I live in London. Like most people who live in London, I do not come from London. A friend of mine, who also does not come from London, has just moved to London. He suggested that I write out some BEGINNER’S TIPS for people who do not come from London who have just moved to London, as everyone who does not come from London inevitably shall, at some point.
This is not a definitive list. I’ve only been here for just over a year – not nearly long enough to even discover 10% of this ridiculous city – so there’s still a lot more I have to discover. Also, most of it seems to be about public transport? Oh well.
- Escalators! Stand on the right, walk on the left. I’d assume everyone already knew this, but given the amounts of people I see flouting this rule daily, it bears repeating.
- Never pay with cash on the bus. This will immediately mark you out as a tourist, and also everyone will hate you.
- Enter through the front door of the bus and exit through the middle door. Attempts to use the wrong door will be frowned upon.
- Never make eye contact on public transport – unless someone is being badly behaved, in which case you may catch someone else’s eye and enjoy a mutual tutting session.
- Do not pronounce the “L” in “Holborn”.
- Think of the North London/South London divide as similar to the North England/South England divide. Neither party likes the other very much, and it’s almost impossible to get gravy below the border.
- If you don’t have anything to hold onto on the tube, bend your knees a little to avoid falling over. It took me a good six months, and a lot of wobbling, to discover this simple fact.
- It’s just called “Carnival”. You must go every year, but you will probably not enjoy it, unless you enjoy being hemmed in by huge amounts of people in sweltering heat and having some random old guy grind his erection into your back. True story.
- It’s difficult to buy booze in central London past about 11pm. I KNOW, IT IS RIDICULOUS.
- Don’t fall asleep on the Night Bus, or you’ll wake up in Hertfordshire. I speak from experience.
- Don’t get on the Night Bus in the first place, if you can help it.
- Arguing about the best route to take to a place using public transport is a popular pastime, and the faster you can familiarise yourself with the transport system in order to do this, the sooner you will be accepted. Try to cultivate a knowledge of “unusual” routes; this will make you look cool. Remember: TFL is not always right.
- Wait whilst people exit the carriage before attempting to board the train. This is just general train etiquette. You wankers.
- No one reads City AM. No one knows what City AM is about. Never accept a copy of it.
- If you exit at a tube station and there is classical music playing over the station speakers, be careful. You’re not in Kansas anymore.
- If you hear the public announcement system in a station calling for “Inspector Sands”, best make your way to the exit as quickly and calmly as possible. Just in case.
- If you are a small person, do not bother attempting to ride a Boris Bike. They are too tall, heavy and cumbersome for us.
- Everything outside of Zone 3 is considered to be another country. Zone 3 itself is pushing it.
- The best bet for an acceptably priced pint in central London is a Sam Smith’s pub.
- Whatever you do, never, ever, ever, ever, go into M&M World.
Do please add your own below!