I made it! I’ve been dreaming of a visit to London since I fell in love with the Arctic Monkeys in middle school. Now I get to live here the whole summer while I travel and visit with my boyfriend who’s doing research at UCL?! Woohoo!
Since England is an English speaking country I didn’t have TOO much preparing to do. Mostly focused on packing and some little research I had to do before arriving. Here are some little tidbits of info I found helpful when traveling to London England!
So, chances are you will fly into Heathrow or Gatwick airport. If you fly into Heathrow (which we didn’t) its easy because you can just jump on the tube. If you fly into Gatwick you can take the Gatwick Express. A super nice train that takes you to Victoria station in 30 minutes…it even had WiFi! (I was told that taking a taxi from the airport to the city may be cheaper depending on your group size and what zone you’re going to since the GE tickets are around £20, not positive though.)
We did the travel card option for the tube since we were staying here for an extended period. You can get this for unlimited week or monthly periods and the prices range depending on the zones you want to include. We found that the weekly card was cheapest if you plan to travel more than 2-3 times in a day. Either way, you will likely buy an Oyster card to put your fares on. But, look above the ticket machine first because often guards put cards they find that can be reloaded if you’d like to save £5 on a card 🙂 We’ve found the maps and tube stations to be pretty easy to manage so far which is awesome! Also super clean and not quite as crowded as NYC.
Apartments & Stays
Again, this depends how long you’re planning to be here. For our 2 and a half months we actually sublet a place in Islington which is absolutely adorable and homey. (Andddd filled with plants, books and funky boho decor. Score!) We were thinking of doing Airbnb though and found a good amount of cool places! Here’s a few that I found that were cute and pretty central in Angel, Dalston, De Beauvoir Town. if you do want to do Airbnb. We found that making a “wish list” for London and sharing it we could both look and compare options making our search easier!
Clothes & Weather
The highs each day have been around 70 (but still grey and cloudy) and it gets around 48 right when the sun sets at about 9. I’ve brought mostly jeans, tights and sweaters and thinking I may have brought just enough warm options!
Money and Phone
Oh yeah, those other things you use on an almost constant basis. I took out pounds at the Barclays because they don’t charge for Bank of America. We’ve also found you can use your card almost anywhere so far with only minimum transaction fee (like .60 cents). As far as phones, I was planning on getting an international sim card which is super easy and cheap to do apparently, but have found that it hasn’t yet been necessary. Just keep your phone in airplane mode to make sure you don’t get any charges and send any messages over WiFi with iMessage or WhatsApp. Maps will still work to show your location without service m, so just do some research on Yelp etc before you leave the house if you want a plan.
Clearly I am no London expert as it is my first time here, but I hope I was able to provide a little bit of info in once place to make your travels easier 🙂 Look out for more posts to come on our London adventures!