Culture, London Life

Ultimate Ways to Get Around London

How you decide to get around the capital depends on 3 main things; the distance you have to travel, how much time you have to get there and how much you want to spend. With famously exorbitant travel costs in London compared to many other cities in the world, I have listed 10 ways to get around the city, in my personal order of preference.

Walking

Perfect for short trips and completely free. It is my favourite way to get around the city because London is largely flat and the smoggy air aside, you do get to see a lot more of the city on foot than when you are underground.

Uber

It’s Uber. It’s ideal. And in London it is a lot cheaper than our trademark black taxis. Plus you can always meet an interesting stranger in the back of a Prius on your way home from the other side of the city if you decide to Uber Pool it.

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Bus

This is a great way to cover distance and is often cooler than the Tube trains on summer days. Buses are a lot cheaper too with each journey only costing £1.50 no matter how far you travel. You can also switch buses as many times as you need within one hour of tapping in* on your first journey and it won’t cost you any more. The daily cap for the buses in London is £4.50. There are also night buses every day, which run across the city which are extremely useful.

*Tapping in is when you touch your Oyster Card or contactless payment card onto the reader when you board the bus or tap to get through the barriers at train/tube stations etc.

The Tube

Convenient and practical when it is running properly, the Tube is ideal for longer journeys but can get very hot in summer and extremely crowded on a daily basis. It is also quite expensive with an anytime, one day, travel card between zones 1-6 costing the average adult almost £20!

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The Overground and Network Railway

Similar to the Tube but a little less crowded (on some routes), these rail networks are ideal for getting around suburban London if you are venturing out of the capital or for visiting towns across the south and south east of the UK.

Driving

Getting around London in your own car can be frustrating to say the least. I do not drive so it isn’t an option for me, but if you do, you must consider insanely high parking fees and a daily congestion charge of £11.50 to take your vehicle into the congestion zone between 7am and 6pm on weekdays plus the Ultra Low Emission charge applicable to most vehicles in the city, all day, every day; an additional £12.50.

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Black Taxis

Good to say you have been in one, but I would generally avoid them. They often take the longest route to places and charge way more than necessary for the journey. Uber all the way.

Rickshaws

Avoid. Do not be tempted in with their pretty lights and upbeat music. They are not regulated by the Department of Transport so they are allowed to charge what they like. There are often stories in the news about how someone has tried to charge a tourist £600 for a trundle around or £150 for a five minute journey around Soho. Avoid.

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Tram

London does have a tram network in the south of the city, running from Wimbledon to Beckenham via Croydon, which provides another way to commute. The services run pretty regularly and all access is step free. I do not live in this area of London so do not use the trams on a regular basis, but I have taken them before and from my experiences they have usually been pretty reliable. 

Cycling

One of the best ways to get around the city. The Santander bikes, once branded ‘Boris Bikes’ (or Sadiq Cycles now maybe) are all over the city and offer a cheap way to get around. You can hire a bike for £2 for 24 hours, and don’t even have to be using it the whole time. You can doc it and pick up another bike later and not pay more than the £2. We also have Obike and Mobike schemes running in the city, but I can’t ride a bike which is why cycling is not higher on my list!

Honorable mention here too for the river boat services in London. They are often a lot quieter than the tube, roads, trains and buses, but obviously not always as convenient as they follow the course of the River Thames.

Have you ever been to London? Which of these transports did you use to get around the city? Or maybe you have a favourite way to get around your own town? Let me know in the comments below.

 

20 thoughts on “Ultimate Ways to Get Around London”

  1. I’ve done all of these but driving and rickshaw (obvs). My usual is network rail/tube/bus combos on a day to day basis but took the riverboat for the first time they other day and now I wish that was my commute, it was so peaceful in comparison, even if it was a bit slow. There’s also the Emirates cable car but I still can’t figure out what the point of that is, and the bike rentals!

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    1. I love the riverboats in London, they would be such a nice commute – but I guess they would get pretty tiresome just like anything else if you had to do it every day. I love the cable car ride too but I think it’s more touristy than a means of transport! Bikes in the city are great – if only I could ride… Thank you for reading 😀 x

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  2. I used to drive to central since this Ultra Low Emission thing started, but now I just take the tube to central and then prefer wandering around.
    I didn’t know the rickshaws charge 600 and stuff, so dodgy !!

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    1. Wandering around a city like London is the best – you can never tire of it, no matter how exhausted you become. The only downside to that of course is the blackened contents of your nose when you get back (GROSS!) I would love to take a rickshaw in all honesty but the prices are so scandalous 😦

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  3. Recently needed transport from Hammersmith to the Dorchester (very posh very special occasion) not a daily occurrence lol…..
    Ordered an uber executive car and truly arrived in style in a fabulous Mercedes complete with suited driver leather seats and a drink…..sorry chaps but this is the way forward from now on….loved it
    Moose 🦌🦌🦌

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    1. Me too! I don’t think any of us expected that to arrive 😂 I think it’s definitely worth it for those occasions and practical, even going to like black tie parties and such 😀 x

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  4. Thank you so much for the advice! I haven’t been to London yet but will probably make a trip there in the next couple of years. I always struggle with getting around places so this is super helpful!

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    1. Thank you so much for reading ❤️ I’m glad you found this useful. The buses can be really good in central London, traffic aside and you get to see the city. If you go to the top of the buses on a double decker, it’s like a proper bus tour but so much cheaper than the official ones! 😂

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  5. Wow I never realised how cheap the buses are! The tube gives me abit of anxiety so I tend to walk everywhere. Places are never as far as you think around the city.
    Thank you for sharing.
    Alyssa
    THESACREDSPACEAP.COM

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    1. I completely understand in terms of the tube, it can be totally horrendous down there. I do love walking around the city though, it is my favorite. I recently started to take the bus, mainly becuase of how vile the tube gets in summer. Thank you so much for reading 🙂 x

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  6. This is a really helpful post! I went on the underground in the summer once and it wasn’t too busy that day but the heat was awful! I didn’t realise how cheap the bikes were either, I often opt for walking wherever I go but I forget how big London is so a bike could be more ideal! x

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    1. London is huge but a lot of what we need in central is closer than you think. If somewhere is like 25 mins walk that is sometimes better than 10 minutes on the tube plus 10/15 mins walking down to it and waiting in the sweaty air! Maybe take a bike around one of the parks to get used to them first off (plus it’ll be quieter if you don’t know the area) ❤️x

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  7. I’ve done a mixture of these but walking or the Underground are my usual go-to’s. Others I’ve tried are buses, the Overground and riverboats – the bus boat from the 02 Arena to Westminster gave great views of the cities landmarks.

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    1. I love the river boats in the city too! And even the cable car – London has a whole bunch of options. I love walking around the city too 😁 the underground gets so hot in summer! X

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