One of the tricks of traveling is learning how to adapt to your destination. Even though London appears to be very similar to the American culture, there are some major differences separating the two countries. If you misunderstand some of these concepts, you could hinder your experience, so here is some forewarning from what I have learned so far.

1. Dress to Impress

Start your day by wearing your most fashionable outfits to….well anywhere. No matter what the occasion, Londoners tend to look savvy and fashion forward

2. Pack a To-Go Bag

And no, I don’t mean for food! The people of London are always on the go and well prepared for any occasion. Remember an umbrella for rain showers and an extra outfit in case you go out for afternoon tea.

3. Walk on the Left

That’s right! Londoners not only drive on the opposite side of the road, but they tend to walk on the left side of sidewalks, tunnels and paths as well. If you do walk on the right side, be careful because most Londoners will walk right into you!

4. Be Aware of Tube Etiquette

While riding London’s 150 year old underground subway system there seem to be unspoken rules of etiquette. Here are some things I’ve observed:

  • Walk with a purpose. Citizens of London have a variety of destinations and want to arrive there quickly. Have a plan when traveling on the tube to be part of the crowd.
  • Wear your ‘tube face’. It’s not common that Londoner’s chat on the tube. A somber face is worn by most of the tube as they ponder the tasks of the day. Below is an example of our group trying to fit in on the tube.
Students riding the subway

These are our attempts at maintaining the proper “Tube face.”

  • Mind the gap. I’m not overreacting when I say this is one of the most common phrases in all of London. Basically it is a warning because the tube sometimes is separated from the platform. Don’t be worried, just watch your step!
"Mind the Gap" warning on the floor of London subway platform

This phrase appears everywhere!


Overall, just do your best to look and act the part. If you can accomplish that, the London life will be yours (besides the accent)!

–Cassandra Tokach