Ask the Expert
How do I get the best currency exchange rate?
The best places to change your currency in London include Thomas Exchange, any branch of the Post Office and larger Marks & Spencers department stores.
With multiple exchange counters concentrated in Central London (including 5 Market Place in Oxford Circus, 25 Euston Road in King’s Cross and 115 Kingsway in Holborn), Thomas Exchange often has the best exchange rates. To guarantee the very best rate, order your currency online and collect it with Thomas Exchange later. You must collect within 24 hours of ordering, so we recommend ordering your currency in the morning, which will allow you to pick it up on the same day.
You’ll find Post Offices all over London, with locations in Zone 1 including 24-28 William IV Street, WC2N 4DL (near Trafalgar Square), 24-28 Grays Inn Road, WC1X 8HR (near Chancery Lane station) and 52 Blackfriars Road, SE1 8NN (near Southwark station).
Similarly, you’ll find large Marks & Spencers department stores placed in each of London’s major shopping destinations, such as Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Victoria, Westfield Shepherd’s Bush and Westfield Stratford City.Avoid exchanging your currency at the airport, or in any of the numerous currency exchange offices in major tourist areas such as Piccadilly Circus: a small proportion of these booths will offer you a fair rate, but many more will offer a bad rate.
If you do find yourself using one of these currency exchange booths, never hand over your money without first asking if there are any extra fees. Often they won’t reveal these fees until it is too late. Finally, always count your money in front of the cashier before you give it to them, to avoid any disagreements or misunderstandings later.
Expert advice courtesy of: Jamie Sieu, Financial Consultant/Director, JSKIBRIT Limited
What’s the weather like in London?
The Brits are famous for talking endlessly about the weather – that’s because it changes so often and can be quite unpredictable.
In general however, it is best to expect the weather in London to be dry and cool, and will need at least a light jacket for the majority of the year when you are touring the city. The best time of the year to visit London is between April and August. This is when the weather is warmest, it is more likely to be sunny and dry and there are more hours of sunlight every day. Between September and March, we would definitely recommend bringing an umbrella with you when you are walking around the city. During this time, you should expect it to be cold and you will need a bigger coat and a scarf.
London is one of the warmest regions in the UK because it is in the south east of the British Isles: London avoids the coldest and wettest parts of the weather, which are blown directly at the UK’s western coastline from the Atlantic Ocean.
The seasons in London (and in the rest of the UK) run roughly like this:
In the spring, London’s average temperature is 14°C (57°F) and the average rainfall is 40-60mm per month.
In the summer, London’s average temperature is 21°C (70°F) and the average rainfall is 40-60mm per month.
In the autumn, London’s average temperature is 15°C (60°F) and the average rainfall is 60-80mm per month.
In the winter, London’s average temperature is 8°C (46°F) and the average rainfall is 60-80mm per month.
Despite what you might think, snow does not fall in London very often at all. It’s most likely to snow in London between December and March, but even when it does snow, in Central London the snow melts very quickly and just makes the city streets slippery and wet. If you’re in London and it does snow, we recommend going to Primrose Hill or Greenwich Park to enjoy it properly.
Expert advice courtesy of: The Met Office (the UK government’s weather department)