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Getting around London: Tips and Tricks for Easy Travel around London
London is a complicated web of tubes, trains, and buses. It’s all well connected, but getting from one side of town to the other can take a long time and potentially involves a few transfers.
Follow our simple guide on London transport to ensure you don’t get lost, frustrated or start to wonder where all your hard-earned vacation money has gone!
Stress-Free Travel Tips
Group Your Activities Together – The key to success is to group your activities together geographically so that you don’t have to go back and forth into an area you’ve already visited.
Use Google Maps – All of London’s transport, including tubes, trains, buses, and ferries are integrated with Google. This means you can easily check routes on your cell phone at any time, and what’s even more useful is that during rush hour, alternative routes or methods of transport can be highlighted to help you determine the best way to get around. It’s also a good idea to pre-save any recommended places and routes onto your Google Maps.
Get an Oyster card or a Travelcard – If you buy a ticket every time you get on a bus or tube, it’ll drain the pounds out of your pockets at a depressing rate. Using Oyster and Travelcards can save you quite a bit in transport charges.
Travelling From the Airport to London
There are many options for getting into London from whichever airport you land at. These include shuttles, taxis, tubes, and trains. Large groups can make shuttles or cars more economical. Lots of luggage or staying outside of central London can also make these more expensive and slower options more attractive.
If you are looking for the cheapest option, the tube is definitely the best choice, especially if you are also traveling light (available from Heathrow and Gatwick only).
If the fastest option is more your speed (pun intended), the express trains are your best bet. They are comfortable and come highly recommended.
Heathrow Airport: The fastest option is the Heathrow Express. You could also hop on the tube, but it can be stressful getting in and out of the tube with your bags and suitcases.
Gatwick Airport: Gatwick Airport Train (Thameslink) is your cheapest option and Gatwick Express is by far the fastest and most stress-free. The Gatwick National Express Coach is a great alternative for travellers on a budget. The airport bus takes you to Victoria Station in the center of London.
Stansted Airport: The easiest option from Stansted Airport is taking Stansted Express into Liverpool Street Station. The airport bus from Stansted Airport to the center of London is your cheapest option.
Luton Airport: The cheapest way to get from Luton Airport to London is with the Luton National Express Coach. The fastest is with Luton Thameslink Airport Train, which takes you to one of five centrally located stations in the city.
If you are planning on dedicating a few days to taking in the sights, the Hop-On Hop-Off buses allows you to explore London at your own pace. There are several tour operators, including Big Bus Tours and The Original Tour. From your double-decker sightseeing bus, you can relax and enjoy the view of London, content that you’re avoiding the rush of commuters on the tube. Passes are available in both 24/48 hour options and include a sightseeing boat tour on the Thames.
Don’t overlook walking, or even biking – this is one of the best ways to discover London’s treasures as it also gives you the opportunity to really get a feel for the streets and meet the locals.
However you choose to get around, we hope these tips give you more time (and money!) to enjoy everything London has to offer.
Jump on the Heathrow Express and get to Paddington Station in the center of London in just 15 minutes. This way you avoid the long lines by the ticket machines at the station, can board the train right away and save a lot of time. Children age 15 and under travel for free alongside an adult. And if you choose to get a return ticket, it is valid for 28 days!