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London City Facts

Greeting someone in London
As in most countries a brief but friendly handshake is the customary greeting. It is unusual to address a new acquaintance by a Christian name. If however, first name terms are required, it is likely to be clearly established. It is advisable to simply be attentive and relaxed.

Tipping advice
Tipping in the United Kingdom is discretionary. Taxi drivers will happily accept a ten percent gratuity. One or two pounds is the standard tip for hotel service personnel such as luggage handlers and door attendants. Service charges are included in some restaurants and is clearly stated on menus. However, in most London restaurants a gratuity of 15 percent is the norm.

London dress code
For business meetings, both men and women wear suits. Socially, the British tend to have an informal yet presentable dress code. It is, however, advisable for men to bring a jacket and tie for dining out at exclusive restaurants where more formal dress may be required.

Local Customs
London is a city overflowing with rich traditions that make it instantly recognisable from many aspects. It has the most polite and competent taxi drivers in the world, driving unmistakable black London cabs. There are the mysterious, silent soldiers of Buckingham Palace with their tall, bear skin hats and unwavering concentration. Brilliant street musicians in Covent Garden and famous markets in Camden, Brixton and Petticoat Lane bring the streets alive. In East London residents dress as 'pearly' kings and queens wearing costumes decorated with buttons to celebrate being born within the sound of the bells at Bow Church. The Lord Mayor's Parade, the Promenade concerts and Notting Hill Carnival are just a few of the great number of spectacular events that compliment this most famous capital city.

Although English is obviously the first language spoken in London, the cultural mix means it can be heard in many different accents. Large Asian, Afro Caribbean, Indian and European communities add their own distinct nuances to the language. Regional British accents including Irish, Scottish and Welsh are also widespread whilst the wonderful East London Cockney dialect not only has an instantly identifiable twang, it also has its own dictionary. Cockney rhyming slang replaces words with comical phrases. For example 'telephone' becomes dog-and-bone, 'stairs' becomes apples-and-pears. Visitors are not required to understand the language. It is simply a light- hearted tradition.

Getting connected in London
It is possible to connect to the Internet at most hotels. It is also possible to connect to the Internet via mobile phones, as it presents little problem with modern mobiles to have them transferred to a British phone network.

More Facts
Region : London
Country : England
Continent : Europe
National Status : Constitutional Monarchy
National Population : 58,336,000 (2000 estimate, Source: United Nations Population Division, 1996)
City Population : 7,640,000 (2000 estimate, Source: United Nations Population Division, 1996)
National Capital : London
Local Time : 0 hours from GMT (5 hours from Eastern Standard Time) (8 hours from Pacific Standard Time)
Official Language : English
Currency : Pound Sterling (GBP) 1 =100 pence
Religion : Anglican majority, other Protestant, Roman Catholic, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu minorities.

Cost of Living
One-litre bottle of mineral water: 0.75
33cl bottle of beer: 1
Financial Times newspaper: 0.90
36-exposure colour film: 4
City-centre bus ticket: 1
Adult football ticket: 20-40
Three-course meal with wine/beer: From 20


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