Category: Practical information (11)

It’s important for anyone staying in London apartments rentals to feel connected, even if their trip is a short one.  Being able to call and text friends, family and colleagues need not cost the earth or be a major head-ache for overseas visitors booking apartments to rent with us.

LONDON CALLING

Cell phones are called mobiles in the UK. Use your own, or acquire one when you visit London – the best deal for you will depend on your call requirements, phone specifications, where you are coming from and how long you plan to stay.

PAY-AS-YOU-GO

Buying a basic mobile with a pay-as-you-go plan when you arrive is popular, contract-free and cost-effective, especially for shorter stays. There are great deals on international calls and you can top up your credit when you need to.

BUY A SIM CARD FOR YOUR PHONE

Another option is to buy just a SIM card.  In this case, the chip will fit into your own, unlocked phone and can sometimes be used again. This will allow you to call and text at local rates, with good deals on international calls. Cellular AbroadLebara

INTERNET AND TEXTING

Anyone without phone data coverage on their trip can make use of venues offering free Wifi to check their emails, etc when out and about, such as some cafes, museums and galleries.  Remember that it’s always cheaper to text than to call!

WHERE TO BUY A PHONE OR TOP UP CREDIT

You will find phone shops at the airport, in all the main railway stations and on the high street, close to our London apartment rentals.  You can also top up your credit in some newsagents (they usually have a sign in the window) and in many of the big supermarkets.

 

When you visit London from another country, there are the usual challenges to face such as cars driving on the other side of the road, warm pints of beer in pubs, foreign money to get to know, etc.  All part of the fun and charm of travel, of course.

Some practical things are important to get absolutely right, however, both for safety and comfort.  Having the right plug adapter during your stay means you can use your own electrical devices at your leisure.

ELECTRICITY IN THE UK

In the United Kingdom the power sockets are type G, which is the three pin plug.  In apartments to rent in London you will also sometimes find that wall sockets have a switch that controls the supply of power.  So as well as plugging a device in, you need to click the switch on.

WHAT KIND OF ADAPTER IS NEEDED?

UK power sockets supply an average volt of 230v.  A converter is needed only if your device is not dual voltage ( 110-240v.) Adapters for use in the UK are readily available on the internet, at the airport or from shops.

CHARGE WHEN YOU’RE OUT

London visitors spend a lot of time out and about.  It’s worth noting that many coffee shops, pubs and department stores have sockets and some museums, galleries, libraries and large cultural centres offer free Wifi and sockets. Some overland trains have charging points by your seat.

THE ALL IMPORTANT HAIRDRYER

All of our London Agent apartments to rent come fully equipped with a hairdryer, so that’s one less thing you have to squeeze into your suitcase and worry about when staying with us!

DON’T FORGET IT!

Adapters are easily forgotten about when not in use, sitting in the socket in the wall. Don’t forget to take yours with you when you leave your short let flat – you will need it when we welcome you back on your next visit to London.

 

YOUR SHORT LET LONDON home IS BOOKED, NOW PLAN YOUR DAYS OUT

Some practical tips about staying in one of our short let London homes during the holiday season.  Visit London in the festive season and you will find that there are things you should look out for and be aware of. This is especially true for those of you who are staying with us between Christmas and New Year’s, when the holidays fall.

A REDUCED TRANSPORT SERVICE
London transport offers a reduced service, or no service at all, on the holiday days during the festive season.  It helps to know exactly what to expect if you are travelling or moving around town this time of year, in order to avoid spoiled plans. The sensible thing to do is to check with Transport for London to make sure you know how and if the buses, tubes and trains are running on each holiday day. TfL will also advise and inform if the weather is affecting the roads and railway lines in any way.  Be prepared and you won’t be disappointed.

WHICH DAYS ARE HOLIDAYS BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR 2016?
May we remind visitors staying in one of our short let London homes that shops, museums, galleries and attractions are closed on the holidays days between Christmas and New Year. The traditional holiday days are: Christmas Day – 25 December, Boxing Day – 26 December and New Year’s Day – 1 January.  This year, there are some additional holiday days to look out for: Tuesday 27 December is a holiday to compensate for the fact that Christmas Day falls on a Saturday and Monday 2 January is a holiday because New Years Day falls on a Sunday.

LONDON’S WINTER WEATHER.
The winter weather in London usually behaves well and getting around town is pretty straight forward, as usual.  We do not get severely icy conditions here like New York City, for example.  Sustained snowfall in central London is unusual so when it does snow, everyone loves it and marvels at how beautiful the hushed capital looks in it’s new white coat. Bring sensible, warm clothes when you visit London now, like a comfortable winter coat, some practical shoes or boots ideal for walking, plus a wooly winter hat, scarf and gloves, (which you may or may not need) and you’re all set!

LIGHTS AND DELIGHTS IN THE PARKS
There’s plenty to do and see when you leave the comfort and warmth of your short let London, even when the shops are closed! Enjoy the magical, transformed parks in central London. You will be amazed at the quiet and more gentle pace out there and there will be lovely lights and festive decorations to dazzle and cheer and compensate for the dark winter afternoons.  Should there be some snowfall, head off to Primrose Hill to watch the young and not so young on their sleds and toboggans. Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park is as fun and popular as ever, for the whole family.

A LESS CROWDED MUSEUM OR GALLERY
On the days the museums are open, you will soon discover that this is the perfect time to go! Take refuge in a gallery or museum out of the cold wind, and enjoy the fact that it may not be as crowded as usual! Many Londoners are away this time of year or huddled at home watching Home Alone on telly! Here is our handy guide to the free museums and galleries of the capital.  Don’t even try to resist the tempting traditional English fare on offer in the museum and gallery cafes and restaurants such as mulled wine, hot cider, mince pies, sticky buns, candied fruits and spicy hot chocolate.

 

New to London? Understanding postcodes

If you are new to London, postcodes may seem a random, meaningless jumble of numbers and letters – not so, of course. They are meaningful and quite simply, they let you know what part of town you are in.

When you visit London you will fast discover that knowing the postcode of a building makes it so much easier to locate.

London postcodes help you know where you are and where you want to go. W stands for west, WC stands for west central, E for east, N for north, SW for south west and so on.

Street names are never unique in any capital city and this is especially true in London. Different streets in various parts of town can have the same name, or a slight variation on it. This can be confusing, especially for visitors, who may not notice a subtle difference.  A postcode, however, is unique. With the right postcode, you will be able to find any location you need easily and certainly.

A London postcode has two sets of letters and numbers that work together, 3 of each. For example, SW3 3NR.  The two sets are written separately and in capital letters. The first set identifies the area and postal district and the second identifies the street and house.

Postcodes can take on a certain social status, affecting house prices. In the property market, W2 may be a more desirable postcode than W11, even though the two are neighbours.

These days when you visit London, you are more likely to use a postcode to orientate yourself rather than to post a letter. But it’s always nice to know if you are posting some letters that they will be speeded along to their destination by that oh-so-important postcode.

There are several apps and online information that is useful if you are new to London.  They will help you to to find a postcode or to use the one you have to make your plans.

Find a postcode

Citymapper

It would seem that the intriguing code of London’s postal districts is rather logical and proper – how very English!  Visit London with The London Agent and make your stay as problem free and pleasant as possible.