London Travel Guide
As the capital of England and with so much history and things to see in London, it is not surprising how many visitors the city receives throughout the year. The city of London alone has nearly 24 million journeys made every single day over its extensive travel network. If you have never been to London before or never experienced the London travel system and network, it can seem a little confusing at first and somewhat overwhelming. The London travel network is very efficient and is designed to help transport people throughout the city in the quickest time possible.
London Travel Network
The London travel network consists of many different types of transport and many of them are famous around the world such as the big red London bus, the black taxi cabs of London and the London Tube system. However, as well as these world famous iconic types of transport, London has other transport systems in operation available to visitors.
The red London bus is another iconic sight in London and the bus services throughout London are very efficient. You can catch a bus to all the major attraction in London but you can no longer pay with cash on the bus. Instead you will need to use either an Oyster card, Visitor Oyster card, a Travelcard or a contactless bank card.
London Tube Network (London Underground)
The London Tube system is a very efficient way to travel around London and the Tubes are every few minutes. The easiest and most cost effective way of using the Tube is to purchase either an Oyster Card or a Visitor Oyster card.
London River Services – (River Bus)
Rail Network The rail network in London is extensive and they connect passengers to many of the towns and boroughs outside of central London. The local ‘Overground’ rail networks in London connect with the Tube and offer connections to places that the Tube does not service. There are also rail service that connect passengers to the major airports in and around London. Rail services such as the Heathrow Express and Gatwick Express are very popular forms of transport to and from the two major London airports. You can also catch the Stansted Express from Stansted airport to London.
As we mentioned earlier, the Black Taxis of London are an iconic sight and many visitors use them just for the novelty. However, the Black cabs in London are also used as a simple way to travel around London. The Black taxis fares in London are all determined using a meter and there is a minimum fare of £2.40 (at the time of writing). The Black Cabs in London can be hailed in the street, booked over the phone or can be found in designated zones such as outside the railway and Tube stations in London. If the yellow sign at the front of the cab is illuminated, it means that the cab is available for hire.
Tramlink is a Tram system that operate through the South London area and runs from Wimbledon and via Croydon then continues on to Beckenham. The Tramlink system provides a fast, convenient and environmentally friendly form of transport for passengers in this area.
If you are planning a trip to London, there are many coach operators that provide services to and from London from major towns and city throughout the UK. There are also coach operator that provide coach services to London from the continent. Getting to London does not have to be expensive and if you manage to book your seat early, you really can find some great deals on coach fares to London. The largest coach operator that provides services to and from London is National Express but there are other companies such as Megabus and Greenline who also offer a large number of services throughout the day. There are also many coach services to and from the London airports that connect passengers to the city.
Many visitors to London arrive by air and London is serviced by 5 major airports, Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton and London City Airport. These airports all have good ground support in place and offer a wide range of transfer options to and from London.
The Barclays Cycle Hire scheme allows you to grab a bike and cycle to your chosen destination around London. You can hire a bike and ride it to where you like and then return it to one of the hundreds of docking station around the city. There are over 10,000 bikes available and over 700 docking station in and around London. The first 30 minutes is FREE and you will then be charged for any duration over the 30 minutes. The best way to use the bikes is to cycle to your destination and then return it to one of the docking stations upon your arrival. Then, when you want to leave for another destination, simply grab another bike from the docking station and get cycling, when you reach your next destination, simply return the bike to the docking station. Costs start from £2 for 24 hours, which allows you unlimited rides up to 30 minutes. Over 30 minutes and you will be charged an additional fee. Barclays Cycle Hire Video:
Emirates Air Line The Emirates Air Line is a great way to cross the River Thames and allows you to see some of Londons iconic attractions from a viewpoint you may never have thought about using! Emirates Air Line Video:
Believe it or not, it can be much quicker to walk between the major land marks and tourist areas in London than it is to catch the Tube. Many people think that the easiest way (and only) way to get around London is using the Tube but you may be surprised at how close many of the attractions are to each other. As well as the health benefits of walking, you can also see much more of London by walking than you would using the Underground Tube. Walking Tours are a good way to see London
If you are planning on travelling to London by car and wish to drive in the centre of London, you need to make yourself familiar with the ‘Congestion Charge’. Between the hours of 07:00 and 18:00 Monday to Friday, any vehicle that enters the Congestion Zone will be required to pay the Congestion charge. If you do not pay, you will receive a fine and if you know you will be entering the Congestion Zone whilst you are driving in London, it is advisable to pay the charge up front in advance before travel.
Dial A Ride
If you have a long term disability and you are visiting London staying at an address within the city of London, you can apply for temporary membership to the Dial A ride scheme. For further information, please visit the following page:
Oyster Cards And Visitor Oyster Cards
One of the easiest and most cost effective ways of travelling around London is to use the Oyster card. The Oyster card is a Pay-As-You-Go smartcard that you can use on all London transport. You load the card up with a prepaid amount of money and then simply swipe your Oyster when you get on and off the transport or as you enter and exit the train and Tube stations. The beauty of using the Oyster card is that you get your London travel at a discounted price.
A single journey in the centre of London costs £4.70 but with your Oyster car, it will cost you £2.20. Another added bonus of using an Oyster card in London is that your cost of travel is capped once you have reached a certain amount of money each day. This means that you can travel as much as you like around London in one day using your Oyster card yet only be charged a set amount of money (currently £8.40 at the time of writing).
If you loaded your Oyster Card up with £10.00 worth of credit and made 3 trips on public transport, your card would be charged £6.60 (3 single journeys costing £2.20 per journey). However, if you were to make 4 journeys in one day £8.80, your card would be only charged the set capped amount of £8.40. If you were to make 10 journeys in one day, your card would only be charged £8.40 instead of £22.00. If you were to make 20 journeys in one day, your card would still only be charged the capped amount of £8.40 instead of £44.00. As you can see, purchasing an Oyster card is definitely the way to go if you are going to be making lots of journeys on the London public transport systems.
Your Oyster card will start again each day and will be capped once you reach the set amount for that day. This is why you should ensure you have enough money on your Oyster Card each day before you begin your travel. You can check how much money you have on your card by simply scanning it at one of the ticket machine in the stations and you can also top up your card at the machines too.
As you can see from the above, there are many different forms of London travel options available to you when you visit the capital and chosen the best one to suit you will be determined by your own requirements and budget. To read more about London travel, please visit the Transport Of London website: Transport Of London