If you’re planning a trip to London, you’re probably trying to figure out how to get around the city. It’s really quite easy to navigate and here are a few tips to make it easier.
The first and foremost source of information is the official Transport for London site. It has almost everything you need to find your way around, but it can be a bit confusing initially.
I’ll walk you through the homepage briefly.
1. Journey Planner
Enter your To and From location, which can be a station, address or a post code and TFL will tell you how to get there. If you want to use a specific form of transportation, you can select Edit Search options, scroll down and select or unselect transportation modes.
Get-up-to date tube, bus, train, cycling, and even walking maps from here.
3. Service Updates
Don’t automatically expect your tube line to be running, especially on the weekends! Service Updates are located on the homepage towards the bottom on the right hand side.
Tickets and Pricing
When you get to London, don’t just start buying tube tickets with cash, it will cost you double! Go right up to the service window and say you want to buy an oyster card. The card itself will cost you £5, but it’s only a deposit and you can get it back when you leave.
1. TravelCard: You can purchase a 7 day Travelcard for zones 1-2 for £27.60, which will give you unlimited travel on the bus, tube, and overground within zones 1 and 2 (obviously you can pay more and include other zones if you need to) . To see the zones, look at the background of the TFL tube map. Even if you’re only staying in London for 4-5 days, I would recommend the 7 day Travelcard because it's still cheaper than paying the £8 daily amount and it's so worth it to zip all around the city unlimited!
2. Pay as you go: Alternatively, if you’re staying less than a week, you can just put money on your Oyster card. I wouldn’t worry about getting a Day Travelcard because it will cost you £8 during peak travel time (peak time is Monday-Friday between 04:30 - 09:30AM) and £6.60 during off peak time, but if you’re using the Pay as You Go method, it will cap your spending at that amount, so no matter how much you use your Oyster Card, it won’t deduct more than the price of a Daily Travelcard from your balance.
To top up your Oyster Card – just tap it to the yellow card reader on the machines at the station. Follow the screen instructions and make sure you tap it again at the end so your card is updated.
Cycling in London
London's Barclays rent-a-bike scheme now allows you to rent a bike with a credit card and drop it off at the next convenient bike centre. It will cost you £1 a day to have access to the bikes and the first 30 minutes are free. I absolutely love cycling through London, but please be very careful if you're not used to the city and don't forget that cars drive on the left here! If you're nervous about riding on the roads, I highly recommend zipping through the gorgeous London parks at least.
If you have any questions on how to get around London - just shoot me and email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'm happy to help.
Written and contributed by Emma Miller