Things to avoid when visiting London

If you’re a Londoner like me, there are certain obvious things to avoid in London that are very obvious, but if you are a visitor, pay heed to the following in order to make the most of your stay and have a good time.

The Underground You can't really avoid the London Underground, but there are definitely some ways you can make travelling on the tube easier and less stressful. The busiest times on The Underground are between 7am and 9am and between 5pm and 7pm, when the trains are packed with folk making their way to and from work. If you can avoid travelling at those times do so as the trains can be quite claustrophobic when full. If you do have to travel in busy periods however keep personal items close to you, always carry drinking water in case of delays and don't wear high heels. The Underground is a no-glamour zone, it's sensible shoes all the way! You should also be particularly careful if it is raining. Of course it doesn't rain underground, but the platforms can get extremely slippery from the water from traveller's shoes and umbrellas. Finally if you are pregnant, elderly or unwell don't wait to be offered a seat, sadly people aren't that polite (or they are too busy trying to avoid eye-contact with anyone). Ask for a seat and don't feel guilty.

Where to stay Here's the dilemma, do you stay out of town where it is generally cheaper, yet have to use The Underground to travel into the city - or do you stay centrally and it's more expensive? Wherever you choose it is important to check what is included in your hotel stay. If you book your hotel through a comparison website you may find this saves you money, however breakfast is often not included in your stay and you may have to pay extra for this. Avoid booking hotels via Craigslist as scams are common and always try and book with a hotel direct or through a reputable booking agent or website.

Going out at night If you are going out at night whether to for some quick Thai food, pub or theatres of Central London, stick to well-lit areas and don't carry valuables. If you are making your way home in the early hours of the morning, make sure that you use a reputable cab firm. There are still unlicensed mini-cabs operating in London and these should be avoided like the plague. Black cabs may be expensive but they're worth every penny and are generally safe and comfortable. Night buses in London are a cheap way of travelling but it can take a while to get home as they have long routes with frequent stops. The night buses are also often used by drunken party goers, so if you are travelling alone or are worried sit near the driver rather than making your way to the back of the bus.

Shopping One of the glories of London is the shopping experience. There is nothing that can't be found in the city, and the range of shops is excellent. If you are not familiar with London then stick to the main shopping areas such as Regent Street and Covent Garden and you won't be disappointed. If you are planning a trip to Oxford Street it is wise to avoid the week before Christmas as the crowds can be quite overwhelming. There are some wonderful markets in London, one of the most diverse being in Camden Town. Occasionally traders can be a bit pushy however so if you are after something at a certain price, stick to your guns and don't let them get the better of you.

London Museums So many museums, so little time! That doesn't mean you need to visit every exhibition and gallery however. Visiting the museums in London is an exhausting business for which you need comfy trainers and an endless supply of energy drinks. To make your trip more pleasurable avoid visiting every single room in your museum of choice - just go for the areas you are interested in and save your feet the blisters. It's quite easy to while away a couple of happy hours solely in the Egyptian rooms of The British Museum without seeing the rest of the building. This leaves plenty of time for a well-deserved lunch.

Follow this advice and you’ll still find lots to do in London while having plenty of fun!