Living in London – How to spot a tourist

You might have started noticing them around town.

It’s that time of year. The tourists are here.

Londoners hate tourists.

Well, why wouldn’t you?

  1. They get in the way
  2. They don’t know the tube
  3. They enjoy going to M&M World

Nothing worse than a tourist. That’s what I’ve learned since moving down here. Especially the ones from the North of England with those ridiculous accents and their obsession with the price of everything.

Tourists in London are very easy to spot. They are the ones that look happy, for a start.

Here’s some more absolute giveaways:

  • They love an ice cream
  • They’ve got too many bags
  • They love to sit down*
  • They stand on the wrong side of the escalator

*usually to have an ice cream

Are you even a tourist in London if you haven’t been bollocked for standing on the wrong side of the escalator?

My parents came to visit London recently. When they did, they became the very definition of a London tourist.

I met them at Kings Cross Station. They had that look of terror across their faces that you only really get from Northern parents who describe London as ‘not for us’. They couldn’t grasp the concept of there being a wrong side of the escalator to stand on, which got us into lots of trouble throughout the day.

I tell you something, they came prepared. I don’t know what type of weather they were expecting but they arrived in kagools. They also both had a spare kagool in their backpacks. Four kagools between them they had.

Well you never know, do you?

My Dad took first prize though when we stopped in Hyde Park for a coffee. We found this cafe next to a lake. “Let’s have a coffee and a cake” my Mum said. “Good idea Linda.” I said, and we all sat down at a table. Fred then took great pride in revealing he’d actually brought a flask of tea all the way from Leeds. Unwilling to pay for a drink in London, he’d stashed it in his backpack and not told my Mum. He had a look of pure delight as he pulled out the flask and announced:

“I’m not paying bloody London prices for a bloody cup of tea.”

He then proceeded to pull out of his backpack:

  • A flask of boiling water
  • Teabags
  • Mugs
  • Milk
  • Sugar
  • A plastic bag of custard creams

He wasn’t playing games. My mum was mortified. I was too.

(However, I was also aware it was great blog content so my feelings were mixed.)

You don’t see a lot of tourists in London with flasks of tea. Especially in cafes that specify the consumption of your own food and drink is not permitted.

Fred just does what he wants. One of my favourite and also least favourite things about him. I also must admit, I did eat one of his custard creams. Love a custard cream.

I think we can learn a lot from tourists in London.

They are simply happier.

(It’s probably all the ice-cream.)

I say be like the tourists. Stop to take selfies. Don’t let people get passed on the escalators.

I cause more chaos on escalators than all of the tourists put together.

I travel everywhere with a dog called Ralph who has to be carried on the escalator. Ralph doesn’t like to be carried. It doesn’t matter which side of the escalator you stand on when you’re carrying a dog that doesn’t want to be carried.

Nobody is getting passed.

He goes completely stiff and all of his legs point in different directions. I’ve never seen anything like it.

So the next time you get stuck behind a queue of people on the escalator, spare a thought for what might be causing the hold up.

Sure, it might be some tourists with four kagools and a plastic bag of custard creams who don’t know any better.

Or it might just be a bloke who lives here, struggling to navigate the many escalators of Bank underground station with what must look like a taxidermy Labrador.