What can be said or written about London that hasn’t been said or written a thousand times before? Standing on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It is one of the world’s leading financial centers, a leading global city and a world cultural capital with more international visits than any other city in the world. With strengths in the arts, entertainment, fashion, finance, commerce, media, healthcare, education, tourism and now the restaurant capital of the world, all contributing to its prominence.

Headed by one of the oldest Royal Households in the world with its famous rituals and ceremonies, London has a diverse range of peoples and cultures with a population of over 8 million people, speaking over 300 languages. London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London, Kew Gardens, Palace of Westminster (including Westminster Abbey) and thehistorical settlement of Greenwich. Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, Tower Bridge, the London Eye, St Paul’s Cathedral. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events, beautiful Royal Parks and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National History Museum, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe and over 40 West End theaters. You may be surprised to hear this but most of London’s major museums and art galleries offer free admission.

London boasts world renowned shopping facilities, as one of the leading capitals of fashion London leads the way with top designer outlets and edgy street style. All this accessible by the oldest underground railway network in the world.

local business etiquette and customs

Tipping – Whether, and how much to tip in London is not without controversy. Visitors from the U.S. in particular, tend to be more generous than locals.  Tipping in restaurants is standard practice, as long as no automatic service charge is added to your bill. Leave 10% to 15% if you’re happy with your server. There’s absolutely no need to tip black taxicab drivers. They charge you extra for each item of luggage, and for standing in traffic — and earn more than most Londoners. Tipping in bars and pubs is practically unheard of.  In upscale hotels, porters expect around £1 per bag, even if you have only one small suitcase. Leave your maid £1 per day if you’re happy with the cleaning.  Some barbers and hairdressers expect 10% for a good job, but again you’re not obliged. Tour guides may expect £2 for a job well done, although it’s not mandatory. Theatre ushers don’t expect tips.

Newspapers & Magazines – The city’s “local” daily newspapers are both free. Metro appears first-thing in the morning (weekdays only), and is distributed at Tube stations across the capital. The Evening Standard, appears on the streets from lunchtime onward, 5 days a week.

Smoking — On July 1, 2007, smoking was banned in all indoor public places, such as pubs, restaurants, and clubs.

Taxes — All prices in the U.K. must be quoted inclusive of any taxes. Since January 1, 2011, the national value-added tax (VAT) has stood at 20%. This is included in all hotel and restaurant bills, and in the price of most items you purchase.  If you’re permanently resident outside the E.U., VAT on goods can be refunded if you shop at stores that participate in the Retail Export Scheme — look for the window sticker or ask the staff.

Toilets — Also known as “loos” or “public conveniences,” these are marked by PUBLIC TOILET signs in streets, parks, and Tube stations.  We would recommend you find well-maintained lavatories in all larger public buildings, such as museums and art galleries, large department stores, and railway stations. It’s not always acceptable to use the lavatories in hotels, restaurants, and pubs if you’re not a customer, but we can’t say that we always stick to this rule.


41_ExecutiveDouble_130x9741 LONDON  *****

Overlooking Buckingham Palace, “41” is an intimate hideaway combining informal luxury with exceptional round-the-clock personal service. As a resident’s only hotel, guests can comfortably relax in the Executive Lounge whilst enjoying a tempting array of complimentary snacks throughout the day.Each of the 30 rooms and suites are decorated to an impeccable 5-star standard and guests can enjoy complimentary WiFi, Penhaligon’s beauty products and day passes can be arranged to a nearby partner gym.history.

Member offer: Quote promotion code MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink and breakfast and complimentary wifi. Book here


The Chesterfield epitomises Mayfair chic and oozes old-world charm. Offering the highest level of British warmth and hospitality, you will feel completely at home. The 93 rooms and 14 suites are each individually decorated, offering styles to suit every taste and cleverly combines traditional decor with contemporary comfort and technology. Enjoy 24-hour room service, the traditional restaurant catering to all dietary needs, the welcoming club-like bar and airy conservatory in which to relax.

Member offer: Quote MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink and breakfast and complimentary wifi Book Here

EG_DeluxeQueen_130x97THE EGERTON HOUSE LONDON  *****

Experience the warmest service imaginable at the Egerton House Hotel, where you’ll feel like a treasured family friend. Benefiting from a prime Knightsbridge location, the hotel is moments from London’s best museums and world class shopping at Harrods, Harvey Nichols and numerous luxury boutique stores. Each of the 28 individually designed rooms and suites are a haven of comfort with Penhaligon’s deluxe beauty products to be enjoyed. Complimentary WiFi is available throughout the hotel.

Member offer: Quote promotion code MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink and breakfast and complimentary wifi. Book Here



Bold and boutique, practical and modern; Hotel Megaro lives amongst London’s most vibrant centre – Kings Cross – and stares into the eyes of the best connected station in Europe – St. Pancras. Rooms are stocked with Orla Kiely toiletries, spacious wardrobes, personal Illy espresso machines & loose leaf tea, with superfast free WiFi and Sky TV. Karpo, our modern neighbourhood brasserie, serves seasonal, sustainable menus throughout the day and Megaro Bar pops up come nightfall to keep us satiated with killer cocktails. Or if you’d prefer, order room service from both for no extra charge. Relax, recharge and refuel before the next step of your adventure.

Member offer: Use promotional code MAIDEN to receive a complimentary welcome drink on arrival and a la carte breakfast served in the restaurant or your room. Book Here

MS_DeluxeKing_203_130x97THE MILESTONE HOTEL LONDON  *****

The Milestone is perfectly placed for exploring London’s top cultural and shopping attractions. Combining a romantic elegance with indulgent comfort, each of the luxurious rooms, suites and long-stay apartments have been individually designed providing the highest levels of comfort. Female guests travelling alone will be assured security and female service staff will be on hand to assist you. Make the most of the hotels facilities and enjoy a beauty treatment, the sauna, pool and gym.

Member offer: Quote promotion code MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink, breakfast and complimentary wifi. Book Here


The Montague on the Gardens, ideally located next to the British Museum, offers peaceful elegance with attentive service. Overlooking private gardens, relax with your favourite drink, and in the summer enjoy  fresco dining. Indulge in a delicious Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory, or unwind in the cosy Terrace Bar. Additional wardrobe hangers, carefully placed lighting and female service staff will be on hand to make your stay as comfortable as possible.

Member offer: Quote promotion code MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink, breakfast and complimentary wifi. Book Here


On a peaceful bend of the Thames, a sleek riverside hotel with elegant minimalist bedrooms, superb business facilities just minutes from Canary Wharf, the O2, Excel and City Airport. There’s a waterside terrace restaurant perfect for al fresco dining and blissful treatments to be enjoyed in the Spa. Book here

Member offer: Quote Promotion Code VOYAGE to enjoy a mini 15 minute Spa treatment, free Wireless Internet Access, complimentary Shuttle from the hotel to Canary Wharf (Mornings and Evenings) Mondays to Fridays inclusive. Mornings: 06.45AM to 09.30AM & Evenings: 17.30PM to 20.00PM.

RB_RoyalMewsKingTwin_130x97THE RUBENS AT THE PALACE LONDON  ****

The Rubens at the Palace is desirably placed opposite the Royal Mews and the grounds of Buckingham Palace. Surrounded by London’s finest attractions, exploring the city couldn’t be easier. Welcoming staff and lavish accommodation will ensure you feel like royalty, with staff on hand to assist with recommendations, reservations and any requests you may have.  Enjoy a glass of Champagne in the aptly named Leopard Champagne Bar or visit bbar next door, renowned locally for its wonderful selection of cocktails.

Member offer: Quote promotion code MaidenVoyage to enjoy a room upgrade (subject to availability), early check in and late check out (subject to availability), welcome drink, breakfast and complimentary wifi.  Book Here


London travel information is available on  and you can obtain information including routes and maps.  The Journey Planner on the website an invaluable tool for planning your journey.

The choice of transportation is huge, but remember to get your best value on the Underground and London buses with an Oyster Card.  An Oyster card is certainly the option for everyone using London tube, trains, and buses as the cash fares are much higher.  Oyster is a plastic smartcard you can use instead of paper tickets. You can put “pay as you go” credit on it and either keep it for your next journey to London or obtain a refund of the £5 deposit at the end of your stay.   Drinking of alcohol on London’s public transport network is forbidden, and on-the-spot fines have been issued to transgressors.

If you, do opt for a taxi, then be safe and ensure you pick a licenced black cab.    Addison and Lee (a very reputable and reliable firm of licenced minicabs) have an excellent mobile app.  Using Android and iPhone GPS systems there is no need to type in your address, simply use the “Find my location” button and the phone will find it for you.  All mobile bookings will receive an SMS and email confirmation containing a description of the car and its registration plate and notification of its arrival.

The Thames Clipper water taxis are a great way to get from A to B whilst enjoying the sights on the river at a fraction of the price of a tourist boats.  More information can be found on the Tfl website above.

Don’t forget the Emirates cable car which runs between Excel and Greenwich O2 Arena.

Barclays Cycle Hire is cheap in and easy, you can hire a bike, ride it where you like and return it to any docking station.   Take care though on London roads as the traffic is very heavy and there are many accidents, often not due to the fault of the cyclist.


FOXY Lady Drivers Club is the UK’s only membership club for women drivers. Club benefits include exclusive offers, VIP services at approved garages, shared female feedback & practical support services when motoring gets stressful. UK-based Maiden Voyage members are welcome to claim a free gift of FOXY membership ahead of their travels, with our compliments. Just enter “Maiden Voyage” in the form’s ‘Referring Organisation’s Name’ box.



PWN Global is a dynamic fast-growing offline and online networking and leadership development platform for professional women of all sectors and industries. With over 3,500 members and more than 90 nationalities, our volunteer-led organisation delivers over 600 events a year in our community of 25 city networks. We welcome you to our events; as a mentor or mentee; to explore our rich knowledge and resources; to learn, grow and leave your legacy, whilst volunteering across the Federation and our City Networks. Find out more about our city networks, here ; join our mission, here ; or, sign up for our monthly event mailer and quarterly newsletter, here. If you want to find out more from a ‘live’ person, don’t hesitate to contact Rebecca Fountain, PWN Global’s Head of Global Marketing and Communication.



Maiden Voyage’s partners, IWant2Network offer membership for the best professional networking groups and meetings, locally, nationally and all over the world. See what’s happening in London and join IWant2Network here.

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SAFETY and emergency services

London is generally a safe city to visit, as long as you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger, so the usual common-sense rules apply; don’t leave your handbag open or easily accessible (pick pocketing is rife) and don’t leave yourself in a vulnerable position after an evening out (and perhaps few drinks) so pre-plan your journey home at the end of the evening, either book a licensed taxi or know exactly your route back to where you are staying – tube trains do not run all night, so make sure you know when the last tube train is departing if you are relying on that as your mode of transport at the end of the night.

Pickpockets: As in most large cities, pickpockets and bag snatchers like to prey on unsuspecting visitors. These thieves often work in pairs or small groups and operate in the busiest areas of London.  You might be surprised to hear these thieves are often children.   A widely used ruse for thieves is to come into a bar/restaurant, put a map on the table over your mobile phone, ask for directions to distract you and then walk off with your phone.   At a cafe table, someone may engage you in conversation while their accomplice snatches your bag from under your chair.

Road Safety: You will be safe crossing the road in London. We have lots of traffic lights to control the traffic and most have a pedestrian light system for people waiting so when you see the green man it’s safe to cross. Jaywalking is not a crime in London.

Street Beggars: It can be distressing to see the homeless people begging on the streets of London, but please be aware that many ‘beggars’ travel to London from other parts of the country for a few days each week and can make quite a good living from the sympathy of tourists and locals alike.  Police guidelines are that the money given to homeless people is not being used to help them get off the streets – it’s more likely being used to buy drugs and therefore we need to give to recognised charities and not to individuals.

Emergencies — Dial tel. 999 for police, fire, or ambulance. Give your name and state the nature of the emergency.

Hospitals — There are 24-hour, walk-in Accident & Emergency departments at the following: University College London Hospital, 235 Euston Rd., London NW1 2BU,  St. Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Rd. (entrance on Lambeth Palace Rd.), London SE1 7EH.

Police — London has two official police forces: The City of London police whose remit covers the “Square Mile”; and the Metropolitan Police (“the Met”), which covers the rest of the capital.   Losses, thefts, and other criminal matters should be reported at the nearest police station immediately. You will be given a crime number, which your travel insurer will request if you make a claim against any losses.



I work for an international logistics real-estate developer/investor in the City of London and live in the Docklands with my husband and our precious pug, Poppy. I am passionate about the promotion and retention of female talent in the workplace am an active committee member of a women’s network which aims to improve the gender balance in UK’s Real Estate sector by building and sustaining the pipeline of female talent, inspiring them to become effective leaders.

I have lived in London for over 10 years and love the city – as much as Londoner’s love to call it the greatest city on earth – I have to agree with them. As diverse as your tastes may be and even if you’ve seen it all before, there is so much more to discover – the only limits being your imagination, time, and budget!

My own insider tip to be to look up and take one of the many professional guided walking tours around London – the Jack the Ripper Tour is excellent – all walks cost £9 per adult – and even better, there is no need to book just turn up. Coming to London and have a question? Feel free to email me.

Networking: See who is networking in London now