40 Things You Need To Know To Survive Living In London, According To Londoners

“Don’t change at Bank.”

London, eh? A fast-paced city that costs an arm and a leg at the best of times, but which around nine million people call their home. And, living in this bubble of oyster card barriers, expensive pints and questionable ads for spare rooms has given us a damn good rulebook on what to do and what not to do in the Big Smoke.

We took to Facebook and Instagram to compare notes with our followers and, as usual, you didn’t disapoint. Here’s the best of your response.

Things you need to know to survive living in London

1. “Have your card or ticket ready at the barrier. Otherwise everyone behind you will be wishing Hells wrath upon you.”

Ah, yes. We’ll call this first round: “Facing the wrath of passive-aggressive Londoners in a hurry on the tube”. Fancy another one in this category?

2. “Have your card/ticket in your hand BEFORE you get to the barrier or people will wish horrific violence upon you.”

Places to be, I guess.

3. “Get your oyster out ready to tap or get the f**k out my way.”

Plainly put, as ever! And it’s not just pedestrians who rustle up some feathers on their route to work:

4. “If you’re a cyclist, understand what a red f**king light means.”


5. “If you MUST stand still on an escalator, STAND ON THE RIGHT.”

Speaking of passive-aggressive behaviour at tube stations…

6. “MIND the gap.”

Get used to hearing this.

7. “Walk faster than you run.”

It’s an art, to be honest. And you, Londoners, have perfected it.

8. “Don’t fall asleep on the night bus/tube.”

Seriously, it’s not how you want to (technically) start your day. But just in case you do…

9. “Get an Uber account, for when you wake up in Cockfosters.”

Better safe than sorry! I have heard the end of the Piccadilly Line is lovely at this time of year, however.

10. “Citymapper.”

A tool that will quickly become your best friend, particularly when there’s a tube strike.

11. “Practice your best ‘Excuse me’ to get out of the tube in time.”

Otherwise you might hit the end of the line during the day, too! Those tube carriages can get busy, particularly on the Central Line so make sure you’re loud and clear.

12. “Don’t hesitate pressing the door open button on a train, even one second delay is too long but NEVER press the door open button on the tube.”

Wise words.

13. “Start every sentence with ‘sorry.’”

This just seems to happen…

14. “Say sorry when someone else bumps into you.”

Make it make sense.

15. “Some people are friendly, some people are not.”

A wise thing to learn. If that person who bumped into you follows your apology with one from themselves, that should be a good indicator.

16. “Headphones on and don’t make eye contact with strangers on the tube.”

We’re sometimes a shy bunch, you know? But alternatively:

17. “If you smile at people on the tube, they think you’re a psychopath and move away from you, which equals more space.”

True, I guess.

18. “Never underestimate cloudy weather.”

Don’t worry about a coat, they said. It’s supposed to be sunny later, they said…

19. “There will be another tube in a couple of minutes, don’t stress.”

“But I could have been home four-minutes earlier!”

20. “Learn the art of complaining.”

“Ugh worst commute today, missed a train and had to wait a whole three minutes for the Victoria Line.”

21. “You may see the odd Pret A Manger.”

Just a word of warning. And to that end:

22. “Buy a Pret coffee subscription.”

Gotta save money somehow in this city.

23. “Be rich.”

*sigh* It’s time to enter the money round, isn’t it? Well, it’s time for us to admit that while being the best city in the world, it can be f**king expensive to say the least.

24. “Happy hours.”

Another one to add to your best friend list.

25. “Never waste a pint.”

Even if you got it during happy hour, those babies are like gold dust, and you’ll be lucky to find one for a fiver. Still, happy drinking!

26. “Don’t go outside because u WILL spend £20.”

Ah, that old solution.

27. “Meal Deal.”

A good way to save some cash when you don’t have any leftovers to take to work. We would say “cheap as chips”, but this isn’t always the case in London: even chips can be expensive!

28. “Never believe an ad on Spareroom.”

It will likely be £1,000pcm and likely not look like the pictures. Good luck out there, fellow renters.

29. “Your salary belongs to your landlord! Survive that and the rest is easy, no rules.”

Sad but true. But with the money you do have left be sure to:

30. “Go to some of the wonderful pubs. Not a survival rule but you’ll be glad you did.”


31. “Get a recommendation from a friend on where to eat. Don’t eat at chain restaurants in the centre of London. You’re just a few minutes walk from amazing better priced food!”

Plus, we might just know or a thing or two about food recommendations over here! Have a browse.

32. “If your bus goes on diversion… get off it immediately, you’re about to be taken on some mad hour long journey in the wrong direction.”

Every time.

33. “Always carry water when you go on the tube in summer.”

Absolutely essential. Once again, the Central Line is the worst offender for hot trains in summer, so be sure to stock up on H2O beforehand.

34. “Know you don’t take the tube from Leicester Square to Covent Garden. Or Charing Cross to Embankment.”

Walk! These! Routes!

35. “Don’t take the stairs at Covent Garden tube station.”

Take the lift this time and thank us later.

36. “Get used to seeing foxes, the most confident ones you can imagine.”

Everyone remembers seeing their first London fox.

37. “Foxes walk amongst us, giving zero fucks, in the middle of the day.”

Chilled out customers share the city with us.

38. (And, for goodness sake) “Don’t change at Bank you might never be seen again.”

It’s truly a maze.

39. (One more time for clarity) “Don’t change at Bank.”

40. “Educate yourself in the capital, visit the museums and landmarks, don’t get blasé about what’s on your doorstep, London is an amazing place.”

We’ll end with the most important rule of all.

Secret London