Planning a trip to London? The city is full of sights and exciting things to do, so you want to be able to get around easily and fairly cheaply. The great thing about London is that it’s simpler than you’d think to find transport. Here’s how you can get around London without getting lost.
Using Public Transport
If you want to get around London, the best way to do so is via public transport. It’s the best way as the roads are somewhat complex for newcomers, plus there’s that famous London traffic to consider. There’s so many different options for you when it comes to public transport, so you’ll have options for when you need to get around.
The whole public transport system is maintained by the TfL, or Transport for London government body. As it’s all under the same banner, you can pay for your travel using the same system. The most popular way to pay is by using the Oyster Card. This is what most locals use to get around. You can buy special Oyster Cards which will pay for your travel as you explore the city.
Which Transport Method Is Best?
There are so many different transport methods, you may not know which one is best to use. Here’s a quick guide to what’s available to you in London.
Underground/The Tube: You’ll hear the Underground either referred to as such, or as ‘the Tube’. It’s worth knowing these are the same thing. It’s the oldest underground metro system in the world, and is still the most popular way of getting around. There’s a station in walking distance in most London areas, and most trains come within 10 minutes or less. As there’s no traffic or streets to worry about, it’s the quickest way of getting around.
Overground: This is very similar to the Underground system, just travelling above ground as the name implies. It was introduced in 2007 to fill in gaps in the Underground system, and so the two work together. It has the same pricing, and you won’t need to touch in and out with your Oyster Card if you’re switching between them.
Docklands Light Railway (DLR): This is an automated rail system that mostly covers the East and South East of Central London. It’s the best way to get to the ExCeL, perfect if you’re looking to attend a show or conference there. As it’s automated, there’s no drivers, which makes it an interesting experience for visitors.
Rail Services: Yes, as well as three train like services, there’s also an actual railways system in London. This is very useful for those flying into London, as there are direct rail links to Heathrow, Gatwick, and Stanstead. You can also reach the rest of the UK through the railway system, so you can use it if you want explore further afield.
Buses: Even with the London traffic, buses are a great option for getting around. They are typically cheaper than the Underground, with fares being £1.55 for a single journey. You can also take advantage of ‘hopper’ fares, where no matter how many buses you catch and tap your Oyster Card on within an hour, you’ll never spend more than £1.55. There’s also many buses that operate 24/7, so they’re a good way to get home after a night out.
River Boats: As the Thames River runs through London, it makes sense to use it as a method of transport. The TfL operates Thames Clippers, which are the best way to get from one side of London to the other. Plus, when you ride you’ll get scenic views of London itself.
Walking: London is more pedestrian friendly than you’d think, and it’s very easy to get around on foot. If your destination is less than two Tube stops away, it’s typically easier just to walk there. The biggest benefit is that it costs you nothing, plus you can take in scenery on the way.