Category Archives: london transport
Planning your trip to London
There’s one hell of a lot to do in London some basic planning will avoid unnecessary trapsing around on foot or irritating waiting for public transport. It’s best to plan a day out so as to maximise the number of things you can see – and to go for variety. Below are a few mornings, afternoons and whole days out we’ve arranged for visitors – time permitting, we can offer advice by Email (firstname.lastname@example.org) if there’s anything you particularly want to see. Our Walks and itineraries link points of interest – see the separate page.
Weather – likely to make or break your visit. Although there are plenty of things to do in London in the rain, a week of low slate-grey skies and constant rain is not condusive to having a good time. The best season to come weatherwise is Late Summer or Autumn – latterly we’ve been having Indian Summers from mid-September to the end of October with clear blue skies and 20 degree temperatures. Eventually the weather breaks as the storm fronts move in off the Atlantic, then clears up for Christmas. February – April can be dire, and the heights of summer are very unpredictable. Consult the Meterological office here for facts and figures but beware predictions – they are so often wrong.
When it’s raining there are plenty of museums and galleries to visit – and the tube system is generally very good outside of rush hour. What you’ll miss out on is strolling through London and seeing the many unique pleasures by the wayside. Click here to see when to visit London.
Hotel Location Best to be near a tube station, buses can be slow and unreliable, and taxis expensive. The yellow circle line on the tube map marks the division between central and not-so-central London. Outside of that Zone your transport bill will rise – and once you’re in LT zone three, considerably. The best restaurants are in Islington, Soho/Chinatown and the south west of London which is where the life is. The City is a dead zone evenings and weekends. Hotel accommodation click here.
Baker St tube, Madame Tussauds, walk north to Regent’s Park, the Zoo, then up Primrose Hill, Primrose Hill ‘village’ to Chalk Farm (or cut through Primrose gate by the zoo and along the canal towpath to Camden Lock) and Camden Market (weekends only), Camden Town tube, on a weekend. 4-5 hours.
Train Waterloo – St Margarets, walk 10 mins to Marble Hill House, 5 mins to the foot ferry to, Ham House, walk 25 mins along river to Richmond, tube to Kew Gardens,& back to Waterloo – (can be heavy on the admission charges) Afternoon.
Freemason’s Temple on Great Queen Street, 10 mins from the tube, Covent Garden market, Transport Museum in the Piazza, Backstage tour of Theatre Royal Drury Lane at the back of the transport museum, walk 10 mins to the Strand, the Law Courts and the Inns of Court. Three hours. Circuit round Covent Garden tube.
Tottenham Court Road tube, 10 mins walk to the British Museum, 10 mins walk south to Sir John Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, Inns of Court – starting at Lincoln’s Inn, walk 10 mins to the strand and the Courtauld Gallery, Somerset House & Galleries, Charing Cross/Strand. (3-4 hours, depending on how long you stay in the British Museum, Inns of court best weekdays)
Charing Cross tube, 5 mins walk to the National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, 5 mins walk down Whitehall to Horseguards, 10 Downing St and the Cabinet War rooms. 10 Mins across St James Park to St James’ Palace, Green Park tube. 3-4 hours.
Westminster tube, Houses of Parliament, Westminster Abbey. 10 mins walk along the river to Tate Britain, Pimlico Tube 2 hours
High St Kensington tube, 10 mins walk to Kensington Palace, Kensington Gardens, 15 minute walk to Notting Hill, 10 minute walk to Portobello Road market (Saturday – 3 hours) Notting Hill Gate tube.
Old St or Liverpool St tube, 15 min walk/or by bus to Geffrye Museum 10 minute walk to Colombia Road Flower Market, 10 minute walk to Brick Lane, then to Spitalfields Market, Liverpool St tube (on Sundays, 11:00-1500, including lunch)
South Kensington tube, 5 minute walk down tunnel to Natural History Museum, Science Museum, Victoria And Albert Museum, 10 minute walk to Harrods. Knightsbridge tube (for a rainy day)
Queensway or Bayswater tube, hire Skates on Queensway, skate down to Albert Memorial, and thence to Kensington Palace and back to Queensway, exploring the park. Circuit.
Oxford Circus tube, Oxford Street (west half of), St. Christopher’s Place, Wallace collection, Bond Street, Burlington Arcade, Royal Academy. Green park tube.
Waterloo station/tube, London Eye, River walk, Oxo tower, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe, London Bridge station/tube. 3 hours. See also our walks section.
Tower Hill DLR station/Bank tube, Island gardens DLR station, 10 minutes walk under the foot tunnel, Cutty Sark, Greenwich market, Naval Academy, 10 mins walk to the Queen’s House, Royal Observatory, 15 mins back to Greenwich Pier – boat back to Tower Hill – 4 hours.
Monument tube, Monument, 5 mins to Leadenhall Market & Lloyd’s Building, 10 mins walk to Tower of London, St katherine’s dock, Tower Bridge, Shad Thames. Tower Hill tube. (3 -4 hours)
Mansion House tube, Mansion House, 10 mins walk to Guildhall Art gallery, walk round back of Guildhall up the walkways through the Barbican, Museum of London, 10 mins walk to St Paul’s Cathedral, St Paul’s tube. 4 hours.
Leicester Square tube, Leicester Square, Wardour St, walk through Chinatown to Charing Cross Rd, north to Cambridge Circus, along Old Compton St and Brewer Street through Soho, tp Piccadilly Circus, up Regent Street to Liberties, turn right to Carnaby Street, Piccadilly Circus/Oxford Circus tube. (1-2 hours)
London Attractions – click here
Rest of Britain
Virtually everyone flies into London, even if their reason to visit lies elsewhere. Booking a train trip from London to see the rest of the UK is best done AT LEAST TWO DAYS IN ADVANCE – very cheap fares are available, especially on Virgin Trains – as little as £9 return to Chester 2 weeks or more in advance.
Outside of London the major places of interest (apart from those listed on our trips page) would be the Cotswolds (for which you need a car), North Wales: Snowdonia and the Castles (ditto), Oxford, Cambridge, Chester, York and Bath (easily accessible by train), and we’d recommend the North of Norfolk and the Yorkshire Dales (car needed). In Scotland, Edinburgh is the only city attraction – flights are very cheap on Easyjet (much cheaper than rail travel) if you book in advance. For scenery visit the Fort William area, but beware the midges in summer, and the weather in winter. Cornwall and the Devon coast are beautiful, but a long way from anywhere and quite tourist – you can fly there using the cheap internet airlines – cheap if you book enough in advance. No city except London merits more than one day.
So many tourist boards will bombard you with information trying to sell themselves – caveat emptor is the rule. Britain earns millions of pounds from tourists, make sure you get good independent advice on places outside of London before you even think of visiting them . Many tourist boards have been caught lying and taken to court, and one Chief Tourist Officer of a large northern city resigned because he could no longer go on lying – his city really wasn’t worth visiting despite the tourist propaganda his department put out One seaside resort has been prosecuted for doctoring photos and the 2007/8 season ads for Scotland featured snow footage that was decades old and unlikely to match the reality, due to global warming.
We wouldn’t recommend Manchester (except the Lowry), Liverpool (except for the art galleries – see our art page) despite it being city of Culture, Birmingham or anywhere in the Midlands (except for Chatworth House near Chesterfield), The Lake District ( very beautiful but too crowded unless you’re going hill walking which is excellent – if you are stay at the Gilpin Lodge and do some of the set walks, but allow two/three days minimum.), Leeds, Bradford, Hull, Newcastle (unless you like drunkenness) South Wales except the Black country or the Gower Penninsula, Blackpool – or any seaside resort except Brighton, Portsmouth, The Isle of Wight (expensive ferry) Aberdeen, Inverness (the Lochs excepted), Lancaster or Sunderland (except Hadrian’s Wall). Some of these places are grim by any standards.
If you’re a party animal only, then Manchester has a good club scene and Newcastle is good for overindulgence in alcohol and loose women, as well as streetfights – it’s where the Rolling Stones’ ‘Streetfighting Man’ comes from… A male friend was beaten up by some Geordie lasses outside a nightclub, so maybe streetfighting women as well.
The Knowhere site is good for info on smaller tourist locations, but is aimed at skateboarders – its judgement on the overall character of a place is often spot-on – though generally they’re not a very helpful bunch .
Tours of Britain departing from London – Click here
Best Value Tours – www.SightseeingTours.co.uk
The Italian Job Mini Cooper London Tour.
Avoid the crowds with this truly bespoke and personal sightseeing experience around the most iconic sights in London. You will have the chance to travel in real style, as you hop into the coolest car in town, joined by your local and knowledgeable guide, ready to point out some of the most amazing stories and facts about one of the world’s most amazing cities!
With your private guide, in your exclusive groovy car, you will have the opportunity to tailor your tour to your needs and interest, requesting pick up and drop off location, specific interests, and areas of London that you want to discover. This really is the ultimate in exclusive and personal sightseeing travel!The tour will include all of the most famous sights of London, cruising through the famous areas famous across the world. You will discover Royal Parks and Palaces, the illustrious West end and its many theatres, and the Roman and Medieval London, with tales and stories to bring every part to life. Discover famous film locations, unknown stories, the best restaurants, and all the best shopping and markets.
The Italian Job Tour takes in all of London’s iconic sights: – Royal Palaces, Including Buckingham Palace and Kensington Palace – London Royal Parks – Whitehall, the home to many Government buildings and history (think James Bond !) – Big Ben – Houses of Parliament – London Eye – West End London – Famous for shopping, dining and Theatre – Mayfair, Bond Street, Regent Street – for upmarket boutiques and expensive jewellers – Medieval and Roman London – with history dating back to over 2000 years – Bank of England and London’s financial district – Tower Bridge – Tower of London – And so much more
You will even have the choice of blue jumpsuits to really get you in the spirit, and you can discover where the gold bars are hidden! The Tour will last for 1.5 hours, and you have the opportunity to select a pick up and drop off location. The cars can carry up to three passengers each. You will have a knowledgeable and charming local guide ready to answer your every query, to help you get the most out of London long after your tour has finished. Step away from the crowds and experience some of the charm of the coolest cars from the 60’s.
You’ll feel like a true Londoner!
Directions Pick-up point: St James’s Park Tube Station Times
Tours depart at 10:00, 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 21:00 daily, subject to availability.
The tour lasts approximately 1 hour.
Dates and Prices – £139.00 is per car for up to three people in a car. So for 2, £46.33 per person or 3, £39.50 per person
Travel Editor – Best Value Tours
The London Underground is one of the most advanced railway systems you’ll find in any city in the world today. Not only is it one of the most popular but it is also the oldest railway system that operates underground in the world. In fact, it is over 150 years old. The majority of people do not call it the London Underground, they call it the “tube”.
Considering the number of people that travel on the London Underground every single day, it is actually quite an efficient and well organised way to travel. Tickets can be purchased from every station on the Underground by machine, these allow you access to get on the train that you want. You then use these tickets to go through the exit barriers on the station that you’re getting off the Underground. This really speeds things up as actual people are not required to check each individual ticket. Obviously if you need help, then there is always the staff on hand to give you all the advice you need.
The safety on the London Underground is improving all the time. There is a constant presence of police and security staff that patrol the stations as well as the trains themselves. It was once considered to be quite risky to travel at night but that has changed with the new security measures and improvement of CCTV.
The London Underground itself consists of different lines which are all coloured differently so can be easily recognised. You will see the maps that show you the different coloured lines at every Underground station, so you should easily be able to recognise which train you need to get on and which stations it will run through before it reaches the one you need. It will be hard to imagine how busy London would be without the London Underground. It really allows for easy travel throughout the whole city and will make your journey a more pleasurable one.
More London Travel Tips here: http://www.londontraveltips.net
Transport for London: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/
Travel Editor –
Best Value Tours. www.SightseeingTours.co.uk