How to Get Around London as a Tourist
So you've made the decision to travel to London, great idea.
If you’re travelling to London for the first time, whether on business or for pleasure, you’ll find it an exciting city to explore.
There are world famous tourist attractions, hundreds of restaurants, bars, and entertainment options. However, there are lots of important things to consider before visiting London, and not just where you'll stay.
While it is important that you enjoy yourself on your trip, you shouldn’t be stress, for example, whats the best ways to get around and see the best places?
Here are some tips that you’ll find invaluable when you plan your trip to London for the first time.
Is it Easy to Get Around London?
If you need any help getting around London there are lots of apps
Whether you have a day, a weekend, or longer, there is so much to see and do in London and it's also very easy to get around.
You have the choice of:
Best Time to Visit
You can do London at any time of year, but summer is when it shines. The buzzing capital of England comes alive in the summer – beer gardens full of locals taking advantage of happy hours, music and cultural festivals popping up across the city, street markets overflowing with tasty food and live buskers, plus art galleries and museums hosting some of their best world-class exhibitions.
How to Get to London
London has several airports including Heathrow, Gatwick, Stanstead and Luton which all have connections with international destinations. You can also reach the London by bus, train or by car from other destinations in the UK and Europe.
Ways to Get Around London
There are lots of ways to navigate London, but which is best?
The London Underground is an engineering masterpiece, over 402 kilometres (250 miles) in length, making it the seventh longest metro system in the world.
You have the option to use pay as you go - just tap your contactless card, or you can buy day, week and month tickets. A popular option is to buy an Oyster card or a Visitor Oyster card which offers great value as pay as you go is cheaper than buying single tickets and you get daily and weekly capping.
There are 11 lines on the underground, and although when you look at a map it might look confusing, it really isn't too difficult once you have got the hang of it. There are tube map apps, and pictured in every station, whilst you can always ask staff or members of the public for help.
The tube is a really quick way to get around perfect for tourists who was to visit attractions in different London boroughs. Avoiding rush hours and peak fares is recommended, Monday to Friday (not on public holidays) between 06:30 and 09:30, and between 16:00 and 19:00. During these periods the tube is usually really busy, and also prices are more expensive.
If you are looking how to get around London without the tube, the bus is one of the best options. This is the cheapest form of transport and it is also easier than you might think.
Learning how to get around London by bus can be a challenge at first, but almost everywhere you go you will see bus stops with maps, and there are also apps and websites which can help you to navigate this city.
Riding the bus during rush hours can be slow due to congestion and traffic, but it is one of the most affordable ways to get around and cheaper than the tube.
If you ride the bus around Zone 1, you can see a lot of the famous skyline attractions without paying the expensive tourist bus fees. Or if you are looking for the ultimate London tourism experience then there are lots of city sightseeing buses.
Car and Motorbike
If you want to see more of England and get a lot of freedom and flexibillity, car hire in London is an option.
The advantage of renting from a company like Virtuo is that everything happens via an application, it's contactless, no waiting. It is even possible to receive your car directly at home.
Although there are some drawback of driving in London, including the traffic, this is one of the best way to travel around London, especially if you are with your family and worried about taking kids on the tube.
It is also perfect if you want to escape the city and do some day trips from London visiting more places on the same trip. There is so much choice, from ancient Roman baths, to beaches and beautiful countryside - all within 1/2 hours from the centre.
Some basic rules to follow when driving in London and the UK:
• You will need a valid drivers licence, and also check eligibility if you can use this in the UK by checking online.
• Make sure you have insurance.
• All cars drive on the left.
• The Congestion Charge is in effect on streets in central London during certain times.
• All drivers and passengers must wear seat belts.
• Car seats are required for children.
If you just want to see the main tourist hotspots like Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Tate, London Eye, Covent Garden, Oxford Street, Buckingham Palace and SoHo, you could book a hotel in the city centre and then all the places listed are walkable. This is the cheapest way to travel around London.
Hopefully our guide has given you the information you need and will help you plan a trip to the fantastic capital of England. Also if you are looking to travel on a budget view more tips how to save money on transport in London.