Walking in London: the do’s and don’ts

Londoners do not mess around when it comes to their commute. These tips will help you to walk like a local and keep up with this fast-paced city.

DO


Pick your path

As you approach someone, make eye contact or show some sign of acknowledgement at least 50 feet before your paths cross. Then, subtly shift out of each other’s direct line. Continue your journey.

Leave space when passing

When overtaking or coming up behind someone on the sidewalk, leave at least one person-width between you as you pass. Drop down to the street and risk getting hit by a car before considering passing someone with less than an arms length between you.

Move fast

People in London either a) always have a place to be, or b) are always late. In either case, keep up with the flow of walkers or risk being brushed by a hard shoulder as someone passes or hearing passive aggressive coughs and huffs from behind you.

Wear comfortable shoes

There’s no worse commute than tottering on cobblestones in heels. Wear Nikes with your dress (which sounds odd, but everyone does it), and pack nicer footwear for when you reach your destination.

DON’T


Change speed

Or paths, or anything without warning. London foot traffic works like the stock market. People bet on consistency and hate uncertainty. If you speed up and swerve to pass someone, chances are you’ll have an awkward encounter with someone else (the cardinal sin of English manners).

Stop in the middle of a sidewalk (or, pavement)

If you need to fix your shoe, take your jacket off, look at a map, or pull your umbrella out, step to the side of the walkway or do it while walking. Only the worst people stop short to do these trivial things in the middle of a sidewalk. Don’t be those people.

Look at your phone while walking

For starters, iPhone theft is at an all-time high in London. Secondly, it slows you down and makes you an absolute pain to walk behind. Just don’t do it.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll be right at home working your way through the heavy commuter and foot traffic of London’s complex streets.

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