Travel Tips – Getting Around London


The Girl Who Thinks She’s a Bird and I have been dreaming about taking another trip to London just as soon as we get enough points to earn a pair of free plane tickets again. One of our favorite parts about the city {besides all the cool museums, shops and food} is deciding how we are going to get around the city each day.

Even though getting around London can seem like a daunting task, they have a FANTASTIC transit system, and with a little planning, renting a car is completely unnecessary {plus who wants to navigate the left side of the road in busy traffic?}.

Here’s what I have found works best:

Coming in from Heathrow Airport – I totally recommend taking the tube. We usually stay in the Knightsbridge area and it takes only 45 minutes to get into the city.  If you are going to stay longer than a day or two, an Oyster card is totally the way to go.  You can get them at any Tube or major Rail Station.  They are 5 pounds, which is just a deposit, so long as you return the card at the end of the trip, and they offer pretty substantial discounts on the Tube, Railways, and buses.  You can load them in the station with cash or credit card.  Here’s a link for more information on the Oyster card.  If you are there less than a day or two, just purchase your ticket.

platform 9 3 4 kings cross

If you’re a Harry Potter fan, you can stop at King’s Cross Station for a photo opp at Platform 9-3/4 {We did last time we visited London}.

london double decker bus

Inside the city, the bus system can pretty much take you anywhere you need to go, plus the double decker red buses are iconic, so at the very least, do it for the experience.

barclays bike hire rental london

If you plan on taking a spin through Hyde Park {which, in my opinion, is a must not miss}, renting bikes is a great option.  You can also venture into the residential streets fairly easily this way.  I love to see how people really live, so winding up and down the streets makes for an awesome afternoon.

London black taxi

And last but not least, the official Taxis in London are called Black Cabs.  There is a minimum charge of 2.40 and it is metered from there.  They are a great option if you need to get somewhere quick on your own time frame, rather than waiting for the next bus or taking the underground and walking. Plus London cabs are just plain cool. 😉

If you get lost, just ask for help! The people are so incredibly friendly here.



P.S. Have you been to London before? What was your favorite part about the city?

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  1. Kristina says

    I lived a semester in London, and I loved it! I lived in the Bayswater neighborhood near Kensington Gardens. The Queen’s Guard drilled on our street most mornings, and it was really cool to look at my living room window and see them all go by in uniform on their horses. My favorite things were sitting in the pubs talking to the locals and seeing lots and lots of theater. And walking in the parks. They have great parks there. Also, if you haven’t visited Kew Gardens, GO! Very cool.

  2. Laura says

    I visited London quite a few years ago. The tube was the easiest way to get around, and we never got lost! We took it to Kew Gardens too.
    We stayed a few weeks, so the cheapest option for us was a furnished apartment (or flat!), that rented by the week. I am not sure where it was, but we could walk around the corner and be in a neighborhood with a great bookstore!

  3. Jess says

    My husband is English and we lived in Bristol, England for 4 years up until about a year ago. I LOVE visiting London! So many great things to do! My faves are having afternoon tea at the Orangery in Hyde Park, finding a small pub to grab a couple pints in and make friends with some locals and walking along the South Bank of the Thames, complete with a visit to the Tate Modern. I imagine the next time I visit going to the Harry Potter set will also be on that list!

  4. Wynne says

    We loved the Tate Modern and Hyde Park, too, and afternoon tea (Fortnum & Mason for us). Indian restaurants. Self-guided walking tours to see all the places I’ve read about in English classes.

  5. says

    Hi. First time to comment on your blog (which I love). I too stayed in the Bayswater area on my trip this summer; a great area to stay in! I enjoyed mapping out and visiting iconic spots from the 60s, such as the former “Chelsea Drug Store” (now a McDonalds), Abbey Road, Bag O’Nails, Carnaby Street, Battersea Power Station, etc. Bought a pair of earrings like the Queen’s at the Buckingham Palace shop. The Tube was definitely the way to go, with plenty of walking and stairs in between to keep the circulation going. I quickly learned to always ask, “What tube station is closest to you?” That is the key to getting places. A rain jacket is a must.

  6. says

    A looong time ago when I was a nanny in Brussels, I’d spend my weekends in London with girlfriends. We’d do high tea at Hyde Park, then shop at Laura Ashley in Kensington (not sure if it’s still there, but love that place), go to food shop at Harrod’s (buy a bag as a souvenir), then we’d go to different hotels to see their lobbies. That is so fun- because London isn’t old or stuffy. There is so many modern places tucked in with the old.
    Also, take the railway down to the end of the line to see where Wimbledon is. Cool place. We also like the market at Picadilly Square.

  7. says

    My husband and I went to London and Paris on our honeymoon 7 years ago and next month we’re finally going back. I’ve got so much stuff planned, plus Groupon UK and Amazon Local has saved us a ton already on food and activities.

  8. Em says

    I went during summer and stayed part of the time in a college dorm for a low price. Stayed in a hotel later, after school started. Had such a good trip!

  9. Melannie says

    I like London, but I love Edinburgh. Have you been there, it is a great walking city but with excellent public transport.

    • Mavis Butterfield says

      We loved Edinburgh!!! We felt like it was another great walking city and especially loved the area {square ?} near the old cemetery. It’s on our list of cities to visit again.

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