Tips for Visting London

16 Dec

Last week is what is known as “Revision Week” here at St Andrews.  It’s basically Dead Week at Purdue, minus that whole having class thing.  Which means I had a whole week free dedicated to studying for my three finals that are coming up.  Instead of cracking open all my notes on British History and Ancient Israel, I cracked open my wallet and bought an overnight bus ticket to London.  I spent 5 days roaming around London getting to experience it at my own pace.  It was one of the best decisions I’ve made studying abroad.  Not only did I get to take a nice break from academics, but I got to do it in a city I’ve dreamed of visiting since I was a little kid.

Now that I’m back in St Andrews, still not studying, I wanted to share my tips on visiting London with y’all.

  • Buy an Oyster Card
    • If you plan on using the Tube at all, you will have to purchase an Oyster card from inside any of the stations.  It is a thin plastic card that you load money onto for your subway fares. The card is way faster than trying to pay for each individual journey separately and it gets you a cheaper rate. You “top up” the card in three ways.  You can add more money to it with your credit card via a machine in the station, pay cash to a teller, or with a card online.  It cost about £2.10 for a single journey in central London.  If you go outside what they call Zone 1, it will be a bit more.
  • Ask for Student Price
    • A student price is sometimes called the Concession price. I thought they were talking about snacks for the longest time, but its actually just the cheaper enter rates.  At all things that aren’t free to do in London, ask if they have a student price.  8/10 times they will (The Globe Theater does. The London Eye doesn’t).  You’ll just have to flash your student ID and you will save a couple £££.   It doesn’t hurt to ask at retailers too.  Some shops will have a 10%  student discount.
  • Go places early!
    • “Go Ugly Early” isn’t just for Harry’s.  After a late night out about in the city, you might want to sleep in past 9am, but don’t do it.  To save time, get to big tourist spots early in the day so  you won’t waste time in the long queues (lines).  My guidebook said the average wait time for the London Eye was one hour.  By going early I spent an hour total at the London Eye.  That included a short wait to buy my ticket too.   On the other hand, I decided to go to the Natural History Museum  in the mid afternoon and had to queue for a half hour just to get inside and another 30 minutes to see the dinosaur exhibit.
  • Get to know the people in your hostel
    • Because I went solo I figured the only time I would get to speak to someone was when I was buying something.  Not true at all.  The girls that I met in the hostel where great! There was Rachel and Ragen from Ireland, a super sweet Brazilian girl whose name I never caught, Amber also from Ireland, two German girls, and the two Maria’s from Greece.  Not all of these girls where at the hostel at the same time, but they all were some of the nicest people I’ve met here in the UK. We would share advice about what was interesting to see in the city, how to get some place, where the best shopping was, ect ect ect.  Amber and I even teamed up one day and walked around the city.  She took me to the British Library and I took her to Kings Cross.  Because of the girls I met in the hostel, my London experience was that much better.

I hope these can help you out if you ever plan on visiting London or anywhere you travel. Sadly, I’ve actually got to study now for my finals.

BOUNS TIP: Don’t be afraid to travel alone! I was, but seriously being on my own in London was an amazing experience. You can read what I wrote about traveling alone over on my own blog.

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One Response to “Tips for Visting London”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Purdue Students Abroad #5: Tips for London | Mly Mllr's Travels - December 18, 2013

    […] Hey everyone! I took a break from studying the other day to write a post over on the Purdue Students Abroad page about tips for visiting London. I talk about traveling on the tube, getting to know the people in my hostel, and getting up early.  Check it out here. […]

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