Eight ways to spot a newbie in London

If you’re a planning to kickstart your life in London, chances are you’ll be a visible newbie at some point, clustering around Tube maps and holding up the escalators. Here’s how to separate yourself from the rest and spot a newbie in London Town.

They stand in the middle of the escalator

Unfortunately, Londoners have no sympathy for newbies; they will keep shoving and shouting “Keep right” until you finally get it.

They look nervous when minding the gap

You can spot a newbie when they actually look down and do a nervous little jump, especially at Bank Station on the Central line and at Waterloo Station on the Bakerloo line.

They stand and stare at the tube map for ages

It doesn’t take long to understand the tube map, but until they do, newbies have a way of staring blankly at the map, as if trying to imprint it into their minds.

They try to give cash to bus drivers

Be nice to newbies when you see them get onto the bus with a handful of coins.

They are terrified to cross the road, even when the green man is flashing

Let’s face it, London traffic is scary when you first encounter it. Spot the newbie, dashing as fast as possible across the pedestrian crossing, checking both sides of traffic and watching the traffic lights at the same time.

They say hi and smile at people in the streets

South Africans in particular feel the need to nod, smile or say hello to anyone they happen to make eye contact with. It only takes a few days to realise that not all Londoners share the same proclivity for jovial interaction.

They try to strike up conversations on the tube

How can you tell it’s someone’s first time on the tube? They turn to the person next to them and say hello, ask for the time, ask some general tube-related question, or generally try to engage in conversation.

They wait to get to the turnstile before looking for their oyster card

A newbie need only experience the venom of 100 Londoners once to ensure this habit is broken very quickly.

1st Contact’s popular Kickstart Package makes starting out in the UK easy, cost effective and fun. Moreover, our on-going support and helpful contacts mean you’ll never quite feel like a total newbie. 

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