Live Like a Londoner – A digital nomad’s guide
Whether you are going to London on holiday or for a work assignment (or a little of both), you don’t have to go around looking and acting like a tourist. You can be part of the real culture and get to know London better than you ever would as a tourist. Here are a few recommendations to get you off on the right foot.
The first thing you can do before you even leave home: Secure your accommodations. Home From Home makes this easy with their portfolio of the crème de la crème of rental properties easily accessible on their website. You can live among the locals in meticulously appointed properties conveniently located and reasonably priced. From a 1-bedroom studio to a 12-bedroom home, Home From Home will find you exactly what fits your needs. A very nice additional touch: The rental includes a chauffeur to fetch you from the airport and see you off when your visit is over.
The London Underground (“Tube”) is the way to make your way around London and environs. Pick up the free map at any Tube station. It’s easy to follow with the general directions of the different trains (north, south, east or westbound) clearly evident as well as the interchanges.
Use the pay-as-you-go Oyster card to travel throughout the Underground’s nine zones. It’s much less expensive than purchasing a single-fare ticket, e.g., a single-fare ticket in Zone 1 is 4.50 pounds while the Oyster fare is 2.40 pounds. Just remember to touch your Oyster card to the yellow readers as you enter the Tube station and as you exit.
A few ways to be good “Tube citizens” (and not act like a tourist):
- Stand on the right when using escalators.
- Move down inside the Tube carriages; don’t block the doorways.
- Stand behind the yellow line whilst waiting for the train on the platform
You can also use the Oyster card on the red double-decker buses. Just remember to keep the card filled up: Buses do not take cash—ever!
Go to a pub, hang out, get to know the regulars. Of course, there are plenty of brews and just about any mixed drink you might want, but you must have a cider. There are a variety of flavors, such as pear and strawberry, and brands, such as the traditional Magners or Strongbow. Many pubs serve meals, usually for a fraction of the price you’d pay in a restaurant. Don’t miss the delights of the traditional English breakfast and the Sunday roast
Just so you know: Beverages are served at room temperature. Don’t make a scene. Just go with it.
Where to Eat
If you like quirky, visit the brasserie-style Sketch in Mayfair—18th-century tea room by day, cocktail lounge by night. You must use the restrooms while you are there. Instead of the usual stalls, you will step into an egg pod.
For the best restaurant view in all of the United Kingdom, go to the Duck & Waffle on the 40th floor of the Heron Tower. A few of their tasty treats: BBQ-Spiced Crispy Pig Ears, Pulled Goat Doughnut, Foie Gras Crème Brûlée, Nduja Seared Octopus and, of course, the Duck & Waffle.
If you’re on the go and/or low on cash, grab a sandwich at Pret A Manger, M&S or one of the many pasty stands. The food is fresh, flavorful and frugal.
The best advice, however, is to treat people with respect, and you will soon have a network of Londoners to rely on.