Ever wondered how the locals get around in London? If you assumed that city dwellers use their cars to pop in and out of the busy districts of London, then for the most part, you’d be sorely mistaken. The majority of Londoners favour public transport over using their own vehicle for a plethora of reasons, the top one being that roads are so heavily congested there that public transport allows them to get to places promptly.
Morning and evening commuters will often use the London underground to get to and from work, as the service is reliable, fast and relatively cheap. In fact, many of the city’s locals would probably pick the tube as their transport of choice to go, well anywhere within London really. This is probably due to the fact that tube stations are sprinkled all over the city, and so you’re never too far away from one, whether you are in urban London or Oxford Street.
For visitors wanting to get around the city, the London underground can seem daunting- which line should you use? Are you heading for the right ‘zone’? However, with a calm and collected look at the map of tube services available at nearly all stations, it shouldn’t take you too long to figure it out, especially as the lovely tube staff have colour coded the maps too. Using the tube is popular amongst tourists and locals alike because it is so cost-effective, all day travel costs just over £6 and for that price you can hop on and off as you wish. And, thanks to the service being so efficient, it means that you can be back at the Park Grand Paddington Court hotel, or wherever you are staying, in next to no time after a full day of exploring.
Paying for public transport around London couldn’t be simpler either, as a travel Oyster card allows you to top up before travelling, so that you don’t need to worry about having enough cash to pay for your fares. You simply tap the card against the yellow payment machines on London buses, trams, trains and the tube and your fare is paid for! Furthermore, the balance of the card is protected should the worst case scenario occur and a theft was to take place.
However, if you were hoping for a more fun way to get from place to place in the city, then London will not disappoint. Roads are made more colourful and fun with the famous red double decker sight-seeing tour buses, whilst duck tours are becoming quite popular also. These yellow vehicles are part bus and part boat, and will take you on a tour of London like no other- you’ll go over both land and water to see many of the city’s famous landmarks!
However, if you’re a fan of birds- eye views, then you’ll adore the emirates airline cable car that connects Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Victoria Docks. Granted, it’s a little more expensive than getting around by bus or train, but the striking views of the cityscape below are definitely worth it. If you like fun and quirky ways to travel, then this should absolutely feature on your itinerary.
Whilst on foot in the city, be sure to walk across the London tower bridge high walkways, which in 1910 was a place well known for ladies of the night. Now though, the bridge offers a beautiful view of the river below and fantastic views of the city itself too. However, a small fee is payable for those wishing to walk across the bridge.
Visitors to London should remember that most forms of public transport will allow children under a certain age to travel for free with a full paying adult, however, these more novel ways to get around will more than likely charge for children to use them too. This may be priced at a concessionary rate, but be aware that you should consider how it will eat into your travel budget if you are travelling with a large family. However, if you’ve been clever enough to book accommodation from one of the London hotels special offers that are often featured online, then you’ll have more leeway with how you are able to spend the rest of your budget!
You should also note that quirkier forms of travel (such as those mentioned previously) are not able to take Oyster cards as an acceptable way to pay for fares when travelling. Usually, cash is the easiest way to pay for tickets for more unusual ways of travelling around the city. However, the inconvenience of ensuring you have cash on you is far outweighed by how much fun you will have on the journey. Imagine your little ones’ faces as your ‘bus’ turns into a boat and drives into the water! It’s a good idea to remember your camera when taking such trips, as not only will you want to capture the wonderful cityscape, but you’ll want to remember the look on your children’s faces as they discover the city like never before.
Once your trip comes to a close and you’re headed for home, if you’ve chosen rail as your chosen transport of choice, then you can take an hour or two to sit back and relax, rather than queuing in busy traffic to exit London. This is the perfect opportunity to chat with your family about your London adventures and reflect upon what everyone enjoyed the most. And, if the general opinion is that London was a roaring success, then you’ll even have time to start planning for your next visit!