London Travel Tips For First Timers

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London Travel Tips For First Timers

The city of London is many things but small is not one of them. With more than 1500 square kilometres, 32 boroughs and 270 tube stops, the city of London can be quite overwhelming to navigate. First timers staying at the hotels near Paddington Station might spend the first day of their trip simply planning how to navigate their way from the hotel. Though the number of travel options are innumerable, the efficiency of the London public transport system is second to none.

Whether you’re late for your booking for restaurants near Paddington or you’re late for a work meeting in the city, there is a difference between speed and comfort when it comes to travelling around London. This blog will explore the options at a tourist’s disposal for exploring the city, offering tips on saving money and seeing as much of the city as possible. 

London Trains

London Trains

London is served by most of the train lines of Great Britain, making it an easy reach in no more than 6 or 7 hours from many parts of Scotland, Wales and England. Services such as the Thameslink provide access to London from surrounding counties such as Surrey and the outer boroughs of Greater London. Further to commuter services from around Greater London, visitors can reach the English capital from France and Holland via the Eurostar that runs to St Pancras International.

Commuter Stations And Terminuses

Many of London’s terminuses are historic landmarks in and of themselves. Kings Cross Station and Paddington Station are among the national train stations that have captured the imaginations of not just tourists, but filmmakers and writers too. Commuter train stations and connecting stations like Clapham Junction and City Thameslink have less history to them but act as a vital commuter and tourist stop for the centre of the city. Travelling by train is the best way to get into London from further afield, even from mainland Europe!

London Underground

London Underground

The London Underground is one of the largest of its kind and provides easy access to much of the city. With more than 270 stations, 11 tube lines and 249 miles worth of rail beneath and through the city, the Underground is probably the easiest and quickest mode of transport in the English Capital. It’s not just underground lines that run either, the DLR is a light rail that soars above and through Canada Water, Southeast London and the Docklands area, whilst the Overground connects all sides of the London compass via quick, spacious and scenic train journeys. Whether you’re staying at an AirBnB in Chingford or at accommodation in Paddington London, there’s a tube line to suit your needs.

Peak Times

It’s worth noting that London’s tube lines operate peak hours which are more expensive than others. If you want to avoid crowded tubes for up to a third higher price, then travel after 9.30 am, before 4 pm and after 7 pm. This doesn’t just count for tubes either, the London train lines also operate peak hours as well. 

Saving Money

Saving Money

Visitors in London who are residents of the UK can utilise their student, Under 30 and senior railcards by connecting them to Oyster cards. This can mean that off peak journeys are a third less expensive, just like booking railcard tickets for national train services. Make sure to tap in and out as well, and make sure to take note of what zones you are travelling through on your London tube journey. The more “zones” you travel through, the more money you will have to spend on your Oyster or contactless payment card. 

London Buses

London Buses

There are over 700 different bus routes in London, spanning from central commuter routes to outer London suburban bypasses. The London bus service usually costs about £1.50 per journey, paid using a contactless pad for Oyster or debit card found beside the driver’s seat. Children and railcard tickets can see you save  up to a third offt prices. Even better, London buses don’t use peak time prices, although travelling at peak times will see more congestion and longer journeys. The London bus service can get you specifically to a destination,rather than its nearest tube or train station.

Get To Know The City Hopper

The City Hopper is a nifty way for quick and great value connections via buses. The city hopper works by charging for your first bus journey, and if you are disembarking and boarding another bus within an hour of that first journey, you’ll get the subsequent journeys free of charge. 

Santander Cycles

An especially fun way for tourists to explore London, the Santander Cycles can be found at over 800 docking stations around the city. At a cost of £2 per 30 minutes for an unlimited amount of time, santander Cycles provide a cheap and exciting way for visitors to see more during their London trip. Whether you’re cycling from the Chilworth Paddington or exploring the canals of East London, Santander Cycles are easy to find available all across the central boroughs of the city.

The Cycling Superhighway

Over the last decade, the Cycling Superhighway has grown to include cycle routes through Epping, Walthamstow and many other areas of Greater London. This safe and scenic network of bus lanes makes travelling through London by bike more accessible and less dangerous.

Ubers

Ubers are available all across the city. These taxis can be ordered via the Uber App and have flexible services, including an Uber Pool service for cheaper rides. Ubers provide visitors with a great way to get around London safely and efficiently.

Taxi

Taxi services in London can be ordered by phone or hailed. The famous London hackney Cab is spacious, fast and driven by a professionally licensed driver who’ll get you anywhere from your London hotel deals special offer accommodation in Paddington to Heathrow airport, all, theoretically, without using a map!

London taxi drivers must take a test of “the knowledge” which proves their learning of all roads and routes through the city. London taxis can vary in price but are usually more expensive than an Uber. There are exceptions though, London taxis can be cheaper than a high “surge” price Uber, when the cost for Uber journeys are elevated for peak hours of the day and night.