Visit London Blog » London transport Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Top Six Ways to Travel Like a Londoner Mon, 21 Apr 2014 08:30:04 +0000 Thames Clippers

London has one of the oldest, and arguably best, public transport systems in the world. So here’s our top tips on how to avoid any hassles and use the Bus, Tube and beyond like a real London local.

1. Go cash-free. Using cash to pay your fare is so yesterday! In fact, from June, London buses won’t accept any cash payments at all. Travel like a true Londoner by using a pre-paid Oyster card, a Visitor Oyster Card (VOC) or a cashless debit card (UK cardholders only). Buy your VOC before you arrive in London using the following links – it comes pre-loaded with £15 credit.Visitor Oyster Cards – UK / Visitor Oyster Cards – international.     

A London bus

2. Take the scenic route. 2014 is the Year of the Bus in London! Make the most of it by taking one of the more scenic routes, such as Bus route 4, which goes past the Houses of Parliament and St Paul’s Cathedral, Bus route 11 past Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and The Tower of London or Bus route 9 where you’ll travel on an old-style Routemaster past Royal Albert Hall. Best of all, a single trip on these routes using Oyster, VOC or cashless will only cost you the standard fare of £1.45. Here’s some more scenic bus routes in London.

Walk between Oxford Street and Piccadilly Circus via Regent Street

3. Walk this way It can be quicker to walk between some Tube stops in Central London and this could save you money on your Oyster or VOC. Plus, this way you avoid some of the crowds and queues as well as enjoying fantastic people-watching and window shopping opportunities. Try walking between

  • Covent Garden and Leicester Square
  • Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus
  • Leicester Square and Charing Cross
  • Oxford Circus and Bond Street
  • Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Circus
  • Charing Cross and Embankment
  • Embankment / Charing Cross and Waterloo (and you get to walk across the Thames!)

4. Top Up Visitor Oyster Cards (VOCs) come pre-loaded with £15 credit, which is usually more than enough to get you from Heathrow to your hotel (for example) but chances are you’ll need to top up at some point in your trip. You need to do this before you travel. To check your Oyster or VOC credit at a Tube station, find a ticket machine and hold your card on the yellow reader: the balance will be displayed on screen. You can then add credit using cash or card. Convenience stores and off-licences often provide top-up facilities too.

5. Explore More A lot of tourists stick to buses and the Tube, which is fine, but you’re missing out on some exciting and diverse ways to travel around London! Why not explore further? You can “drive” the DLR, float high above the Thames on the Emirates Air Line or, if you find yourself in South London, try the Tram.

6. Take it to the River as well as the different methods of transport outlined above, you can catch one of the splendid RiverBus services. Seeing London by boat offers a unique perspective on the city. We recommend you try a day-trip to Greenwich, the Tate to Tate boat or visit Canary Wharf. Best of all, visitors get 10% off single Thames Clipper River Bus tickets when they pay with their Visitor Oyster card (NB this does not count towards the Visitor Oyster card daily fare cap).

What’s your top tip for travelling around London like a local? Let us know in the comments below.

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London for Train Enthusiasts Wed, 26 Jun 2013 12:19:09 +0000

London is home to a bustling network of trains and Tubes – including Britain’s busiest train station, Clapham Junction. As Londoners celebrate the 150th anniversary of London Underground, explore the history, present and future world of trains in the capital. And remember, if you arrive into London by National Rail you can enjoy 2FOR 1 entry to top London attractions.

London Transport Museum
London Transport Museum is the obvious first step for any train enthusiast visiting London. Its current exhibition, Poster Art 150 – London Underground’s Greatest Designs, showcases iconic and fascinating graphic posters commissioned by London Underground. But there’s plenty more to see in the permanent collection, from the oldest surviving electric Tube locomotive in the world to hundreds of old photographs.

London’s Abandoned Stations
While many of London’s abandoned train and Tube stations are inaccessible, remnants exist above ground such as the Aldwych station façade on The Strand and Down Street in Mayfair, which was occasionally used as a war bunker by Winston Churchill and his Cabinet during World War II. For more tips, guides and little-known facts, visit dedicated blogs such as Abandoned Tube Stations, Underground History and Disused Stations. And put a date in your diary to visit London Transport Museum’s Lost & Found: A Secret Underground Journey show at Aldwych Station, which opens this September.

Epping-Ongar Steam Train
As part of the Tube150 celebrations, step back in time and travel by steam train on the Epping Ongar Railway (in service from 28 June to 1 July). You’ll take a seat in a 1892 Jubilee coach (number 353) onboard the newly restored steam locomotive Met No 1 as it travels on a former part of the Central Line – the closest heritage railway to the capital. Two 1920s ‘Dreadnought’ compartment coaches, one 1950s coach from the North Norfolk Railway and and two guest steam locos will also be making an appearance.

London Underground and Tube Tour
Inside London’s London Underground and Tube Tour packs a lot into two hours. As well as learning about the fascinating history behind the Tube’s design and construction, you’ll see the ghost station at the British Museum, the original plans for the Tube and and great architectural gems.

London Transport Museum Depot
The London Transport Museum Depot in Acton, West London, is a treasure trove of transport history and memorabilia – housing more than 370,000 transport-related objects.  Once a month it opens its doors to the public with an organised behind-the-scenes tour, which gives visitors exceptional access to everything from ticket machines to rare vehicles and even bus and rail sheds. Look out for the depot’s occasional themed Open Weekends too.

Orient Express’s British Pullman & Northern Belle
While many people know of the Orient Express from the book by famed British crime writer Agatha Christie, it’s the trains themselves which hold the pull for rail enthusiasts – not whodunit. Trains like the British Pullman, whose carriages date as far back as 1925, or the Northern Belle – a 1930s-style service that actually made its maiden voyage in 2000. On many of the Orient Express’s day-trip or longer-stay packages you can enjoy a five-course dinner, Champagne and amazing views of the British countryside – there’s even a Murder Mystery Lunch option.

Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway
While Kew Bridge Steam Museum goes under refurbishment (the museum is still open at weekends), it has kindly lent its Thomas Wicksteed steam train to the Hampton & Kempton Waterworks Railway at Kempton Steam Museum, where it will be “steaming every Sunday” along the Hanworth Loop until the end of August. Built in 1916, the railway once transported coal from the river in Hampton to the water pumping engines at Kempton – and the plan is to restore the full line and eventually transport visitors to the Kempton Nature Reserve. Contact before visiting to arrange entry.

The Deptford Project: The Train Carriage Café
Less than a minute from Deptford Railway Station sits another rail carriage, The Deptford Project, but this one isn’t going anywhere. The 35-tonne reclaimed carriage, transported 45 miles from Shoeburyness in Essex to South London at a snail paced two miles an hour, today houses a small but quirky café. While some purists may not approve of the modernisation, you can’t help but be won over by the Elvis-themed loo, delicious homemade food and buzzing, community-minded events calendar.

St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
In 1873, the Midland Grand Hotel opened – a railway hotel of the finest order, designed in High Victorian Gothic style by architect George Gilbert Scott. After a somewhat disastrous history, which saw it nearly demolished in the 1960s, the hotel underwent a £150million facelift and emerged in 2011 as The St Pancras Renaissance Hotel. However, the railway remains at the heart of the hotel – with the stunning former Booking Office now serving as a restaurant and the incredible view from some rooms of Barlow’s famous train shed arch and even the tracks themselves.

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Boris Bike Milestone: 1 Million Hires in July Mon, 06 Aug 2012 11:31:09 +0000 Barclays Cycle Hire, Tower BridgeIt was announced today that the Barclays Cycle Scheme surpassed 1 mission hires in July. There were almost 47,000 hires on 26 July, the most ever hires in one day. Since their launch in 2010, “Boris Bikes” have become a familiar sight on our city’s streets.

Open to everyone – including non-UK residents – the scheme was expanded earlier this year to include more of East London. There are now 8000 bikes and 560 docking stations.

Cycling is a great way to see the city whilst getting some exercise – plus it can often be quicker than other forms of public transport. I’m guessing cycling will become even more popular in London following Team GB’s stellar London 2012 Olympic performance!

Have you tried the bikes? Tell us about your best journey?

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London 2012: £25 million Cable Car Plans Unveiled Tue, 06 Jul 2010 10:00:40 +0000

Just when you thought hosting the London 2012 Olympic Games was exciting enough; plans for a stunning £25 million cable car crossing of the Thames have now been unveiled.

The privately funded cable car would transport up to 2,500 people an hour in a five-minute crossing between the Greenwich Peninsula and the Royal Docks.

The 50 metre high construction, which spans the river, would enable a quicker link between the O2 Arena and the ExCeL Centre – both Olympic venues.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said:

“A cable car spanning the majestic Thames would not only provide a unique and pioneering addition to London’s skyline, but also offer a serene and joyful journey across the river.”

He added: “Passengers would be able to drink in the truly spectacular views of the Olympic Park and iconic London landmarks whilst shaving valuable minutes from their travelling time.

“It would also provide a much needed enhancement of cross river options to the east of the city.”

The cable car has been a successful mode of transport in a number of cities including Rio de Janeiro, Cape Town and Barcelona.

It sounds fantastic! Are you as excited about this new scheme as we are?

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