​How to Get Around London: A Tourist Guide

Wed 22nd January, 2020

Navigate London like a local with our ultimate traveler’s guide!

While small in theory, London is actually the largest city in the UK, with several distinct neighbourhoods and points of interest to venture through during your stay. Whether you choose to make use of the extensive public transport network, or brave the feat of parking in central London, we’ve got you covered! Here are some pointers for getting around…

Mind the Gap…

London Underground Tube Map

A popular option amongst tourists and Brits alike, the London Underground and National Rail make up the extensive train network in the city. The London Underground, or ‘tube’, has exceptional reach, servicing London’s central district all the way through to its more outlying suburbs. Maps detailing the various lines and stations are available just about everywhere, allowing you to predetermine your route with ease. Transport for London utilizes prepaid ‘Oyster Cards’ to ease the payment process. We recommend getting a Visitor Oyster Card to avoid the pricier flat rates applicable to regular cardholders.

Pro Tip: Download the ‘Citymapper’ app for smarter travel! Citymapper provides suggested routes and notifies you in real-time of any disruptions on your journey ahead.

If you are on foot…

If time (and energy levels) permit, walking is a great way of meandering around the city. London is extremely walkable with many close attractions within walking distance of each other. Walking around London gives you an opportunity to experience the city in a more personable way. It can also prove to be more convenient, cutting down on the need to hop in and out of buses or tubes to venture around a small area.

Pro Tip: Plan to get off a tube station or bus stop earlier and walk the remaining distance. This helps you to get to know the surroundings better and you may stumble upon other points of interest along the way!

Bussing it?

Buses can be a little more complicated to navigate than the tube but they are really affordable at around £1.50 a journey, irrespective of how far you go. Buses are cashless, so you can use your Oyster or any other contactless bank card to pay for your fare by tapping on the yellow card reader as you get onto the bus. Buses will only stop at designated stops on their route and in some cases may miss a stop if there are no incoming or outgoing passengers. To let the driver know that you want to get off, press one of the red ‘stop’ buttons accessible from the metal posts throughout the bus.

Pro Tip: Some buses run through the night so keep an eye out for the ‘N’ in front of the bus number!


Get cycling...

With cycle lanes all throughout the city, renting a bike is another great way of getting around. This is a good option for solo travelers who don’t want to brave the crowds in public transport stations or bear the costs of a taxi. Londoners are very accustomed to cyclists so you can ride and explore on two wheels without a worry.

Pro Tip: Slow down and give pedestrians lots of space on shared paths, where they always have priority. 

You’re an avid driver… or passenger!

London’s famous black cabs aside, there are a number of taxi and rideshare options available if you aren’t comfortable using public transport. You could get in touch with a local cab company or simply request an Uber. While we know parking and traffic in London is a nightmare, some tourists may opt to hire their own vehicle. If this is you, make sure you are clued up on driver age requirements and any required deposit fee from the rental company. It’s also a good idea to check out a general guide on driving in London to brush up on the basics.

Pro Tip: A daily Congestion Charge of £11.50 applies when driving in certain parts of central London on weekdays between 7am and 6pm. Bear this in mind before you hit the road!

The Mayflower Hotel London is located in Earls Court, just a 3-minute walk from Earls Court tube station and walking distance to a number of attractions including Olympia London, Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge, and Kensington Gardens. Contact us to discuss your next booking.