London Travel Tips

UK Visas

Australian passport holders travelling to the UK for less than six months do not require a visa. Staying longer than six months however, you will need to apply for a visa before travelling. The length of your stay and whether you intend on working or just travelling with determine the type of visa you require. This information is only to be used as a guide. For the most accurate, current information, contact your local British Embassy.

UK Currency

The United Kingdom used the British Pound (GBP). The national bank of each country, England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, produce their own currency, but it is generally accepted across the entire Kingdom. For more on currency, visit the currency page.

Tipping in London

Tipping is not as widespread in the UK as it is in the United States, however in some situations it is deemed polite. When travelling in taxis, round up to the nearest pound for short journeys and up to the nearest five pounds for longer trips. In full service restaurants, a 10% tip for great service is polite, however some restaurants include it in the bill automatically. When staying in hotels, it is expected to pay the porter one pound per bag. When drinking in a bar tipping is not common practice, however for good service, locals may tell the bar tender to ‘take one for yourself’, meaning they charge another drink onto your bill.

British Cuisine

Traditional British fare consists of classic pub food you would find in Australia. Fish & Chips, shepherd’s pie, stews and sausages and mash feature on many pub menus. In London today however, thanks to the city’s multicultural make-up, you can find excellent international cuisine from right around the world. Indian cuisine features perhaps most prominently, with Chicken tikka masala now the national dish of England. Some of the best Indian food can be found in East London, along Brick Lane. London is a hub for many celebrity chefs, while modern gastropubs serve a more refined menu of British classics. London is scattered with fresh produce markets and supermarkets like Tesco and Sainsbury’s are present in most neighbourhoods.  

British Electrical Plugs

Electrical outlets in the UK run on a 250 volt system. A type G adaptor is required for Australian plugs.

Official Language of the United Kingdom

The official language of the United Kingdom is English. Thanks to its multicultural population, many foreign languages are also spoken in London.

London Airports

The main London airports where long-haul flights connecting from Australia land, are London Heathrow and London Gatwick. There are also London Luton, London Stansted and London City airports, where many low cost carriers and other airlines fly to destinations across Europe and the UK.

Flights from Australia generally arrive into London between 5am and 11am. Allow between 1.5 and 2 hours to clear customs and immigration. To get to your hotel from Heathrow, you can pre-book a private car or shuttle bus transfer with your tailor made holiday specialist, which is ideal for first time visitors to London. If you’re familiar with London, you can take the Heathrow Express train, the London Underground, or take a black cab, too. Beware though, at peak times when traffic is heavy, cab fares can easily double.

London Hotel Check-in

Standard check-in time for London hotels is 2pm. As most flights from Australia land in the morning, it’s a good idea to pack a change of clothes at the top of your suitcase. Some hotels offer showers for you to freshen up even if your room isn’t available yet. Most hotels also provide luggage storage and early check-in if the room is available.