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Getting Around London

I am planning a trip to London in June and am looking for the most efficient way to travel around. I always rely on public transportation when traveling to Europe, so I want to do the same for London. I have seen that using the London Tube or buses may be an option. Does anyone have any tips for getting around or websites they referenced before arriving? I would like to become a little familiar with the transportation before arriving so I don't have to waste time wondering around.

Posted by
8889 posts

The website you want is: https://tfl.gov.uk/
All the info you need is on this leaflet: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/london-visitor-guide.pdf
You need to know 3 facts:
1) Buy an Oyster Card as soon as possible after you land. This is a prepaid card that allows you to use all Public Transport in London for about 2/3 of the cost (if not less) of buying individual tickets.
2) The one map of London you must have is the world famous tube map: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf
Everywhere in central London is within walking distance of a tube station. You go to a tube station, disappear underground and some time later reappear at another tube station. Until Scottie perfects his transporter, this is the fastest way to get across London.
3) Buses are cool, if a little slower. If you go upstairs at the front, you get great views, but tourist tend to hog those seats.

Posted by
23467 posts

London is one the better cities for getting around on local transit. The Tube is very good but little time learning the buses is helpful. The buses are slower but we like riding on top when available. The routes and stops are well marked. Hit the first TI and get a route map and you are set to go. We use the Tube when we have longer distances to go or need to go quicker. It is a friendly system. It is all in English and most folks speak a form of American english.

Posted by
824 posts

Take an unlocked GSM (Quad Band) smart phone and as soon as possible, buy a pre-paid SIM with a healthy data allowance. (Mine was GBP25 and it was the best investment I ever made.) Then you can use the TFL trip planner while on the go. It makes London transport a breeze.

If you have any issues with stairs (lots of stairs), buses may be your best option. No all tube stations have lifts or escalators and they are often out of order when you need them. The TFL web site has an accessibility page which lists the stations with lifts/escalators and the tube system status page will list those that are out of service.

If you are in a small group (3 or 4), a cab may be the fastest and most cost effective way to get around at times.

Have fun and mind the gap.