Need to Know

Cosmopolitan, multicultural, fascinating and eccentric, London is Europe’s biggest and most exciting city. Expert tips and advice to get you to the heart of the city.


ATMs are widespread. Major credit cards are accepted everywhere. Value-added tax (VAT; 20%) Restaurants must include VAT in their prices; hotels don’t have the same requirement for room prices so double-check when booking.


Taxi: Round up to nearest pound.
Restaurants: Service charge is often included in the bill; if not, 10% for decent service.
Hotels: £1 per bag is standard at hotels, gratuity for cleaning staff at your discretion.

Opening Hours

Museums & Galleries: Generally open 10am to 6pm, with one or two late nights a week; evenings are a great time to visit, with smaller crowds.
Restaurants: As a rule, most restaurants serve lunch between noon and 2.30pm, and dinner between 6pm and 11pm.
Pubs & Bars: Most are open 11am to 11pm from Monday to Saturday and close at 10:30pm on Sunday; some stay open longer, although most of those close around 2am or 3am at the latest.

Other Resources

Lonely Planet ( Bookings, traveller forum and more.
Time Out London ( Up-to-date and comprehensive listings.
Londonist ( A website about London and everything that happens in it.
Visit London ( The Official Visitor Guide to London.

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