Everything you need to know before you go to London in 2024

Jade Bremner

Mar 10, 2024 • 7 min read

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Make the most of your trip to London with these expert tips FilippoBacci / Getty Images

Even though I was born and raised in London, I’ve been caught out without a brolly (umbrella) in the rain countless times. I’ve felt the scorn of others when not noticing there’s a queue, and I’ve made the costly error of driving into the city. But as a local, I’ve made these mistakes so you don’t have to; I hope my experience and top tips help inspire a smooth and memorable trip to the UK capital.

A side view of a woman sitting on the London tube looking at her phone

1. Know your Tube etiquette

One easy way to annoy commuters is to not follow these very easy rules when traveling around on London’s Underground. Get your ticket, bank card or smart phone ready before you reach the ticket barriers so you don’t create a queue. Stand on the right when using escalators so passengers wanting to walk can pass. Let passengers off the train first (stand to either the right or left of the doors) before you board. Offer your seat to someone who may need it more, such as a pregnant person, an elderly person, someone who is disabled and so on. And definitely don't try to strike up conversations with the locals (if you want to blend in). 

2. Skip the car

London ’s roads are small, its traffic is chaotic, and there’s hardly anywhere to park. Plus, you’ll be charged for driving your car in to the center of London – the congestion charge is £15 a day, while the separate ULEZ charge starts from £12.50 and only certain energy efficient or electric cars are exempt. The best way to get around is on public transport (although check on the TFL website or app for information on industrial action and weekend engineering works). Use the Tube, hop on a bus, or rent a bike or e-bike if in the center of the city; cycle maps, highlighting designated paths for bikes, can be downloaded online.

3. Bring layers (and a raincoat)

London’s weather is changeable – temperatures have been known to rise and fall by 20°C in a matter of days. Showers can happen any time of year so pack a brolly (umbrella) or raincoat in your day bag and wear layers that you can easily take off. In summer, always carry a bottle of water on the Tube (the deep tunnels were built before air-conditioning). And while the climate may be mercurial, don’t let bad weather put you off going about your day – simply switch to more indoor-based activities, there are hundreds of them to choose from.

A knee-down shot of a woman walking across London streets in black tennis shoes

4. Opt for comfort over fashion when it comes to shoes

Most people cover a lot of ground when exploring London, plus different terrains: grass in the many green spaces, long Tube escalators, slippery pavements and even cobblestones. Museums require leg work, as do bridges, boats and parks. Heels are pretty pointless in London, unless you are getting a door-to-door cab to a venue. 

5. Make reservations for top restaurants

While there are plenty of terrific places to eat that welcome walk-ins (although be prepared to queue for the best joints), many of the best restaurants are booked up weeks in advance, especially new ones or those run by celebrity chefs. More restaurants have adopted booking policies and deposits since the pandemic, so if you’re looking for a unique dining experience, you will need to book ahead.

6. Do as the Londoners do and go to a supper club

Embed yourself in London life with a dinner party with locals; a supper club is a superb way to try home-cooked local food from London’s diverse community. These are locally run endeavors, taking place in people’s homes or taking over whole restaurants – try The Bridge Club  serving British eats made with French cooking techniques in South London, Dinner Ladies putting on immersive food experiences, or Indian street food run out of local chef Dhruv Mittal’s flat.

A group of friends at a pub laugh while holding pints of beer

7. Know how to order at a pub

There are unspoken rules when visiting a pub. One person – not a whole group – should go to the bar. Stand anywhere and wait your turn. If someone was waiting before you, it’s polite to signal for the bar staff to serve them first if they come over to you. When you go back to your table with the drinks, you just bought "a round". Now everyone at the table owes you a drink throughout the evening, each person has a turn at buying a round. Last orders are when the bell rings, and from this moment you have 20 minutes to finish your drink.

8. Go to a football game

Football rivalries run high in the city, with 17 football clubs, including seven Premier League teams and four Women’s Super League Teams. Giant temples to "The Beautiful Game" sit around London and are great places to feel the collective energy of the city, as locals congregate (come rain or shine) to watch their heroes on the field. You'll need to book tickets far in advance for Premier League Games, but women’s and lower league men’s games are usually easier to come by – and arguably far more fun to watch. Visit local team websites to book.

9. Be polite and embrace the art of queueing

Londoners (and British people alike) are big on manners, and not having any will get you into trouble. Say "please" and "thank you", and apologize if you bump into someone. Don’t stare at people on the Tube, and hold a door open for people behind you when you walk through one. Let people pass, and be sure to help people in need (people with buggies at the top of stairs, older people crossing the road etc). If there is a queue to the attraction you want to visit or a stall you want to buy from, join it – you’ll might not get into a confrontation if you skip the line, but you will be judged. 

The historic architecture of London in the United Kingdom at sunset showcasing Piccadilly Circus with lots of locals and tourists passing by.

10. Make a plan, but don't go overboard

London is massive, so getting from one side to the other takes a couple of hours in a car (and that's if there is light traffic). Riding the Tube is quicker, but journey times can still be long if attractions are on either side of the city. Minimize travel times by exploring by neighborhood – do a day in Central London, another day in West London and so on. Plan on spending at least a few hours in the big museums and galleries, as there is so much to see. Take many breaks, grab lunch at a cafe or pub and pause to take in the views. It’s easy to get carried away with the energetic pace of London, but sights are more enjoyable if you adopt a more leisurely approach.

11. Don’t leave your stuff lying around

Don’t leave your bags unattended at public venues like stations, buses, theaters or museums, as this is likely to cause alarm and your bag may be removed – or stolen. Only take with you what you are able to carry for several hours. Luggage storage is generally rare in London, but hotels will likely store bags once you check out. Avoid carrying mobile phones in back pockets or where they can be easily swiped from your hand in the street. Never leave your phone or purse on a cafe table, opportunistic thieves will distract you and it will be gone before you realise what's happening. 

12. It's an election year in London

The incumbent mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, will face an election race in May 2024 (he's been in the top job since 2016). This might not be particularly noteworthy for travelers, but it does mean there's greater incentive to make sure London is working well. Policing, housing and public transport are high on the agenda for all the candidates. Services have been expanded to support the rising number of "rough sleepers" in the city, with the visible issue of homelessness a concern for locals and visitors alike. Tube strikes, which brought the city to a standstill in 2023, have been averted but industrial action on national rail services in and out of the city continue. The city goes to the polls on Thursday 2 May, 2024. 

This article was first published Sep 7, 2023 and updated Mar 10, 2024.

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7 Must Know Tips before Travel to the UK from USA

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Are you’re ready to travel to the UK from the USA?

As a dual American/British citizen, I understand what an American traveler needs to know before you go!

  • Do you need a visa to enter the UK
  • UK Passport entry requirements
  • What you can bring into the UK
  • What currency should you bring
  • Luggage allowance
  • Landing in the UK
  • Transportation

US citizens traveling as a tourist or visitor are entitled to stay in the UK for up to 6 months without a visa .

If you’re traveling to England from the US for the first time , I’ve written about my best tips here. Ready? Let’s go.

Travel to the UK from USA

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1. Do You Need a Visa to Enter the UK?

  • As a tourist you can stay up to 6 months in the UK without a visa .
  • With some business or academic activities you won’t need a visa, but…
  • If you plan to work in the UK you must have a work visa. Check to see if you need a visa to work in the UK
  • As a student you can stay for up to 6 months without a visa; longer than 6 months you’ll need a Student visa.
  • If you have a criminal record or have previously been denied entry you should apply for a Standard Visitor visa
  • More information on Work, Student and Standard Visitor Visas .

2. Entry Requirements for the UK

  • Your current passport must remain valid for the entire length of your stay
  • Once you arrive in the UK, show your passport at airport border control
  • Travelers from the US may use the automatic ePassport gates (with a few exceptions)
  • Wales, Scotland and N Ireland are all part of the UK, entry requirements are the same
  • As of June 2023, no Covid test requirements are in place

3. Traveling to the UK from USA : What Can You Bring?

When you bring goods from the US for personal use or as a gift , you don’t have to pay UK customs tax or duty.

If you’re bringing in any commercial goods – as a business for example – you must declare those goods because they’ll be subject to tax and duty charges. Declare commercial goods before crossing the UK border.

Here’s more info on what’s allowed and how to declare your goods online.

Travel to the UK from USA

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4. What Money Should You Bring?

The United Kingdom uses pound Stirling GBP currency which is approximately $1.25-1.28 per pound.

  • Don’t bother with Travelers checks as most places don’t accept them. Same is true for the AMEX card.
  • Don’t bother exchanging more than a small amount of US to UK cash in the US.
  • Use a US debit card at UK ATMs to withdraw local currency
  • Check your daily withdrawal limit. Visit your bank before you travel to update.
  • Credit/debit cards and Apple /Google Pay are widely used
  • Add your US credit card to Apple Pay, so you don’t have to sign for each purchase.
  • Most contactless purchase limits have been raised up to £100 ($125.)
  • Use a US credit card that does NOT charge a Foreign Transaction Fee !
  • Consider notifying your bank online or in person, of your travel plans.

5. Luggage Allowances for Travel to UK

Checked Bag Allowance Luggage allowances for international travel are different than for domestic flights. Your class of ticket may include a luggage allowance and or you may be eligible for a baggage upgrade through frequent flier or credit card program status.

Average checked bag allowed:

  • Size: 62 in/158 cm = total of width + height +length
  • Weight of checked bag: 50 lbs./23 kg

Carry On Bag Allowance

  • 1 personal item such as a purse or laptop bag, not to exceed 18″ x 14″ x 8”
  • 1 carry on bag not to exceed 22″ x 14″ x 9”
  • Carry on details from American Airlines

6. Landing in the UK

Most international flights from the US are overnights landing during early morning hours. Heathrow and Gatwick airports are outside of London and handle the majority of US arrivals. Heathrow airport is west of London: about an 1- 1.5 hour drive and 18 miles Gatwick airport lies south of London: about 1.5 hour drive and 30 miles

I go over all transportation options from both Heathrow and Gatwick airports into central London here.  Ground transportation options include private taxi service, rental car or public transportation.

It’s a good idea to stay over the night before an early flight or book into a hotel if you are too tired to travel long distances once you arrive!

Travel to the UK from USA

Oxford Circus on a beautiful sunny May day in London

7. Getting Around London and the UK

It’s easy to get around England and the UK by public transportation. Hire or rent a car if you want more flexibility. London is best navigated by public transport or taxi.

  • For travel in London, look up the TFL (Transport for London) map to familiarize yourself. TFL includes tube (subway) and buses.
  • Pay by “tapping on” when you go through the ticket barrier in Tube stations, remembering to “tap off” when you leave through the ticket barrier at your destination. Always use the same payment method to pay in and out.
  • Or purchase an Oyster card at any station good for tubes, buses and boats. You add money to it and use it as a debit card.
  • London has 12 major railway stations with connections all over the UK for travel outside the city.
  • For train travel (not Tube) use the Trainline app to buy tickets up to 6 weeks in advance. With updates on strikes or delays it’s worth the small booking fee. Learn all about train travel here .
  • How to get around London and to and from Heathrow and Gatwick.

London makes an ideal base for taking cheeky day trips to explore the country and get the full experience of all this lovely country has to offer and yes you can do it all by train !

Travel requirements may change so please check the links I’ve provided to make sure you get the most up to date information before you travel.

Get specialized travel advice and guidance

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Tessa Skeens

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.

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United Kingdom Travel Advisory

Travel advisory july 26, 2023, united kingdom - level 2: exercise increased caution.

Reissued with obsolete COVID-19 page links removed.

Exercise increased caution in the United Kingdom due to terrorism.

Country Summary:  Terrorist groups continue plotting possible attacks in the United Kingdom. Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, transportation hubs, markets/shopping malls, local government facilities, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, major sporting and cultural events, educational institutions, airports, and other public areas.

There is also a risk of isolated violence by dissident groups in Northern Ireland, focused primarily on police and military targets.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to the United Kingdom.

If you decide to travel to the United Kingdom:

  • Be aware of your surroundings when traveling to tourist locations and crowded public venues.
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • Monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program  ( STEP ) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and Twitter.com/Travelgov
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for the United Kingdom.
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest  Travel Health Information  related to your travel and return to the United States.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .

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U.S. Travelers Will Soon Have to Pay to Enter the U.K.

An elevated view of the London skyline  looking east to west

U.S. visitors—as well as visitors from Europe , Australia and Canada —will soon be required to apply for permission to enter the U.K. through a new scheme known as Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA).

The U.K. government is in the process of fully digitizing U.K. borders by the end of 2025—and the ETA scheme will play its part, allowing “individuals, and carriers, with more assurance at an earlier point in time about their ability to travel to the U.K.,” the government said.

The scheme will be in place by the end of this year (2023), and visitors will be required to fill out an online application granting them permission to travel. There will be a small fee included in the application—similar to how the U.S.'s own ESTA (Electronic System for Travel Authorization) system works for U.K. travelers.

Here's everything we know.

Will I need a visa to enter the U.K.?

This isn't technically a visa—the ETA system will grant travelers permission to enter the country. You will need to apply for an ETA prior to arrival. If you haven't received permission to travel before arrival, you may get fined.

West London UK

Travelers from the U.S. will soon need to apply for permission to enter the U.K.

How long will it take to get an ETA?

Travelers will be advised to apply for an ETA at least a few days before their journey. Approval should be granted within 72 hours of application.

How long will an ETA last?

After your ETA has been approved, visitors will be granted permission to stay in the U.K. for six months, whether for business or tourism reasons.

The U.K. government is yet to confirm how often visitors will need to apply for a new ETA, but it's likely to be valid for two years—meaning there's no need to apply for a new one every time you visit within the valid time period.

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Visitors with valid ETAs can stay—and travel—in U.K. for up to six months.

How much will an ETA cost?

We don't know yet—but the government has said that the cost will be small. The EU implemented a similar system in 2022, which costs €7. A U.S. ESTA, meanwhile, costs $21.

Who will need to apply for an ETA?

The full list of nations included hasn't been announced yet. We do know that U.S. citizens who don't hold a visa will need to apply for an ETA, as will other visa-exempt nations such as Canada and Australia. European countries are likely to be included, too.  Those traveling from nationalities without a visa-free agreement with the UK will still need to apply for another applicable type of UK visa.

What will I need to apply for an ETA?

You'll need a valid passport , an email address to register with, and to supply the details of your travel, as well as a valid debit or credit card to pay any fees to apply.

To keep up to date with the latest information on the ETA scheme, check the official website for more details as they become available.

This article originally appeared on Condé Nast Traveller U.K.  


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Is It Safe in London?

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Considered by some to be the world's capital city, London is truly a place that offers something for everyone. While London is overall a safe place to visit, there are risks, neighborhoods, and scams to be aware of, just like when visiting any major city. London is one of the most visited cities in the world and by reading up on what to prepare for and taking some simple precautions, you can enjoy your trip just as well as the millions of other international travelers who visit each year.  

Travel Advisories

  • The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 4 "Do Not Travel" travel advisory for visitors to the U.K. Restrictions and advisories change frequently and quickly, so check for updates from the  U.S. State Department  as well as  local authorities .
  • Prior to March 2020, the U.S. State Department advised visitors to the U.K. to "Exercise Increased Caution," but not to reconsider travel.

Is London Dangerous?

As with any major city, London experiences its share of crime, both violent and non-violent. Knife crimes are particularly troublesome in the city and are used to perpetrate robberies, sexual assaults, and homicides. The good news for travelers is that these violent crimes are mostly committed in the outer boroughs away from the touristic areas and are more often than not related to gangs. However, more crimes per capita occur in the popular and central Westminster and Camden neighborhoods than any other, although these are mostly petty theft or other tourist scams.

Some of the most common scams aside from pickpocketing include thieves who ride by on motorbikes and grab the bag or purse from an unsuspecting pedestrian on the sidewalk. If you're carrying a bag, keep it across your body and not dangling near the street. Another common scam includes street performers who distract passersby while an accomplice furtively steals your belongings.

London has experienced some high-profile terrorist attacks that, taken altogether, may give the impression that the city isn't safe to visit. However, the U.K. national government maintains an updated national threat level so you can stay alert to potential risks.

Is London Safe for Solo Travelers?

Lone travelers and backpackers embarking on Euro trips nearly always make an obligatory stop in the U.K. , and traveling solo around London carries the same risks as any other big city. In general, the constant crowds mean you'll hardly ever be alone and the biggest threat you should be concerned about is pickpockets. You should be hyperaware of your belongings and carry them in a safe place, especially when you're visiting popular landmarks or touristic areas.

If you're out at night and moving around the city alone, use common sense and avoid dimly lit streets with few people. Have your route planned out before you leave your accommodations, since being alone and lost in London can quickly become overwhelming. If you feel unsafe walking, don't hesitate to grab a night bus, a black cab , or another ride-sharing form of transportation.

Is London Safe for Female Travelers?

Women who live in London and visit are able to move around the city without major problems. Women walking around at night, especially when alone, should always take extra precautions, such as avoiding dark streets and trying to stay near areas with people at hand. Public transportation around London is considered to be safe overall, but night buses have a tendency to get rowdy, especially the double-decker buses. The rowdiness is usually light-hearted, but sitting on the lower level near the driver is always an option if it gets out of hand.

Safety Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers

London is a very progressive city and travelers across the LGBTQ+ spectrum should feel welcome. No city, not even London, is completely immune to homophobia and transphobia, and LGBTQ+ travelers should exercise normal precautions. However, taken as a whole, London is a place that celebrates sexual diversity instead of repressing it, and travelers can feel that from attitudes on the street all the way up to legal protections (the U.K. bans all types of discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity).  

Safety Tips for BIPOC Travelers

By all measures, London is always near the top of the list for rankings of the most multicultural cities.   More than a third of London's residents were born outside of the U.K. and the diversity of the city is apparent from the shades of skin tone, the gamut of languages spoken, and the never-ending options of world cuisine.   And while for the vast majority of Londoners diversity is just a part of daily life, there are also several reported incidents of racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism.

There is generally an uptick in hate crimes and intolerant acts following major newsworthy events. For example, immediately following the Westminster terrorist attack in 2017, hate crimes against Muslims in London surged.   In the week after the Brexit referendum, hate crimes in general across the city were nearly twice as high as usual.   If you're a BIPOC traveler in London, stay informed on local and global news. For emergency situations, dial 999 immediately from any phone, otherwise file a hate crime report for a non-emergency situation to notify the police of your experience.

Safety Tips for Travelers

  • Public transit stations are one of the most common spots for theft, especially those with the most traffic such as King's Cross St Pancras and Victoria stations. Be extra vigilant of your surroundings when using public transit.
  • Keep your travel documents, credit cards, and cash in a safe location, and consider using a money belt when walking around the city so they are less accessible.
  • Be careful when crossing the street. If you're accustomed to cars driving on the right side of the road, it's easy to step in front of moving traffic.
  • Walking while listening to headphones makes you less aware of what's going on around you, so consider pausing the music while you navigate the city.
  • More and more bars and restaurants around London are installing anti-theft clips underneath tables, so you can safely secure your bag and make it much harder for someone to steal.
  • When using an ATM—or cashpoint as they're called in the U.K.—make sure you're in a safe location and no one is hovering nearby.

CNN Travel. "The most visited cities in the world 2019." Published Dec. 3, 3019. Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

U.S. Department of State. " United Kingdom Travel Advisory. " July 19, 2021.

U.S. Department of State. " United Kingdon Travel Advisory. " August 6, 2020.

Evening Standard. "London knife crime hits record high with more than 15,000 offences in a year." Published Jan 23, 2020. Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

Verisure. "How safe is Camden - Crime statistics for Camden London." Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

Citizens Advice. "Discrimination because of sexual orientation." Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

World Atlas. "The most diverse cities in the world." Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

London Data Store. "Londoners born overseas, their age and year of arrival." Published 2013. Retrieved Jan 4, 2021.

TellMAMA. " The Importance of Narrative in Responding to Hate Incidents Following ‘Trigger’ Events. " November 2018.

Greater London Authority. " Tackling hate crime and intolerance. " 2020.

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United Kingdom Travel Restrictions

Traveler's COVID-19 vaccination status

Traveling from the United States to the United Kingdom

Open for vaccinated visitors

COVID-19 testing

Not required

Not required for vaccinated visitors


Not required in enclosed environments and public transportation.

United Kingdom entry details and exceptions

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Can I travel to the United Kingdom from the United States?

Most visitors from the United States, regardless of vaccination status, can enter the United Kingdom.

Can I travel to the United Kingdom if I am vaccinated?

Fully vaccinated visitors from the United States can enter the United Kingdom without restrictions.

Can I travel to the United Kingdom without being vaccinated?

Unvaccinated visitors from the United States can enter the United Kingdom without restrictions.

Do I need a COVID test to enter the United Kingdom?

Visitors from the United States are not required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test or antigen result upon entering the United Kingdom.

Can I travel to the United Kingdom without quarantine?

Travelers from the United States are not required to quarantine.

Do I need to wear a mask in the United Kingdom?

Mask usage in the United Kingdom is not required in enclosed environments and public transportation.

Are the restaurants and bars open in the United Kingdom?

Restaurants in the United Kingdom are open. Bars in the United Kingdom are .

London Calling: Us Traveler's Guide

  • Last updated Jul 08, 2024
  • Difficulty Beginner

Karisa Garcia

  • Category Travel

what to know when traveling to london from the us

London is a two-millennia-old city that is steeped in history and culture. It is a popular tourist destination, with millions of people visiting each year to experience its unique blend of the historic and the contemporary. When travelling to London from the US, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Firstly, Londoners drive on the left side of the road, so it is important to be vigilant when crossing the street. The city has an extensive public transportation system, including the famous Tube, but walking is often the fastest way to get around, especially for shorter distances. London also has plenty of bike paths, so renting a bike is a great option for getting around the city. When using public transportation, it is recommended to purchase a Oyster Card, which allows you to pay for your rides at a discounted rate.

In terms of what to pack, it is important to bring a universal adapter as the UK uses a different plug type. The weather in London can be unpredictable, so it is always a good idea to bring a jacket and an umbrella. While London has many high-end luxury brands, there are also plenty of affordable options for dining and entertainment, including free museums and galleries. It is also worth noting that tipping in restaurants is usually only necessary if there is no service charge included in the bill.

London is generally a safe city, but it is important to be vigilant and aware of your surroundings, especially in crowded tourist areas and when using public transportation. Overall, London is a fascinating city with something to offer everyone, and a little bit of planning can go a long way in making the most of your trip.

What You'll Learn

Currency is the british pound, embrace the pub culture, the tube is the easiest way to get around, pack for all weather, be vigilant and aware of your surroundings.


The currency in London is the British pound, also known as the pound sterling (£, GBP). One pound is divided into 100 pence, and you'll come across coins and banknotes in various denominations.

The coins in circulation include 1 penny (1p), 2 pence (2p), 5 pence (5p), 10 pence (10p), 20 pence (20p), 50 pence (50p), £1 (one pound), and £2 (two pounds).

Commonly circulated banknotes are £5, £10, £20, and £50. £1 notes are extremely rare, and £100 notes are also seldom seen.

Exchanging Money

You can exchange money at currency exchange offices, banks, and bureaus de change. Currency exchange offices are found throughout the city, including at airports and in popular tourist areas. Banks may offer competitive exchange rates, but they often charge a nominal fee for currency exchange services.

Withdrawing pounds directly from local ATMs is a convenient option, with ATMs widely available across London. However, be sure to check with your bank about any foreign transaction fees or currency conversion charges that may apply. It is generally more cost-effective to use a debit card in a foreign ATM, as fees tend to be lower than those for credit cards.

Credit and Debit Cards

London accepts various payment methods, with credit cards widely accepted, especially in larger establishments. Visa and Mastercard are the most commonly accepted, while American Express cards are taken to a lesser extent. Debit cards are also a convenient and secure option, offering similar acceptance to credit cards.

Contactless Payments

Contactless payments, such as Apple Pay or Google Pay, have gained popularity in London and are widely accepted, providing a quick and secure way to make transactions.

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Pubs are an integral part of British life and are definitely something you should experience when visiting London from the US. They are a place to socialise, relax, and have a drink. In fact, in British culture, pubs hold a special spot in their heritage and history.

Ordering drinks

When ordering drinks at the bar, it is customary to buy drinks in "rounds", where each person in the group takes turns to buy drinks for the whole group. It is considered rude to buy a drink just for yourself if you are part of a group. If you are the designated driver or a non-drinker, you can easily order a soft drink. If you are a drinker, the usual order consists of lager, ale, bitter, or spirits. A request for lager, ale, or bitter will usually get you a whole pint unless you specify that you want half!

Pub etiquette

There is no visible queue at the bar, but the bar staff will notice who arrived first. Make eye contact and smile to get their attention. It is also advisable to edge your way to the front of the queue, but do not push in. Once at the front, get the attention of the bar staff by having your money ready. They will likely ask what you want, and you can give them your order.

Most pubs serve hot and cold food, and some pubs, known as "gastropubs", serve restaurant-quality food. However, the traditional snacks eaten in pubs are crisps and nuts. If you are feeling peckish, it is customary to ask people in your group what flavour of crisps they like, and then share the snacks by ripping open the bag and piling the crisps on the torn foil.

Pubs, or "tabernae", first started popping up along with the construction of the Roman road. After the Romans left, the Anglo-Saxons established alehouses that quickly became popular places to drink, gossip, and socialise. By 1577, England and Wales had around 14,202 alehouses, 1,631 inns, and 329 taverns, equalling one pub for every 187 people.


Today, there are different types of pubs with various architectural styles, both old and new. Some notable examples include Princess Louise, a magnificent pub with a Victorian interior design, and Eastbrook Dagenham, a pub built between the two world wars with a Neo-Classical style.

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London has an excellent public transport network, but the number of options can be overwhelming for first-time visitors. The Tube (the London Underground) is the quickest and easiest way to get around the city.

The Tube is the city's subway system, running across 11 different colour-coded lines. Only about 45% of the network is actually underground, but it is usually the warmest place to wait for transport in winter. The Tube runs from around 5 am to 1 am, with several lines running all night on Fridays and Saturdays.

The Underground operates in fare zones 1-6, which cover London in expanding concentric circles, with zone 1 in the centre and zone 6 on the outskirts. Generally, the more zones you cross, the more expensive your journey will be. Tickets can be purchased from machines or ticket offices at stations, or you can use a contactless card, an Oyster card, or a mobile payment.

The Tube is one of the most efficient ways to get around London, as it doesn't have to worry about traffic. In most parts of London, you will usually find that there is an Underground stop within easy walking distance, and a train arriving within 10 minutes or less.

The Piccadilly Line is a good line to base yourself near, as it stops at some of London's key sights and neighbourhoods – Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Hyde Park Corner, and Knightsbridge – and it runs from Heathrow's airport terminals.

However, it is worth noting that some stations are much closer in reality than they appear on the Tube map, and walking between them will be quicker than going underground. For example, Leicester Square and Covent Garden are much closer together than they appear on the map.

If you're visiting London, try to avoid the Underground during rush hour on weekdays (around 7:30-8:30 am and 4:30-7:00 pm) as it gets very crowded with commuters.

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When packing for London, it's important to prepare for all types of weather. The city's maritime location in the North Atlantic means that even in summer, you might experience biting winds and rain. So, while you don't need to take an umbrella everywhere, it's a good idea to pack a jacket and check the weather forecast before heading out for the day.

London's weather can be unpredictable, with rain showers and sunny intervals throughout the year. For the next few days, for example, the forecast includes light rain, drizzle, sunny intervals, and thundery showers.

In addition to a jacket, you may want to pack clothes for warmer weather, as London can experience temperatures in the 60s and 70s (°F) during the summer months. It's also a good idea to bring a few extra sets of clothes if you plan on being out and about, in case you get caught in a rain shower.

If you're visiting during the winter months, from November to mid-March, you can expect snow, so pack accordingly with a warm coat, hat, gloves, and scarf.

London's weather is also influenced by its location in the UK, which generally experiences a temperate maritime climate. This means the city doesn't usually see extreme temperatures, with mild winters and cool summers. However, as mentioned, sudden rain showers can be expected at any time of the year.

So, when packing for London, the key is to be prepared for all types of weather. Bring layers that can be easily added or removed, and always check the forecast before heading out, so you can be ready for whatever the day brings.

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London is a bustling city with a rich history and a diverse culture. While it is a popular tourist destination, it is important to stay vigilant and aware of your surroundings at all times, especially in crowded areas and when using public transportation. Here are some detailed tips to help you stay vigilant and aware during your travels to London from the US:

Know the Normal Pace and Patterns:

When you arrive in London, take some time to observe and understand the normal pace and patterns of the city. Notice how locals move about – are they rushing or walking slowly? Try to identify the tourists from the locals by their behaviour and attire. Pay attention to the volume of their conversations and their overall demeanour. This will help you identify anything out of the ordinary.

Identify Exits and Emergency Equipment:

Whenever you enter a new place, such as a cafe, a store, or a museum, make it a habit to locate multiple exits and identify the nearest emergency equipment, such as fire extinguishers, automated external defibrillators (AEDs), or first aid kits. Knowing your surroundings in this way can be crucial in an emergency situation.

Minimise Distractions:

While exploring London, minimise distractions such as phone usage or earphones. Keep one ear free if you must use earphones. Stay alert and scan your surroundings while engaging in conversations. Avoid walking close to areas where someone could hide or poorly lit areas, especially at night or in unfamiliar locations. Remember, those with ill intentions often target people who seem distracted or unaware.

Trust Your Instincts:

Your instincts are powerful tools for ensuring your safety. If you feel anxious or uncomfortable in a particular situation or around a certain person, heed your instincts and remove yourself from that situation. Your intuition is often accurate, and it's better to be cautious than to ignore potential warning signs.

Be Cautious on Social Media:

Avoid posting real-time updates on social media, especially when travelling or vacationing in London. Thieves may target those who advertise that they are not at home. Never tag your location, and be cautious about the background details in the photos you post.

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Frequently asked questions.

London's rapid-transit system, the London Underground or "the Tube", is the easiest way to get around the city. You can also use the city's bus network, or walk.

London's official currency is the British pound. Check the exchange rate before you go. It's customary to tip between 10 and 15% in restaurants. If a service charge is added to your bill, you don't need to tip extra.

Pack for all types of weather. Even in summer, you might experience cold winds and rain. Bring a jacket and an umbrella, and always check the forecast before you go out.

London is generally a safe city, but tourists should be aware of pickpockets on the Tube or at popular attractions. Only use licensed black cabs, and don't leave drinks unattended in bars and nightclubs.

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clock This article was published more than  2 years ago

Everything you need to know about traveling to the U.K.

travel to london from us

This story has been updated.

In London , it’s not immediately obvious that the world is still dealing with the coronavirus pandemic. In the halls of Borough Market, you’ll see maskless, smiling faces of patrons and shopkeepers back to business as usual. On the Tube, few masks, if any, make an appearance. At the airport, travelers can now enter the country without testing, quarantines or proof of vaccination.

“The city is full of life. The city is full of people,” says Jim Strong, president of Strong Travel Services , who recently returned from a trip to London.

A local's guide to London

The United Kingdom lifted all remaining travel restrictions in March, after two years of complicated rules. In the wake of that change, here’s everything you need to know to get prepared for a trip to the U.K.

What to know about restrictions

Britain has removed all of its coronavirus travel restrictions. Visitors from any country are welcome, regardless of vaccination status, and no longer need to test before their trip or complete a U.K. passenger locator form before arriving.

Travelers are not required to mask on flights and public transportation, although the government does encourage doing so in crowded, enclosed spaces.

How to dine and explore

Travel experts, including Strong, say London is one of the most popular European destinations for travelers this year, so plan ahead in anticipation of competition.

“Now that the testing requirement to return to the U.S. has been removed, I think we’re going to see much more intense interest in traveling, not only to London, but to all of Europe,” Strong says.

If there are certain attractions you’d like to visit or restaurants you’d like to eat at, be sure to make reservations.

“If you are going to the London, you must — in our opinion — do everything possible to have things prearranged, such as cars and drivers, restaurant reservations, entrance into certain sites,” Strong says.

Many attractions have ended limited-entry policies, making it more convenient to visit, but some remain.

“Everything is operating as it was pre-covid, however, sometimes at a diminished level,” Strong says, noting that he has seen London hotels and restaurants not operating at full capacity or limiting reservations because of staffing issues.

Richard Cooke, general manager of the Balmoral hotel in Edinburgh, Scotland, recommends that travelers talk to the concierge at their hotel and get a few reservations on the books, whether you’re hoping to tour the Macallan Distillery in Speyside or go to a football match.

“We have a bar with over 500 single malts,” Cooke says. “It’s been busier than ever with guests trying things they’ve never tried before or seeking to understand differing nuances. It’s a thirst for knowledge.”

Where to get a coronavirus test

It is no longer required to test before returning to the United States. If you’d still like to test, you can pack a self-test or find them for purchase from U.K. shops and pharmacies. You may be able to have one arranged at your hotel, but if that’s not the case, you can make an appointment at a pharmacy near you. The U.S. Embassy in the U.K. has a list of local labs to find tests . Testing is also available at Heathrow Airport .

More travel tips

Vacation planning: Start with a strategy to maximize days off by taking PTO around holidays. Experts recommend taking multiple short trips for peak happiness . Want to take an ambitious trip? Here are 12 destinations to try this year — without crowds.

Cheap flights: Follow our best advice for scoring low airfare , including setting flight price alerts and subscribing to deal newsletters. If you’re set on an expensive getaway, here’s a plan to save up without straining your credit limit.

Airport chaos: We’ve got advice for every scenario , from canceled flights to lost luggage . Stuck at the rental car counter? These tips can speed up the process. And following these 52 rules of flying should make the experience better for everyone.

Expert advice: Our By The Way Concierge solves readers’ dilemmas , including whether it’s okay to ditch a partner at security, or what happens if you get caught flying with weed . Submit your question here . Or you could look to the gurus: Lonely Planet and Rick Steves .

travel to london from us

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travel to london from us

  • Passports, travel and living abroad
  • Travel abroad
  • Foreign travel advice

Entry requirements

This information is for people travelling on a full ‘British citizen’ passport from the UK. It is based on the UK government’s understanding of the current rules for the most common types of travel. 

The authorities in the US set and enforce entry rules. If you’re not sure how these requirements apply to you, contact the US Embassy or a consulate in the UK .

COVID-19 rules

There are no COVID-19 testing or vaccination requirements for travellers entering the US.

Passport validity requirements

To enter the US, your passport must be valid for the length of your planned stay.

If you’re travelling through another country on your way to or from the US, check the entry requirements for that country. Many countries will only allow entry if you have at least 6 months validity remaining on your passport. 

Dual nationals  

US law requires US citizens to enter and exit the US using a US passport. Contact the US Embassy or a consulate in the UK for more information.

Visa requirements

To enter or transit through the US, you must have either an  Electronic System for Travel Authorisation ( ESTA ) visa waiver  or a visa .

The US State Department has more information on visas .

Applying for an ESTA visa waiver 

Apply for an ESTA visa waiver through US Customs and Border Protection. You can also apply using the ESTA Mobile app on android or on iOS .

You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you have:

  • been arrested (even if the arrest did not result in a criminal conviction)
  • a criminal record
  • been refused admission into, or have been deported from the US
  • previously overstayed under an ESTA visa waiver

You cannot normally apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you were in the following countries on or after March 2011: 

  • North Korea

You cannot apply for an ESTA visa waiver if you travelled to or were in Cuba on or after 12 January 2021. 

If you are not eligible for an ESTA , you must instead apply for a US visa.

Applying for a visa

The US Embassy in London has information on how to apply for a visa .

US visa appointments

Visa appointments at the US Embassy in London are limited. Plan your application as far ahead as possible before travel. If you need to travel urgently, you can request an expedited interview through the US Embassy’s appointment service provider.

The US Embassy has more information on visa appointments .

Children and young people

Anyone aged 17 and under must:

  • have a valid visa or ESTA visa waiver on arrival
  • be able to provide evidence about the purpose, location and length of their visit if asked by immigration officials
  • have written consent from one or both parents if travelling alone, with only one parent, or with someone who is not a parent or legal guardian

The US authorities can stop you entering the country if they have safeguarding concerns about a child. If this happens, the US authorities will take the child into their care, and their return from the US could take months. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office ( FCDO ) cannot speed up the return of British nationals aged 17 and under from the US.

The US government has information about children travelling to the US . If you have questions, contact the US Embassy in the UK .

Vaccine requirements

For details about medical entry requirements and recommended vaccinations, see TravelHealthPro’s US guide .

Customs rules 

There are strict rules about goods you can take into or out of the US . You must declare anything that may be prohibited or subject to tax or duty.

Global Entry programme

The US Customs and Border Protection programme Global Entry allows pre-approved travellers through border control faster at some US airports. If you’re a British citizen, you can  register to get a UK background check . If you pass the background checks, you’ll be invited to apply for Global Entry.

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Full Suitcase Travel Blog

Traveling to London for the First Time (2024): Tips & Tricks

By Author Jurga

Posted on Last updated: June 4, 2024

Traveling to London for the First Time (2024): Tips & Tricks

Traveling to London for the first time and not sure where to start? Planning a trip to London might be overwhelming indeed and especially so if this is your first time in the city!

How long do I need to spend in London? When to visit? What are the best places to stay in London? How to save time and money and still see the best that London has to offer?

To help you plan your first trip to London, I selected some of the best tips for visiting London . This no-nonsense practical guide will not only help you plan your London trip, but will also show you how to make the best of your visit, time, and budget. Find out!

Top 5 Experiences in London:

  • London Eye .
  • Tower of London & Crown Jewels .
  • Thames River Cruise .
  • Harry Potter Warner Bros. Studio (book well in advance!)
  • The View from The Shard .

Everything you should know before traveling to London for the first time

These are our top travel tips for visiting London:

1. Stay in Central London

The question that gets asked a lot by first-time visitors is what are the best places to stay in London.

Hotels in central London can be expensive, yet while it might be very tempting to choose cheaper accommodation outside the city center, it’s a choice that you’ll quickly regret. First, commuting into the city every day will cost a lot of money and time. Precious time, that you could otherwise use for sightseeing.

Visiting London for the first time? Stay in central London!  By staying in central London you can see much more in less time. Ultimately this will save money not just on transportation, but also on your overall trip budget because you’ll need fewer days in order to see just as much.

Now that we established that central London is the best place to stay when visiting London for the first time, you might be wondering which neighborhoods are the best for sightseeing.

There is probably no single best answer to this, but here is a short list of neighborhoods that we personally looked at when planning our recent trip to London with kids : Westminster, Trafalgar/ Covent Garden, Soho, Bankside, and South Bank. 

Ultimately we chose the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge Hotel , which is located on the South Bank close to the London Eye . We loved being in the center of the action and being able to easily walk everywhere. Staying in the center makes visiting London so much easier because many of the main attractions are within easy walking distance or just a short bus/ tube drive away.

The area around Covent Garden/Trafalgar Square is another great choice. Check out Citadines Trafalgar Square if you are looking for a nice price/quality/location hotel.

TIP: Using the map below, you can also easily see what’s available in central London for your travel dates and group size.

In general, I’d say just look for the best deals that you can find for your group and travel dates and as long as it’s in Central London, you know you made a good choice.

TIP: If you are looking for a lower budget stay in central London (although ‘budget’ is a relative term here), check out the Waterloo Station area (10 minutes walk to London Eye ). It’s one of the few places in the center where you can often find good quality budget accommodation. Here are two of the best choices in this area: Nox Hotel Waterloo and Point A Hotel London Westminster .

If you go further from the center, accommodation gets a bit cheaper. But a lot also depends on the specific area. In general, west/ northwest of the River Thames is better than going further east/ southeast because most of the main landmarks and attractions of London are on the western side of the river. Unless you stay very close to the river, in which case, it’s as good as it gets.

LEARN MORE: Where to Stay in London

Big Ben or Elizabeth Tower in London

2. Avoid Bank Holidays and School Breaks

London is one of the most beautiful cities in the UK , and one of the most popular cities in Europe. It’s an extremely popular destination that attracts millions of visitors from all over the world.

The busiest times to visit London are July and August, as well as European bank holiday weekends and school breaks. If you can, try to avoid these peak periods for fewer crowds and better prices and availability.

If you plan to see London during Holiday Season, it’s best to avoid the main shopping streets on the weekends and the last days just before Christmas.

TIP: Since spring school holidays in Europe usually fall later than in the U.S., London is a great European destination for spring break . It can also be very nice in June when most European countries still have school.

READ ALSO: Best Time to Travel in Europe

London's Oxford Street during Holiday Season

3. Foresee Enough Time and Don’t Try to See Everything

If you are traveling to London for the first time, you are probably wondering how much time you need in London. You have to realize that London is huge and there is no way to see everything in just a few days or even a few weeks… So don’t come to London thinking that you can see it all in just one or two days.

While you can see most of the main sights in London in one day or two days , for first-time visitors, I highly recommend spending at least 3-4 days in London. This should give you sufficient time to get acquainted with the city, see the main landmarks, and visit a few of the most popular tourist attractions in London .

However, we also suggest visiting at least a few places outside of the city as that will make your trip so much more special. In that case, you should really plan at least 5-7 days in London. More about day trip suggestions further below.

Also, don’t try to see ‘everything’ in London. This is simply not possible and will leave you tired and frustrated. Plan to visit no more than two or three bigger attractions every day and leave some time for unexpected discoveries.

It's always fun to watch street artists in London

4. Book as Much as Possible in Advance

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when visiting London is not to plan your visit in advance. Long in advance!

Starting with flights and accommodations and ending with London attractions and activities – booking in advance means more choice, better prices, and less time wasted queuing. After all, you want to make the most of your trip to London and not spend all your precious time standing in line.

TIP: Often tickets for the main London attractions are cheaper if booked online at least a day in advance. For example, you can usually get cheaper tickets for Madame Tussauds , The View from The Shard , or the  London Eye online (not even to mention avoiding the biggest queues and actually being able to visit).

For some places not reserving in advance usually means that you won’t be able to visit at all. For example, the Harry Potter Studio Tour , which is often booked up weeks and months ahead. To give you an idea, recently, we couldn’t find tickets for the day (let alone the time) when we wanted to go 16 weeks in advance! I checked all the possible websites and tour options and this day tour was the only one that still had availability, and only because it was just new at that time. And it’s not even the peak season!

If you want to go see a musical in London, book your theater tickets well in advance. Sometimes, there are last-minute tickets available as well, but not to the most popular shows and the seats you get are usually far from great.

TIP:   If you didn’t think to prebook and are looking for last-minute theatre tickets in London, check the TKTS ticket booth on Leicester Square. You can buy theatre tickets only in person for performances on the same day, or up to two days in advance.

Les Miserables in London - book London theatre tickets well in advance

5. Save Time and Money on London’s Major Attractions

Visiting London for the first time means visiting all the main landmarks and attractions in London . However, if you aren’t prepared, it’s very likely you will waste hours and days standing in lines.

If you want to make the most of your time in London, consider skip-the-line tickets and priority passes at the most popular attractions.

Yes, they are expensive but think of it this way. What’s the point of paying all that money to travel to London to then spend all your time queuing instead of sightseeing…

The London Pass

One of the best ways to see a lot of the major attractions in London with a priority entrance is The London Pass . For example, it includes FREE entrance to places like The Tower of London, The View from the Shard, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge, or London Zoo and experiences like the Thames River Cruise or Hop-on Hop-off bus tour (to mention just a few)…

However, it only makes sense to get the pass if you visit at least 2-3 of the included attractions per day, so you need to decide if it’s worth it for you.

If you are planning to visit a lot of major attractions in a very short time, then the London Pass is definitely worth it. But plan well and make sure you get the most out of your pass during its validity period.

TIP: If you are staying in London longer, buying a pass for multiple days is more beneficial than just getting a pass for one day. Note that there are several different choices of passes in London ( The London Pass , London Explorer Pass ). Our research shows that the London Pass is one of the best options.

Fast Track, Skip the Line & Timed-Entry Tickets

The London Pass includes free entrance to 60 top attractions in London, but some of the most popular attractions like the London Eye are not included in this pass. Furthermore, many popular attractions now work with timed entry slots.

So for the most popular attractions, it’s best to book fast-track or timed-entry tickets well in advance.

We visited London with our three kids and used fast-track tickets wherever we could. I can’t imagine how different our experience would have been if we had to wait in line everywhere. We could have never seen half as much in the time that we had, not to mention our sanity, standing in line for hours with young children…

For example, you can buy fast-track tickets for the London Eye , Madame Tussauds , and some others. You can get timed-entry tickets for the Tower of London , The Shard , and many others.

A fast-track ticket to the most popular attractions like the London Eye or even Madame Tussauds can easily save you a couple of hours! The queues here can be 2-3 hours long, so believe me, a fast-track ticket is a real lifesaver . As a minimum, get a standard timed-entry ticket online before you go.

TIP: The London Eye also has several different prices depending on when you book and when you visit. For example, the early morning, late evening, or weekday tickets are usually a bit cheaper. Nowadays, they have an online offer with over 50% discount for 2-3 PM tickets . You can also save up to 20% off the regular price if booking tickets online and at least 24 hours in advance! You can find all the best ticket options for The London Eye on the official website .

London Eye is not to be missed if visiting London for the first time

6. Visit London’s FREE Attractions

Here are some places and activities that you should definitely add to your London travel list:

Free Museums in London

Visiting London is not cheap, but there are so many great things to see and do completely for free. Here are just a few London museums that can be visited free of charge : British Museum, Natural History Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, Science Museum, Museum of London and many more.

London’s Parks and Gardens

London has many gardens, parks and playgrounds that are free to visit. It is also a great way to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

London Views

While some places require a ticket, there are lots of great views in London that don’t cost anything at all. For more information, please see our guide to the best views of London .

London’s Shops

Don’t get me wrong – shopping in London isn’t cheap by any means. But visiting the shops is of course absolutely free and can be an attraction in itself. Don’t miss Harrods and Oxford Street ! Kids will love  Hamleys (the world’s largest and oldest toy store), the LEGO store , and the  M&M store .

TIP: Try to avoid shopping streets and big department stores on the weekends and just before Christmas.

London Markets

London has lots of wonderful markets, scattered all around the city. With quirky, unique shops and food stalls that will leave you mouthwatering, it will likely be hard to resist buying something. But you can spend hours and days wandering around London’s markets without spending anything…

TIP: Some of our favorite markets include Camden Market , Greenwich Market , Spitalfields Market, and Borough Market (this is where some of the best food tours in London come too).

Changing of the Guard

The Changing of the Guard is one of the free things to do in London that are not to be missed. The ceremony is free to watch and takes place at Buckingham Palace at 10.45 AM on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Sundays (weather permitting).  It’s very popular among tourists, so make sure to arrive early in order to secure a spot with a good view.

For the exact location and up-to-date schedule, please consult the website of the Household Division .

READ ALSO: Top FREE Sights & Things to Do in London with Kids (many suggestions will also be interesting for adults)

British Royal Guard in London, UK

7. Use Credit Cards (or Smartphone)

These days, you hardly ever need cash for payments in the UK. Pretty much every place accepts credit cards and most places now also accept payments directly via your smartphone. You may want to get some cash for small purchases, but it’s so much easier to just use your credit card or smartphone.

You can use all major credit cards in London, but VISA and Mastercard are by far the most accepted cards. Amex is not widely used in Europe and Diner’s Club is pretty much useless. Debit cards (or cash-only cards) are also accepted pretty much everywhere.

One thing you should know is that if you use a card, often, you need one with a chip and a 4-digit PIN. Make sure that you know your PIN number by heart! You’ll need a credit card with a PIN for most payments all over Europe. Some places might still accept a card with your signature, but often, they don’t even know that they can or how to approach it because nobody in Europe uses that system anymore.

Good to know: When using an ATM or paying for purchases, you’ll be asked to choose currency – either local currency (UK pound sterling) or your own currency (US dollar if you’re traveling from the US, or Euro if you’re from Europe). Always choose to pay in local currency (UK pound sterling) and let your own bank do the currency transaction, or you risk losing a lot of money. A lot.

TIP:  If you don’t have the right credit card with a chip and a 4-digit pin, check out this selection of  the best American credit cards for travel . I recommend choosing  a card with no foreign transaction fees .

London travel tips - paying by card

8. Use Public Transport & Use a Contactless Credit Card or Oyster Card

London is a big city and visiting everything on foot just isn’t feasible. The good news is that London’s public transport system is very efficient.

One of the best and quickest ways to get around in London is metro, aka the London tube . The biggest advantage of the tube is that you can quickly get to the other side of London without having to waste your time in the traffic. Here’s a tip for you I once got from a local. Avoid the tube during rush hour and during Christmas.

However, while traveling underground, you don’t see anything of the city, so for shorter distances, I recommend taking one of the city’s buses. Riding these original red double-decker buses is a typical London experience you should try at least once.

TIP:  Get the Oyster card . It’s a sort of electronic ticket that can be used for all public transport in Greater London and is much cheaper than paying for single-ride tickets. You can find more information about the Oyster Card here .

Alternatively, just use your contactless credit card . You can scan it when entering the metro, then scan it again when you leave. It works the same way as the Oyster card and if you use public transport several times a day, the maximum amount you spend will be capped at a daily ticket rate.

Note that children often travel free of charge (more information here ). However, for older kids where kids’ tariff is applicable, you better get a ticket. Using your credit card for the kids as well would mean that you’re paying adult rates for them. On top of that, you need one card per person anyway.

TIP: Since the recent Uber ban in London, a traditional London cab is the best option if you have lots of luggage. You really don’t want to take the tube with young kids and big suitcases, take my word for it. We took a cab twice in London and it was much more affordable than we expected. Furthermore, riding a traditional English cab is part of the experience of visiting London for the first time.

Red double-decker bus on the Westminster Bridge in London

9. Walk or Rent a Bike

I know that I just told you that seeing London on foot isn’t feasible. However, you’d be missing a great deal if you take a tube or a bus every time. After all, one of the best ways to see a new city is to explore it on foot . London is no exception.

Another great way to see London and easily cover bigger distances is by bike . There are lots of self-service city bike stands where you can rent a bike, or you can join a guided bike tour.

If you are visiting London for the first time and don’t know the city well, renting a bike without a guide is maybe not the best idea, unless in the parks. London traffic is really busy, it comes (for most of us) from a different side than what we are used to, and if you also need to read the map, it can get quite dangerous.

TIP: If you want to explore London by bike, book a tour with a local guide. There are several great options, e.g. this half-day bike tour that covers the main highlights of London , or this bike tour that brings you to the less-known places of London .

Santander public bike rental system - bicycles for hire in London

10. Use Hop-on Hop-off Buses and River Cruises

There are so many ways to see London! For the complete experience, I recommend you try as many different means of transport as you can during your London trip.

Hop-on hop-off buses are extremely popular and are a great way to see the city and major attractions.

One of my favorite ways to see any city is by taking a boat where possible. There are so many boat trip options in London, so you really have no excuse not to see London from the Thames. One of the most popular options is hop-on hop-off boat on River Thames . It allows you to see many attractions close to the river in an easy way.

TIP: Hop-on Hop-off bus tickets usually include one FREE Thames River cruise ride and a FREE walking tour.

Thames river cruise is a great way to see London

11. Get off the Beaten Path

It’s understandable that you want to see the main landmarks when traveling to London for the first time. However, London is so much more than Big Ben or Buckingham Palace!

There are so many quirky neighborhoods, local markets, lesser-known museums, and beautiful gardens in London.

Visiting a few less known places like this will just make your first trip to London even more special and memorable.

TIP: Here you can find some great ideas for different things to do, the hidden gems of London . And here you can find some nice ideas for the best views and viewpoints in London .

READ ALSO: Camden Town – one of the coolest neighborhoods in London

Little Venice is a true gem in London

12. Eat Like the British

London is an expensive city and dining out can be a pricey experience. Furthermore, restaurants located close to tourist attractions don’t always serve the best food, so researching restaurants in advance can be a good idea.

Here are some insider tips on where to find the best food in London and save money :

  • Try traditional Fish&Chips where locals eat (e.g. Poppies Fish&Chips or The Golden Chippy).
  • Local supermarkets offer lots of affordable options for sandwiches or salads – perfect for a picnic in the park.
  • Borough Market is the best food market in London, but there are also so many other smaller markets and food stalls.
  • Ottolenghi deli sells delicious packed lunches.
  • Harrods food hall is not to be missed.
  • Lots of fine restaurants cost a fraction of the price if you go there for lunch rather than dinner.
  • Traditional afternoon tea experience is a must in London and it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. We had  afternoon tea with kids at St. Ermin’s and loved it! Nowadays, there are many easily accessible and very affordable high tea experiences all over London (see here for some of the best options ).

READ ALSO: British Food to Try in the UK

Typical English afternoon tea

13. Take a Day Trip Outside of the City

While London has so much to offer, there are also so many nice places to visit outside the city as well! From the most popular destinations like Windsor Castle and bucket-list places like Stonehenge to the English countryside and charming villages of the Cotswolds , but also some of the UK’s best towns and cities such as Bath, Oxford, or Cambridge – there are so many amazing possibilities near London.

So if you can, plan a longer stay in London and take at least a few day trips to explore more of England. This will make your trip so much more special!

TIP: If you are short on time, we recommend that you take organized tours that cover some of the nicest places in one day. That way you can see a lot in just a few days – much more than you’d ever be able to do on your own. And yes, it’s not exactly exploring deeper, but if this is your first time in the UK, it’s better than nothing.

Here are some of the best day tours from London that we recommend for first-time visitors:

  • Windsor Castle, Stonehenge & Bath .
  • Oxford, Stratford & the Cotswolds .
  • Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio with Transfer .
  • Liverpool and The Beatles (a very long day, but well worth it for The Beatles fans). See also our guide on how to visit Liverpool from London .

READ ALSO: Best Day Trips and One Day Tours from London

London travel tips - take a day trip near the city

14. Don’t Forget The Little Important Details

Here are some more practical tips to consider when traveling to London for the first time:

  • You can pay by credit card pretty much everywhere, but it’s always useful to have some cash as well. And no, you can’t pay in Euro or US Dollars in London, you really need to get Pound sterling from an ATM.
  • You are not expected to tip in the UK and service charge is often included in your restaurant bill. In most London restaurants, you’ll get charged 10-15% in addition to your bill. Locals say they don’t typically tip at the bar, but would usually leave a 10% tip at a restaurant if the service was good and not yet included in the bill.
  • Don’t forget your travel adapter . UK uses Type G plugs, which are very different from other European countries, or the US.
  • You’ll be walking a lot, so wear comfortable shoes . Nowadays, Europeans wear sneakers in the cities too, and London is no exception. However, we tend to wear more fashionable sneakers (something like this ), not the ones you wear when playing tennis… However, some places in London still throw upon (and some doormen give you ‘the look’ or even refuse entry) if your clothing and/or footwear looks too casual…
  • Look right(!) when crossing a street in London. Yes, right, because they do drive on the other side of the road in Britain. If this is your first trip to the UK, it might take some getting used to. So be careful!
  • You may want to consider buying a local SIM card or a pocket Wi-Fi to save on roaming charges.
  • Pack an umbrella or a good rain jacket. It rains a lot in London, especially in the colder season. Although, as climate changes, the weather has gotten significantly drier here too. So check the weather forecast before your trip. Wearing layers is always the best way to go!

Traditional black London cab is a must when tarvelling in London

So, these are some of the most important practical tips you should know when traveling to London for the first time.

Do you have any questions or maybe want to share your experience and tips from visiting London? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!

READ ALSO: Best Secret Places of London That Most Tourists Never See

London Travel FAQ

The best time to travel to London is in the warm season between March and October. Summer is the peak season with big crowds. For mild weather and fewer people, come in spring or in the fall. The very best months to visit London are April-May and September-beginning of October.

London is huge and there’s no way to see everything in one trip. If you are visiting for the first time, we recommend spending at least 3-4 days in London. This will allow you to see the main landmarks and visit a few tourist attractions. If you also plan to take day trips and see some of the UK from London, then plan to stay for at least a week.

The best way to explore London is by focusing on one area at a time and walking between the main attractions that are located next to each other. For bigger distances, use the London subway, hop-on hop-off buses, or river cruises.

If you are visiting London for the first time and want to see all the main landmarks and attractions, we recommend staying in Central London. The areas around Big Ben – London Eye have the prime location for sightseeing. Staying here will save you lots of time for commute and will allow you to make the most of your trip.

London is one of the best cities in the entire world and definitely worth visiting! With famous landmarks, royal history and traditions, fun tourist attractions, world-class museums, theaters, and a unique cultural mix, London has something to offer for any type of traveler. It’s a bucket list destination that everyone should visit at least once in a lifetime!

More inspiration for your trip to the UK:

  • Best Things to Do in London
  • 1 Day in London
  • 2 Days in London
  • Things to Do in Greenwich
  • Best Things to Do in Liverpool
  • Best Things to Do in Manchester
  • Yorkshire Day Trips
  • Best Places to Visit in Cornwall
  • London with Kids
  • Isle of Skye Itinerary
  • Scotland Whisky Tour
  • Top Things to Do in Blackpool
  • Tips for Visiting Blackpool
  • Best Things to Do in Edinburgh
  • One Day in Glasgow

If you found this post useful, don’t forget to bookmark it and share it with your friends who are planning their first trip to London. Are you on Pinterest? Pin this image!

First-timer's guide to London - practical tips for visiting London for the first time

Travel tips for other major cities in Europe:

  • Amsterdam Travel Tips
  • Barcelona Travel Tips
  • Paris Travel Tips
  • Rome Travel Tips
  • Read also our step-by-step guide with planning info and tips for traveling to Europe .

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Monday 18th of March 2024

Hello - your article has been very helpful - I do have a few specific questions with regard to the 'skip the line' or 'fast track' tickets - I am not clear on where to buy those? Do I buy from the individual attractions like St. Paul's, Tower of London or some other way? And when it says to book well in advance using one of the apps such as the London Pass - is that days in advance or weeks in advance? (we will be there in late August, just 2 adults). Does the London Pass include/automatically give you Priority entrance? Thank you so much!!

@Jurga, Thank you! This is indeed super helpful - I appreciate all the tips!

Hi Tracy, 'fast track' or 'skip the line' might mean different things depending on attraction. It's usually indicated when you book tickets. Nowadays, many of the most popular attractions also work with timed-entry tickets, so you book a specific time slot and the wait is limited. A few examples: * the London Eye tickets. You can choose standard, or fast-track tickets, and many other options like multi-attraction tickets, etc. In most cases (unless you opt for flex tickets), you have to choose a time slot. However, even with the reserved time slot, the fast-track ticket will give you a much faster entry (skipping most lines) than the standard ticket where you'll have a much longer queue with everyone who reserved those tickets for the same time. * The Tower of London tickets - here, you book a specific time slot. It's not completely skip-the-line, but the line will be limited to only those people who reserved the same time slot. * Madame Tussauds - you can choose between standard and fast-track tickets. * St Paul's Cathedral tickets are now valid on the specific date, not time, and it shouldn't be too busy. Entrance to the Golden Gallery might be limited if it's very busy, but it's not something you can reserve in advance.

If you buy any multi-attraction pass, then you will usually receive instructions from them and they will advise you for which attractions it's best to reserve time slots separately. Each place has different ways how they work, but e.g. if you get this London Pass, you will find all the instructions for each of the attractions. The majority of less popular places will be simple to enter just like that, but for the most popular ones, you will need to make a reservation. It's a bit more complicated that way, but you might save quite some money depending on which pass you get, for how long, and which places you choose to visit. Let's just say that if money isn't an issue, it's usually simpler to get the tickets for the most popular attractions separately, with reserved time slots, and potentially fast-track/skip-the-line access where available.

As for how long in advance to book - as soon as you know your travel dates and/or when tickets become available. The earlier you book, the more options you will have and time slots to choose from. That said, some places only open their booking system a month or two/three in advance. But there are also others that get completely sold out half a year in advance. August is a peak season, so I'd book everything that you absolutely want to do asap. If you use GetYourGuide and other websites which we personally use and recommend for most tickets and tours, you will see that they offer a free cancelation option for most of the attractions for up to 24 hours before the visit, so you have nothing to lose. All this information is available for each ticket/tour separately, and you can see it all before you book.

Alternatively, book guided tours for the most popular places. Most of them have skip-the-line access and some even offer something unique. For example, we are visiting London again soon, and this time we reserved this early-access tour to the Tower of London. The same company also has this amazing after-hours tour.

Hope this helps a bit. I know how overwhelming it can be, but nowadays not making advance bookings often means that you will not be able to visit the most popular places at all. It's not just London or Europe, but pretty much any big city in the world. In the USA, you even have to make reservations for many national parks and similar... So if you want to have a truly fun and relaxing trip, you have to do your homework. Have a great trip!

Wednesday 21st of February 2024

My name is Wendy! I am planning to visit London soon .I very enjoyed your article. It was really helpful .thanks a lot

Friday 23rd of February 2024

Glad to help, Wendy. Enjoy London!

Sunday 26th of November 2023

I really enjoyed your article and it was VERY informative. It helped me decide not only what to do, but what not to do. I have 2 teenagers. I was wondering if the Harry Potter studio is considered a "must-do" or is it a tourist trap or falls somewhere in between. It seems like all-tolled it will take about 7-8 hours, and that is a lot of time spent out of the city for 1 place. We will have 5 1/2 days in London and already planning 2 full-day excursions, so will have 3 1/2 days. Thank you in advance for your help!

Monday 27th of November 2023

Hi Brian, I know exactly how you feel. We ourselves are going to London soon with our three teenagers, for just 3 days, and we're also considering Harry Potter Studios on one of those days. It is a long day, indeed, and not cheap either. But from everything I read and heard, it's extremely well done and everyone I know who visited with teens was very enthusiastic about it. We recently visited Harry Potter studios in LA and the whole family found it amazing. From what I understand, the ones in London are much bigger and even more impressive. But we have a couple Harry Potter fans in the family AND we have been to London many times before, so we are less worried about 'missing' something else out. We are actually going for the more special experiences this time (ABBA Voyage, Tina Musical, maybe one of the Walks' exclusive tours, street art, markets, etc.) rather than traditional sightseeing. I guess it all comes down to your family's interests and which alternatives you consider instead. But remember that most of the places you'll visit will likely be less interesting to your kids than to you, so sometimes you have to balance things out to make sure the trip has something for the whole family. I know from experience that there are only that many churches and museums that our kids can handle... ;) So I'm afraid I can't help you much, and you'll have to ask your kids and decide together with them. Maybe make two alternative plans for a day, present it to the kids, and let them choose which one they prefer. If you decide to go, the research I just did for our own trip shows that - at the moment - this transfer + Harry Potter Studios entrance ticket is the cheapest option (about 50£ savings for a family of 4 vs other providers). Have a great time in London!

Thursday 12th of October 2023

My name is Albert, I was very impressed after reading your article and I also got a lot of useful information. Thank you.

Glad to help, Albert. Have a great time in London!

Sunday 6th of August 2023

Wow !!Planning to visit London along with out of city October, Thank you for helping me find thé information I needed ,it’s so helpful and informative! looking forward to hear you more 💙

Glad to help, Diki. Enjoy London!


London calling!

U.s. travelers, whether fully vaccinated or not against the coronavirus, are currently permitted to travel to the uk., to understand the restrictions and requirements, we've put together a comprehensive outline of everything you need to know to prepare for what might be your first international trip in a while., from a irline and flight information, to arrival testing steps and more  — you can find all the resources below to ensure you're #londonready..

London traveler journey

Booking your trip

Ready when you are! If you’re planning to travel to London soon, feel free to reach out to your FCM Team at any time. We're here to support you every step of the way, from booking and pre-trip preparation, through to in-journey assistance.

Your travel checklist

We’ve put together a comprehensive checklist to make sure you have everything you need for a seamless journey.  When traveling to London remember to:

  • Check with your employer that you have sufficient travel insurance cover
  • Carry a hard copy of your vaccine card

Download checklist

COVID-19 travel

Arrival info

You no longer need to take a COVID-19 test before traveling to the UK or after you arrive. You also do not need to fill out a UK passenger locator form or quarantine when you arrived. These lifted restrictions apply whether you are fully vaccinated or not. 

Airline and flight information

Looking for direct flights to London? We've listed all airlines for you, along with additional information to help you understand what each airline offers.

Download now

Hotel information

Looking for information on your favorite hotel chain and what they will offer? We've put together a quick reference guide   on some of our preferred hotel partners.

Travel News Hub

Returning to the U.S.

When leaving London, travelers must complete a test within 24 hours of your departure and receive a negative result. This will ensure entry into the U.S. with no quarantine required. It is recommended to take another test three to five days after arriving in the U.S. 

Information on what is required for each state can be found on our Travel News Hub .

Navigate your next trip with ease. Contact us today. 

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Travel Vaccines and Advice for the United Kingdom

Passport Health offers a variety of options for travelers throughout the world.

People traveling to the United Kingdom will have a lot to see. England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland are some of the places to explore. Their activities will open the door to the history and culture of the United Kingdom.

England is filled with iconic landmarks for travelers to see. Scotland offers beautiful castles, hillsides, and wild animals. Wales has breathtaking landscapes from snow covered mountain peaks to an amazing coastline.

The United Kingdom is yours to discover. Whether you love nature, city life, or the history and culture, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the United Kingdom.

On This Page: Do I Need Vaccines for United Kingdom? Other Ways to Stay Healthy in United Kingdom Do I Need a Passport or Visa for the United Kingdom? What Is the Climate Like in the United Kingdom? Is It Safe to Travel to the United Kingdom? The Eagle and Child What Should I Take to the United Kingdom? U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom

Do I Need Vaccines for United Kingdom?

Yes, some vaccines are recommended or required for United Kingdom. The CDC and WHO recommend the following vaccinations for United Kingdom: hepatitis A , polio , rabies , hepatitis B , influenza , COVID-19 , pneumonia , meningitis , chickenpox , shingles , Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) and measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) .

See the bullets below to learn more about some of these key immunizations:

  • Hepatitis A – Food & Water – Recommended for most travelers.
  • Polio – Food & Water – Due to an increase in cases globally, an additional adult booster is recommended for most travelers to any destination.
  • Rabies – Saliva of Infected Animals – Vaccine recommended for long-term travelers and those who may come in contact with animals.
  • Hepatitis B – Blood & Body Fluids – Recommended for travelers to most regions.
  • Influenza – Airborne – Vaccine components change annually.
  • COVID-19 – Airborne – Recommended for travel to all regions, both foreign and domestic.
  • Pneumonia – Airborne – Two vaccines given separately. All 65+ or immunocompromised should receive both.
  • Meningitis – Direct Contact & Airborne – Given to anyone unvaccinated or at an increased risk, especially students.
  • Chickenpox – Direct Contact & Airborne – Given to those unvaccinated that did not have chickenpox.
  • Shingles – Direct Contact – Vaccine can still be given if you have had shingles.
  • Polio – Food & Water – Considered a routine vaccination for most travel itineraries. Single adult booster recommended.
  • TDAP (Tetanus, Diphtheria & Pertussis) – Wounds & Airborne – Only one adult booster of pertussis required.
  • Measles Mumps Rubella (MMR) – Various Vectors – Given to anyone unvaccinated and/or born after 1957. One time adult booster recommended.

See the table below for more information:

Specific Vaccine Information

  • Hepatitis A – Hepatitis A is a contagious liver infection transmitted through contaminated food, water, or close personal contact. To prevent it, practicing good hygiene and getting vaccinated with the hepatitis A vaccine are crucial steps recommended by the CDC.
  • Tick-borne Encephalitis – Tick-borne encephalitis (TBE) is a viral infection spread through tick bites, potentially leading to severe neurological complications. Protecting against TBE requires vaccination, particularly in areas with high transmission risk.
  • Rabies – The rabies virus is a deadly threat that spreads through bites and scratches from infected animals. Preventing rabies involves timely vaccination, avoiding contact with wildlife and seeking immediate medical attention if bitten. The rabies vaccine is instrumental in developing immunity and safeguarding against this fatal disease.
  • Hepatitis B – The hepatitis B virus causes liver infection, spreading through contact with infected bodily fluids. Prevention measures include safe practices and, notably, hepatitis B vaccination. This vaccine effectively triggers the immune system to produce antibodies, offering reliable, long-term protection against the virus.
  • Measles, Mumps, Rubella (MMR) – Measles, mumps, and rubella are highly infectious diseases, emphasizing the importance of vaccination. The MMR vaccine, given in two doses, is the key to personal and public health safety. It strengthens immunity, minimizing the risk of infection, and is a critical component in halting the spread of these contagious viruses.

As a developed country, the United Kingdom has few health risks. Follow the same precautions you would in the United States to healthy throughout your trip.

Visit our vaccinations page to learn more. Travel safely with Passport Health and schedule your appointment today by calling or book online now .

Other Ways to Stay Healthy in United Kingdom

Prevent bug bites in united kingdom.

Keep bugs at bay by dressing smartly and applying EPA-registered repellents containing DEET, picaridin, or OLE. In case of a bug bite, cleanse the area, refrain from scratching, and find relief with readily available remedies. If symptoms worsen, consult a healthcare professional.

Food and Water Safety in United Kingdom

Stay healthy overseas by favoring cooked and hot dishes, reputable eateries, and practicing good hand hygiene. Stick to bottled or sealed beverages and use caution with tap water. Enjoy hot drinks and alcohol responsibly. To steer clear of travelers’ diarrhea , follow these strategies: eat safe foods, drink treated water, maintain hand hygiene, consider probiotics, and be discerning about local cuisine.

Do I Need a Passport or Visa for the United Kingdom?

A passport is required for entry to the United Kingdom. A visa is not needed for stays under six months. Passports must have at least six months’ validity and one blank page for entry and exit stamps.

Sources: Embassy of the United Kingdom and U.S. State Department

Due to the United Kingdom leaving the European Union, entry and exit policy may change. Be sure to check this page to see if requirements have been updated.

What Is the Climate Like in the United Kingdom?

The climate in the United Kingdom is temperament with rainfall year round. Depending on the season, the temperature varies.

The winds come from the southwest and the mild and wet weather comes from the Atlantic Ocean. Eastern parts of the UK are generally drier as they are sheltered from the winds.

The currents from the Atlantic Ocean are warmed up by the Gulf Stream. Because this occurs, the winters are mild in the west where the winters are wet. Snowfall happens in the winter and early spring. The summer season is warmest in the southeast of England and coolest in the North.

Is It Safe to Travel to the United Kingdom?

Travelers should be aware of their surroundings in public places. It’s important to listen to the rules of the authorities and pay attention to the media and other local sources. Authorities have increased in public places for safety reasons.

pick-pocketing and petty theft can happen in tourist areas. Take precautions to avoid losing important items.

Travelers should also be aware of the level of terrorist threat by the United Kingdom Security Service.

There have also been some terrorist threats in Northern Ireland. Religious violence and dissent republican activity have been going on. Security forces and banks have been targeted. Their annual parades are another potential threat to terrorist attacks during the seasons of April to August.

The Eagle and Child

Avoid an embarrassing stop, over 70% of travelers will have diarrhea., get protected with passport health’s travelers’ diarrhea kit .

There are so many places to see while in the United Kingdom. If you’re looking to relax and have a good drink at a place of history, The Eagle and Child is where you want to be. This pub is nicknamed the Bird and the Baby and is located at St. Giles Street in Oxford, England.

It is famous for the associating with the Inkling’s Writers Group, which included J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis and other authors, professors, and thinkers. It was here that some of these famous authors discussed the stories they were writing.

The pub has unique character that you won’t find anywhere else. It shows off pictures and prints of famous books on the walls of their establishment. They have an eclectic variety of ales and great pub food that is served with British hospitality.

What Should I Take to the United Kingdom?

When you travel to the United Kingdom, there are a few things you should take with you on your trip.

  • Travelers’ Diarrhea Kit — While it may not seem like it, this single item can be a lifesaver. Up to 70 percent of travelers will have this symptom, including travelers to developed countries.
  • Rain Gear — Because of the large amount of rainfall consider bringing some kind of rain gear. Whether it’s an umbrella, poncho or waterproof jacket, you’ll be happy you have it.
  • Pack for Health and Safety — You should pack what you know you’ll need to stay healthy in the UK. Medications and supplies are just a few things you should think about taking with you. You might also need supplies to prevent illness or injury, and a first aid kit.

U.S. Embassy in the United Kingdom

The U.S. embassy in the United Kingdom offers help to American travelers in many ways. They can help with passports and visas, and also offer assistance if a traveler is in trouble. The embassy provides information on travel conditions, safety and security, and cultural events.

If you find yourself in need of help while traveling in the United Kingdom, there is a U.S. embassy in the capital city of London.

U.S. Embassy London 33 Nine Elms Lane London, SW11 7US United Kingdom Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000 Emergency After-Hours Telephone: +(44)(20) 7499-9000 Fax: +(44) (20) 7891-3845

If you need help or information, it’s best to check the embassy’s website or contact them directly.

Stay safe abroad with Passport Health. Call or book online now and start traveling safely today!

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How Long Does It Take to Fly From the US to London?

By Anna Duncan

Are you planning a trip to London from the United States? One of the first things you’ll want to consider is how long it takes to fly there. In this article, we’ll break down the various factors that can affect your travel time and give you a general idea of what to expect.

Distance Between US and London

The distance between the United States and London is approximately 3,470 miles. This means that a direct flight from New York City to London will take around 7-8 hours. However, there are several factors that can impact this travel time.

Factors Affecting Travel Time

1. Departure City: Your departure city can have a significant impact on your travel time to London. For instance, if you’re flying out of Los Angeles, your flight could take up to 11 hours due to the longer distance.

2. Layovers: Many flights from the US to London require a layover in another city. Depending on the duration of your layover, this could add several hours or even a day or more onto your travel time.

3. Time of Year: The time of year you choose to fly can also impact your travel time due to weather conditions and increased demand for flights during peak travel seasons.

Flying Direct vs Indirect

If you’re looking for the quickest possible travel time from the US to London, then flying direct is your best option. Direct flights typically take around 7-8 hours, depending on your departure city and airline.

However, direct flights can be more expensive than indirect flights which require layovers along the way. If cost is a concern for you, then an indirect flight may be a better option as they tend to be less expensive but take longer.

Average Travel Times

Here’s a breakdown of the average travel times for direct and indirect flights from some major US cities to London:

  • New York City – Direct: 7 hours, Indirect: 10-15 hours
  • Los Angeles – Direct: 11 hours, Indirect: 13-22 hours
  • Chicago – Direct: 8 hours, Indirect: 10-14 hours
  • Miami – Direct: 9 hours, Indirect: 12-18 hours

It’s worth noting that these times are averages and can vary depending on a range of factors such as airline, layover duration, and time of year.

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$127+ Cheap flights from the United States to London (LON)

This is the cheapest one-way flight price found by a cheapflights user in the last 72 hours by searching for a flight departing on 7/31. fares are subject to change and may not be available on all flights or dates of travel. click the price to replicate the search for this deal., how far in advance should i book a flight from usa to london.

When searching for a good deal, it’s best to be prepared for potential fluctuations in price. We recommend booking at least 31 days in advance, which can save you up to 16% on flights from USA to London compared to booking the week you need them. Waiting 31 days out may not be for everyone, so we have options available for flights within the next two weeks, with the lowest price starting at $646. For sooner than that we have options available in the next 3 days from $724.

What is the cheapest month to fly from USA to London?

Due to multiple factors, expect to potentially pay more when booking in December. For low rates, February can be a great choice for travel to London. Flights to London from USA in February are about $609 on average during February, but can be found for as low as $353.

What is the cheapest time of day to fly from US to LON?

When flying from USA to London, the time of day you decide to fly out makes little to no difference towards the overall price you’ll pay on tickets.

Cheap USA to London flights in July & August 2024

Find cheap flight options from usa to london specifically for the months of july and august 2024. explore affordable fares based on user searches. over the last 7 days, cheapflights users made 2,829,649 searches. prices were last updated on july 11, 2024., listed are some of the best fares we've found on flights departing from usa to london in 2024. more deals are always being added, so be sure to check back regularly., this cheapoair deal was found by cheapflights users on 7/10. clicking the “pick dates” button in this card will allow you to select your dates and further customize your flight criteria. from there, click “find deals”, make sure cheapoair is selected, and click “compare selected” under the list of providers to see comparable flight deals., this agoda.com deal was found by cheapflights users on 7/10. clicking the “pick dates” button in this card will allow you to select your dates and further customize your flight criteria. from there, click “find deals”, make sure 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$285 - $435

New York John F Kennedy Intl London Gatwick

New York John F Kennedy Intl

Nonstop 7h 00m

London Gatwick

Nonstop 7h 50m

New York John F Kennedy Intl London Heathrow

1 stop 16h 05m

London Heathrow

1 stop 12h 40m

1 stop 11h 35m

Newark London Heathrow

1 stop 19h 00m

1 stop 27h 50m

1 stop 30h 10m

1 stop 12h 15m

Nonstop 8h 05m

Washington, D.C. Dulles Intl London Heathrow

Washington, D.C. Dulles Intl

1 stop 18h 50m

1 stop 11h 10m

New York LaGuardia London Heathrow

New York LaGuardia

1 stop 10h 05m

2 stops 15h 58m

Nonstop 7h 15m

Nonstop 7h 45m

Flights are sorted by cheapest first

Deals found on 7/10

No data available for this route at this time. Please check back soon.

Best time to book a flight from USA to London

Have a flexible travel schedule discover the best time to fly to london from usa with our price prediction graph., reviews of airlines servicing london, get insights into the airlines that provide service to london. read reviews, discover amenities, and learn about the overall travel experience offered by airlines. use this information to make informed decisions when choosing an airline for your flight to london. reviews last updated july 11, 2024., read reviews from past customers who have flown united airlines, british airways and icelandair from usa to london. you can also see how each airline compares in terms of entertainment options, comfort, food, crew/service, and boarding process..


In the boarding area at La Guardia, there are charging stations for electronics but the electric outlets do not work on many of the stations.

USA to London Travel Guide

Few cities in the world offer a greater range of historical sites and cultural attractions than London. From the cobblestone streets where Shakespeare once walked to the modern Oxford Street shopping district, this massive city has something for everyone. Frequent flights connect you to London from many cities in the United States, so you can be sipping tea or watching the changing of the guard in no time.

London buzzes with energy day and night, so you can hit the ground running immediately after your flight from the United States. If you're into art, check out the stunning Tate Modern; for a special view of the city, hop on a boat tour on the River Thames. The West End theater district offers everything from musicals to first-run plays, and the Tower of London provides a glimpse at the crown jewels and ancient dungeons. In the evening, don't miss the view of the illuminated London Eye and Big Ben from the Westminster Bridge.

Try out our smart search engine to find cheap flights from the United States to London.

Related info for your journey

Find useful and relevant information for your journey from usa to london. access travel guides, tips, and recommendations to enhance your travel experience. get information about local attractions, weather, transportation options, and more., how long is the flight from usa to london, england.

Flight time to London can vary dramatically based on your departure city. From New York, expect a minimum flight time of seven hours. From Miami, the trip takes eight and a half hours, and from Los Angeles, it takes 10.5 hours. If you're traveling from Seattle, plan for approximately nine hours in the air.

Which airlines operate flights from USA to London?

Many major airlines fly directly from the United States to London, including United, Delta and American. Virgin Atlantic also makes the trip from New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle. For more budget-friendly flights from New York and LA, try Norwegian Air.

How frequent are flights between USA and London?

If you're flying to London from New York, you can choose from more than 30 nonstop flights per day. From LA, choose from 10 or more daily flights, and from Miami, you can select from five different daily flights. Direct trips from Seattle are more limited, but there are always two trips per day.

Which airports serve USA to London?

Most flights from the United States to London land at Heathrow Airport, but if you're flying from New York or Los Angeles, you can also opt for routes to Gatwick Airport. From New York, you can also fly into London City Airport, but these flights are very limited.

Which direct flight route between USA and London is cheapest?

The New York to London route tends to be the cheapest direct flight, thanks to the short duration and large carrier selection. If you're flying from the West Coast, you can also get great deals on nonstop flights from Los Angeles. For other locations, use Cheapflights to monitor prices and learn about special sales to get the best fare.

Which airlines fly directly from the USA to London?

There are several airlines that offer nonstop flights from cities in the USA to London. United Airlines and Aer Lingus offer nonstop flights to London Heathrow from Chicago O' Hare International Airport. Delta Airlines, Finnair, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, British Airways, and Iberia all offer service to London Heathrow from Los Angeles International Airport. When departing from John F. Kennedy International Airport you will find that Air France, American Airlines, British Airways, Delta Air Lines, Finnair, Iberia, JetBlue, KLM, and Virgin Atlantic all offer nonstop flights to London Heathrow.

What are the layover options between the USA to London?

If you will be departing the USA from Chicago O' Hare International Airport, there are some one-stop flights that offer a more economical means of getting to London. SAS offers a one-stop flight with a layover at Kastrup Copenhagen (CPH) and Iceland Air offers a one-stop flight with a layover at Reykjavik Keflavik International (KEF). Turkish Airlines has a one-stop flight with a layover at Istanbul (IST) and Aer Lingus has a one-stop flight with a layover at Dublin (DUB). All of these one-stop flights will add anywhere from three to six hours to your trip but they will save you money over the nonstop options. If you are traveling from either John F. Kennedy International Airport or Los Angeles International Airport the nonstop flights offered are the most cost-effective way to make the trip.

Do I need a passport or visa to fly from the USA to London?

For citizens of the United States that will be traveling to London, you will need a valid passport and the passport needs to be valid for the duration of your stay in the United Kingdom. It is important to note that if you plan on traveling onward from London to other countries in Europe you will need at least six months remaining validity on your passport. Your passport must have at least one blank page for immigration officials in the United Kingdom. If you are traveling as a tourist from the United States and you do not plan on staying for more than 180 days in the United Kingdom you will not need a visa to travel.

Can I find flights from USA to London for under $300 on Cheapflights?

Yes, there are multiple flights from USA to London for under $300. The cheapest flight booked recently is on Norse Atlantic UK for just $285, but on average you can expect to pay $332.

Are there nonstop flights from USA to London for under $300 on Cheapflights?

Cheapflights has at least 20 direct flights from USA to London under $300. A good price for a nonstop flight from USA to London is less than $336.

Are there last-minute flights available from USA to London for under $300?

There are currently 20+ open flights from USA to London within the next 7 days for less than $300.

What are the most popular routes from USA to London?

The most popular route from USA to London is Newark - London Heathrow. You may also consider New York John F Kennedy Intl - London Heathrow or New York LaGuardia - London Heathrow.

What are the most reliable airlines from USA to London?

No one likes to see their flight delayed. When booking a flight from USA to London consider choosing United Airlines (90%), Lufthansa (90%) or Air New Zealand (85%) as they are the most reliable in getting you off to your destination on time.

What are the cheapest flights from USA to London?

While on average a flight from USA to London is generally $3,813, our data shows the cheapest flight currently is $427. When looking at the most popular route, (Newark - London Heathrow), you can expect to pay $312 for that flight.

What does LAX to LHR mean?

This is defined as Los Angeles Airport (LAX) and London Heathrow Airport (LHR). Codes like London Heathrow Airport are often used to just call airports uniquely. While you’re still figuring out your travel plans, it’s not a bad idea to learn the names and codes of other airports around these areas: London Gatwick Airport (LGW), London Stansted Airport (STN), London Luton Airport (LTN), London City Airport (LCY), London Southend Airport (SEN).

Can I find deals for flights from USA to London that include extra baggage allowance?

The amount of baggage you can bring on your USA to London flight depends on the airline and the type of fare you've chosen. After entering your flight details, you'll be able to view the specific baggage policies for each deal in the search results. Keep in mind that certain deals may offer additional baggage allowance.

Can I find deals on flights from USA to London with specific airlines?

Yes, Cheapflights allows you to browse and filter USA to London flight deals by airline. After entering your origin and destination, use the available filters to view flights offered by airlines.

Can I find deals for flights from USA to London that include hotel bookings?

Yes. In addition to deals on USA to London flights, Cheapflights offers vacation packages that include both flights and hotel.

How can I find direct flights from USA to London?

After entering your origin and destination, apply the non-stop filter on the search result page to find direct flights from USA to London.

Can I find deals for business class flights from USA to London?

Yes. Cheapflights offers flight deals from USA to London by cabin class. In addition to browsing deals, you can also filter by cabin class on the search results page after making a search.

Can I find deals for flights from USA to London that allow pets onboard?

Many airlines flying from USA to London offer the option to travel with pets. After selecting a flight deal, you can find more information about the airline's pet policy on their official website or by contacting the airline directly. Please note that additional fees and restrictions may apply.

Can I find deals on last-minute flights from USA to London?

Yes, you can often find last-minute deals on USA to London flights on Cheapflights. However, these deals can vary and may not always be available. We recommend checking back frequently or signing up for price alerts for the most up-to-date deals.

How recently were the USA to London flight deals updated?

The USA to London flight deals you see on this page were last updated on 7/11.

What are the most popular airlines that fly from USA to London?

The most popular airlines flying from USA to London are American Airlines, Air Canada and Air France. Something to consider prior to booking your flight.

What is the cheapest month to book a flight from USA to London?

Currently, November is the cheapest month in which you can book a flight from USA to London (average of $652). Flying from USA to London in June is currently the most expensive (average of $1,096). There are several factors that can impact the price of a flight, so comparing airlines, departure airports and flight times can provide users with more options.

What are the most eco-friendly airlines from the United States to London?

There is a wide variety of flights to London from the United States. Nonetheless, there are a few airlines you can choose from that have reduced emissions or have an ongoing sustainability program to lower their environmental impact. Virgin Atlantic, for instance, has direct flights from cities in the United States like New York and Miami. This airline, due to the type of aircrafts flown and fuel efficiency, is considered to have fewer carbon emissions than other airlines flying the same route to London. Another eco-friendly airline is British Airways who are responsible for the majority of the trips to London from the United States. They offer direct flights as well as having a program in place to achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

How can I fly more sustainably from the United States to London?

Sustainable travel is something every passenger can help out with and play their part. When looking to book your flight to London, look for direct flights from cities in the United States. Direct flights have less take-offs and landings when it’s proven that airplanes emit more carbon dioxide. Try looking for airlines with sustainability programs or ones using newer airplanes. Airlines have started putting newer engines with better technology in the aircrafts. These engines are more fuel efficient, reducing the emissions per flight. Avoid the bottled water onboard. If possible bring your own reusable bottle for less plastic waste. Please stick to the airplane’s weight restrictions, and if possible, pack lighter. The less the plane weighs, the less fuel it’ll consume en route to London.

Browse thousands of different options on Cheapflights for your next trip

Toggle through the tabs below to find thousands of options on cheapflights for your next trip., top 10 airlines flying from usa to london, discover the top 10 airlines that operate flights from usa to london. compare their services, reliability, and customer satisfaction ratings to choose the airline that best suits your travel preferences and needs. over the last 7 days, cheapflights users made 2,829,649 searches. data last updated july 11, 2024., popular flight searches, check out other popular destinations found by fellow travelers in 2024, search flights from usa to london by cabin class, find flights from usa to london, based on your preferred cabin class, be it economy, premium economy, business, or first class., hourly flight availability from usa to london, find hourly flight availability from usa to london. discover flight options and departure times throughout the day, allowing you to choose a departure time that suits your schedule. data last updated july 11, 2024., book a flight to one of these trending destinations, user searches for flights to these destinations increased 20% or more in the past 90 days compared to other destinations, book with flexibility, travel smart.

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Travel Contests: July 10th, 2024 - Portugal, Taylor Swift in London, Yellowstone, & more

H ere are this week’s travel contests. You can win trips to Lisbon, Portugal; Taylor Swift in London, England; Yellowstone National Park; Belize; a cruise; Maui, Hawaii; and more.

Good luck! Be sure to subscribe to my weekly newsletter so you don’t miss any sweepstakes, and please share this post with friends who might take you along if they win!

Win a trip to Lisbon, Portugal

  • 4 nights at the deluxe hotel, The Vintage Lisbon
  • $500 AMEX gift card for travel
  • 2 days of guided wine & food tours
  • One walking tour of historic Lisbon, Portugal
  • Open to anyone who is at least eighteen (18) years of age and has reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of opt-in (19 in Alabama and Nebraska; 21 in Mississippi) and a resident of the United States of America and the District of Columbia (excluding residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, overseas military installations, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Territories)
  • Read about the best craft beer in Lisbon
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  • Read about a day trip from Lisbon to Sintra
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  • Enter by July 12, 2024

Win a trip to see Taylor Swift in London, England (no donation required)

  • Enter for your chance to win a PREMIUM PACKAGE to attend the Taylor Swift concert in London at Wembley Stadium on the 19th of August, 2024. This includes Premium Club Wembley Seating, access to concourse bars & food outlets, and Level 2 seating, expense towards a 1 NIGHT HOTEL stay and 2 ROUNDTRIP AIRLINE TICKETS. Guests will receive a TripGift gift card to book their accommodation and flights to England. Please book in advance to secure the best rates and ensure reservation flexibility. The TripGift gift card is valid for a 3-or-4-star hotel within a 40-mile radius of London’s Wembley Stadium. Event tickets and expenses towards travel flight + accommodation included in this package are valued at a total of $10,000 USD
  • open only to legal residents of the United States of America who are 18 years old or older excluding residents of Rhode Island, Florida , and all United States Territories
  • Read about the best craft beer in Central London
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  • Read about attending an Arsenal match in London
  • Read about Billingsgate Roman House & Baths in London
  • Read about the London Mithraeum
  • Read about the London Amphitheater
  • Read about the Bank of England Museum
  • Read about St Dunstan in the East Church Garden
  • Read about the Bermondsey Beer Mile
  • Read about craft beer in the City of London
  • Read about craft beer in East London – Tower Hamlets
  • Read about craft beer in East London – Hackney
  • Read about craft beer in Camden
  • Read about craft beer in Walthamstow
  • Read about craft beer in Richmond
  • Read about the Postal Museum & Mail Rail in London
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  • Enter by July 15, 2024

Win a trip to Yellowstone National Park

  • Three (3) Grand Prize Winners will each receive a four (4) day, three (3) night trip for the Grand Prize Winner and one (1) guest (“Guest”) to Yellowstone National Park (“Prize”). The Grand Prize will include round trip coach class air transportation for Grand Prize Winner and Guest from a major commercial airport near Grand Prize Winner’s home (as determined by the Sponsor in its sole discretion) to an airport near Yellowstone National Park; three (3) nights standard hotel accommodation (single room, double occupancy, room and tax only), all meals including immersive dining experiences, and activities including hiking, wildlife viewing, thermal activities, fishing. Sponsor will provide a detailed itinerary of all activities at time of winner notification. Grand Prize Winner and Guest must be available to travel September 5, 2024 – September 8, 2024. Guest and Grand Prize Winner must travel on the same itinerary. Selection of hotel and airline are at Sponsor’s sole discretion.
  • only open to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and District of Columbia

Win a hotel stay in Belize (no airfare included)

  • The winner will receive a 4-Night stay for two (2) at Margaritaville Beach Resort Ambergris Caye in Belize.
  • pen to anyone who is at least eighteen (18) years of age and has reached the age of majority in their jurisdiction of residence at the time of opt-in (19 in Alabama and Nebraska; 21 in Mississippi) and a resident of the United States of America and the District of Columbia (excluding residents of Alaska, Hawaii, Rhode Island, overseas military installations, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. Territories)
  • Enter by July 16, 2024

Win a cruise (does not include airfare)

  • Prize valued at up to $5,000 and includes:
  • Seven-night cruise within North America on Celebrity Cruises
  • Accommodations for two in a balcony cabin
  • All meals in complimentary dining venues aboard the ship
  • Eligible itineraries to choose from include Alaska, Bahamas, Bermuda, Caribbean, Mexico , Pacific Coast, or Canada & New England
  • open solely to legal residents of the fifty (50) United States and the District of Columbia who are at least 21 years of age
  • Enter by July 21, 2024

Win a trip to Maui, Hawaii

  • Make #MauiMemories with a magical trip for two to Kaanapali, Maui for the Fourteenth Annual Hawaii Food & Wine Festival® this October!

160,000 Hawaiian Airlines HawaiianMiles for travel to Maui (OGG Airport)

Four (4)-Night Stay at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa in an Ocean View Room

Two (2) Priority Access tickets to Hawaii Food & Wine Festival’s Vita La Vino grand tasting at Sheraton Maui Resort & Spa on Saturday, October 26

Five (5)-Day Luxury Vehicle Rental through Go Rentals on Maui

  • open to individuals who are legal residents of the 50 United States (“Territory”) and age 21 or older
  • Enter by July 23, 2024

Go on an adventure at home or when you’re away with a tour or activity via Get Your Guide .

Which travel giveaway are you most excited about winning this week?

Why not share this post with your friends? If they win, maybe they’ll take you!

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The post Travel Contests: July 10th, 2024 – Portugal, Taylor Swift in London, Yellowstone, & more appeared first on Everybody Hates A Tourist .

Here are this week’s travel contests. You can win trips to Lisbon, Portugal; Taylor Swift in London, England; Yellowstone...

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Biden’s evolving reasons for his bad debate: A cold, too much prep, not feeling great and jet lag

At Tuesday’s daily White House briefing, a reporter asked the press secretary a direct question about President Biden’s cognitive state, in the aftermath of last week’s debate performance.


President Joe Biden, right, and Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump, left, participate in a presidential debate hosted by CNN, Thursday, June 27, 2024, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

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White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre speaks during a press briefing, Wednesday, July 3, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)


WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden has offered plenty of excuses for his terrible performance in last week’s presidential debate . None of them have done much to assuage Democrats’ concerns about Donald Trump returning to the White House.

For its part, Biden’s White House insists these are explanations, not excuses. But they have only intensified the concerns Democrats have about their presumptive nominee’s readiness.

In the initial moments of Thursday’s debate, shortly after the 81-year old Biden claimed to a baffled audience that “we finally beat Medicare,” aides said the president was suffering from a cold.

Biden’s voice was raspy. His eyes looked glassy at times. But despite the cold, he went from the debate to a watch party and then a Waffle House. Then he gave an energized speech Friday in North Carolina.

White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said at Wednesday’s news briefing that she initially leaned into the cold as an explanation, but she knew his schedule and jet lag were issues. She later suggested that Biden traveled and then got a cold, possibly linking the two.

“That was my bad,” Jean-Pierre said of not discussing jet lag earlier.


Studied too hard

Other aides said Biden had simply overprepared during his time at the Camp David presidential retreat — that the president had simply crammed too many facts in his head.

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Biden spent six full days in Maryland at Camp David, which is located in Catoctin Mountain Park. Jean-Pierre said Biden also performed all his presidential duties while working late.

Not feeling great

Biden’s wife, Jill, told supporters Friday in New York City that he didn’t “feel that great” during the debate. It’s not clear what that meant, whether it was the cold, a sense of exhaustion or something else. But the first lady put forward the campaign’s main argument that 90 minutes should not define his entire presidency.

Jet lag — from a trip nearly two weeks earlier

Biden offered another explanation Tuesday night at a Virginia fundraiser, saying his problem was jet lag after having gone to France, California and then Italy before taking down time in Delaware and at Camp David. He arrived at Camp David on June 20, seven days before the debate. The presidential retreat is in the Eastern Time Zone, the same as CNN’s studios in Atlanta.

“I decided to travel around the world a couple of times, going through I don’t know how many time zones,” said Biden, adding that he went through “15 time zones” and joking that he “then came back and nearly fell asleep on stage.”

That explanation raised more questions about how long Biden requires to recover from travel.

“I would say I don’t think it’s a new excuse,” Jean-Pierre said of the jet lag, adding that it was a lot of travel before stressing that “we certainly don’t want to explain this away.”

Why he didn’t do more damage control: Air travel

Jean-Pierre later added that Biden did not do more damage control on his debate performance immediately afterward because he was traveling in North Carolina, New York and New Jersey before returning late Saturday night to Camp David.

Air Force One is equipped with extensive communications equipment so that presidents can stay informed while midair.


Travel surges in New England over July 4 weekend as US air travel breaks records

Agents for the us transportation security administration on sunday screened 3 million airline passengers in a single day for the first time ever.

A Delta Air Lines plane lands at Logan International Airport on Jan. 26, 2023.

Airline passengers traveled like never before this Fourth of July weekend — many of them bound for the spiritual birthplace of America in New England.

More than 3 million people passed through US airport security on Sunday, the first time that number of passengers have been screened in a single day, according to the US Transportation Security Administration. Of those, 76,323 passengers — roughly 2.5 percent of the national total — passed through Logan International Airport.

Though Sunday was only the seventh-busiest day of the year so far for Logan, it was just a few thousand travelers short of breaking this year’s record of 79,581; that number was set on April 12 (the Friday before Patriots’ Day Weekend).

Part of the increase at Logan may be attributed to the new 320,000-square-foot expansion to Logan’s Terminal E. The striking “Boston Red” structure opened to the public last August, adding four extra gates (and space for more) serving international destinations.


Other regional airports saw high numbers as well, including Bradley International Airport in Connecticut, which processed 11,418 people on Sunday — also nearly breaking their record of 12,578 set on April 11 — and Providence’s T.F. Green International Airport, which screened a record 8,260 travelers.

On the other hand, Manchester-Boston Regional Airport saw just over 2,000 passengers screened. Manchester’s passenger high-water mark for passenger screenings (2,914) was set on June 24, though it has not yet exceeded last year’s high of 3,085, set on April 20, 2023.

The national record, which was widely predicted to happen at some point over the Fourth of July holiday weekend, topped the June 23 mark of more than 2.99 million screened passengers.

Eight of the 10 busiest days in TSA’s history have come this year as the number of travelers tops pre-pandemic levels.

That’s certainly true at Boston Logan, where passenger travel continues its healthy rebound from 2020. In May, the airport saw over 3.9 million travelers pass through its gates, an increase of approximately 6 percent from the previous year, according to Massport data.

While Americans continue to grapple with inflation, travel costs including airline tickets and hotel prices have eased significantly from a year ago. Hotel rooms were 1.2% cheaper in May compared with a year ago, according to recent government inflation data. Those costs have been trending lower since the beginning of the year.

While most US airlines lost money in the first quarter — traditionally the weakest time of year for travel — they were all expecting a summer of full planes.

This spring, American and Southwest said they expected solid second quarter profits. They joined Delta Air Lines and United Airlines in giving an upbeat outlook for the April-through-June period, which includes the start of peak season for carriers.

Delta reports its second-quarter earnings on Thursday, with analysts predicting sales of $15.5 billion, nearly $1 billion more than the same period a year ago. Next week, United and American issue their quarterly results, with Wall Street forecasting higher revenue from a year ago for both carriers.

Material from the Associated Press and previous Globe coverage was used in this report.

Camilo Fonseca can be reached at [email protected] . Follow him on Twitter @fonseca_esq and Instagram @camilo_fonseca.reports .


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Biggest ever Mandarin Excellence Programme trip sees 1,200 pupils travel to China

5 July 2024

A record-breaking number of students from across England are preparing to embark on the most ambitious international school trip of its kind, as part of the UCL-led Mandarin Excellence Programme (MEP).

Mandarin Excellence Programme students in Guangzhou

Nearly 1,200 pupils and 157 teachers from 61 schools are jetting off to China in July for a 10-day trip to improve their Mandarin language skills and cultural awareness.

The MEP is a flagship initiative which has helped more than 11,000 young learners in England on the path to fluency in Mandarin since its launch eight years ago.

It is delivered by IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE) in partnership with the British Council and with the support of the Center for Language Education and Cooperation (CLEC).

This is the first major trip to take place since the Covid-19 pandemic, following a pilot visit involving 132 students last year.

The tour will take students to cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin, Xi’an, Chengdu, Kunming, Shenyang, Dalian, Hangzhou, Shenyang and Guangzhou.

Katharine Carruthers (IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society), MEP Strategic Director, said: “The Mandarin Excellence Programme study visit is a fabulous opportunity for students to experience China in person and advance their language skills.

“This is an unrivalled opportunity which rewards Year 9 MEP students who have been undertaking intensive Mandarin language study in school for the past three years, many of whom are from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“The students will benefit from an unforgettable experience as part of their journey to becoming the next generation of fluent Mandarin speakers in the UK.”

travel to london from us

The Mandarin-learners will embark on the adventure in different travel groups. They will engage in an extensive cultural and language-learning programme, connecting with pupils in Chinese schools throughout the experience.

Mandarin is the most widely spoken native language globally and is considered a highly valuable skill for young people in the UK to learn. According to British Council research*, Mandarin ranks as the second most important foreign language for the UK's global influence.

Tom Dearing, the British Council’s Head of UK Schools, said: “This year more students than ever before will have an unparalleled opportunity to visit China and immerse themselves in this vibrant and dynamic culture, practising their Mandarin skills as well as their intercultural skills.

“This unique experience will stay with them for life and will motivate them to continue their studies, as well as building lasting friendships between people in the UK and China.”  

Ahead of the visit, Tilly, a Year 9 student from Finham Park School in Coventry, said: “It’s a huge trip. It’s taken a while to organise and we’ve had lots of meetings about it, I’m really excited. I’m a bit nervous for being away from home but I think that I’ll get over that quickly. I think it will massively affect my learning in such positive ways.”

Her classmate, Vincent, added: “I don’t think I would have done this without the Mandarin Excellence Programme, it’s made me learn a lot more about China than I would have if I hadn’t taken it. It’s a very surreal experience knowing that you’re going to be on the other side of the planet. It’s a great, great opportunity.”

In 2023, UCL was also selected by DfE to lead a new nationwide Language Hubs programme, providing thousands of students across England with high quality language teaching via a centre of excellence.

*British Council Languages for the Future report

  • IOE, UCL’s Faculty of Education and Society
  • Mandarin Excellence Programme
  • Pupils from across England to visit China with Mandarin Excellence Programme
  • UCL to lead new National Consortium for Languages Education
  • The British Council
  • Languages for the Future report
  • Department for Education
  • Featured image: Mandarin Excellence Programme students in Guangzhou. Credit: Guangdong University of Foreign Studies.
  • Slideshow images: MEP students take part in a Chinese school cultural activity (credit: Sichuan Normal University / LI Rui, British Council); Mandarin Excellence Programme students holding their Chinese paintings (credit to Beijing Language and Culture University); An MEP student enjoys a Chinese tea (credit: Beijing Language and Culture University); MEP students take part in a Hanfu experience (credit: Sichuan Normal University); MEP students learning a Chinese dance (credit: Tianjin Normal University).

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