The London Underground, or tube, is an incredibly convenient way of travelling around the city. It covers the centre of London and the surrounding areas that have been divided into 5 zones, making it easy for those living on the outskirts to get into the city for business or pleasure. The London Underground was constructed towards the end of the 19th century with the Metropolitan Railway becoming the world’s very first underground rail, using gas light and wooden carriages. From there, it expanded to the District Railway which completed the Circle Line and has gone from strength to strength, adding another 8 stations to form the underground that we know today. It really was, and still is, a feat of engineering and, even though you do have to experience it at least once on your trip to London, it isn’t a very good way to travel if you want to watch the world go by or want to see the sights of London through your window, you’re more likely to see the back of someone’s head or their armpit instead.
To really experience London, it is best to remain above the ground. If you find travelling by train a more convenient way to travel, you could always take the DLR line which travels along parts of East London. The side of the city usually isn’t the first place tourists visit but it is packed full of history, riverside pubs and shopping experiences and is well worth the trip. The best thing about the DLR is the views that can be seen while darting over the tracks, you can even catch a glimpse of the Cutty Sark and, if you get off at Greenwich, you can head the the Nautical Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Meridian Line.
Black cabs are great, especially if you love an adrenaline rush, because these guys will dart into the smallest spaces available on the roads but, with that said, these drivers know the city like the back of their hands. Before gaining their taxi licence, all future black cabbies must sit The Knowledge Taxi test which requires the learner to know no fewer than 320 routes, 20,000 landmarks and 25,000 streets; it has been dubbed one of the hardest tests in the world and there is little wonder why. It can take a wannabe cabbie 2 to 4 years to learn the knowledge so its most certainly a career choice that must be taken seriously. It is a good way to explore, however, you will not want to travel very far in a black cab as they can be quite pricey, especially when a cabbie conveniently forgets the quickest route to where you want to go.
Explore Piccadilly Circus & China Town
You cannot visit London and not travel on the iconic red double decker bus. They can be seen throughout the city; whether they’re running a normal service or taking visitors on tours around the famous landmarks, they’re a proud part of London’s history and are used in abundance by residents and tourists alike. The tours begin all over London and covers sites such as Buckingham Palace, Hyde Park which is just opposite the Park Grand Lancaster Gate hotel London, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Westminster and the Tower of London. If you buy an Oyster Card and top it up, you can hop on and off the buses whenever you want and however many times you like.
If you fancy a more unique approach to sight seeing, you have a vast amount of modes of transport to choose from, for example, you could take a relaxing cruise on the River Thames and take in London from a completely different angle, or you could even hire on the of the Boris Bikes and cycle your way through the city. The River route is great for seeing Westminster, including the Palace and Big Ben, Southbank which includes the London Eye, Greenwich and the O2 arena. It is a great way to tie your trip together, especially if you have done a lot of tourist activities in the heart of the city. Alternatively, you could cycle through London; there are designated cycle areas as well as cycle bays to connect your bike to pretty much anywhere. As well as this, these bikes can be ridden through all of London’s parks which makes it another great way to travel, especially if you’re looking to indulge in a spot of Mother Nature. Why not take a ride to watch the sunrise at Richmond Park where the deer will be stalking the grounds then take a trip to Primrose Hill to survey London’s landscape before heading to Grove Park to stargaze at nightfall. All of this and more can be done by bicycle.
The ways to travel that have been listed are all great ways to get around, however, there is always one way that is cheap, a great way to really explore and will lead you to discover things that you wouldn’t see any other way and that is by walking. Your legs is ultimately the only way to see London simply because the city is filled with so many nooks and crannies, so many secret spots that can easily be missed if you’re in the back of a cab or on a bus. It will be tiring but you will thoroughly enjoy the experience, especially if you play the Blue Plaque game where you see who can find the building that housed the most famous person. Don’t forget to take a stroll down the back streets, there’s always secrets waiting to be discovered!