How to Get Around London – #1 Locals Guide

London is a bustling city with a lot to see and do. Getting around can be daunting for first-time visitors, it sure was for me when I moved to London in 2015… But luckily there are plenty of options for getting from point A to point B. In this blog post, we’ll run through all the different ways for how to get around London, from a locals’ perspective (me), so you can choose the best option for you.

The Tube (Underground train)

London Underground sign with Big Ben in the background for how to get around London blog post

The most iconic way to get around London is by riding the Underground, more commonly known as “the Tube.” The Tube is an extensive network of underground trains that crisscross the city, making it easy to get around even during rush hour (early morning and after work commute).

If you’re staying in central London, zones 1 and 2, the Tube is probably your best bet for getting around. Just be sure to mind the gap! No seriously… The gap between some of the trains and the platforms are very wide. A few summers ago I dropped my coat down the gap and it was lost forever.

There are 11 lines covering 402km and serving 272 stations across the city. So, chances are there will be a station near wherever you’re staying.

Plus, with trains running every few minutes during peak times, it’s an efficient option for time-conscious travellers like us. Just be sure to check TFL in case of any train strikes.

If you’re planning on using the Underground a lot during your stay, I recommend getting an Oyster card (more on that later), or a contactless card (such as Monzo) that doesn’t charge you international fees every time you use it.

MHM Tip: I use my Monzo card every time I travel, especially when I want to get around London quickly. It’s great because you don’t get charged international fees. PS, if you use my link you will get a free £5! Who doesn’t love free money?!

How to get around London on the Overground

The Overground is an above-ground train network that covers much of Greater London. It’s a great alternative to the Tube if you’re looking for a more scenic ride or if you’re traveling to one of the outer boroughs. For example, you can travel on the London Overground from Euston Station all the way to Watford, Hertfordshire.

MHM Tip: You can use your Oystercard or contactless card to tap in and pay for your journey. This is much more cost-effective than buying travel cards.

DLR (Docklands Light Railway)

The DLR is a light rail system that runs through East London and into the Docklands area. It’s a quick and efficient way to get around if you’re staying in that part of town.

I like the DLR for when I’m visiting the Greenwich area or the London Excel Centre.

Tram

London also has a tram system that runs through South London. If you’re staying in that part of town, the tram is a great way to get around.

The Tramlink has four lines in central Croydon, with eastbound stations at Beckenham Junction, elders End and New Addington, and a westbound station at Wimbledon, where you can actually change to an Overground train.

The Famous Red Bus

Red double-decker bus Travel in London infant of an old architectural building

London’s buses are red, double-decker, and iconic. Riding a bus is a great way to see the city from up above and it’s usually just as quick as taking the Underground (traffic dependant). Plus, you don’t have to worry about minding the gap! Just be sure to have your contactless card ready. Londoners like to rush on the bus! Plus, you can’t pay for the bus using cash. You have to use an Oyster card or contactless card.

Hop on Hop off Bus (Sightseeing Activity)

A great double-decker bus that not only allows for fantastic views of top attractions like Big Ben and the London Eye, but also offers hop-on hop-off options for those who want to explore at their own pace. However you choose to navigate London, these transportation options are sure to offer an exciting and hassle-free experience.

How to get Around London on a River Boat

If you want to take in the sights of central London while avoiding the hustle and bustle of public transportation, then take a river boat down the Thames. This is a great option if you’re looking for a leisurely way to get around town.

My favourite is this 1 day (24-hour) hop-on hop-off river boat cruise. You get 24 hours to travel around London via the Thames and even see amazing sights such as the London Eye and Houses of Parliament from the water.

London Travel: Taxis

Taxis are everywhere in London and are always available at taxi ranks located throughout the city. If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to get around, taking a taxi is your best bet. Just be aware that taxis can be quite expensive, so this might not be the best option if you’re on a budget.

London Travel: Ubers

Ubers are also available in London and are often cheaper than taking a taxi. However, Uber require passengers to have an account set up before they can request a ride, so keep this in mind if you’re planning on using their service.

It’s also important to note that you might not be able to book an Uber in Central London locations.

How to Get Around London on Bicycles / Scooters

Another popular way of getting around London is by bicycle or scooter. There are numerous cycle routes and designated lanes throughout the city, making it easy and safe to cycle from place to place.

You can also rent electric scooters from companies like Lime. Just be sure to follow all posted rules and regulations!

Want a bike activity that’s a little more structured? I really recommend this 4-hour bike tour where you get a guide and go on a route to see all the wonderful London sights!

Walking

Of course, one of the best ways to see any city is on foot. This is particularly true of central London, which is very walkable. Walking is also free, so it’s ideal if you’re on a budget! Just be aware that walking can take quite some time depending on how far you’re going, so plan accordingly.

There are also walking tours that you can take around London. You can find a list of the best ones here– I personally recommend the Jack the Ripper tour or the Historical pub walking tour.

Here’s a list of my top 10 best parks for a picnic, too. (Don’t worry- this will open in a new tab)

Emirate Cable Car: Hidden Gem for London Travel

Trea in the emirates cable car going over the River Thames

The best way to see the O2 Arena! If you want to experience London from up high, then hop on board the Emirates cable car. The cable car takes passengers from Greenwich Peninsula across the River Thames to Royal Victoria Dock. It’s a great way to see some of London’s iconic landmarks from a different perspective!

If you want a fun day out in London activity, then definitely check out this one! Combi ticket: Climb the 02 and ride the Cable Car. You can climb the 02 and then take the cable car afterwards. It’s a great way to see the famous London sights such as Big Ben and Changing of the Guard (in the summer).

Must Knows for How to Get Around London

How To Get Around London (as a local)

If you’re looking to explore all that London has to offer, the best way to travel around the city is by using the efficient and extensive underground system, also known as “the Tube.” Not only will it get you where you need to go quickly, but it’s also one of the most cost-effective options.

Plus, visiting the different Tube stations offers its own unique experience – from seeing stunning architecture at King’s Cross St. Pancras to discovering a labyrinth of hidden passages at Green Park station.

So hop on a train and start your adventure through London’s underground world!

MHM London Travel Tip: be sure to take advantage of purchasing the London Pass. You’ll get access to over 80 attractions included in your pass price, and not have to worry about buying separate passes for every attraction you want to visit.

Plus, by purchasing the pass, you actually save up to 10% more than if you booked all your attractions separately. I’m a local and I’ve even bought this pass. Three times actually! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

How much does the Tube cost?

Prices for the London Tube vary depending on if you are travelling during Off-Peak or Peak travel times (6.30-9.30 am). The cost for off-peak travel starts at £2.50 and increases depending on which zones you are travelling to/from.

How is Accessibility on Public Transport London?

All of London’s busses lower as you get on them and the busses are actually free to wheelchair users. Many train stations have huge gaps between the train and the platform. You’ll hear ‘Mind The Gap’. You need to research which trains have step-free access. TFL website is great for this.

Best way to travel around London as a family?

When travelling as a family and you don’t want the fuss of trying to book various attractions, the best and easier way to travel around is by bus or underground (if you aren’t walking) and I definitely recommend the London Pass.

What is an Oyster Card London?

An Oyster card is a blue card that you add money to, so you can pay as you go. You add a £5 deposit for your card, then add as much money as you want. You can use an Oyster card to travel on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, most of the new Elizabeth line, IFS Cloud Cable Car (Emirates cable car) and Thames Clippers River Bus services. A negative to be aware of is that if you load too much money on your card, you can’t take it off.

How to get around London: Final Thoughts

Trea in Battersea Park walking under the cherry blossom trees

As you can see, there are plenty of options for getting around London! The best way to travel will depend on your specific needs and preferences. Be sure to consider things like cost, convenience, and speed when deciding which mode of transportation is right for you.

I hope I’ve made your trip planning for how to get around London easier.

Thanks for reading and have a great trip!

Trea | Map Her Miles

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