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Being the vast, diverse, and awesomely fun metropolis that our nation’s capital is, it’s inevitable that you’re going to get people coming to stay from other parts of the country and/or planet, during which time you’ll realize that their grasp of London’s peculiarities mean they might as well be from an entirely different country and/or planet. With that in mind, we prepared this primer on the things you’re going to have to explain to visitors…

1. Leicester (as in the Square) is pronounced “Lester”

Also, don’t go there.

2. While we’re at it — Marylebone is pronounced “Mar-le-bone”

If you try to say it like it’s spelled, you WILL be laughed at.

3. On the Tube escalator, you stand on the right and you walk on the left. Or you die.

There is a whole world of Tube etiquette. Do everyone a favour and read this before you attempt it.

4. Cockneys don’t really exist anymore

No, Jamie Oliver doesn’t count.

5. It’s big. Like, really big.

Everything is 45 minutes away, minimum.

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6. In Soho? Yep, those are brothels.

The police have somehow found a way to tolerate them.

7. The Tube closes shortly after the pubs do

That’s not a coincidence.

8. You will get lost

Even in the bits that look like a grid system. In fact, especially there.

9. Shoreditch isn’t cool anymore

Ugh, it’s sooo 2011.

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10. No one ever goes to see the changing of the guards

This image will be the first time many Londoners have ever seen it themselves.

11. “London Luton Airport” is so not in London

It’s in Luton.

12. Don’t ever go to an Angus Steakhouse


13. Be prepared for the Tube to basically shut down on weekends

They’re called “engineering works”, despite the fact that it clearly doesn’t.

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14. From about noon ’til 8pm, Oxford Circus becomes a certain kind of torture

Because of tourists like you.

15. You have to tell a cab driver where you’re going before they let you in

And yes, they may refuse if it’s not where they want to go.

16. The terrible service in Chinatown

At least it’s equally distributed amongst all the diners.

17. People walk faster here

It’s actually more like a slow jog.

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18. Paying £10 on a burger is normal

In fact that’s cheap. There’s a chain that charges £20, and that’s literally half their menu

19. When walking on stairs or pavement, and you pass someone, pass on the left

Otherwise you will have people shoulder checking you non-stop.

20. When taking the Northern Line, make sure you’re on the correct branch

Because otherwise you’re going to be late. Well, later.

21. Street food is a thing now

The guy selling hot dogs next to the bus stop at midnight is still sketchy as hell though.


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