I came to London in 2005 to complete my Masters. So it’s been almost 14 years, and I have become a proper Londoner. I have learnt the London-etiquettes and would share my top 10 things you (mostly tourists) should not do in here to piss Londoners off.
1. Don’t stand on the left
Londoners are very particular about it. We use the left side of the escalators to walk/run to move quickly. If you block it, you will definitely have a tap on your shoulder or push to move ahead. It’s impossible for you to stand on the left and not having any angry Londoner behind you.
2. Please don’t talk in the tube
Probably you have noticed, we don’t talk during our tube journey. The tube is usually very loud when it is travelling underground. So mostly like you will start shouting if you are trying to talk. There is no more annoying thing than having a couple chatting in the tube during the morning rush hour about their family problems. A normal Londoner will read the newspaper, listen to music or snooze like me 🙂
3. Don’t fall for expensive tourist traps
Although London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, sightseeing is relatively cheap. Don’t buy expensive tickets for the London Eye, Madame Tussauds or London Dungeons when you can visit the National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Sky Garden, Tower Bridge, etc. for free!
4. Stay away from me
No physical or eye contact. If you accidentally touch us, say “sorry” straightaway and make sure you don’t do it again.
5. Don’t break the queue
The Londoners love queueing – no matter how long the queue is. Respect the tradition, don’t try to go ahead of us. You will probably notice the people actually breaking the queue, are tourists or new to London.
6. Control your walking speed
Don’t walk too slow; we hate slow walkers. Don’t walk too fast, and you won’t be going anyway… London streets, tube stations are always overcrowded 😉
7. Really! Who buys American sweets?
In the last few years, a number of so-called “American Sweets” shops opened on Oxford Street. To my opinion, these are really cheap sweet, totally targeting the tourists. For God’s sake, don’t buy any cheap sweets from them.
8. Why are you pressing tube’s buttons?
For the last time, I am telling you Open and Close buttons on our tube carriages don’t work. Stoping pushing them, you look silly!
9. Taking Piccadilly Line during rush hour
If you are going to Heathrow Airport to take a flight, the Piccadilly Line is the cheapest (avoid the Heathrow Express) and easiest way to reach the airport. Just remember not to travel during rush hour with your young family and luggage.
10. Occupying the priority seats
Sitting on the Priority Seats is okay. But don’t occupy the seats when there is a pregnant lady who is looking for some comfort or an old man needs the seat more than you.
This article is not to make anyone uncomfortable while they are staying in London. Every city has its own culture and unwritten rules. We must follow them. Be a Londoner when you are in London.