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What's the best way to learn to navigate London? Answered

                     I'm going to London this summer and I need to learn how to navigate the city, specifically how to get around using the Tube.  Any recommendations are appreciated.  Thanks!


Hi there,

London is a good place to travel in summer. The impact of transportation, tourism and infrastructural development, undoubtedly provide a much-needed boost to an economy in the short term renting in London and to a certain extent play a role in long-term growth.

To navigate the city, the London subway system, affectionately known by locals as the "Underground" or "Tube," is one of the most efficient forms of public transportation in the world. With cars running every few minutes, riding the Tube makes getting from here to there a snap for Londoners and visitors alike. To navigate the city, pick up a Tube map. Maps are available at almost any Tube station or plan your trip online ahead of time at the Transport for London website. You can sometimes even pick up Tube Maps from convenience or gift stores.

I'd say if you want to learn your way around, getting the buses rather than the tube can help because it stops you seeing it as a series of islands. It's a huge old place but you don't need to learn all of it, of course, and you'll pick up the bits you need to know soon enough. The tube's clearly colour-coded and you'll find your way around the stations easily enough.

http://strangemaps.wordpress.com/2010/05/03/462-gridding-london/ might help.

Good luck - you'll be fine.

Our tube is costly so get an oyster card - a kind of travel card - this is pre-paid and you can top it up as you go - It always gives you the lowest available fare.

Can use on bus as well.

London overall - well the tourist areas isn't that big that you can't walk. you can get most places in 1/2 an hour around the centre.

Go see a couple of shows but expect to pay between £25 and £60 for a ticket. there are many ticket booths around the centre for on the night tickets some times at a bargain price.

Depending on your interest - the science museum, natural History museum, British Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum are first class. Imperial War museum if interested in WW1 WW11 history. Tate gallery and national Portrate gallery for art. Tate Modern for modern art. (personally I think it's rubbish but that's just me)  All the above are free to enter.

Covent gardens for street entertainment. Avoid taxies they will cost you an arm and a leg.

In general you are safe walking about the city centre at normal times i.e. up to the theatre and bars closing. Pretty safe even after that just take the obvious precautions you would anywhere.

Our emergency telephone number is 999 to get police and ambulance - although not many people realise that 911 also does the same.

I second FoH - do not drive in London.

Walking and the Tube are absolutely the best options.  Second-best are the buses.

You will be able to buy an A-Z in almost every petrol ("gas") station and newsagents in London, and probably in the airport when you land.  Tube maps are also available in pocket-sized versions in display racks in almost every tube station.

Are you going with anybody?  When are you going?

 Dear Mad Magoo,

In London this type of book is found everywhere,(see image).

The A to Z is the most famous but the one I chose is by the AA. because of its small size. (ISBN 0-7495-4527-5).

They all have everything you will need to know; maps and details of places of interest.

Don't worry, it's easy to navigate London with one one these.

My advice is forget the tube and walking; it's  such a footsore schlep; and hot and smelly.

Hire a bike or buy a cheap one.; cycling around London in summer is a blast; lovely cool breeze and exciting.

Best Wishes


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For the Underground, start with Transport for London's Web site.  The official map of the system is considered the archetype of the genre, and now they've got online searchable versions as well.

For navigating, a good, large print map is critical.  Any mortal visitor will be completely unable to find their way around London without a map.  It takes a London cab driver about three years of advanced training in navigation, and twelve examination attempts, to be licensed.  London streets are not even close to a grid; they're more like following contour lines on a topo map.  Even worse, along many of the continuous "streets" each block or two has a different name.

There are also a few phone apps that let you search the tube map, and pick routes.

Studying for The Knowledge has been shown to increase brain cell growth in taxi drivers, as they assimilate all the information they need !


Ah, that explains our cabbie when my wife and I were there in '99...