London Etiquette

London Planner’s Content Director Chris Johnson outlines his essential guide to social etiquette.

You are walking down a busy street when you hear somebody tutting loudly behind you. Congratulations! You have just breached London’s notorious code of social etiquette. 
Don’t panic though, by adhering to a few simple rules we will have you blending in like a local in no time.

Going Underground
London Underground carries 1.37 billion passengers every year and the only way this operation can run as smoothly as it does is by ensuring we observe some basic rules of etiquette:

  • Do not try and board a rush hour train with a whole set of luggage. Just don’t. If you must get on with a bulging rucksack, at least take it off. Otherwise you risk knocking out half the carriage with every swing of the shoulders.
  • Let passengers disembark from the train before trying to board it. During rush hour, it’s a battle you won’t win.
  • Finally, the left side of the escalator is for walking. Those who wish to stand, do so on the right.

Tipping
If you have received a service you are happy with, feel free to tip. In restaurants, it is customary to leave a tip of 10%-12% of the bill to your waiter. Check to see if a service charge has not already been added to your bill though.

A whole lot of shaking going on
Londoners are not great at public displays of affection; hugs and kisses are not the norm. However, we do love to shake hands with absolutely everyone we meet. Then when we part ways we shake hands all over again.

Sorry!
Londoners love to say sorry. So, if you walk into somebody whilst taking a selfie do say sorry. And don’t be surprised if we say sorry back. We can’t help it. Sorry.

Queue Jumping

We don’t do it. Ever. So, get in line like the rest of us.

Haggling
Do not try to haggle in shops. Haggling is best kept for markets, of which London has many!

And finally,
Do not try walking down Oxford Street while simultaneously reading your smart phone. London is happening all around you!

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