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25 Things Women Should Know About London


British Journeywoman Maggie Dobson is the founder and owner of At Home in London, 4 star luxury B&Bs in central London homes. Maggie writes a monthly ezine, Grapevine, on what's hot in town as well as her latest London budget travel tips. I like Maggie's style and asked her to share her personal 25 things women should know when staying in London.


Women Travellers and British Pubs ...
I am often asked, 'Is it OK for women to go alone into a British pub'. My answer is nearly always yes. British pubs are different from bars in other parts of the world which are often men only or dominated by men. Here in London many pubs provide quality food as well as drink. One of my favorites is The Dove, a 17th century pub on the River Thames with the shortest bar in London. Check out their menu at: http://dovehammersmith.co.uk/ P.S. Charles II romanced and dined his mistress Nell Gwynne at a public house on this exact site.


Toilets ...
In Britain the word for toilet is loo and for travellers 'loo' relief is at hand at the click of mouse/app. Check out (1) www.toiletmaplondon.com and (2) www.toiluxeapp.com (3) Or pop into the closest pub or (4) walk into a large hotel as if you own the place all the while scanning for the nearest loo.


Feet tired from all the sightseeing?
Here's my secret. Zen Nails & Beauty. For £20.00 have an hour long pedicure whilst sitting in a massage chair. Ahhh ... Bliss. www.zennailsbeauty.co.uk/gallery.php


Create your own bus tour ...
Buy a good London guide as a backgrounder and then hop on to a London bus that passes some of the well known sights in town. With a Travel Card or an Oyster Card you can get on and off wherever takes your fancy. For the best views sit upstairs in the front seats. Now click here for step by step directions and some of the best routes in London.


My favorite vintage shops ...
Trinity Hospice Charity Shop, 25 Turnham Green Terrace, London W4. It's two minutes walk from Turnham Green tube on the District Line. Bonus! Here's the full listing of second hand shops for you to choose from.


London's famous taxi cabs ...
I suggest that you never get into an unlicensed taxi cab. Use a black taxi with a registered number. These cabbies must learn the 25,000 streets and 20,000 landmarks and places of interest in the six mile radius of Charing Cross. If you're lucky you may even get a running commentary or a political update from the chatty driver.


Want to update your wardrobe?
Try a personal shopper in the big departmental stores. Check that any fees they may charge are redeemable against any purchase you make. This service is especially useful if you are travelling without a good pal to give you an honest opinion.John Lewis is my favourite store for this. You can learn more about their personal shopper program right here.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Want to know what other travellers pack for their trip to London? Click here and choose the ideas you like.


If you need medical help ...
This is a helpful link for locating medical help. Please note that overseas nationals are not eligible for free NHS treatment except if they need emergency treatment while in the UK. If you come from a country that holds a UK healthcare agreement, you are entitled to free or reduced-cost medical treatment if needed immediately for a condition that started after your arrival in the UK. If you're visiting from Europe, you need to carry a valid EHIC (European Health Insurance Card) in case you need immediate and necessary medical treatment in an NHS hospital. Without this you can be charged for treatment. Visitors from the EU have a reciprocal arrangement with the NHS. You are strongly advised to take out your own travel insurance to cover any medical expenses. This site outlines the charges you can expect for services.


Reader's Bonus Tip - Mexican in London...

Wahaca Restaurant is one of those unique places that laugh in the face of the typical British culinary scene. Built out of 8 recycled shipping containers, the Mexican restaurant serves locally sourced Mexican street food within an artistic, sustainable environment located within London's trendy Southbank Center (Queen Elizabeth Hall). This 21-acre art center showcases some of London's most creative international talent through various mediums including music, art, literature, dance, and of course, culinary adventures like Wahaca from around the world.

This isn't your typical gourmet Mexican restaurant by any means, but Wahaca's lively atmosphere combined with decent Mexican fare make it a nice change from London's typical fish and chip pub hangouts. Website: click here

Nicole is an American living in Madrid where she writes about her expat adventures on her blog, Pass the Ham



More great tips about London...

Check out Girl Talk London


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