Travel in London
||Getting around Greater
and Central London can be a fun part of your trip or holiday
to the capital. As with many cities around the world the
most accessible and reliable way to get around is on foot,
however, if you don’t fancy working on your fitness
just yet then there are alternatives.
If using public transport fills you with dread or otherwise
puts you off then you can use your car. However with the
amount of traffic that is on London’s road you may
find this a futile and frustrating exercise. As well as
traffic London car commuters also have to deal with the
congestion charge. This is a charge of £8 for anyone
who drives in the centre of London between the hours of
7am-6.30pm. The only road users who can avoid this charge
are taxi drivers and motorcyclists.
However, those planning a big night out to a West End
theatre might like to take advantage of the MasterPark
Theatreland Parking Scheme. This gives you an incredible
50 per cent off parking when you are visiting the theatre
within a selected area. These areas include China Town,
Leicester Square, Park Lane, Pimlico and Soho. To qualify,
simply get your car park ticket stamped at the theatre
and present it with your theatre ticket stub (dated the
same day) and vehicle registration number to the cashier
at the time of payment. You may park for an unlimited
period and receive a 50 per cent discount off the standard
If you want to get around on four wheels without having
to incur the fines then using one of London’s many
taxis would be the best bet. There are two types of taxis,
which operate across the capital, the black cabs, which
can be hailed as they pass and private hire cabs that
need to be booked in advance.
The London black cab continues to be a famous sight and
catching a cab in Central London is easy but always make
sure that whoever is stopping on the kerb is licensed
to do so. If you can’t see a photo ID card, ask
to see the licence and if one can’t be produced,
don’t step inside.
Fares within Greater London depend on the time of day,
distance travelled and the taxi speed, and are displayed
on the meter. If you book your taxi by telephone there
is an extra charge which is currently set at £2
(subject to change).
Cab drivers still have to pass “The Knowledge”
exam before commencing employment. This means that they
have an in-depth knowledge of a six-mile radius around
Charing Cross, which is perfect for Central London travellers
who are unsure which sights to see first.
If you use a wheelchair or have difficulty getting around
and feel that an ordinary taxi won't meet your needs Croydon
and Lewisham, amongst many other London boroughs, operate
a Taxicard scheme for people with serious mobility problems.
Those wishing to use this service order their taxi and
mention their Taxicard, they will then only be charged
a nominal fee to travel with up to four companions. More
information on this is available from the Taxicard
The underground tube service is probably the best way
to get around as it is easy understand and gets you where
you want go quickly. Tube trains come along every few
minutes. However, you need to make sure you read the overhead
boards carefully as although trains run on the same line
they can sometimes take one of two routes. This is especially
significant if you intend to travel to the end of the
For example, the Metropolitan Line will take you to the
City (EC1) via Liverpool Street and getting to the best
shops is easy for tired feet if you take the Piccadilly
Line that drops you off close to Harrods in Knightsbridge.
There are plenty more tubes available to all the best
tourist locations in London.
Tickets can be purchased for single journeys and you can
also buy travel cards which allow you unlimited travel
on your chosen form of transport for a certain time period
(day, weekend, week). Children under the age of 11 can
travel for free on London transport.
London has been split up into six transport zones, Zone
One being central London with Zone six being closer to
the outskirts of Greater London. Combined ‘travelcard’
tickets are sold in Zones and allow you to travel freely
within these zones on buses, trains, tubes and the DLR.
The DLR (Docklands Light Railway) is a driverless over-ground
service that also operates in east London and is the main
connection to many key east London locations.
One of London’s most recognised sites is that of
the red open top bus that takes tourists around the city
at a cost that is probably treble the price the locals
pay to get from A to B. It’s nice to get a commentary
in 10 languages once but after several days in the capital
the charm wears thin. So if you want to avoid the tourist
buses – although these can sometimes offer a fascinating
historical guide to London for first-time tourists –
there’s plenty of ordinary buses that can get you
from Kings Cross to just about anywhere in London and
For example, bus route N91 will take you to the famous
landmarks of Trafalgar Square and Whitehall and bus route
17 will take you right into the heart of some very familiar
monuments as it stops at London Bridge.
People with disabilities can take advantage of the Dial-A-Ride
facility offered by London Transport, which offers transport
to short destinations within London. Click
here to find out more about Dial-A-Ride and your eligibility.
Plan your journey on foot, by rail or tube at the Official
London Travel website.
National Rail Enquiries on 08457 484950 (24 hours) provides
information for all rail services throughout Great Britain.