I consider myself an adopted Londoner since I moved to the Big Smoke almost 10 years ago. I lived, worked and loved the British capital on and off for almost a decade, so please trust me when I tell you what you should never do in London.

1 Don’t stand on the left-hand side of an escalator. You always stand on the right and take over on the left. Weirdly enough, considering they drive on the left and take over on the right, it looks like they put some European sense underground (quite literally). So yes, always stand on the right and overtake on the left.

2 Don’t ever be loud in public.Don’t be that group of people everybody stares at. Just don’t. You are only allowed to make noise on Friday or Saturday or public holidays at around or after 9 pm when everybody around you is drunk.

Photo by Sabrina Andrea Sachs

3 Don’t pronounce “CE” in all the words that contain it:Leicester, Gloucester, Worcestershire. Nope, those two letters don’t really exist.

4 Don’t go to Piccadilly Circus.Look, let me tell you, the 80s are over and it’s no longer a cool thing to do. Londoners avoid Regent street and Oxford Street as it was an infected area, along with Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus too. These are off-limits areas for locals as they are filled with tourists from all over the world every single day of the year. Also, don’t ever use Piccadilly Circus as a meeting place: if there is one place in London where it is basically impossible to find a friend, it is Piccadilly Circus.

Photo by Sabrina Andrea Sachs

5 Don’t wear your backpack on the tube.Just don’t. If you regularly take the tube at peak time, then you must know the feeling of slowly dying on one of the coaches, so leave room for your fellow passengers and take that thing off. It’s safer too. Same thing goes for going to or coming from the airport. If you can, avoid riding the tube at rush hour with your huge luggage. If you do, the world-renowned British politeness might just disappear and some commuters will surely give you The Killer Stare.

6 Don’t walk slowly.London is a fast city and people are in a hurry here – there is no time to waste and the seconds are ticking. You need to move fast too. In fact, as fast as possible. Also, you should never, ever stop in the middle of the pavement to take pictures or check your map. If you must stop, do so to one side or in a corner. Definitely, never, ever stop at the entrance to a tube station. Come on, let’s go!

Photo by Mandy Lutman

7 Don’t think you have seen Londonwhen you’ve caught a glimpse of Big Ben, Westminster and Buckingham Palace. That’s not London. London has many secret spots you’ve probably never heard of.

8 Don’t ever make fun of the Queen or the Royal Family.Yes, they exist, they are real human beings and most English people respect them, so avoid making fun of Prince Charles, Harry or even Kate.

Photo by Mandy Lutman

9 Don’t enter a train before allowing passengers off.It’s not only a sign of politeness but also an essential trick to actually board a train and use public transport in London (and all major cities, if I may add) without being eaten alive by the local commuters.

10 Don’t take the Heathrow Express.It is a waste of money and there are other (and cheaper!) ways to get into town.

11 Don’t go to global chains to get your coffee.Unlike 5/6 years ago when the British didn’t know the difference between a single origin and a soluble, nowadays coffee culture has taken over the country of tea-par-excellence and has expanded impressively all around the English capital. You now have tons of options to actually have a good-to-great coffee. Just make sure to walk off the main roads and check the back streets, as often the smaller, cuter coffee shops don’t have the kind of budget the big chains have to sit in the prime locations.

Photo by Sabrina Andrea Sachs

12 Don’t go shopping on the weekends.Ok, I get it, you need (or want) to buy something. Here’s your pro tip for shopping in London. Never, and I mean not once in your lifetime, consider shopping on the weekends. Unless you are a true people person and don’t mind crowds, I highly recommend totally avoiding the area of Oxford and Regent Street on the weekends. I also recommend that you forget about all the shopping malls. The same thing goes for museums. It’s a no go. Make the most of the late Thursdays and Fridays instead, but never attempt a museum on a weekend.

13 Don’t assume it’s going to be a nice dayif the sky is blue when you are leaving the house. Always wear or bring enough clothes to face all four seasons in a day. And an umbrella is a must.

Photo by Mandy Lutman

14 Don’t ever skip the line. The British LOVE queuing, and some respect it more than they do religion and politics.  There is nothing more important than the line. So, don’t ever think to be cheeky and skip it.

You find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford. – Samuel Johnson

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