Practical Information

Climate and best time to travel 
London has a temperate climate. Relatively speaking, there is not much rain although Londoner's would argue otherwise. The average summer temperature is 22 degrees Celsius, while the temperatures in winter generally don't drop below freezin. The busiest months are July and August. Top attractions mean long queues at this time. The best time to visit is late spring or early autumn. May, June, October and September are the best months to avoid the crowds, the rain and the highest prices. The run up to Christmas is also a peak time so again expect high prices and heaving crowds. 
Despite the fact that the United Kingdom belongs to the European Union it's not a member of the Euro. The British currency is still Pound Sterling better known as the British Pound.
Currency exchange is best done at a Bank or Post Office. Most places charge a high commission for changing yoru money. It's sometimes cheaper to use the ATM to withdraw cash. These can be found on almost every street in London. 

It's customary to tip in taxis, restaurants, hotels and bars but not pubs.  A tip of 10 to 15 per cent of the price is standard. Watch out thou, often you'll see a service charge added to your bill to cover this. You don't need to pay twice. 
London Tourist Information
There are several places to find tourist information. The two largest are in the heart of London.

Britain & London Visitor Centre
1 Regent Street, Picadilly Circus
Open on Mondays from 9.30am to 16.30pm, Tuesday to Friday from 9.00am to 6.30pm, Saturday 9.00am to  to 5.00 pm and on Sundays from 10.00am to 4.00pm.
+44 20 78083800
London Information Centre
Leicester Square
Open daily from 008.00 to 22.00.
+44 20 72922333
Don't forget to turn off  the internet on your mobile phone before you travel. Enable the options "mobile Internet" and "data roaming" off and make use of free Wi-Fi networks, so you don't face a massive bill when you get home. More and more cafes and bars are offering free WiFi for your mobile phone, tablet or laptop and lots of hotels offer WiFi, but be wanred you usually have to pay and it's not cheap.

London Hazards 
Despite the size and the big differences between rich and poor, London is a relativley safe city. However, take care of your bags, wallets and purses especially in the tube. Watch out for pickpockets, particularly in busy areas such as Oxford Street and Leicester Square. Never Take a taxi without a license, so stick to black cabs.
The United Kingdom uses the current European standard. The voltage is 220 to 240 volts. UK plugs have three pins, for devices with two pins, you need an adapter. These are usually sold in department stores and hotels. 
London Opening 
Most shops in London open between 9.00 and 10.00am and close their doors between 5.00 and 8.00pm. Many also open on Sundays from 11.00or  12.00 to 5.00 or 6pm.  All public buildings clsoe on official holidays. Banks are open Monday to  Friday from 9.00am to 4.30pm. Post offices are open Monday to Friday from 9.00am to 5.30pm and Saturday 9.00am to midday.  The busiest time in a pub is just after work, between 5.00pm and 7.00pm Most are legally required to close at 11.00pm and on Sundays some even shut at 10.30pm. 

National holidays in England are called Bank holidays. Most shops open as usual but public transport runs mostly on a Sunday timetable.
  • Good Friday (April 6, 2012)
  • Easter Monday (April 8, 2012)
  • Early May Bank Holiday (May 7, 2012)
  • Summer Bank Holiday (August 27, 2012)
  • Christmas Day (December 25)
  • Boxing Day, Boxing Day (December 26)

The newspaper was invented in London and that's reflected today in the wide range available, both free and paid. You can pick them up daily in the tube station, kiosks on street corners and in newsagents. During your visit to London you won't fail to be offered a free copy of the Metro or London Evening Standard. 
  • Evening Standard, local newspaper on weekdays (free)
  • Metro, free newspaper available in tube stations
  • Daily Telegraph, national newspaper
  • The Times national newspaper with a focus on sports
  • Independent
  • Financial Times, the only pink newspaper
  • Guardian, a national newspaper with a focus on the arts
  • Observer, the Sunday edition of the Guardian
Other newspapers are Daily Mail, Daily Express and the Sun and Mirror.  The two latter papers are known as the red tops and are full of scandal and shock, horror stories.
Toilets in London 
The use of a toilet in a hotel, restaurant or cafe in London is usually limited to customers only. There are many so-called public loo's scattered around the city.  An alternative is to find a rest room in a train stations or one of the larger department stores.  An overview of available public loo's can be found at

Tips London