Exploring the United Kingdom: Impressions, Design, and Non-design Related Insights + Travel Tips

May 29, 2023

So many details during this trip I noticed as a tourist and a designer. Taking pictures in public restrooms was part of the process, yes.

The back of the replica statue of David in Victoria & Albert museum - London
Work of art, truly 😅 —  Photo by Me

First of all, do you know how lucky and blessed I am? You have no idea! I stayed in Windsor for ten days and haven't witnessed a shower or rainy day! That's the first out-of-the-ordinary (for England) experience I have encountered. But it was so windy I can't even compare it with any other climate anywhere I have been.

📍Sunny weather and colourful buildings at Conduit Mews, Paddington (London) - Courtesy by Mr. Large

If you are about to visit the United Kingdom here are some travelling tips for you:

  • Almost everything is contactless. So just make sure you have money on at least two accounts just in case. For example a Revolut or Wise and on your regular debit card. If you have a digital wallet set up on your phone you can pay directly with your phone too via GPay or Apple Pay. You might need to turn on the NFC functionality of your phone for that.
  • Book your travelling tickets in advance and thank me later! That’s right, even the prices for regular travel such as from and to the airport can have significant differences in prices depending on the time you book your travel. Round trips are better options if you plan your trips and want to save some pounds. I used National Express services and I was quite pleasantly surprised by their prompt and professional customer service.
  • For all EU citizens, bring your passport as valid identification!
  • If you want to visit a museum or restaurant you also need to book it in advance to avoid waiting and missing the opportunity to have the experience itself. Especially for museum visits, because if you didn’t know, all museums in London are free (some have paid exhibitions going on too) and to avoid crowds they have decided to give a head start to people who have made an online booking. I think this is an excellent strategy. Also to avoid littering (I presume) all maps in the museums cost between 1–5£. However, donation boxes are available too! But not only that, brits have become even more modernised. You can donate with a tap on a contactless card reader device as well! If possible plan your browse around the museums too because it can get quite stuffy in some rooms. Some of them have restaurants and coffee shops inside.
  • For my fellow artists and art enthusiasts — take your sketchbooks and pencils and head towards Victoria & Albert Museum where you can ask the polite staff for folding chairs and spend your Saturday afternoon sketching sculptures and mingling with other art lovers.
  • Prepare your walking shoes. If you want to experience more of the city rather than spend most of the time commuting from one tube station to another, prepare your sneaker and water bottle. Walking is quite the thing in the UK and everyone is doing it. Hyde Park is a great location to escape the loud city and enjoy some nature. My hidden gem inside Holland Park would be Kyoto Garden.

The beautiful waterfall in 📍Kyoto Gardens (Holland Park) London  -  Taken by me.
  • Queues are everywhere — make sure you observe your surroundings well and follow the lines. Some of them even have a signalling system of occupation, sensors for flushing, soap and water. Descriptive labels are also available everywhere. Also when on escalators, make sure to stand on the right side if you are not in a rush because the left one is usually left for people who are running towards their destination.
  • When travelling with luggage, please use the elevators! — this is friendly advice, because I and my friend witnessed how a full suitcase fell from the top of the elevator to the bottom, and those escalators in the underground stations are quite steep! Luckily no one got hurt.
  • The United Kingdom is quite accessibility-friendly too; wheelchair-friendly, pedestrian adjustments for visually-impaired individuals, rails and other support are available to get around.
  • Keep your trash with yourself or at least until you find a trash can — It is not very common to find a trash can around Windsor or London for that matter, so be mindful of that as well.

Useful Dictionary:

  • Litter — trash, waste, rubbish
  • Bin — trash can
  • Coaches — busses
  • Underground — The Tube
  • Overground — TFL or the Train as far as I understood.

So these are my notes and bits of advice so far! 🤓 Hope you find them useful and wish you a pleasant and sunny visit whenever you decide to go!

And always stay curious! 😊

Queuing on another level! Paddington station lady's bathroom, if I am not mistaken -  Taken by me.

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