Thursday, 18 September 2014

Surviving London as a Tourist

Until I started full time office work when I was 21, I had only been to London once or twice to do the normal tourist things. Whilst working, I spent more and more time at meetings, events and visiting venues in London - probably quadrupling the amount of my lifetime visits in a few months. I was never the most confident London transport user, with it being nothing like the rest of the UK's transport systems and pretty manic, but I slowly got better and more confident. There have been a couple of apps that have helped me get to grips with the system, so I thought I'd share them for any other tourists in their own capital city, like me.

Navigating London

A friend has just moved to London and swears by Citymapper - rightly so. It's a free route planner app that's not just limited to London - if you ever find yourself in New York, Boston, Paris, Madrid, Barcelona, Berlin or a few other cities, it'll work there too. 

Choose 'Get Me Somewhere', plug in the postcode, area name or nearest tube station and Citymapper will provide you with a selection of transport options to get you there. Compiling results from the underground, buses, taxis, Boris bikes and walking - it'll let you know how long it's going to take you for each method, how much it'll cost and even how many calories you'll burn! It'll even let you know the current weather situation at your destination. It's all well and good being told by an app that you need to leave from so-and-so tube station, but if like me you have no idea where that is, it's not much help. Once you've selected your preferred method of reaching your destination, Citymapper will show you as a little dot on the map and guide you to the start point of your journey - whether that's the tube station you need to be at, or the bus stop. 

All in all, Citymapper is a handy bit of kit - it's already got me out of a couple of embarrassing lost-in-London situations. Without this app, I'd have no idea how to even get hold of the London bus times, or have any idea whether it's quicker or cheaper to get a bus, tube or taxi. Definitely something I'd recommend downloading before your next trip into the city.

This has turned into a pretty long post, so read more after the break :)

If you're after something a little more straight forward than Citymapper [not that it's complicated at all], but a simple Tube Map might be what you're after. If you know where you are and where you need to go, then it's easy. Just pop in your tube station destination and it'll let you know the lines you need to take and where you need to change to get there. Tube Map is also great to check when the first and last tubes are leaving, so you're not stranded in the dark, and also it'll let you know if there are any disruptions and delays on the line.

If you're only after travelling by tube, then this is the app for you!

Finally, I have one last app to help you out in London. It's not a transport app this time, but an entertainment app to help you out if you've got a spare evening and nothing to do! Yplan shows you the best events on in London for that evening and the next few days. It'll let you know the price, time, location plus you can buy tickets for the events directly through the app - easy!

Yplan will show a massive range of events, from theatre to art installations to music. If you've got a spare evening, check out this app and find something fun to do!


Hopefully this little guide gives you an insight into how a girl, from another city, copes with travelling around London - a city with so much going on and a notoriously difficult transport system to master. Do you have any handy apps to help you get around cities? Let me know in the comments! 


  1. Oh, thanks for this! Saving definitely !:)

    By the way I'm also new to this world of blogging, so it would mean a lot to me if anyone checked out my blog? Thanks:)
    Luxveritatis.| Beauty.Fashion.Crafts

  2. Very useful post! I always find London so overwhelming with people barging into you with every step, I can't deal with it more than a couple times a year:') But I'm not really one all for big packed cities
    Helena /

  3. I don't use any apps to get around my city... it's so small haha This a really great and useful post though, I'd love to visit London one day :-)


  4. That app sounds so helpful, especially if it's the first time you've been to London, great post!

    Salt and Chic // UK Fashion Blog