1. You’ve decided on a London honeymoon — cheers, mate! The fast-paced city offers everything honeymooners could want, from romantic walks in Hyde Park to luxury cocktail lounges in Mayfair to a stroll along the River Thames.
2. For honeymooners, pick travel dates from May to October for the best weather options. Temperatures will generally remain between the 60s and 80s, and the rain, while still frequent, will be at a seasonal low. Another option, although not the ideal time for good whether, is December. Why, you ask? Because there’s nothing more romantic than a Christmas in London.
3. Let’s cover the basics — to get around the city, you’re going to need to understand the public transportation system. Because in London, everyone uses it at some point. The tube (aka Underground) is London’s subway, and runs from 5 a.m. to midnight. It’s quick, easily accessible and will make seeing the city in a limited time a much easier feat. Having a map of the tube is just as important as having one for the city itself.
4. The bus system isn’t as easy to use, and it isn’t as quick, but it’s great for sightseeing and you get a great view from the top of a double decker! Plus, certain buses run 24/7, so if you’re traveling at odd hours it’s a lifesaver.
5. In order to pay for the bus or tube, you’ll need an Oyster Card. Essentially, it’s a pre-paid card to use the system. Purchase one at any tube station for 5 pounds, then load the money onto there. For the tube, you swipe both coming into the station and exiting, but for the bus you’ll just swipe the card coming on.
6. Although there is a tube station at Heathrow Airport, we would recommend getting tickets in advance on the Heathrow Express train that takes you from London’s main airport to Paddington Station, one of the main Underground and national rail hubs. It’s more expensive, but substantially quicker. Believe us, the last thing you want to do after a long flight is sit on a tube train for an hour. There is also a Gatwick Express that will bring you from the other main airport to Victoria Station in central London.
7. Insider tip: return your Oyster at the end of your trip, and you’ll be refunded your 5 pounds and the remaining balance on the card!
8. OK, so now you’ve mastered public transport. But where are you going? You’ll need a map, and since you probably don’t have an international data plan, that rules out Google maps on your smart phone. Not to worry: you can download a data-free map of the city (aka it doesn’t use internet or need Wi-Fi). We recommend Ulmon’s London map for a comprehensive map of the city. Also, it’s got great recommendations for shopping, food and pubs!
9. The lingo in London is different than in the United States. Here are a few basic words and phrases you’ll definitely need to know: queuing means waiting in line. The loo is another term for the restrooms, but you’ll most commonly hear locals refer to the toilets. Take-out is take-away, and the elevator is the lift. Snogging is kissing, a pea-souper is particularly foggy day, and cheers is the best word to end any conversation. Oh, and pants are underwear.