Visiting London during the Olympics? Here are some handy travel tips for first-time tourists.
Oyster Cards are notoriously shy creatures. Do not present them to the yellow touch pad immediately. Instead, stand as close as you can to the barrier and rummage around in your bag for a while to prepare the card for use. The card will malfunction if you touch the pad too soon so take as long as possible to find it.
The London Underground derives all its power from counting. When travelling by tube, please ensure you audibly count the number of tube stations left until your destination. There is a direct correlation between your volume and the speed of the train.
When walking along Oxford Street it is customary to stop suddenly and without warning. This is a crowd control exercise and prevents huge groups of shoppers from picking up speed and causing accidents. Please take a momentary pause to ensure the crowd behind you are forced to slow down.
Londoners are a friendly bunch and love nothing more than an unexpected chat with a stranger. Take every opportunity to stop them for a gossip, particularly if they look busy or stressed. The light relief of forced conversation will make their day.
Londoners tend to socialise with friends during the Monday morning rush hour. If you want to fit in, please visit Liverpool Street station between 8am and 9am with as many friends as possible and clump together in large, noisy groups. Bring alcohol and suitcases.
Pay no attention to the signs which read ‘STAND ON THE RIGHT’. These are left over from the Victorian era when William Gladstone used escalator positioning to identify witches. If someone asks you to move, tell them you don’t believe in their superstitious nonsense.
Use the Buckingham Palace flag system to locate the Queen. If the flag is flying high then the Queen is definitely in a building somewhere. If the flag is flying half-mast it means the Queen is probably around but we can’t find her at the moment. If the flag isn’t flying at all it means the Queen has died and you should go buy some flowers.
London Buses are powered solely by flash photography. Power points can be found across the city in the form of red telephone boxes. If you wish to travel by bus, please ensure you have your photograph taken in a red telephone box first.
Finally, Londoners are equipped with fantastic language skills so please don’t make the effort to talk to us in English. We can understand you just fine.
Welcome to London. Enjoy your stay.