Essential London Phrases You Need To Learn While on Your Backpacking Trip
London is one of the most multi-cultural and diverse cities in the world. Walk down any street in the city and you’ll find yourself surrounded by the language, accent and vocabulary of different places. In spite this, the language used in the vast majority of places such as shops, banks and restaurants is English. If you’re staying in London Backpackers hostel you’ll be just a few minutes away from bus and tube links which enable you to explore everything the city has to offer and make the most of your stay. Avoid any misunderstandings by mastering these simple London phrases:
London is packed with fantastic places to eat and drink, ranging from high end Michelin starred restaurants through cosy gastropubs and all the way to delicious street food stalls. Master these few simple phrases for easy communication:
- I’d like to make a reservation
- I’d like to book a table
- Could I see the menu?
- Could I see the wine list?
- Do you have any specials?
- What would you recommend?
- I’m a vegetarian/vegan
- Could we have the bill please?
- Do you take card payments?
Any request – for the bill or the menu for example – should have the word ‘please’ on the end of it, as good manners are highly prized in the UK and will help guarantee good service.
One of the great things about London is the presence of a fantastic integrated transport system which enables any visitor to explore the city quickly and simply using a combination of Underground trains and buses. These are a few phrases which will keep your travel plans running smoothly:
- Where is the ticket office?
- Where are the ticket machines?
- What time is the next bus to (destination)
- What time is the next train to (destination)
- Can I buy a ticket on the train?
- Can I buy a ticket on the bus?
- Will I need to change trains?
- Where will I need to change trains?
On the Tube:
- Where is the nearest Tube station?
- Which line do I need to take to reach (destination)?
- I’d like an Oyster card please (prepaid travel card which covers all public transport in London)
London is one of the shopping capitals of the world. Whether you want to sample the luxury of Harrods, the bargains to be had on a street market or simply need to stock groceries, then following phrases will come in handy:
- Do you sell (item)?
- Do you have any (item)?
- Do you have this in another colour?
- Do you have this in another size?
- Have you got anything which costs less than this?
- Do you have this item in stock?
- Do you have this in another size?
- Does this product have a guarantee or warranty?
- Can I try this item on?
- What is your returns policy?
All the above phrases are written in Standard English, and that should be more than enough to get you by in situations such as shopping or eating out. Like all countries, UK also has a broad selection of slang phrases – words which you won’t find in a standard dictionary, but which ordinary people us in day to day communication and the following will be useful to know:
People use the word ‘Cheers’ in a wide variety of scenarios. In simple terms it’s a friendly greeting which can mean hello or goodbye but is often used as a way of saying ‘Thank you’. It is also, the most commonly used word for a toast at a bar or around the table at a restaurant.
If you don’t know someone’s name, but you want to attract their attention and instigate a friendly exchange, the word ‘mate’ can come in extremely handy. For example, ‘Could we have the bill please mate?’ addressed to a waiter will make it sound much less like you’re issuing an order or command. It only works when you’re talking to men, although women will still refer to themselves as being ‘good mates’ with each other.
This word refers to something which is absolutely fantastic. There are numerous variations such as ‘cracking’, ‘smashing’, or ‘fab’, but ace can be used in virtually any situation.
Gutted is a word for ‘disappointed’ which is usually expressed by someone declaring themselves to be ‘absolutely gutted’ for not catching their train on time, getting ticket for a show or any other general inconvenience.