What are some cultural faux pas in London?

Ifrah Mumin

You see these yellow cross-hatched boxes found on most London Underground platforms?

They are there to ease congestion in some of London’s busiest underground stations. They are often situated at entrances/exits of the platform so that instead of waiting for the train at the entrance/exit people have to move along the platform. Pretty good right? Only problem is not everyone pays attention to it. Please do not stand in this area, looking at maps or your phone with huge bags or if you’re in a group. This causes so much irritation.

Another thing that really bothers people (especially me) is when exiting a station and you haven’t yet gotten your Oyster or contactless payment card ready to tap out even though you are getting pretty close to the ticket barriers. This then results in you standing in front of the barriers helplessly looking for your Oyster card, with a queue of annoyed commuters behind you. Please get your card ready in advance!

With regards to shopping and customer service, remember to be polite when speaking to the cashier/assistant. Saying “please”, “thank you” and “sorry” is part of the customary code of politeness in London. Not using these words will most likely result in strange faces and possibly getting poorer service. Useful tip: don’t even think about jumping a queue.

Generally speaking, Londoners are quite tolerant about the mistakes visitors make here and won’t confront you about it but avoiding them does go a long way!

Image Source: Google Images

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Phil Gyford

Not a faux pas, but a little error that many Americans make is to omit the “Street” or “Road” etc from names. They might say they went to a shop on “Goldhawk” when they mean “Goldhawk Road”.

That’s fine when your city is full of uniquely-named “1st St”, “Avenue A”, etc, but doesn’t work in London. It sounds very strange to British ears and can be confusing because no one knows exactly where you mean. You say “I’m staying on Pembridge” and you could mean Pembridge Villas, Pembridge Road, Pembridge Gardens, Pembridge Place, Pembridge Crescent, etc.

Sean Dillon