Top Tips For A First Timer Navigating London

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London is a city that spans 1500 square kilometres, meaning that getting around it can take a little getting used to. With one of the oldest underground rail networks in the world as well as more than 700 bus routes, first time guests of the Montcalm Royal London House might encounter some teething problems when travelling around the city.

Indeed, many of the attractions and landmarks are fairly central, a fair few of which are within walking distance of each other. This blog will attempt to remedy some of them, ensuring that your stay in London goes as smoothly as possible.

Contactless Payment And London’s Public Transport 

London’s public transport operates on a pay as you go system. Barriers at the entrance and exit allow customers to tap in and out at each end of their journey. You can either pay for your journey via contactless debit or credit card, through Apple Pay or via an Oyster Card. Bus journeys are paid for in a similar fashion, but don’t require you to tap out, only in. 

Should You Get An Oyster Card? 

So if you can pay for your tube or bus journey via debit card or Apple Pay, why bother with an Oyster Card? For starters, these blue pieces of plastic allow travellers to control the amount they spend, topping up their Oyster Cards in multiples of £5 or £10. Furthermore, Oyster Cards allow you to purchase travel cards, which, if you buy for the duration of a week, can come out cheaper than pay as you go tube payments. Furthermore, if you are the owner of a 16-25, 25-30 or a senior railcard, you can see savings of up to 30 percent per off-peak tube journey. 

Buses And The City Hopper 

Another benefit of London’s public transport system is that if you plan to travel via 2 buses within an hour of one another, you’ll get the second journey for free! Buses may take you a little longer in journey time than the underground, but it could get you closer to your destination and many of the routes run 24 hours a day. 

Avoid Peak Times 

If you want to avoid a slow bus journey or a crowded tube carriage, try and avoid peak times. Whether you’re running late for a reservation at your Finsbury Square restaurant or you’re on the way to an important meeting, rush hour travel can be incredibly stressful and may even take you longer than if you used an alternative mode of transport. Peak times in London operate between 6.30 am and 9.30 am and between 4 pm and 7 pm, and a single journey will be about 30 percent more expensive. Who wants to pay more for a lower quality journey? 

Santander Cycles

If you’re running late at rush hour but the crowds of the London Underground are triggering your claustrophobia, consider taking a Santander Cycle. These rent-a-bikes are available across the boroughs of Westminster and the City of London, meaning that you could cycle it right up to your hotel near London City. costing £2 per half an hour ride, the Santander Cycle benefits from the extensive cycle network in London and the instructions for renting and unlocking your bike are easy to apply.