Travel Tips

Local amenities

Included in your conference pack will be a guide to the local amenities and services. This will give the location of the most essential services, shops and sights explaining where some of the places below are based. We also recommed that you consider purchasing a London travel guide before you travel which will be far more detailed on information about London as a whole.

Travel insurance

Always take out travel insurance well in advance of travel. The policy will cover you for any medical expenses that you incur should you be involved in an accident or become ill and require hospitalisation.

Apart from medical expenses, the policy should also cover things like: legal expenses, cancellation and curtailment, loss of money, baggage and passport, repatriation and personal liability.

Please contact your local CPA branch as they may have cover already in place. 

Health

If you have a disability or have some mobility impairment please notify the conference team as soon as possible so that we can make reasonable arrangements. You will be reminded when you register online.

The hotel accommodation has a doctor on call should you require assistance and there is St Thomas' Hospital which is located opposite the hotel.

If you require a pharmacy/chemist, the nearest to the hotel is Boots Pharmacy which is located on Bridge Street approxiately 5mins walk, please note that it is not open 24hours.

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Emergencies

If you are outside of the conference venue (whether it's the hotel or Parliament) please call 999 and ask for either the Police, Ambulance or Fire Service depending on your need. Please note that this is only if it's an emergency. Please also ensure you notify a member of the conference team or hotel staff. 

Crime and personal safety

Leave copies of your important documents such as: tickets, drivers license, passport, visas, medical documents, prescriptions and so on with someone trusted just in case you need a back-up sent to you in an emergency.

Never leave your luggage unattended in public areas especially in airports and never accept packages from strangers. A secured luggage storage area will be arranged for delegates who arrive before their room is available.

Put identifying markings on the suitcases such as bold coloured tape as the conference team won't be providing tags. Do not put all your valuables in luggage you check-in e.g. jewellery, cameras, watches and any medication you will require for the journey. Do not put your home address on your luggage tags.

Make two copies of your passport identification page. This will facilitate replacement if your passport is lost or stolen. Leave one copy at home and carry the other with you in a separate place from your passport.

Do not pull large amounts of cash out of your pocket. Make a list of emergency telephone numbers for your credit card and travellers cheque providers in case you need to report loss or theft. Approach any "special deals" with caution, if it sounds too good to be true, it is.

If you are the victim of a crime, please contact the police, notify the hotel and a member of the conference team.

Never accept gifts or packages from unknown parties to carry out of the country.

Contact information

It is worthwhile making a note of where your local High Commission is. Your High Commission is your connection to your home country while you are away and they are there to assist if you lose your passport or are in trouble.

Please follow the link to the London Diplomatic List (PDF PDF 1.18 MB) for the addresses of all Commonwealth High Commissions.

London Weather

The average minimum temperature in London during July is 14 ⁰C  and the maximum is 22 ⁰C and the highest on record is 34⁰C. 
Although the conference is in July please don't assume that the weather will be warm and dry so bring an umbrella just in case.

Dress

Business dress or traditional costume will be appropriate for meetings and events.

Internet access

An internet cafe is located on the ground floor of the hotel. Wi-fi is also available throughout.

Money

The currency in Britain is Pounds Sterling. There are 100 pence (p) in a pound (£). Notes come in denominations of £5, £10, £20 and £50 but not all shopkeepers accept £50 notes. Scottish banknotes are also accepted, but Euros are not.

Know the laws about exchanging money and deal only with authorised agents. Money and travellers cheques can be changed at the hotel and there are numerous bureau de changes located in the vicinity, but there may be a commission charge attached.

Credit cards are the safest way to carry money around and the majority of high-street stores will accept either Visa or Mastercard credit cards, pin verification is usually required.

Taxes

Most goods in Britain are subject to Value Added Tax (VAT) which is currently set a 20%. Those visitors from outside the European Union can save money through the Retail Export Scheme which allows VAT refunds on goods taken out of the country. However, only the largest department stores and chains participate in this scheme.

Tipping

The standard acceptable tip is around 10%. At some restaurants a service charge is automatically added on to the bill. 

Travel Information

Visitor information

Useful contacts where information regarding travelling into London and places of interest can be obtained.