If you’re planning a trip to London, there will be plenty of sights you want to see. That means you’ll need to know how to understand London transport and know how to get around once you’re there. Luckily, there are quite a few London travel options from which to choose. Here are five easy ways to get around London.
I’m a big city girl at heart so when I took a recent trip to London, I was in heaven. It had been years since I’d visited and I wanted to see every landmark and every show in town. I just had to figure out how to get to all of them. After 10 days of London travel, I had been from one end of the city to the other and I’d learned a few things about London transport. If you’re planning a trip of your own, these are your five best ways to get around London.
This is my favorite way to get around a new town or city because I can really get a feel for what the city is like. After all, if I came to see the city, there’s no better way than to walk from place to place and take in all the sights and sounds as I go. I love being able to pop into a local shop or restaurant or just stop for a few minutes to watch the street performers. Yes, I’ve been known to get lost from time to time but that’s half the fun. I feel like there’s no better way to experience a new city than to just wander through it. I might have missed out on these sights otherwise.
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Ride The London Tube
The London Underground, better known as the London Tube, is one of my favorite ways to get around if it’s too far to walk. The London Tube is pretty easy to navigate, especially once you’ve ridden it a few times and have the map figured out (it’s not as bad as it looks, I promise).
I picked up an Oyster transit card on my first day (available at most small shops) and every time I scanned my card, I could see the balance. I easily added more money once it got low, either at the station or at one of the many shops that do it for you. (Sound like a true Londoner by telling them to “top off” your card). If you’ve brought the kids along, you only have to pay for them if they are age 12 or older. Kids 11 and younger get to ride free.
The tube is fun for the people watching. Occasionally, you may even get a live performance on board. Random performers will pop on, play music for a few stops, collect tips and hop back off. I saw a fun performance from some Irish musicians that had one couple dancing in the aisles before we hit the next stop.
Take a City Bus
If you’d rather get around above the ground, this is a great option. I usually take the city bus when I’m just too worn out to walk any more but don’t need to go far enough to use the London Tube. Many of them are also double-decker buses which make for a fun ride. If you bought an Oyster card for the tube, you can use it for the bus as well. It makes it easy and gives you one less thing to have to think about.
Hop On A Tour Bus
London has several hop-on/hop-off tour bus companies which are great for two things. I love taking these tours on the first day in any big city because I can both hit the big landmarks and keep notes on the smaller attractions that I want to come back to. These buses stop at all the major tourist sites and you can get off at any stop, then hop back on the next bus whenever you’re ready. This is also a great option for people who only have a day or two and want to see as much as possible in a short time. They can get off, get that perfect shot of the changing of the guard or the London Bridge, then hop back on for next big destination.
The bus tour that I took offered free earbuds for an audio tour of the sites along the way. Not only that, the bus had Wi-Fi so that I could immediately Instagram or Facebook any pictures I took.
Call A Taxi/Uber
I actually never use these because I prefer the first four, however they’re available if you need them. A taxi or an Uber can be a great option if you’re just getting into town and you have a lot of luggage or the kids are tired from all the travel. Sometimes getting delivered straight to where you want to go can be the best option. To get an Uber, you’ll just need to download the app on your smartphone and call when you’re ready. Taxis can be found near train stations, underground stations and bus stations. You can also hail one if you see it in the street or have your hotel call one for you.
London may be a big city but that doesn’t mean that it has to be hard to get around. It’s simple if you just know your options.