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Getting around london can be quite easy but it will take a little bit of reasoning before you feel comfortable. There is a few key points to make your journey around London a lot easier. And hopefully you won’t make the mistakes I made!
First, from the airport to city center. Your two options are taking an express train or a coach. Express train will cost around £15.90 while a coach can be from £6 – £15 depending on the station. Taking uber from Heathrow to Victoria will be between £20 – £30 (depending on uber pool or uberX).
Side note: I highly recommend finding your hotel or hostel close to the big underground stations, such as Victoria, Oxford Circus or Waterloo. Victoria seemed to work successfully for me, as other tours such as night tours, stonehenge and other coaches depart from there.
The Oyster Card
None of the trains or buses accept cash. So once you get to any of the stations, remember to buy an Oyster Card. The Oyster card is a contactless card to get in all public transportation (buses, trains, trams, tube, overground). You are required to add pre-paid money to the card and a deposit of £5.
The buses have a fee to get in, that is discounted from your Oyster Card. The underground is discounted depending on the station that you get in or get out. However, there is a maximum that you’d pay per day, so once you reach your maximum, you won’t get charged anymore. Think of it as a daypass, being the maximum £6.25.
So how much money do you need to add to your Oyster Card?
Think of how many days you’ll be staying and using your card in London and multiply by 6.25. I’ll make the math for you.
1 day – £6.25
2 day – £12.50
3 day – £18.75
4 day – £25
What happens if you don’t “cap”, or if you have money left?
When your trip is complete and you’re getting ready to take a coach from Victoria station or a train to any airport, you can go to the the ticket stations (preferably a person and not a machine) and get a refund by turning in your Oyster card. Your refund will consist of the leftover on your account and the £5 deposit.
For more information visit the Oyster card website: oyster.tlf.gov.uk
Plan your journey
If you don’t have internet available on your phone at all times, meaning you don’t have access to google maps and real time transportation. You have two options, either get closer to one of those famous telephone booths, as most of them have wi-fi! and/or plan your journey with London’s transportation webiste.Tfl.gov.uk
At least have an idea of where you’re trying to go, all the bus stops have signage with the next stops and departure times.
This was definitely useful for me as there was a 24 hour strike from the tube drivers so most of them were closed!
Hop on- hop off with Golden Tours by grey line
If you’re anything like me, you want to see as much as you can, in a short amount of time. So overall my suggestion is, travel by underground, overground or bus. And do not get the hop on – hop off passes. I do not mean to say that is not worth, as they’re full of great information, but London is not as small as other european cities, meaning that it takes a lot longer to commute, and for some strange reason, some of these hop on – hop off buses, have weird timings and stops, where you can be standing in a single spot for more than 5 minutes.
But if you must take the hop on-hop off, or you just love doing this, go ahead. A one day pass is included on the London Pass. I was told the orange line was quite boring, but I didn’t do it, so I cannot say so. The blue and red line are similar, red is longer so is the one I took.
Estimated time for a full tour
Orange line: 3 hours
Red line: 2:30 hours
Blue line: 2 hours
However, if you want to get the historical description of the places you visited. I will recommend to get the night bus tour instead. Departing from Victoria, It does a similar route of the red and blue line from the Golden Tour hop on- hop off. The information is the same, the time is a lot shorter (as is a full tour and doesn’t have stops), the advantage is that it runs at the time when everything else is closed, so you don’t waste time on a bus that constantly stops.
OR BUY YOUR TOUR AT A DISCOUNTED PRICE!!
Send me an email for details!