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20 things nobody should ever do in London

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Chris Sayer
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Think you’ve mastered London? Well we’ve got news for you. You don’t master London. London masters you.

OK, we don’t quite know what that means, but what we’re getting at is simple -  no matter how long you’ve lived in the Capital, the city still has the power to throw something at you that you didn’t see coming. It could be a bizarre new food trend, a hipster phrase you’re almost certain isn’t made from English letters, or even just a friendly nudge to let you know that, actually, you’ve been doing something really, embarrassingly, wrong this whole time.

Well, this is that friendly nudge. These are 20 things that no Londoner/self-respecting human being, should ever, ever find themselves doing in Foggy London Town…

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London

    Moan about queuing up to eat at a new pop-up restaurant

    London doesn’t need any more tutting, eye-rolling, watch-checking pain-in-the-arses. You knew this place would be busy. You knew there would be a queue. Everyone in front of you is exactly the same as you, just waiting to ‘check in’ on Facebook and gloat about their “new favourite place”, so shush your gums. If you can’t hack it, then guess what? You’re in LONDON. You’re absolutely definitely less than five mins from something equally as awesome. Don’t believe us? Take it from our brothers over at Mr Hyde, who prove there’s always something within spitting distance that’d be just as amazing to lock your jaw around. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 1

    Use the 30p toilets at Paddington Station

    You’ve grabbed your train dinner from Yo! Sushi, stocked up on M&S G&Ts, and used your God-given psychic powers to deduce that your 1903 to Exeter will, in fact, arrive at platform 11 this evening. You’re ready for anything this ride south will throw at you. Anything, apart from a total bladder sabotage that’s just stumped you, and will cost 30p you don’t have. Fear not, intrepid adventurer. We won’t let you fall foul here. There’s a mighty fine Fuller’s pub, named The Mad Bishop & Bear, at the top of the escalator that has fee-free relief stations to go nuts in. Spend a penny? Not this time.

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 2

    Underestimate the life-changing ability of Infernos

    Many people think they can split the population of London into two halves – those north of the Thames and those south. But there’s a far more black-and-white way to look at things, and the great divide is no river, but the stinkiest, stickiest, cheesiest nightclub in the entire city. You can cut the populous of London into those that’ve been to Clapham’s infamous Infernos and lived to tell the tale, and those that down-right refuse to step foot in there. Just spare a thought for the secret third group: those that have been and didn’t make it out. God rest their souls. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 3

    Ask an Uber driver to give you your passenger rating

    …At the risk of not only shattering the very fibre of our soul, but also reliving the long-supressed memory of the chunderous car pool journey with Sweaty Brett from IT back from last year’s staff Xmas party? Something’s are better left unsaid. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 4

    Push the ‘open’ button on the Central Line tube doors

    Doesn’t work. And it won’t work the next time you do it, mate.

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 5

    Take a selfie near Tower Bridge

    Look! There’s a family from New Delhi refusing to smile into the camera while trying to convey what a “great time” they’re having in England! Check it out! A bride and groom from Osaka having their wedding photos taken beside the Thames in full pavlova dress and suit for reasons that will never make sense to us! Hey, New Delhi Dad is back by the river for more, this time going solo and pretending to be taking an important call on his Samsung Galaxy while taking a selfie with his iPhone 5c! IT’S A PRIMARY SCHOOL OF ITALIAN-OR-MAYBE-FRENCH WITH A HUNDRED SELFIE STICKS! Need we go on?

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 6

    Ignore the City AM guy outside Waterloo Station

    “Good morning my friends!” “Hello my friend!” Disregard his undiluted, unfaltering, impartial friendliness at 7.15 every morning, and karma is going to pull your pants down in your next board meeting.

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 7

    Engage in a cyclist/driver debate

    Nobody wins this war. Nobody. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 8

    Instagram/Tweet/Snapchat a ‘hilarious’ coffee shop A-board

    ‘Coffee this way, real life that way’? ‘An espresso a day keeps the plague away’? ‘Darth Vader goes to Starbucks’? There’s a reason why there are so many of these sappy, humour-sucking signs on our streets now  - anyone that posts them to their social media is essentially watering the Gremlin. Do not water the Gremin. Please. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 9

    Congregate around the street performers outside Camden Tube Station

    “Hey man… just leaving now...the tube only takes five minutes from Camden Town, so should be with you - erm - taking into account the 600 people I’ll have to walk through as they watch a man making a tiny puppet DJ, by next Tuesday?”

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 10

    Walk along Victoria Park after dark

    At best, dark and drowny. At worst, dark and finally-get-home-with-no-wallet-phone-trainers-or-clean-underwear.

    Pic: Flickr

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 11

    Use the toilets in Oxford St McDonald’s after dark

    See previous.

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 12

    Remain neutral in the Brick Lane Beigel War

    Beigel Bake all the way! Or, was it… no, definitely Beigel Bake. But maybe it was Beigel Shop? Yeah that sounds about right…or does it? Sh*t.

    Pic: Beigel Shop Facebook

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 13

    Mistake Battersea for Clapham Junction

    Speaking ill of anyone’s home borough in London is pretty much identical to telling a blue-faced die-hard patriot William Wallace from Braveheart that the Highlands are for skirt-wearing numpty boys. So accidently saying you’re going out in Clapham Junction when you mean Battersea? Wow. WOW. Expect a spittle-flecked tirade barked in your face, educating you that “Clapham Junction is the train station and not the area, you ignorant, brain-dead weasel.”

    Pic: Google Maps

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 14

    Accidently kick over a human statue’s money pot

    Nothing makes you feel more of a disgusting scumbag than booting the £1.73 some floating Yoda has slaved over for 8 hours in 31-degree heat. And nothing will make you run faster than seeing him come after you with his staff held aloft, ready to smack you right over to the Dark Side. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 15

    Try to beat the guys playing the ‘cup game’ on South Bank

    Spoiler: you’re about to lose £20.  

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 16

    Leave without sampling the chicken wings at The Stag in Belsize Park

    Best wings this side of the Atlantic. They’re so good, in fact, that there’s definitely a case to claw them from the sauce-stained fingers of the USA and make ‘em our national dish instead. Howd’ya feel about that, ‘Murica? 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 17

    Drink more than three after-work pints if your tube ride home exceeds 15 minutes

    First and foremost, “Oh, I better be off, I live in zone 6” is absolutely no excuse for ducking out of a round. You know you live in zone 6. You haven’t just moved to zone 6 in the time you’ve been sat in the pub with your mates. That said, you’re running the gauntlet if you go beyond the magic number and embark on a tube for longer than a quarter hour. Best of luck, brave soldier! 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 18

    Tube it from Chancery Lane to Farringdon

    Smart, go-get-‘em Londoners know that, in some cases, taking to foot is a far quicker way to get around than the tube, which has one reason for existence and that’s to make getting around quicker. Two changes and four stations between Chancery Lane and Farringdon, or a ten-minute walk? Enduring the Seventh Circle of Hell at Covent Garden station or just walk the 250m there from Leicester Square? Six stations, two changes and a loss of will to live between Blackfriars and Southwark, or a breezy stroll over Blackfriars Bridge? You know. You know. 

  • 20 things nobody should ever do in London 19

    Breathe in as you walk past a phone box

    That’s a toilet. A toilet where humans wee and do other things that aren’t worth thinking about. Still, doesn’t stop you from letting an innocent foreign tourist pose inside one for a holiday snap, does it? Like anyone uses them for actual phone calls anymore.

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Chris Sayer

Chris Sayer is a freelance journalist and editor based in London. Chris has interviewed some of the biggest names in entertainment and travelled the world doing an all manner of adventures for lots of brilliant magazines. He writes for Shortlist about booze but would probably prefer we let him write about fishing instead. Follow Chris on Twitter: @ChrisSayer00

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