While there is so much you could anticipate when travelling to the United Kingdom (UK), there are some things that will take you by surprise!
UK, especially London is an expensive place to live. Hence you will need to be very cautious about your expenditure here. Though you will find plenty of foreign exchange providers in London, with exchange rates clearly posted, it’s advisable to purchase an international prepaid travel card prior to departure from your home country. This way you can save a lot of money by using the exchange rate lock facility, so that you do not get affected by unfavourable currency exchange fluctuations, which is beyond your control.
Ok now that we have got the finances covered, let’s jump straight into some surprising facts that will leave you amazed on your visit to London.
1. Free museums and parks
A pleasant surprise is that many parks, museums and art galleries in London are free. In fact, most of the state and council owned museums such as the British Museum, Science Museum and Natural History Museum in London, are worth enjoying and are free to enter and look around.
Parks such as Regent's Park, Bushey Park, Richmond Park are also free to walk around and explore. You can pack a picnic and find peace by spotting some deers and beautiful swans. Of course, walking along the South Bank itself is a beautiful experience where you will find a wealth of heritage, innovation and live performances, dotted along the south side of the Thames.
2. Student discounts
Most things in London are undoubtedly overpriced, from housing, hotels, theatre tickets, food and even a cup of tea. However, if you are a student here, you have a sale all year round! London offers great discounts to students. Right from bars and pubs to transportation to hospitals to clothes and departmental stores, you can get awesome discounts. Don’t forget to carry your student identification card which should be produced to avail the discounts.
3. Easy to navigate
London continues to be one of the best sign-posted cities. Whether you are on the tube, the local train system or walking in Central London, it is very difficult to get lost in London.
Because the city is so heavily populated with tourists from all over the world, there are countless “checkpoints” dotted around the main streets of London with maps on them. The maps around the city also illustrate how long it will take to walk to reach major landmark or destination. Of course, many will now refer to the maps on apps readily available on smartphones, however the joy of navigating and finding your way around the city is a more enriching experience as you walk around and embrace the culture and history.
4. Heavy breakfast
Often referred to as a Fry Up, the full English breakfast, consists of fried eggs, back bacon, sausage, pan-fried tomatoes and mushrooms, baked beans and toast all served on a plate with some freshly brewed tea. It was originally created to be high-calorie fuel for the 19th-century working class. It has become a tradition now that extends to present day. Unless you have a big appetite, it’s definitely a mouthful. Of course, if you are not too keen on that, you can pick up croissants or pastries from the many bakeries available on most routes.
5. Londoners are patriotic
Union flags can be seen waving freely from every landmark, monument, palace, statue or pub in London, while messages like “God Save the Queen” are sewn into aprons, cushions, tea towels and sweatshirts. Perhaps totally aimed at the tourists, it's an energy you can’t replicate, and the city is brimming with devotion to the crown.
Whilst one would think English is the most commonly used language, you would be astonished to find Polish, Bengali, French, Gujarati, Urdu and Arabic being spoken on the underground and in London areas. Having said that, everyone loves the British accent, however even that changes every 25 miles.
7. Lots of pubs
Practically every corner in London has atleast a couple of pubs. The love for drinks makes the people of UK start their weekends on Friday afternoon itself.
So whilst this article gives you a fair insight into surprising facts, pack your bags and be off to see the real London!
Keywords: exchange rates, international prepaid travel card, currency exchange
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