Getting around London can be overwhelming on the first day however you’ll soon find that it’s quite straightforward to get from one place to another. Get yourself a map of the Underground from any station and you’ll see the transport network divided into zones with Zone 1 being the most central area.
Buy Yourself An Oyster Card
The first thing to do when you arrive in London is to obtain an Oyster Card. It is the smartcard of the London transport system and can be used on the Underground, Overland, Thames river services and the bus network. They are available at any tube station or a convenience store for a deposit of £5. The deposit is refundable if you return the card. REMEMBER: Always tap in and tap out of tube stations on the yellow card reader. You don’t need to tap out for buses or trams.
Using the Oyster Card is the cheapest way to travel around London. You have the option of either topping up as you go or a Travelcard. The Travelcard allows unlimited travel on the Underground and buses in the Zones selected by the user over a period of time. A 7-day Travelcard covering Zones 1 and 2 costs £29.20.
Catch The Tube
The Underground is the best option for getting around London. With 11 lines and 270 stations, it runs frequently between 5:00AM and 12:30AM and takes you to all the best tourist spots. There could be engineering works taking place on weekends so check for line closures or changes using the TFL website.
The London bus system is a thorough network and can reach places that the Underground does not. There are Night Buses in central areas for when the Underground is closed.
If The Tube Stops Running, Jump In A Cab.
If you’re on a night out, you’ll find that the Underground could be closed and buses are few and far between. Hail a black taxi on the street or book a minicab. Minicabs cannot be flagged on the street so you need to book one. They run on a fixed price so when you call; get the price of the trip. Don’t ever hop into an unlicensed mini cab rather text ‘CAB’ to 60835 and it will automatically return a SMS with three numbers of known cab companies close to your location.
London has a public bicycle sharing scheme around the city. You’ll find Barclays bike stands where you can rent, ride and return without needing to book. There is also the option of walking between tourist sites rather than catching the tube. It’s a great way to see the city rather than being on the Underground.
Go to www.tfl.gov.uk for more information about getting around London.