We love London, its a fantastic city with so much to offer, but it can be quite a daunting place to get around. Even as a local its taken me years to finally master “The Tube” and even longer to get my head around the bus system. So with this in mind I thought I’d put together a guide to help you make the most of your trip to London and the best ways to get around. Your time is valuable so here’s some useful tips for you.
Pre-book your airport transfer
Hotel or apartment all booked? Flights booked? great! What about your airport transfer? No? Well you could leave it until you get to the airport but you’ll be jetl-agged, probably a bit disorientated and really not in the mood to be fighting with queues and train stations either. First impressions of any destination are vitally important so I high recommend you book your airport transfer from a service like this one. You can do it all online and pay beforehand too, this means no worries when you arrive, your luxury driver will be waiting for you and take you directly to your accommodation. There is no better (or easier) way to start your trip and it can make all the difference.
Get an Oyster Card
The subway system in London is extensive and a great way to get around to all the major landmarks worth seeing, it is also quite expensive too partly because its so old and needs a lot of maintenance. There is one simple way to making zipping around London a little cheaper an a little easier. On your first trip be sure to pick up an Oyster Card at the station and top it up with at least £20 of credit. You’ll need a card each but this will allow you to tap in and tap out at any stations, paying instantly without the need to worry about buying tickets. If you have a new iPhone you can also use Apple Pay to instantly pay for your ride too.
Don’t be afraid to walk
Its amazing how many tourists look at the underground map and think that the landmarks they want to visit are far enough away to warrant a train ride. Even I thought this in the past until I started walking central London. Everything from Piccadilly Circus to Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Buckingham Palace and Covent Garden, not to mention walking along the Thames and visiting St Pauls are all very walkable. The land is flat and easy to walk if you have the right shoes on. Its only 5 to 10 minutes walk between plenty of major landmarks, about the time it would take you to go down in to the underground, wait for a train, complete your journey and venture back up to ground level! So save yourself the price of a train ticket and get some exercise!
Taxis can save you time
While they are the most expensive mode of transport in the city centre, they are also a good way of zipping to destinations that don’t have tube stations or are within walkable distance. They’re also a good way to meet local cabbies who have plenty of tips for tourists. I’d use the taxis in London sparingly as costs can soon ramp up but they are an iconic part of the city’s tourism so well worth at least one journey in the most British of vehicles.