How to get around London like a Londoner

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Whether you’re travelling to Camden town or Hyde Park London, the London Underground has a reputation for being the quickest, most efficient method of moving across the city. In many ways, this reputation is justified, though standard of cleanliness on tube trains might not be ideal. Still, the underground is making improvements all the time, and an increasing number of stations now feature disabled access. If you visit London, it’s a good idea to pick up a free map of the underground system from a station ticket office, so that you can get to grips with the various different tube lines. Nowadays, smartphone users can download and install an extremely useful app, which includes a map and a route planner for the tube. Users simply have to enter which station they are starting out at and where they want to go, and the app tells them which line to take and which stations to change at.

The best way to explore London

It’s unadvisable to buy a single ticket on the London Underground, particularly if you know you’ll be making a return trip, as it is usually almost the same price to buy a day-long travel card, which allows you unlimited tube travel until the early hours of the morning. If you are staying in London for longer than a few days, perhaps to sample the many bars near Hyde park, it might even be worth purchasing an Oyster travel card, which you can easily top up, and thus only pay for what you use or consume. This will save you a lot of money on public transport, but please don’t forget to ‘touch out’ as well as in.

Many tourists find themselves succumbing to bus tours around the British capital. The ‘hop on hop off’ variety of tour bus might work in other cities, but they aren’t always advisable in London, as the big, cumbersome double-decker buses aren’t able to journey down the city’s many ancient side streets, and regularly get blocked in by traffic. If you simply want the experience of travelling in an iconic London ‘red bus’, the London Routemaster bus is still in use on so-called ‘heritage routes’. For instance, the number 15 travels from Trafalgar Square, along the Strand and Fleet Street to Tower Hill for the price of a standard fare with an Oyster Card.

Of course, taking a boat ride to Greenwich can be a very pleasant and efficient way of seeing much of what London has to offer, taking in such sights as Big Ben, the Globe Theatre, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and Canary Wharf, as you sail down the River Thames. However, it might be worth getting a London travel card before you do so, as you can easily make savings of up to 33% on such a trip.

Finally, perhaps the best way to see everything in London is to simply go out there and explore on foot. With a decent pair of shoes, a trusty map and a camera, you can stroll around Paddington or Hyde Park London, wander along the South Bank of the Thames, or just create your own bespoke tour of the city.

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