London: What to wear/do

May 1st, 2014, 06:36 PM
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London: What to wear/do

Hello! I'm a teen girl who will be visiting London at the beginning of July this summer. I've never been to Europe so I'm not really sure what to expect, but I'm excited!

I'm not really sure what the weather will be like in London then... any suggestions on what to wear? Rain boots or simple flats or walking shoes? Jacket? Any cultural taboos I should be aware of?

Also, since I'm only going to be in London for a few days, I need some ideas on what to do while I'm there! I definitely would like to see Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, but any suggestions would be much appreciated!
freespiritJC is offline  
May 1st, 2014, 07:29 PM
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Look under the Destinations tab above for England and then look at what Fodor's recommends for London sightseeing. Then go to a bookstore or your public library and look at the travel guides to see what appeals to you. In July you can only see Buckingham Palace as a walk-by. My very favorite place to see is Westminster Abbey. Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament are right there by it.

Weather is unpredictable but should be comfortably warm. Take some good walking shoes, a rain jacket, and an umbrella.

There are lots of trip reports here on this forum that you can read for suggestions of what other people like to do.
carolyn is offline  
May 1st, 2014, 07:38 PM
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Thank you very much, carolyn! I will check out that info now
freespiritJC is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 12:48 AM
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cultural taboos, well it depends on which ones you operate yourself. If you are American, it is probably not correct to walk up to the man on the street and ask them what they earn, as this happened to me in the US I assume this is a cultural norm there.

Generally you will find that people of your age will have few surprises for you however within the UK generally people do not make a lot of noise, play their various plastic toys looudly through their ear pieces or jump queues (lines). Yes the locals walk around staring at a piece of plastic and they do walk fast so keep out of the way. Hope that helps.
bilboburgler is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 02:06 AM
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Don't truncate place/street names (an annoying American habit) other wise you could end up miles from where you intend to be.
Hooameye is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 02:35 AM
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If Wimbledon or a cricket Test match are scheduled, then definitely take your waterproof!
LancasterLad is online now  
May 2nd, 2014, 02:42 AM
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I've never had anyone, anywhere, ask me what I earned, excepting the tax man, of course. I lived in the US for over 40 years.
bvlenci is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 02:42 AM
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There is a horror story about that one. An American was going to a meeting in ipswich and was told that there were regular trains from Liverpool Street station. He turned up hours late after going to Liverpool, a town in the North of England and nowhere hear ipswich.

I'd say, be extra polite. Remember to say please and thank you even to wait staff. If you collide with someone, apologise even if it's their fault.

Stand on the right on the escalator, so that Londoners can gallop past on the left.
MissPrism is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 05:26 AM
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"I'd say, be extra polite. Remember to say please and thank you even to wait staff. If you collide with someone, apologise even if it's their fault."

Good message, but as a Brit shocked by the word "even".

You will find paying for something needs 5 verbal exchanges, nearly all including the words please or thank you .
bilboburgler is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 05:45 AM
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I may just leave this forum today and return tomorrow as this appears to be "pick on Americans" day. Of course all of the English are perfect.
mamcalice is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 06:05 AM
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Why am I surprised by that response? The OP asked a question about local taboos. They got some polite answers. Customs do vary between cultures.

It's perfectly true that many Americans don't say "please" when ordering food in a restaurant. Next time you visit one, just listen to yourself.

Equally, very few Britons say "you're welcome" in reply to "thank you". The polite ones will reply in other ways " it's a pleasure"' "that's quite all right" or even "cheers".

It's the custom in England to apologise if somebody stands on your toe. I reckon that foreigners are excused from that one
Josser is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 06:19 AM
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I find this blog amusing.

The "magic words" are discussed at

It's an interesting take on the subject.

I'm not up on travel forums for teenagers. The OP really needs to discover where to get clothes and where teenage Londoners meet up. Perhaps somebody could point her in the right direction
MissPrism is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 07:09 AM
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'The OP really needs to discover where to get clothes and where teenage Londoners meet up'

Topshop Oxford Circus, Westfield shopping centre.
If you want to shop for clothes, Topshop have a free personal shopping service, that is fun to do. No obligation to buy. It was a hit with my teenagers. Book in advance.

Wear whatever you would wear where you live, keeping in mind that it may rain. Uniqlo do cheap lightweight rainjackets that pack into a small pouch.

Check out any events going on in London in July - There's usually some festival in Hyde Park, and sometimes on Trafalgar Square.

Check out this:

Have fun, London is great in the summer!
Tulips is offline  
May 2nd, 2014, 07:38 AM
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Trouble is I see no one attacking Americans, we are just trying to answer the taboo question, based on experience and evidence. We are also assuming the OP is American but they could be anything and cultural norms vary greatly around the world. I don't assume the British (not a great believer in the recent nationalism nonsense) are perfect in fact I find many of them obnoxious. But we are trying to help the OP.


"You're welcome" and "have a nice day" would only be said with a heavy load of irony or as an attempt to make you feel at home. You may however hear many words you don't expect such as "duck", "love", "see you later" or "see you soon" these are generally interchangeable with sir,madam or good day. London is also full of people from all over the world mainly all speaking English so expect to run into a whole bunch of other cultural norms.

Keep the faith
bilboburgler is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 04:16 PM
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Thank you for all of your input!
freespiritJC is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 04:35 PM
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freespiritJC, if you are interested in fashion the Victoria and Albert museum usually has some great exhibits.
Also if you are looking for something a little different Londonwalks does a really great street art walk which takes you through some really interesting neighbourhoods (full of young people the day we went).

I was in London last summer in early July and it was very warm, girls your age were wearing cute summer dresses for the most part. Good advice above though to be prepared for rain and maybe have a sweater for layering if it turns chilly. (don't bring rainboots but make sure your shoes/sandals are really comfortable as you do a lot of walking in Europe)

I don't think Buckingham Palace is open then for tours but you can certainly see the outside.
Tulips gave you some good advice above.

Have fun, London is wonderful.
raincitygirl is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 05:45 PM
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you will probably do a lot more walking and standing while you are sightseeing than you usually do at home. So bring your most comfortable and supportive shoes, sneakers or running shoes. There is nothing worse than going on a trip and have a twisted ankle because you wore the wrong shoes.. I speak from experience !! and bring your simple flats or whatever as well, so you can have a change of footgear

you can look up the weather forecast about a week before you go, and that will give you a good idea of the local temps.. a light rain jacket, and a cotton sweater are good to have if it rains or it is cool. take comfortable things that you would wear at home that you can mix and match.
maxima is offline  
May 15th, 2014, 05:48 PM
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NOt sure where you are from but London is likely to be cooler than most places in the US. So if you want to bring a pair of shorts you can - but it may be too cool to wear them. (I have seen locals sunning themselves shirtless in the parks as soon as the temps hit 65 - but not usually shorts weather in most of the US.

Do bring summer clothes but make sure you have 2 pairs of comfy walking shoes (closed shoes, sandals would be additional - many areas still have cobblestones and uneven streets), a light weight sweater, a tissue rain jacket with hood and a small folding umbrella. Rain boats or coat would be overkill. (While it usually doesn't get hot you can get a lot of very humid, sticky days in the lower 70s.)

Not aware of any taboos but do expects a lot of idioms you are not familiar with - and differnt names for things. (Check out a British/American dictionary for tourists.)

Do NOT miss the Tower, the British Museum or the National Portrait Gallery ( the latter is small but really fascinating, esp if you are a fan of the historical dramas on PBS of HBO).
nytraveler is offline  
May 30th, 2014, 10:18 AM
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Thank you everyone for all of your comments! With your advice I'm sure to be fully prepared for a wonderful trip. Thanks again!
freespiritJC is offline  

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