The London Travel Guide: Unusual Ways to Get Around the City

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Emirates Air Line

Travelling by different modes of transport through London allows you to see the city from sky, land and sea...well, river. Gone are the days where walking, train and buses were the only options, now London has a whole new genre of transport that is just as much as an experience as visiting its landmarks.

If this is your first visit to the Big Smoke or whether you’re a regular visitor, planning your transport from the 4 star hotels in Paddington to your destinations will ensure that you make the most of your trip and see London from all different angles.

Walking

Walking in LondonYes, this is a time-old form of transport and it isn’t unusual, however, this mode of transport has been given a twist in London. Self-guided walks in the city are completely free and guides can be found online; you can pick and choose which tour you want to take yourself on and download or print off the information. You can partake in a classic pub tour, ghost tour (if you’re brave enough) or museum tour; you can even print off the list of blue plaques situated in London and see how many you can find. If you don’t fancy doing this alone, there are self-guided group walks that can be found online, take a look and look at all of the information before you commit to anything.

Rickshaw

Rickshaw in london

Now, this is where it begins to get interesting. Through the crazy London traffic, these two-seater, bicycle-driven contraptions can be found weaving in between cars, buses and black cabs, tackling the danger of the city’s traffic head on. Brave? Maybe. Crazy? Most definitely, but if you fancy a thrill and a near death experience, then this is the mode of transport for you. In recent years, the rickshaw has become a firm favourite with tourists who feel that their legs can’t carry them to the restaurant that is situated around the corner or with those who feel that being wedged between two double decker buses is a source of entertainment but, whatever the reason for taking these contraptions, everyone can agree that they are a very unique way to travel. They can be found outside most of the tourist attractions and can be quite expensive, so make sure that you polish your haggling skills if you decide to travel in the hut on wheels.

London Duck Tours

Bus tours are just so standard these days, what you want is to be driven around some of the major attractions of London before driving straight into the River Thames. Yes, that’s right, the London Duck Tours will take you on a wonderfully scenic tour in a truck before transforming into a boat for a cruise up the river. These amazing DUKW vehicles were commissioned in the second World War and were a huge asset for the British, assisting in major events such as the D-Day landings and saving countless lives with their ability to transport soldiers from the ships to dry land safely. Today, the ducks are used to give a unique tour of London having been beautifully restored to their former glory and allows visitors to travel in a piece of history as well as give a view of London from the land and the river. There are different tours to choose from that take you to different parts of London but they all finish by cruising up the Thames.

Emirates Air Line

This only travels between two specific points but it is well worth the trip to see the East side of London from the skies. Built as a constant reminder of the Olympics in 2012 that were held in London, the Emirates Air Line connects the O2, Greenwich and the Royal Docks by a cable car transport service. This alternative mode of transport offers some stunning views over the city where attractions such as Canary Wharf, The Gherkin, London City Airport and the Olympic Park.

The 1.1km takes around 10 minutes and caters for up to 10 people per car, a few less if there are wheelchair users on board. The atmosphere is usually very calm and relaxed as the travellers are soaking up the breathtaking view and trying to locate the points of interest provided by the on board map, such as the National Maritime Museum and, if you have good eyesight on a clear day, St Paul’s Cathedral. With an Oyster Card, it is a cheap mode of transport and one that will make a memorable impression.

Boris Bikes

Boris BikesIn 2012, the Major of London, Boris Johnson, introduced the London Cycle Hire Scheme; this led to the scheme being affectionate termed “Boris Bikes.” This notion aimed to reduce rush hour traffic on the tubes and on the roads, to get Londoners and visitors fighting fit and to make London a little more environmentally friendly and saw over 10,000 bikes and over 700 parking stations scattered all over the city. The Santander Cycles cost a mere £2 for 24 hours and allows you to travel through the more scenic parts of London; there are maps available on the TFL website to allow you to really make the most of your bike ride. It is a mode of transport that is fun for all the family; children up to five years old can be carted around in a trailer while those that are aged between four and nine can travel on a tag-along which is a single-wheeled bike that can be attached onto the adult’s bike. Children and adults alike love this form of transport  and it is a great way to take in the sights of the city.