Ooh, someone’s got themselves in a bit of a tizzy after spending time in their former home town…
Well I did tone it down quite a bit, to be honest. These were my working titles: “How to piss off locals when visiting London”, “Why people think you’re a dick when you spend a weekend in the British capital” and “Just because they don’t say it out loud doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking you are a complete tool – quiet rage is the English way, after all”
Right, I guess we should be grateful for small mercies then. So what is this latest rant all about?
Put simply, it’s a checklist of things that most visitors to London do which locals cannot stand. Now it is unlikely that they will tell you this to your face – there is something extremely un-British about direct confrontation – but they will seethe with suppressed anger for a variable amount of time. Depending on the severity of the infraction and the sensitivity of the victim, your behaviour may ruin their entire day. And you wouldn’t want that, now would you?
Well of course not. I’m a Grown-up Traveller, aren’t I?
Quite. Let’s get into it then.
Do these 12 things in London at your peril:
- Use the regular tube service from Heathrow or Gatwick at peak hours with your stupid massive suitcase(s). You can afford to visit London, ergo you can afford the airport express. Do not ever think that stressed-out commuters will think you are “cool” for travelling with “the real people”
- Stop suddenly without warning on a crowded pavement in the middle of rush hour. In some circles this is considered a capital offence
- Couples: take up the entire width of the pavement by holding hands, walk slower than seems humanly possible and then stop suddenly without warning in the middle of rush hour. This is an even more serious crime than thing #2
- Walk around filming yourself
- Film other people or take their pictures without asking
- Take selfies making the “V”-sign and pouting
- Take selfies
- Get to the ticket barrier without having your ticket ready
- Talk loudly on your mobile phone on the bus, train or tube
- Order tea, coffee or alcohol-free beer at a pub. Understand that the inclusion of such ridiculous items on the menu is a trap, with the sole intention of giving the staff and regular patrons a good laugh when tourists like you ask for them
- Complain about a bad experience at any London hotel costing under a hundred quid a night. What were you expecting?
- Bring up Brexit as a conversation starter.
Seems like sensible advice. But is that all?
As you well know, I could go on all day but this is a decent starting point. To finish, some general advice to those visiting London: remember that you are in no way, shape or form “living like a local” and never, ever say that to one.
P.S. If the mere thought of a tourist committing any one of these twelve cardinal sins makes you want to let out a primal scream and smash something, I feel your pain. I may not have lived in this wonderful city for over 20 years but I know I will never change. And neither will you. Barely-audible muttering and a hard stare it is, then.