Your traveling foot is itching again, and this time, the destination or a pause to the final destination is the amazing hetroglot city of London. An amazing choice!
Allow me to share a few options that I feel are time-efficient and money-saving while exploring London. The best way to explore the vibrant and multicultural metropolis city of London is through public transit. If you are thinking about renting a car just to scout London, It is going to be a waste of money and time.
However, if you are planning to visit Bath, Highclere Castle (Downton Abbey), Cambridge, or the Cotswold villages, then renting from Eurocar, Enterprise, or other rental options makes sense. The 16-25 Railcard is the best option for individuals between 16-25 years of age when traveling outside of London. It is way cheaper than a normal train fare.
But, for London City, the public transit system is way more efficient than driving.
The oldest London tube, the classic red bus, and, of course, walking.
London underground/tube is the fastest travel mode to visit the geographically vast old city and the majority of attractions. And, it is very reliable. The London Tube is ancient, as the City & South London Railway in 1890 was the first line to operate underground. It is now part of the northern line.
Always remember to use the same card for tap, and remember to tap the same card while exiting the station. It’ll help you to save the fare, as there is a cap on daily ticket prices. So, using the same method for payment is important.
From my personal experience, if you travel from one zone to another, the tube is more efficient. But if you are traveling in Zone One, then a big red double-decker bus is more fun to view the amazing streets and landmarks of London.
London zones might seem complex initially, but it’s a very efficient system. You can find a map of London zones in every tube.
London zones are divided into Zone 1 to Zone 6. The majority of London’s tourist attractions and some classic hidden nooks and crannies are in Zone 1 and Zone 2. So, if you’re here for 2-3 days, then Zone 1 and Zone 2 should be on the day’s agenda.
Secret tip – If you want to explore London like a local, stay in Zone 2 near Hammersmith station. You’ll be close to many attractions, and it’s also cheaper than Westminster or Soho.
The classic red bus is a magical chariot of London; it’s not just a means of travel. I remember during my first visit to London, I hopped on a red double-decker bus, grabbed the first seat on top, and voila, those 2 hours of just viewing London were amazing. I have a vague memory of watching Piccadilly, South Kensington Palace, Trafalgar Square, and so many beautiful buildings for the very first time.
The picture-perfect red bus is a cheaper way to take in and prepare your route ahead, traversing through the main areas of London.
Few routes to plan your journey.
Bus no 9 – Board the bus from Trafalgar Square and you can easily view the Houses of Parliament, Big Ben, Hyde Park, Knightsbridge, and many other attractions.
Bus n0 24 – hop on from Piccadilly Circus and get ready for an amazing vista of Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abby, Cathedral, City Hall, as well as the Horse Guards Parade.
Bus No 159– Catch a bus from Westminster Station and ride across the London Eye, houses of Parliament, Big Ben, and St Paul’s Cathedral.
Hop-on Hop-off Bus tours are a favorite choice for many tourists and a fun way for city sightseeing. It is fun to board the bus at any stop, then explore that destination, hop off again at the next landmark that catches your eye, and explore London at your own pace with your personalized itinerary.
Elizabeth Line and Piccadilly Line are 2 best options for smooth transit between Heathrow Airport and London City.
Elizabeth’s line is the fastest route toward London city. It takes hardly 15 minutes.
Piccadilly line is the next best way to reach London City, and it’s a cheaper one as well. Express trains are more expensive.
If you are returning your rental car or going to pick up your rental car, there are free shuttle buses to and from the airport. If possible, for Heathrow Airport, try to avoid taking a cab to avoid traffic.
For real-time traffic and travel options, you only need one London transport app. Download the TfL Go app on your mobile. It helps you to navigate your way across London. and other than that, google Maps are also very accurate for planning the journey.
Oyster card, cash, or contactless payment method?
The Oyster card is the number one choice to use in public transport. Instead of single-ticket purchases or paper tickets, you can save more money through Oyster or contactless payment methods.
Use your regular contactless debit or credit card (just check the transaction rate with your bank) and have the benefit of the pay-as-you-go capping system. Always remember to tap out while leaving the underground station and use the same card for every train or bus ride. Don’t switch between your cards.
As a tourist, no doubt, you’ll want to convert your currency and try to use cash to purchase underground or bus tickets. But believe me, single tickets are more expensive than an Oyster card or any contactless payment gateway.
If you are in London just for the evening, reach Victoria station, start walking towards Buckingham Palace, watch Big Ben across St James Park, and start walking towards the Thames River. It doesn’t matter which route you take; in the evening time, every view looks gorgeous.
Thames river walk
At night, walking along the Thames River is mesmerizing and going to be one of the most romantic walks of your lifetime.
If you have the stamina for longer walks (2-3 hours), then start from Victoria Embankment Gardens towards the Tower Bridge along the Thames River. Experience the colorful London Eye, cross the Thames, cross Somerset House, St Paul’s Cathedral, walk on the Millennium Bridge, explore underground art exhibitions near the Tower of London, cross Tower Bridge, and feast your eyes on the glowing Shard buildings. Walk through narrow alleys and have a lovely dinner at Borough Market or the Vinegar Yard (it is a true hidden gem).
Take a boat cruise on the River Thames to enjoy stunning views of landmarks like the Tower of London, the Shard, and the London Eye
Have a memorable time in London and share your favorite ways to explore London. Share your thoughts in the comments as travel tips make travel buddies and travel buddies make the journey beautiful.
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