London: Things to know

All your pre-visit and on-location info, from taxis and tipping to visas and vaccinations, via weather warnings and when to go. In short: umbrellas, yes; malaria pills, no



Time zone



UK pound (£)

Country dialling code



It’s fickle. Pack rainwear and something warm even in summer. Temperatures can drop to 0C/34F any time from November to March, but rarely go below for long; summer can rise to 30C/86F, also seldom for long

When to go

May/June for extreme greenness and major ceremonial events or September to November, the big season for exhibitions and shows, for the full seasonal spectrum; you might get late summer, autumn or winter (perhaps in the same day)


Visit to check if you need a visa.


None required or recommended


Type G (three-prong plug)


10% is standard, but many restaurants and hotels now add a discretionary 12.5


Dial 999 or 112

Tourist info

Call into one of central London’s many tourist information centres for brochures, maps and guidebooks

Getting there

Airlines and airports: London has Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and City airports, serviced by most international airlines

Transfers: All the airports are well served by public transport. The rail services Gatwick Express (30 mins to Victoria), Heathrow Express (15 mins to Paddington) and Stansted Express (47 mins to Liverpool Street) are the fastest methods, but the most expensive at around £20 each way. Coaches, trains and Tubes are your cheaper but slower options, while you can look into car hire here

Getting around

Public transport: London has one of the most comprehensive transport systems in the world. Multi-use Oyster Cards that more than halve fares can be bought for a refundable £5 deposit and used on buses, night buses, Tubes, trains, DLR railway and Thames Clippers (a cheap way to see London from water)

Cycle hire: Cycling around town is easy thanks to Transport for London’s bicycles – commonly known as Boris Bikes. Stopping at one of the 700 docking stations across the city, visitors and locals can hire a cycle for up to 24 hours from £2

Cabs: London’s black taxis can be hailed in the street or at ranks in prominent places, while the major taxi apps like Uber also operate here. Avoid unlicensed minicabs


Hotel Offers

Worldwide deals and discounts for American Express Cardmembers