I just moved to London to study abroad for the year and while I haven't been here for very long, there are already quite a lot of things that I have learned. Here are a few that I can think of right now, mostly related to the underground.
1. The underground is very hot and mostly crowded and you will sweat regardless of the season.
I am serious. If you would ride the tube with a winter coat on, I am not sure you would survive. Also, the overcrowdedness that occurs at certain times of the day forces you to stand closer to strangers than you will ever be comfortable with. I for one certainly love arriving to my classes looking all sweaty because that gives off the perfect first impression.
2. In some stations, you walk at least 5 minutes underground to actually get to the platforms.
This is especially true for big stations like London Bridge. I always have to change from train to underground here and it literally takes forever to get to my tube. On the bright side though, there are some shops along the way and these interesting little stands that sell tiny cupcakes so I guess there are worse things that could happen. But certainly be prepared to walk a while before getting to your tube and factor that in when you need to be somewhere on time.
Makes the walk more enjoyable, right?
3. Museums are FREE and occasionally host sleep-overs for adults.
How amazing is that? This is the only city that I know of that has free admission to all their museums. I am a huge museum fan and will be sure to visit all of them. During one of my orientation sessions, a professor actually told us about how some of the museums have sleep-overs and there's apparently wine and other drinks and then you can sleep under a dinosaur skeleton and wherever your heart desires. This is definitely on my bucket list.
4. The best vegan cake that you ever tasted may be sold at a farmer's market near you.
Last weekend, I learned from my flatmate who has been living in London for a while, that there's a farmer's market close by and that they sell a bunch of local produce and dishes and that this one stand sells vegan cake! Of course, I had to immediately go with her and my other flatmate to seek out this vegan cake although I was pretty sick. She was right, that cake was absolutely amazing although 3 pounds for one slice is kind of expensive in my opinion. The market near me is called Brockely Market and has won several awards, but there are tons of markets all across London that you should check out!
This is their hipster looking website: http://www.brockleymarket.com/
Check out their instagram: https://www.instagram.com/brockleymarket/
5. Oyster Cards are the way to go even if you're just visiting.
Just like how you would want to buy a metro card in New York, you will want to get a travel oyster card in London while you're here. Nothing sucks more than having to buy an individual ticket each time, when you can just order a card to your home anywhere in the world and top it up with some money, and then tap in and out of the public transportation system. The travel cards are especially great because the card is capped at a daily maximum of £6.50 and you can travel however often you want with it during the day and is therefore far cheaper than a day ticket which is £12.10.
Learn more here: https://tfl.gov.uk/travel-information/visiting-lon...
London is an amazing city and very friendly and you should definitely come visit or study abroad here as well. After all, there is a Harry Potter World close by and you will definitely want to see that.
I mean, who could say no to this?