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London Traffic--Bad "Everywhere"?

We're going to be in London in early April of next year and we're looking at taking a bus, or maybe even a taxi, from somewhere around Victoria Station through the parks and such to the west of there just to see a part of London that we won't otherwise likely spend a lot of time in, excepting a visit to the Natural History Museum. Day of the week is TBD, but most likely a Sunday. Will traffic in this area be bad enough during the hours of 12:00-ish to 19:00-ish that the bus would drag too much or that would drive the cost of a taxi "too high" for the territory covered? We've already decided a HoHo wouldn't be a good bet--thanks to earlier advice from y'all.

Also, any recommendations for eating around Victoria Station or the NHM. We're generally interested in "traditional British" (but not a big roast dinner), Indian (also traditional Brit, no?), and Middle Eastern and Asian type foods. No Italian (plenty of that in the US, even at home) and no French since we'll be coming from a few days in Paris. Not to worry about cost--we can figure what fits our budget via a Google search.

Posted by
31125 posts

what day of the week? What time of day? Which month? makes a huge difference

Posted by
129 posts

Nigel: Early April, say 12:00 to 19:00, day most likely Sunday. We have some ability to adjust the day if that would result in choosing a day of less-dense traffic. I'll edit my post to add this info.


Posted by
22902 posts

Actually I have found the London ho/ho buses to be good if those are areas you want to see. Not sure what you are trying to do with a taxi. And the Rick Steves' London guidebook has a number of good recommendation for restaurants around Victoria station. With some exceptions there is a different between US Italian and Italian Italian especially with regard to pizza.

Posted by
129 posts

Thanks, Frank. I do know RS's recommendations (we have the London guide)--just trying to get the opinions of others. At this point, for all I know, we and RS have completely different tastes. LOL.

Regarding the taxi: it seems like a taxi driver could "customize" a route and provide live, knowledgeable commentary--maybe even hit something "off the radar", neither of which is possible on a bus.

Posted by
5630 posts

St. George’s tavern on Belgrave Rd., a couple minutes walk from Victoria Station, has typical pub grub. Like most pubs, this one is owned by a brewery. We’ve eaten there a couple time and the food has been fine.

Posted by
337 posts

Could I suggest you download the London bus app. Rather apps as there are a number.
We were in London last year for almost a month, I used them frequently.
There are also extensive route maps on the London transport site.
Bus routes will take you everywhere for a fraction of the price.
Left front on the upper deck is priceless,you can plot where you are on the route in live time
Making it easy to go Dow the stop before.

While I did use the tube, I relied on a tube map rather than the app.

The trip before that we stayed around Victoria station, it is a very central hub for tube, bus, coach and train.

Posted by
255 posts

My husband ate at the Jugged Hare with a British colleague (who had suggested it) years ago, and we recently had lunch there after seeing a play. It's a beautiful building (a former bank) and the service and food (traditional pub food) were excellent. It was a few minutes' walk from the Victoria Station area.

Posted by
392 posts

So on a Sunday I'd say the main thing to look out for would be road closures due to events (i.e. London .Marathon is April) parades, protest marches that sort of thing. Whilst you won't have commuters there's also no congestion charge on the weekends so maybe more cars but less vans/lorries. I'd say if you're avoiding a known event then the bus is a good option up on the top deck.
The Jugged Hare is always a favourite with former colleagues of mine who work on Vauxhall Bridge Road.

Posted by
3995 posts

I suspect that the reason you aren't getting much info about your idea to take a taxi is because most people on this forum use public transport in London, except possibly when going from the metro station to their hotel with luggage.

Posted by
2021 posts

We stayed at the Royal Society of Medicine in Marylbone in May. From there I walked to Hyde Park, Green Park, St. James Park and The Regents Park.

If you really want to see them, you have to walk in them. How old and how fit are you? I’m 68 and in good health. I walked between 8 and 12 miles a day when in London. Walking is the best way to really see the city.

Posted by
4021 posts

The last time I was in London was in June, 2016. I had an Oyster card. The only time I took the Tube was to go from my apartment to the airport.

The rest of the time I used the normal buses, sometimes upstairs, sometimes down. I found Google Maps options for public transport with the bus numbers and schedules to be better than any of the "normal" options.

Just for fun you can experiment with it at home. Put in your lodgings or a landmark nearby as the starting location, select directions and put in where you want to go.

Select a day (a Sunday might be good in this case) and a method of getting there. On foot will be an option. Play around with it and you'll see different ways to make the journey easier, maybe no bus change, maybe less walking, etc.

One bit of advice, the weather is always variable in London. In early April it is likely to be cold and rainy, as it was in mid-June, 2016.

Posted by
713 posts

I've taken taxis a few times in London, almost always when I arrived at a rail station with my luggage and was just not ready or willing to deal with schlepping from there to my hotel via the Tube or buses.

Based on those experiences, I'm not sure that regular London taxi drivers will be interested in throwing in a tour guide narration as they are driving you along. For one thing, they will be facing forward to drive. Also, IIRC the the black cabs I've been in have had a plexiglass partition between the driver and the passenger area in back. The driver can talk to you, but it's not set up to make that easy, as I recall. I can't remember if all the cabs had those partitions, but I know some did.

But you can always hail a black cab and tell the driver where you want to go and that you'd like him to take you on an interesting route and tell you about the interesting things as you pass them, and see what happens. You might need to set parameters such as maximum length of trip and size of fare, lol.

I hope that someone with more experience of London taxis will see this topic and join in.

Posted by
751 posts


The Transport for London website has several sections with ideas for using public buses to see different areas of London, including the western part of London:

London leisure routes

London Itineraries

While these may or may not be exactly what you’re looking for, perhaps they will be a starting point, and help to familiarize you with the bus system.