Getting around in the capital can be daunting, whether you’re a seasoned visitor or you’re planning your first trip. However, this doesn’t need to be the case – there are loads of easy ways to travel around London. The first thing to do is get an idea of where you’d like to go and what you’d like to do. Once you’ve got that nailed down you’re in a much better place to plan your route. And that’s the key to an easy visit – planning! Here’s our advice on travelling around London, with added Cockney rhyming slang just for fun…
Oxo Cube (Tube)
The London Underground is an extensive network of routes and lines, all taking you to within walking distance of where you need to be. From Kings Cross St Pancras you’re most likely to hop on the Victoria, Piccadilly or Northern lines which will take you into the centre. Rather than buying tickets on the day, purchase an Oyster Card in advance – think of them as pay-as-you-go cards that deduct credit each time you scan out – easy! You can even use your contactless debit card to pay by scanning at the entrance/exit gates (it’ll show you on screen how much the journey has cost). The maps are pretty simple to follow but again, try and plan your route before you head down.
Bowl of Chalk (Walk)
Walking to and from some of London’s key attractions and hotels is easier than you may expect. Although the tube is hassle-free and great on a rainy day, it can often be just as quick to head to your destination on foot. For example – we have loads of great hotels in the Bloomsbury and Russell Square area of London, right next to a tube station. However, if you’re heading to the theatre (20 min walk), Covent Garden (15 min walk) or even back to Kings Cross (15 min walk), it might be worth saving yourself some pennies and getting the exercise, too!
Dick Van Dyke (Bike)
Good old ‘Boris Bikes’ are stacked on most corners around the city, so all you need to do is locate your nearest ‘docking station’ and off you go. You pay at the machine where you’ll be given a five digit release code. Just type that into the keypad on the bike and you’re free to cycle for 24 hours! All you need to do is drop the bike back off at the nearest docking station once you’re done.
Uncle Gus (Bus)
Again, you can use your Oyster Card or contactless debit card on the majority of London Bus services. There are loads of routes and stops to choose from that’ll drop you at the door to the best sights, and it’s a good option if you (a) Don’t fancy the Tube and (b) Need a bit of help getting around.
As with most things in London, taxis can become quite pricey if you’re travelling a distance. The best advice is to avoid using taxis if you can simply for that reason, but if you have to get one (or you’ve got money to burn) they can be a really easy way of getting around. Many have devices for paying by card which can be handy, and of course, the cabbies are full of advice, too! At The O2 Arena there are often plenty waiting at the Tube entrance for those who want to beat the crowds – be warned though, it’ll cost you around £40 for a trip back to The Docklands!
These days, we all rely on technology to make our lives that little bit easier, and getting around in London is the perfect example. Here’s 5 apps I’d recommend for making your trip around the city extra simple:
Tube Map – London Underground – It’s an easy-to-read map of the lines to help you figure out where you need to get on and off. It’s helped me out many times when I’ve been in a muddle beneath the surface, and the best thing is it’s free!
London Bus Live Countdown – Gives you up-to-date info on when the next bus is due to arrive. Again, it’s free and is a great way to make the most of those precious hours in London!
Recce – Recce gives you an illustrated 3D overview of what’s around you. From coffee shops to bars and attractions, it’s easier than pulling out the foldable map.
Hailo – Never mind standing by the side of the road and flagging a cab down, Hailo does the hard work for you. Book your taxi and track its whereabouts so you can hide from the rain until it’s right outside the door.
Oyster Info – Once you’ve invested in a handy Oyster Card, you can keep a track of how much credit you have left and top up via your phone. A must have for frequent visitors.
Hopefully this little extra info and list of helpful apps will make your travel around London more stress-free than you could ever have imagined! If you’ve got any other tips be sure to share them with us in the comments section below.