Getting Around London – The different ways to travel around London City
August 21, 2019
Moving to the UK and wondering how to get around London City? In this video I share the 10 ways to get around London (plus one BONUS app that I highly recommend!) that will help save you time whilst taking in the beautiful city of London.
Whether you are looking for time-saving options to get around the city of London, or are looking for a way to get to the coastal cities without getting stuck in traffic, this video will share my 10 ways to help you travel around London and the UK with ease.
So, what are the best ways to get around London or what are those great transport links of this city? We’re going to be covering that in this video. Hi everyone Ugo Arinzeh with Onyx Property Consultants and Keller Williams, I’m a London-based property agent. I love helping my clients buy, sell, rent, and manage properties in London and I specialize in working with international buyers so helping them really settle into London and figure out everything they need to know about living in this fabulous city.
So one of the key questions when you’re moving or thinking about moving to a city is “what are the transport options” and “how are you going to get around?” When I moved to London over eight years ago I seriously considered bringing over my big SUV from Washington DC because, as an American, we’re very used to having cars and I felt that, boy, I would probably need a car but once I looked at my transport options it quickly became clear that actually owning a car in London is probably more of a headache than it’s worth, especially if you live in zones 1 or 2.
Now, make sure you stay to the end of this article, because I’m going to be sharing my BONUS tip in terms of navigating all of these different options that we’re going to cover.
The first major option that pretty much everybody knows about is the London Underground or tube network. This is an extensive network that starts in zone 1 and goes all the way out to zone 6. There are great maps and you can really see clearly how to get around across the multiple stations of the London Underground Network. I should also add that the London Underground is actually running 24 hour service on the weekends on some of the lines. I live along the Jubilee Line and that’s being run 24 hours now, so a great way to extend your options in terms of getting home safely is that the underground is running 24 hours a day on the weekends.
So after the London Underground option is the iconic red double-decker buses that are so iconic to London and really symbolize this city. What’s great about them, especially, as they continue to evolve are the options on them, so you can go upstairs, sit in the first or second row & it’s a great way to see the city. I know some people who absolutely don’t ever want to use a tube so using the buses is a great network option as well to get around London. One of my key tips though is if you are relocating and using the bus network in London, is to make sure you actually watch the signs!
I remember first moving here, the way we think a word is going to sound is what you might be listening out for in your head, but is not actually the stop that you’re going to expect to see. So, for example, in America we might look at Leicester Square and think it’s “Lie Chester Square” so you might be listening out for Lie Chester and meanwhile they’ve mentioned the next stop is Leicester (Lester) Square and you’ve actually missed it, so make sure to watch out for those signs, just to make sure you don’t miss your stop accidentally!
The third option in terms of London Transport is the overground network. So that’s a fantastic network that I think really kind of circumvents the city at times, so it’s a great option to go from say North West London all the way to South West London, you don’t have to traverse through the city through the London Underground network and instead you can use the overground it’s a great way to really get around the city as well. It is based on train schedules so you need to make sure you map that out as it’s not going to run as frequently as, say, the London Underground but it’s definitely, if you time it right, a great way to save time to get especially to farther flung areas of London. Adding on to the rail network are the national or regional train options that come into key stations such as Waterloo, Euston, Paddington – what’s really great is how far afield you can get and the time savings associated.
Recently I went out to see my colleague who lives in Milton Keynes and that’s over 50 miles away but there’s a direct train into London Euston that took just under 30 minutes, so what a great option to get that far out and not really have to deal with very much transport issues.
What’s also incredible is getting out to say Paris. London’s Kings Cross has a direct train into Paris on the Eurostar, and you can be city centre to city centre in little over two hours and what an incredible way to get into mainland Europe!
Another key option are the London black cabs they are again very iconic to London, everybody knows them and what’s great about the design of the black cabs is you can fit comfortably five people in addition to the cab driver so it’s a great way of seeing the city. Wheelchairs also can get into the black cabs; people with loads of shopping can easily get in there too. It is the most expensive, so I don’t encourage it in terms of a budget option but it’s definitely a great option & everybody should ride the black cabs at least once! They are also starting to add credit card options so again that was one of the big issues is that you’d have to have sufficient cash on you but now the black cabs are being fitted with credit card takers so that you can use a credit card as an option
This leads into another cab or taxi option which is something like Uber or Kapten. I’m starting to really enjoy Kapten they’re a better option in terms of budget to Uber, so it’s just giving you another option when you need to use a car and want to hire cab service. Again, what’s nice is you just need it on your app you don’t have to worry about having cash on you and you’re actually even now starting to be able to pre-book them so that gives you another great option.
Another key option that I’m a big fan of is zipcar. So what’s nice about Zipcar is that they are parked in your neighbourhood there’ll be dedicated car park spots that have the cars there reserved for you, you just have the Zipcar app on your phone and you can reserve and use the cars for as much time as you need. I particularly love using Zipcar when I’m doing a design project & you need to go do some shopping. I could borrow the car go and run my errands and put the car back and it’s literally around the corner from my house. I’ve never once had to put in gas (or petrol as they say here), and again it’s fully compliant and you’ve got all the regulations, you’ve got all the insurance – it’s all taken care of for you and you don’t have to worry about it you just use the car. as and when you need to.
Obviously one of the healthiest options is cycling in London, I think it’s a great option, when I first moved here I was actually cycling to work quite regularly. You obviously need to be very safe, make sure you have a helmet, make sure you’re observing all the transport signs and everything but you can utilize the bus lanes dedicated for the London buses and the black cabs because they’re all part of the Transport for London Network.
Another great option if you live along with the water is the Thames clipper service it’s not a service that I’ve ever used but it is quite extensive actually. It fronts from millennium pier at Westminster all the way down to Woolwich Arsenal and it’s got 12 stops. If you live along the water and you need to or want that as an option there are ferry services that will run every 20 minutes along the river.
And finally there is walking London is a very walkable city I think it’s a great option, I recently had family stay with me and they commented on how fit everyone is in London because we do walk so much and so I think walking is a great option. I particularly love walking through central London. I say get off the beaten path, walk on some of the side streets, navigate around it, because seeing London off of the major streets is a great great way to see London, you’ll just discover and see things and really, I think, appreciate the history of this incredible city if you do walk. I know colleagues who will get off a stop or two farther out from the office and walk in from there just to give themselves a bit of walking which is a great way to get exercise as well.
Now for my bonus tip is to absolutely use the Citymapper app, I don’t travel anywhere I’m not familiar with without first checking the Citymapper app! It’s a great app you just download on your phone, it’s free and it’ll show you all your various transport options. So it’ll show you ones that’ll avoid the tube if you want to do bus only, it’ll show you your shortest distance, it will show you ways to minimize walking if you want to do that, and what’s particularly nice is it’ll cost out your different options and it actually includes Uber and the black cab service so you can really get a sense of what is the best option whether you’re considering budget or time as the most important issue.
Tell me if you liked this video or let me know what’s your favourite way to get around London!
If I’ve missed any particular one that should be highlighted make sure to let me know and if you are moving to London or thinking about relocating make sure you get in touch.