5. DON'T confuse Tower Bridge with London Bridge
So you're tempted to stroll along the Embankment by the Thames singing "London Bridge is falling down" to youself, but dudethe original London Bridge is long gone. In fact, it's in Lake Havasu City, Arizona, because they bought it from London in the 1970s and installed it in their town, and that's still not even the clogged-with-buildings historical version of the Bridge mentioned in the song. Rest assured, there is still a London Bridge over the Thames, but it's nothing special and hard to distinguish from any other bridge. Just don't point at the bridge in the picture above and claim that this one is London Bridge, because it's just not. That's Tower Bridge, and it always has been.
4. DON'T drive, walk or stand on the wrong side of the street and sidewalk
The cars might drive on the left side of the street in Britain and every pedestrian crosswalk may be painted with a "LOOK LEFT" or "LOOK RIGHT" to remind you of this fact, but the directions don't apply to everything. Take, for instance, walking on a sidewalk. The pedestrian traffic flow is on the right, and you should also be aware of escalator etiquette: it's stand on the right and walk on the left there.
3. DON'T shop on Oxford or Regent Streets
The only good thing that Regent Street has going for it is the large Apple store with its free WiFi signal that leaks out. Otherwise, these streets are a crush of confused tourists shopping at H&M or other chain stores they could usually find at home. If you are however desperate to do some shopping like this, you can find the same shops in nicer environs and less congestion on Kensington High Street or Kings Road. Slightly related tip: don't wear "Mind the Gap" or Union Jack shirts fresh from purchasing them as souvenirs; you become a target for pickpockets and thieves, because you are obviously a confused tourist.
2. DON'T go to Buckingham Palace hoping to see the Queen, or even thinking that she's there
Just because the Union Jack flag is flying high above the Palace doesn't mean that they whole royal family is sitting in there, having tea or something and gazing out at you. The Queen herself is only in if you see more guards wearing their red jackets and huge hats than usual and the royal standard is raised on the flagpole too, and it looks like this. When we were there last week, she was not in, and yet hoards of tourists were clinging to the gate and staring up at the window expectantly, and for a while too!
1. DON'T pay to go to a museum
The majority of London's museum are completely free, and sort of de facto hangout places for locals even. If your plans include any of these big museums: Tate Modern, British Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Gallery, Victoria & Albert Museum, National Portrait Gallery, National Maritime Museum, and the Imperial War Museum (and many more!), then you can just walk in and have a great time without laying down a single sterling. These should exhaust you pretty well, so that you hopefully aren't even tempted to pay the exorbitant 16.50 GBP ($26) per person entrance fee to the Tower of London or the 7 GBP to go upstairs in Tower Bridge. Just say no.
What are your London DOs and DON'Ts? Have you done any of the above and loved or regretted it? Let us know in the comments!
· What Not to Do in Paris: The Top Five Tourist Mistakes [Jaunted]
· What Not To Do In Venice: The Top Five Tourist Mistakes [jaunted]
· London Travel coverage [Jaunted]
· London Hotel Scene [HotelChatter]
[Photos: Jaunted, The Rocketeer, and Jaunted]