London transport is nothing if not comprehensive. It’s fast, efficient underground system, iconic black cabs and red double-decker buses mean getting around is simple and generally stress free.
More often referred to as ‘The Tube’, the London Underground is a comprehensive, efficient network that will get you to almost anywhere you need to go in London. The network, which includes a total of 270 stations, is super efficient. If you miss a train too, there’s usually another one a minute or two behind it, so you never really have to worry about being late. You can buy individual rides at tube stations, however if you’re going to be using the tube for more than one day, purchase a pre-paid oyster card, as this can be used on other transport services too, and is usually the most economical way to travel.
The red double-decker bus is a London icon, recognised around the world. Offering a slower, more scenic alternative to the Tube, the city’s buses cover most of the central area. Grab the front seats on the second level if you’re lucky and you’ll have the best seat in the house and you wind between London’s grand buildings.
London taxis are probably the most convenient method of transport if you need to get somewhere quickly, and it’s not near public transport. The famous London black cabs can be hailed like a taxi in Australia, either from the street, at designated taxi ranks, or booked via the telephone. As in Australia, if a taxi’s light is illuminated, it’s available for hire.
London has a public bike system similar to those found in Paris, Melbourne and Brisbane. Known as ‘Boris Bikes’ after the then bike-riding mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the pay-per-ride bikes are situated in stations right around the city. To use one of the bikes, you need to find a curbside docking station, enter your bankcard, select bike hire and then enter the generated code to access one of the bikes. At the other end of your ride you need to dock you bike into another station. Journeys under 30 minutes are free.
London is a huge city, so walking isn’t always an option. In certain neighbourhoods however, walking is the fastest mode of transport, and provides the perfect way to soak up the surrounding sights and way of life. Some of the best areas to wander on foot in London are South Bank, West End, Notting Hill, St James Park and Kensington.