It’s great to fit in wherever you are in the world and since Londoners are a special breed (in the best possible way!) we thought we’d give you a helping hand. Here’s a quick lowdown of the dos and don’ts when it comes to “doing as the Romans do” when you’re in London.
- Don’t make eye contact on the Tube
Everyone in London is doing their own thing and not there to make friends. Catching someone’s eye and smiling may work anywhere else in the world, but this is London and such behaviour is a sign of weakness. Be like a gazelle and don’t let yourself be known as an outsider to the London lions.
- …and don’t give up your seat to anyone
That’s just soooo not-London. That said, do give up your seat to anyone less-able, obviously.
- Please stand on the right
The polite notices littered around the London Underground asking you to please stand on the right may sound like a simple request, but they’re not – they are tantamount to law. Those found lingering on the left of any one of the 426 escalators around the Tube network are likely to be squashed by a whirlwind group of London commuters or at the very least scowled at in a what-were-you-thinking manner.
- Walk really quickly, even if you’re not in a rush
Dawdling and looking up at the sights just shows that you don’t come here every day. To avoid looking like a tourist, join the rush and bustle off to where you need to go, even if you don’t quite know where that is. Confidence and pace are key.
- Start every conversation with a comment about the weather
The usual opening gambit in a London conversation is: “This rain, eh?” but the rain can easily be substituted for sun, (yeah right) fog, wind or even snow.
- Complain about the head on your beer
Any amount of foam on the top of a pint of beer is equivalent to an insult to a family member in London and should be treated as such. After all, the pint in question probably set you back £5, so filling up valuable space with the head is pretty much short-changing someone. Shame on you barkeep.
- …or just complain about everything
Londoners are world-class complainers, with popular topics including politics, the economy and football. Be sure to swot up on these areas in order to have a proper moan, otherwise it’s just not quite cricket.
- Don’t flinch at the price of a glass of wine
Don’t show your surprise at the cost of anything in London, as it is likely to be three times what it is at home or the equivalent of your rent. It aint cheap to be wined and dined in the greatest city in the world, but it sure is fun.
- Apologise for everything…especially if it’s not your fault
Londoners apologise for the time it takes to pay for a coffee, for using the same door as you in a shop and basically just being in the same space as you. Treat an apology like a smile and hand them out to whoever you come across.
- Have brunch in Shoreditch
Brunch is in at the moment and so is Shoreditch, making it the place to be seen on a weekend morning chowing down on all kinds of breakfast food. Combining two meals into one will also help you save some cash. Perhaps this is how Londoners manage to afford to live in the city.
Extract: Try these ten techniques for blending in with Londoners and it’ll be like you’ve lived in the city all your life.