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Getting around in London: info, costs and tips


London is without a doubt one of the most popular and loved European capitals from a tourist point of view, as well as being an evergreen destination suitable for every season and for visitors of all ages. This variegated and chaotic metropolis has a complex yet highly efficient public transport network, numbered no less than among the largest in the world!

Moving around such a large city can therefore be complicated, especially at first glance! So here's one guide on how to move in London: info, costs and advice!



Index

  1. Useful Tips
  2. How to get from the airport to central London
  3. How to get around on foot
  4. How to get around by bicycle
  5. Con i mezzi pubblici
  6. By car
  7. User questions and comments

Useful Tips

The best solutions for getting around London are red surface metro and buses. In fact, these two means of public transport guarantee rapid movements with fairly low costs. Getting around only on foot is difficult, better to do it within the individual neighborhoods.
Certainly such a huge city can seem disorienting: for this reason, the suggestion is to take guided tours for a first approach, starting from the tour of the old city, or follow thematic ones such as the Harry Potter guided tour or the very popular one on Jack's trail. the Ripper! In this way you will be able to identify and mark the main landmarks and then move more safely!

For the same reason, the even more ideal solution is the hop on hop off panoramic bus tour, great to settle in in this big city and to easily reach the main attractions, also thanks to the ticket that lasts 24 hours! And to enjoy the city from another perspective, you can take part in a panoramic cruise on the Thames, organized both during the day and at sunset!

Among the season tickets / booklets that are also advantageous for adults, we would like to point out: the Travelcard, valid on all public transport, to travel in zones 1-2 or throughout the city; the London Pass, for transport and entry to a limited number of attractions and discounts; and the Visitor Oyster Card, a prepaid magnetic card for all means of public transport.



  • Recommended solutions and means: metro, red buses, hop on hop off panoramic bus, walking around the neighborhoods
  • Solutions and means not recommended: car, taxi
  • City cards and season tickets recommended: TravelCard (from £ 7,00 / € 8,00 -); London Pass (from £ 84,00 / € 95,00 -)

How to get from the airport to central London

The English capital is well connected to the main European cities, with direct flights also from Italy, thanks to 6 airports present (Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City, London Southend).

It should be noted, however, that, apart from the small London City airport, all other airports are quite far from the center, which you can reach with different solutions and means, more or less economical, also based on the distance. Let's see each airport specifically.

From Heathrow Airport to downtown

  • Distance from the center: 24 km / travel time: 40 min;
  • By train: Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect lines / ticket cost: £ 21,50 (€ 24,00)
  • By taxi: average cost £ 70,00 (€ 80,00) / travel time: 60 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 5,00 (€ 5,50) / National Express line
  • Private transfer: Heathrow to central London: shared transfer

From Gatwick Airport to downtown

  • Distance from the center: 45 km / travel time: 50 min;
  • By train: Gatwick Express lines / ticket cost: £ 17,80 (€ 20,00) - buy online
  • By taxi: average cost £ 60,00 (€ 67,00) / travel time: 60 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 8,50 (€ 9,50) / Easybus and National Express lines
  • Private transfer: private transfer from Gatwick to city center

From Stansted Airport to downtown

  • Distance from the center: 56 km / travel time: 55 min;
  • By train: Stansted Express line / ticket cost: £ 19,00 (€ 21,50)
  • By taxi: average cost £ 90,00 (€ 101,00) / travel time: 60 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 8,00 (€ 9,30) / Terravision, Easybus and National Express lines
  • Private transfer: transfer between Stansted Airport and the city center

From Luton Airport to downtown

  • Distance from the center: 56 km / travel time: 55 min;
  • By train: Thameslink, Virgin and East Midlands Trains lines / ticket cost: £ 12,00 (€ 13,50)
  • By taxi: average cost £ 60,00 (€ 67,00) / travel time: 60 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 11,00 (€ 12,00) / Terravision, Easybus and National Express lines
  • Private transfer: Private transfer from Luton Airport to Central London

From London City Airport to the center

  • Distance from the center: 10 km / travel time: 30 min;
  • By taxi: average cost £ 25,00 (€ 28,00) / travel time: 45 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 10,00 (€ 11,00) / lines 473 and 474
  • Private transfer: shared transfer from the center to London City Airport

From Southend Airport to downtown

  • Distance from the center: 64 km / travel time: 65 min;
  • By train: Greater Anglia line / ticket cost: £ 15,10 (€ 17,00)
  • By taxi: average cost £ 140,00 (€ 157,00) / travel time: 70 min
  • By bus: average cost £ 10,00 (€ 11,00) / National Express
  • Private transfer: Private Transfer from Southend Airport to City Center

How to get around on foot

Visiting London on foot can seem crazy.
Certainly such a huge city on foot can seem disorienting: for this, the suggestion is take guided tours for a first approach, starting with the old town tour, or following thematic ones like the Harry Potter guided tour or the hugely popular one on the trail of Jack the Ripper! In this way you will be able to identify and mark the main landmarks and then move more safely!

London certainly is a multi-ethnic metropolis and strolling through the different neighborhoods alternating more elegant areas with neighborhoods with an underground soul could be a very fascinating experience.

In addition, London is equipped with numerous parks and green areas that connect different neighborhoods together and that can offer alternative routes to the large busy avenues. Obviously, we advise you to equip yourself with comfortable shoes and a detailed map of the city.



How to get around by bicycle

Another fun and, above all, greener way to get around London is by bicycle, which, compared to walking, will allow you to reach the attractions faster! Moreover, despite the traffic, it is completely safe, thanks to the many routes that are found in the city. The best solution is to follow a guided bike tour to acclimate to the city's viability and cycle paths in the company of an expert guide, and then plan well the itinerary to follow (you can find all the routes on the official website of the government of London).

London also has an excellent bike sharing system, the service is called Santander Cycles and no subscription is required: the service works via an App to download on your phone, is available 24 hours a day and the first half hour of use of the vehicle is free, after which every additional half hour costs £ 24 (€ 2,00 , 2,35). You can find all the info about it, for example on how to download the app, how payments work and where to find the stations, on the official website.

Con i mezzi pubblici

As we said, London is equipped with a 'efficient public transport network which allows you to quickly reach every corner of the metropolis. The two most popular means of transport for both tourists and locals are undoubtedly the metro (born in London) and the red double-decker buses, the iconic symbol of the capital.

However, keep in mind that London is very extensive so if you have little time available, the hop on hop off panoramic bus is a great way to settle in in this big city, as well as being very convenient, and will allow you to easily reach the main attractions, thanks to the ticket that lasts 24 hours! During its entire duration you can safely get on and off at all stops, without limits. If you want to enjoy the city instead from another perspective, you can take part in a panoramic cruise on the Thames, organized both during the day and at sunset!



Metro

With his 12 lines and 274 stations, the London Underground, better known as the Tube, is the oldest in the world and the largest in all of Europe. Despite being very crowded, especially during rush hours (every day it can boast about 4 million passengers), it is perhaps the most comfortable and fastest means of transport to move within the urban fabric.

As for the rates, we recommend the purchase of cards and season tickets to save money! First get the Visitor Oyster Card, a prepaid magnetic card for all means of public transport. You can then opt for the Travelcard, valid on all public transport which allows you to travel in zones 1-2 or throughout the urban area of ​​the city (zones 1-6). It is valid from 1 to 7 days. Alternatively there is the London Pass, with unlimited transport and admissions to a limited number of attractions and discounts, with a variable cost based on the format (from 1 to 10 days).

  • Downloadable map: london-metro-map
  • from 5:00 am to midnight, the exact times vary depending on the line
  • Ticket / single ride cost: starting from £ 4,90 (€ 5,50)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: Travel Card from £ 7,00 (€ 8,00), London Pass from £ 84,00 (€ 95,00)

bus

Right after the subway, the red double-decker buses, also called double-deckers, represent the second most used means of transport in the English capital. Although it is a much cheaper alternative to the Tube, it is however rather complicated: the London bus network is very dense and, for a tourist at first glance, it can really turn out to be an impenetrable labyrinth.

As for the rates, also in this case we recommend the purchase of cards and season tickets to save money! First get the Visitor Oyster Card, a prepaid magnetic card for all means of public transport. You can then opt for the Travelcard, valid on all public transport which allows you to travel in zones 1-2 or throughout the urban area of ​​the city (zones 1-6). It is valid from 1 to 7 days. Alternatively there is the London Pass, with unlimited transport and admissions to a limited number of attractions and discounts, with a variable cost based on the format (from 1 to 10 days).

  • Downloadable map: london-bus-map
  • every day from 4:30 to midnight
  • Ticket / single ride cost: from £ 1,50 (€ 1,60)
  • Cost of ticket booklet / season ticket: day ticket £ 5,00 (€ 6,00); Travel Card from £ 7,00 (€ 8,00), London Pass from £ 84,00 (€ 95,00)

By car

As you can guess, getting around London by car is one really not recommended, as well as completely useless given the omnipresent traffic and the possibility of moving comfortably around the city by public transport. Alongside these two factors, there is also the drive left typical of Anglo-Saxon countries that, especially for those who are not used to or do not juggle very well behind the wheel, can create some difficulties.

If, however, you have no other choice, consider the scrupulous London checks (over 700 cameras monitor the city streets) and restricted traffic areas!

Ultra Low Emission Zone

To limit traffic in the central areas of the metropolis, especially around the historic center, the London government has established the Ultra Low Emission Zone, which is an area active 24 hours a day and 24 days a week (excluding Christmas day) within which vehicles not in line with European emission standards are required to pay a tax in order to drive. The fare is £ 12,50 (€ 14,50) for most vehicles, for heavy vehicles the fee is £ 100,00 (€ 110,00).

You can find more info, such as how to request the stamp, map of the area and updates, directly on the official website of the London government.

Congestion Charge Zone

The rates of the Ultra Low Emission Zone must also be added to those of the Congestion Charge Zone (area largely coinciding with ULEZ and in force since 2003). In this case, the activation times of the area go from 7:00 to 22:00, every day except for 25th December, and the expected payment is £ 15,00 per vehicle per day (€ 16,60).

Also in this case you can find more info, such as payment methods, area map and updates, directly on the official website of the London government.

Stops and parking

If driving in London is complicated, finding a parking space is even more difficult and can be really expensive. Our advice is therefore to check the presence of parking spaces available before setting off: National Car Parks, for example, manages more than 100 paid parking lots in London and through the website will allow you to consult availability with a little advance and reserve your parking space.

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