Are you visiting London for the first time? You’re going to have a wonderful time, but to help make sure it’s perfect, here’s some advice to help you plan your accommodation, transport and just how to get around the city, so you don’t have to lose time trying to work this out once you get here!
Wherever I travel, I swear by Airbnb. It’s the best way to really live like a Londoner and it’s handy to have the kitchen facilities if you don’t fancy eating out all the time. If you want a hotel option though, anywhere in England, Premier Inn is a good and reliable option – instead of taking a punt on an independent hotel.
Where to stay
The transport around London is so good, you don’t need to be five minutes’ walk from Trafalgar Square to be in the thick of it. I’d recommend stayed a little further out, in places such as Stratford, Wembley, Bow, Canary Wharf or Brixton, to have a bit more of a London community experience, whilst travelling easily and quickly into Central London to do all your tourist stuff.
Getting into the city
Apart from City Airport, which is in Canary Wharf, none of the airports are in the centre of London. Luton is north, Stansted is east, Heathrow is west and Gatwick is south. From all of them you can get a train or coach (best to book a coach in advance for a cheaper rate) into London but allow over an hour for the journey.
If you’re on the train, coming into Euston, Kings Cross, Victoria or Paddington etc, they all connect onto the tube so you can carry on your journey easily.
Tube or bus are the main ways to get around. The tubes are a little hot and stuffy so it’s definitely better to walk around Central London instead of getting the tube – especially between 4 – 7 when the commuters are travelling. If you walk, you get to see more of the city anyway! The buses are a bit better, but take a lot longer, especially during commuting hours.
If you’re only in London for a short time, get yourself a weekly or daily pass at any station but if you’re staying longer, it may be worth buying an Oyster Card (which you put down a £5 deposit for) which you can top up at each station and which charges around £2.60 a journey (or £1.50 for a bus ride). If you have a railcard, connect it to get 1/3 off all your tube journeys.
Apps to download
The only apps you’ll need are:
- Citymapper – in the app, you put in your location and destination and it maps it all out for you, whether you’re walking, cycling, driving or getting the train, bus or tube around London. It also has the tube map so you can refer to it.
- Uber – if you’re going to be out late, Uber is a taxi service all around London which coordinates you with one of their drivers who are nearby. It’s quick and it’s safer and way cheaper than a black cab.
What to do whilst you’re there
Have a look around my blog for loads of great ideas of how to enjoy London life! There’s everything from best spots for a view over London, good places to eat, good shows and exhibitions to the best pubs. It’s definitely worth asking a local for the best of these things otherwise you’ll do all the tourist stuff but never see the real London!
So, now you’re armed with all the information, it’s time to get planning your amazing trip to London! Enjoy and send over any questions on Twitter to @keepitnorthern!