What NOT to Do In England

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England is without a doubt one of the top most visited tourist destinations in the entire world. With a rich global history and so much to see and do, it is hard for any tourist to be bored while taking a trip there. There are so many articles and books on what to do when visiting England, but what you don’t often see is what not to do while there. Naturally an outsider, it is easy for any tourist to make silly mistakes that call attention to him or herself or make it seem like they are being ignorant of the local culture. Fortunately, however, knowing what these mistakes are beforehand can help you avoid them.

Eight Things You Should Avoid Doing At All Costs:

Driving on The Wrong Side of The Road

This is England Travel 101! For people in the United States and many other countries, it is a well-known fact that drivers in England go down the left side of the road instead of the right. Not doing so is not only embarrassing— it is downright dangerous. If you rent a car while in England or are walking along the side of the road (remember, you should walking facing traffic, so this means on the right side of the road), adhering to England’s traffic rules is vital.

Looking for The Queen at Buckingham Palace

While this is a known residence of the Queen and the rest of the royal family, the fact is that she is often not there. Even if she does happen to be there when you are, she certainly isn’t sitting by a window where you can see her, or strolling along outside by the gates. The chances of you seeing the Queen or any royal family members while you are in England are very small, unless of course you count seeing them on TV, or rather, the “Telly”.

Paying to Go to A Museum

If someone asks you for a fee when you go to visit any English museum, chances are that they are just trying to scam you out of your money. The reality is that the majority of London’s museums (and many across England) are completely free.

Talking Loudly in Public

British people don’t tend to do nearly as much talking when out in public as, say, Americans, and when they do, it is usually a lot quieter. Obviously there are exceptions, but in general, silence is much more appreciated than speaking your mind about every little thing. When eating out, keep your voice level at a minimum, out of common courtesy for others.

Expecting Good Service

It is not just an English trait, but a European trait, to just accept poor service at restaurants instead of complaining about it. If a waitress spills a bit of your drink or a waiter forgets that you didn’t want lettuce, don’t speak up. If it’s a really bad problem, you can, but do so as politely as possible.

Wearing Foreign or ‘Tourist’ Clothes

When in England, dress as the English do. This is a fairly simple and easy way of staying out of trouble. And whatever you do, don’t wear a T-shirt you just bought at the shop with a picture of Big Ben. That’s like wearing a shirt with a huge “I love New York” on it while walking in Times Square in Manhattan. It screams “tourist.”

Going Shopping on Regent Street or Oxford Street in London

The majority of the stores along these roads are really just tourist traps, but worse still, many of them are stores you already have at home. Avoid the pickpockets and avoid the crowds by staying away from these stores.

Mixing up the Tower Bridge with the London Bridge

They just aren’t the same bridge. Period. Yet so many tourists end up confusing one for the other. The London Bridge originally referred to a series of bridges that spanned the Thames over the years, but the last one referred to as “London Bridge” is in fact long gone, having been purchased in the 1970s by Lake Havasu City, Arizona and installed in their town. The current bridge is the Tower Bridge, so whatever you do, don’t go strolling along nearby singing “London Bridge is falling down” as tourists have been known to do.

While it may be all too easy to brush this information aside and say something along the lines of, “Hey! I’m on vacation so I can do what I want!”, keep in mind that following local customs and rules will help you have a better time in the long run. Most importantly, doing so will help you out of finding unwanted trouble, and in the end, staying safe is the most important thing.