Getting about London is relatively simple and totally safe (and doesn’t have to be expensive) – when you know how. Here then is how to get from your hotel to a museum or gallery to a glorious Royal park to one of the top West End bars and back to your hotel. And much more…
Tube, trains, buses and travel cards
Arguably the best way to get about the capital is to use the world-famous London Underground (‘Tube’) subterranean railway network. It operates throughout the city (especially in the centre, so you’re well served if staying at Montcalm Royal London House – City of London), yet doesn’t cover South London as well as it might. Instead, here you might want to rely on the city’s very good Overground railway service or its iconic red bus routes.
All of these public transport options are operated by the official body Transport for London (TfL) and the best way to pay for a trip/ several trips is via the electronic credit-card-like payment system that’s the touch-in-and-out Oyster Card. To beat the queues, be sure to order an Oyster Card before you get to London and have it delivered at home so you have it to hand as soon as you set foot in the city.
Far from messing about on the river, catching a boat on the Thames is a fine way to get about the town – or, at least, from one pier on the river to another further up- or downstream. Especially because extensions to the Bankside and Westminster piers have ensured that travelling on the river is now easier and better than ever before. For detailed information on this mode of public transport on the capital, be sure to check out the TfL website or take a glance at the latest version of the TFL River Services Route Map.
Catch a coach
Another way to get about London – and certainly in and out of the capital when it comes to an airport or nearby and farther way attractions – is to do so via coach. The big advantage of coach travel in and around the capital is that you can take advantage of great discounts in conjunction with sites and venues you might visit. You’ll discover any number of designated coach parks, on-street coach meters and coach bays scattered across the centre of the city – many within walking distance of a West End restaurant you may plan on spending the evening at after a morning and afternoon spent on a fantastic day trip out of the capital.
Travel by road
Alternatively, of course, you may choose to travel by road into, out of and around London. For obvious reasons, this isn’t a particular popular option among visitors from overseas, but for motorists within the UK it’s a popular option when taking a short-break in London, for sure; especially those who may not be travelling into and out of the capital from that far a distance in the first place. However, there are things to be aware of when it comes to driving in London:
- Congestion charge– a daily charge for vehicles within a charging zone Monday-Friday (7am-6pm); to find out exactly where the zone is, discounts available and charges, be sure to visit TfL’s congestion charge website
- Low emission zone – established to improve London’s air quality, this zone covers most of the city and operates 24 hours-a-day; if your vehicle meets a specific emission standard you won’t be charged anything but it doesn’t you will (visit TfL’s low emission zone website to find out ahead of travelling).