eightbitlife Travel & Real Life

London 2016 – Part 1: Travel

Last year, copytyper and I had a great time in London. So I thought it is worth writing a couple of blog posts about it. I’m not going to bore you completely, I’m splitting this into a few posts focusing first on Travel, then on the Food and lastly Attractions.

This first post looks at some of the importance of travel around London. What ticket to buy, how easy we found getting around the city, and whether you are better catching a bus, train, or the famous London Underground.

Travelling around London: Best tickets to buy for a week in the city.

This caused a bit of debate when we first arrived, standing in Liverpool Street station with people rushing to and from Network Rail platforms into the Underground – Roslyn and I were completely confused by the idea of Oyster, zone cards and the Underground.

Eventually, it took about 20 minutes, we decided to get an Oyster card each with Zones 1 – 2 on it. We were staying in Shoreditch so we were in Zone 2 and wanted to do a lot in Zone 1.  It cost us around £36 each but ended up saving £30 compared to just getting a card you topped up.

We kept the Oyster cards and I have used mine since, going back to London twice for work purposes. Going back to London with an Oyster card makes it even easier because I could top up before I got there and my card was active the moment I tapped into a London station.

Don’t discount London’s buses they can be a lot quieter and quicker than the Underground.

The underground is quite handy but the buses can be better. We originally had a plan to catch trains and the tube to various tourist destinations but quickly found that if we got the bus, we would not only be able to see where we were for the whole journey but they dropped us closer to the attractions we wanted. Also, we went during the Nottinghill Carnival and the buses seemed to be quieter than the tube although sometimes a bit of a longer wait.

With your Oyster card and the zone card, as long as you stay within the zones you purchased, then can use these at no extra cost. The system in London is so much better than other cities in the UK.

An image showing travel through London. St Pancras station is one of the biggest in the city.

Take a tube map, everywhere.

I still have the tube map that we used during our London trip, it became my London bible during our time there. Being in a new city it is essential to know where you are going, especially in one as large as London. Swapping lines, catching a bus, keeping a note of which zones you are in and out of and the quickest way to get where you want to be.

It is also an iconic design, so keep one safe for the future!

There is no need to be scared of travelling in London

Everyone seems terrified of jumping from tube and bus to the train and sometimes the DLR, but it is such an easy thing to do. You just need to understand where you can and can’t go, which is easy if you know how to read a map!

Key things to remember:

  1. Zone cards and an Oyster card is a great way to save money and get more freedom of the whole city.
  2. A tube map is an essential travel partner; they are in every single station but having a couple in your pockets is helpful.
  3. Don’t ignore the bus network; it’s as easy and sometimes quieter and quicker than the tube or train network.
  4. Despite what people say, things do stop in London so check your last and first times

Continue reading my series on London by looking at the food.