London is a pretty huge place. It’s home to nearly 9 million people and is spread over an area 15 times the size of paris! Greater London is made up of 32 boroughs, and has one of the best and most comprehensive public transport systems in the world in order to cope with this humongous scale.
On your next trip to the city you’ll more than likely only visit a handful of these boroughs, and they will be confined to around the city centre- where all the good stuff is- and that’s okay.
Despite the success of London’s incredible transport system and the millions of passenger journeys completed every single day, it can be a bit of a headache for a first timer visiting the city.
So let’s make your stay as easy as possible. If you have been looking for ‘the best hotel near Barbican London’ then look no more. Book a gorgeous room at The Barbican Rooms Chiswell Street, and enjoy the city from a position of comfort- it’s one of the best boutique hotels near Barbican Centre.
Now let’s take a look at everything you need to know about London’s main public transport systems.
The London Underground is one of the busiest and most comprehensive underground rail networks in the world.
It encompasses nearly the entire city and covers an incredible 272 stations. There are 11 lines and over 400 km of track. It was originally opened in 1863 as the world’s first underground passenger rail system, and now it caters for 1.5 billion passenger journeys in a year!
When you’re using the underground you need to make sure you are prepared. It can be extremely busy, quite confusing, difficult to navigate and very fast paced.
Here are a few tips to help you ride like a pro:
- Stand on the right on escalators- busy Londoners will not thank you for getting in their way!
- Walk on the left between platforms- avoid getting shoulder barged and walk with the flow of traffic on the left hand side.
- Be prepared- Use an app to help you plan your route. It will tell you exactly where to go, which train to board and when to leave the station, you’ll save a lot of time!
- Grab an Oyster Card- These allow you simply tap-on and tap-off as you board trains. You can top up from your phone, and you get great discounts on the tube fares and attractions around the city.
- Avoid rush hour- Rush hour on the tube can be insanely busy with commuters. Maybe just find a cafe and sit it out!
The Tube is by far the best way to get around the city quickly- just make sure you follow these helpful tips and you’ll be zipping around London like a pro!
The Overground is not at all dissimilar to the Underground, except, well; it’s above ground.
It was created in 2007 to fill the gaps that the underground could not cover and operates on the same fare system.
This means with your Oyster Card you don’t even have to tap on and off when you switch between the systems!
London’s double decker buses are a true icon of the city- but they are actually much more than just cool looking buses.
They are used everyday by millions of people all around the city to move around. The bus network in London is actually far more extensive and far reaching than the train networks are!
And remember the Oyster Card? You can use that here too. The buses in the city centre are often a bit slower as a means of travel, but you really can get anywhere in the city and their usefulness should not be understated.
You can also hop on the sightseeing double deckers with an open top roof; these visit all the major landmarks in the city, and there is even a knowledgeable tour guide to talk you through the history of the city.
Another iconic means of transport in this amazing city; the black cab.
London’s black cabs are one of the pricier ways to get around, but they do have access to roads and areas that other vehicles don’t.
The drivers themselves are also a part of the experience. In order to pilot a black cab you have to pass a test memorising over 30,000 streets! Just watching them navigate the maze-like city is a real treat.
The Thames was once one of the busiest routes in the city, but now is reserved for sightseeing and leisurely activities.
The water taxis that operate here are an excellent way to get around, and you’ll get to see the city from a totally unique perspective. The only drawback is that you are rather limited to river-side attractions.
You can also embark on river cruises that include dinner, or sightseeing tours- and the views are pretty impressive.
London is an incredible city to explore on a bike. It is becoming more and more bike friendly as a city, with dedicated bike lanes and areas for cyclists; you can cruise the banks of the Thames, explore the many parks or visit all the city’s major landmarks in record time.
Don’t worry about bike hire, just use the city’s Santander Bikes. There are hundreds of ‘depots’ all around the city and all you have to do is register using the app, choose a bike and ride away. The first half an hour is free, then it’s a very low price after that!
One of the very best ways to explore any new city is by simply getting out there and walking the streets. You can reach all of London’s major landmarks and iconic locations on foot, and you’ll get to experience the real buzz of the city streets.
Joining a walking tour is an inexpensive and incredibly informative way to get your bearings, and there are hundreds to choose between- from Jack the Ripper to Harry Potter!
Explore the City
So there you have it, some of the best ways to get around when you are exploring the incredible London.
Make the most of your stay at The Barbican Rooms, it’s home to the best Barbican restaurants London has to offer and is mere minutes from one of London’s key tube stations and countless attractions.
Make sure you take full advantage of the incredible public transport system to maximise your time in the city, but don’t forget to experience the buzz of the streets first hand.
Just get out there and explore!