factor that has left many in Britain captivated and many nauseated (Jedward).

Queen Elizabeth ll: A National treasure who has been in charge since 1952!

Victoria Beckham: A.k.a. 'Posh Spice' rose to fame with the Spice Girls, is now is a successful businesswomen and is married to, David Beckham.

politicians in UK Politicians

Boris Johnson (Conservative MP/former London Mayor. Controversial buffoon with big blond hair but should he be in charge?....Pretty sure the answer is no but he is entertaining)

George Gallaway (Former Labor MP now an independant MP, famous for pretending to be a cat on celebrity big brother)

Jeremy Corbyn (Old school communist and leader of the Labor party. The guy is famous for thinking Venezuela was the way forward!!!!!! Young people think he is a friendly grandpa and voted for him, those who remember Eastern Europeans being locked in their uptopia behind a wall didn't vote for him)

Nicola Sturgeon (Leads a party that believes in Independence for Scotland except for that from the EU. I never heard William Wallace talking about the EU as a possible option)

Nigel Farage (UKIP leader, does not like immigration despite being married to a German)

Theresa May (Current Prime Minister who had a poor election campaign but still came out on top over Corbyn. Part of the campaign saw her saying the naughtiest thing she has done was run in a field of wheat which didn't work to her benefit)

Sadiq Khan (London Mayor.....fairly uninspiring particularly compared to his predecessor was Boris Johnson)

media in UK Media

Television:

Most people have Freeview TV or Sky TV as a base. Smart TV's (connected to your internet) are also becoming increasingly popular. TV Guide will help you decide what is on.

You need to get a television license which pays for BBC. 

Your options for popular paid TV are; Virgin Media, Sky and BT.

Amazon and Netflix are online services with limitless documentaries/films/series to watch.

Newspapers:

The independent and Guardian (for those on the left) The Times and Telegraph (for those on the right) Daily Mail and Daily Express (Are both for those worried about illegal immigrants) The Daily Star and The Sun (for those who like trashy television news) The Mirror (easy reading) Evening Standard (London paper that comes out in the evenings) Daily Mash (The way the news should be reported. Entertaining, not serious but fun)

safety tips for London Safety Tips for London

If you saw the London riots of 2011 which made world news you may have come to the conclusion London is a dangerous city to live in. Nothing could be further from the truth. Unless you go round seeking trouble, London is a safe city you can live and visit comfortably without fearing any major dangers.

Like any place in the world it is important to follow standard street smart rules.

Protect yourselves from thieves:

Pick pocketing on public transport and theft in public places such as busy bars is a problem in the city. It won’t be a problem if you don’t provide opportunity for thieves. Don’t leave bags unattended and don’t make it easy for thieves to take possessions such as mobile phones or wallets by keeping them in a back pocket. Exercise common sense and you should be fine. London has gone through a recent crime wave with gangs using mopeds to steal from people on the street and make their escape, always keep a look out for any potential trouble and try and keep valuables hidden and held tight from any moped muggers. 

Catching transport at night:

Only use black cabs, Uber or mini cabs you have booked from a mini cab office. Night buses are relatively safe but you are catching transport with drunks provided you exercise caution you should not face any trouble. Don’t sit next to or in front of anyone who looks like they may need a throw up bag. Keep to main streets when walking home and exercise same cautions you would in any other country.

Swimming in the Thames or jumping off a bridge into Thames:

The Thames can be incredibly shallow at times so people jumping off a bridge into it risk hitting the bottom at good speed and doing permanent damage to their body. The water is not entirely clean during times of heavy flooding the river has had recordings of being 80% sewerage!  While this is not normally the case it gives you an indication that it is probably not the best place to practice your freestyle and if you do decide to have a swim in the water expect to suffer some sort of sickness afterwards.

Internet Scamming:

Buyer beware. Websites such as the Gumtree are helpful tool London Stranger recommends for users to source accommodation and second hand items  however it is important to exercise caution and practice best due diligence before handing over any money. If you are purchasing goods dont transfer money online. Meet the seller in person and hand over money when you have viewed and received promised goods. If renting a property direct from a landlord don’t hand over any money until you are 100% sure they are who they say they are. Look at their website to see how they suggest you avoid any scams that operate on the site.

 

 

 

 

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