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Anyone who has chosen to go on a language holiday in London will want to see as much as possible in one of Europe’s most interesting cities in addition to their English lessons. Although the centre north of the Thames is easy to reach by foot, it is still worthwhile to know other cost-effective alternatives to get around the city as the taxis are very expensive.
From the airport to the centre of London: bus or train?
You can already save money straight after your arrival in to London. The shuttle trains from Gatwick, Luton or Stansted are far more expensive than the bus services into the city center. You can purchase a ticket online before travelling but often, a spontaneous purchase locally is even cheaper than the shuttle trains into the city centre.
The London subway
London is known for its the oldest subway system in the world. Although prone to failure and hopelessly overcrowded during peak hours, it is nevertheless the best way to get into the city. In addition to single tickets and tourist cards, if you are staying for at least a few days, it is recommended to buy an Oyster card. This rechargeable prepaid card is used when entering the tube to open the barriers to entry. When leaving, the necessary amount will be deducted from the balance. The maximum daily amount is limited, so that the use of the card within a short time is worthwhile financially. It also saves queuing at ticket machines or counters.
Travelling by bus in London
The Oyster Card also works on busses, where you swipe your card to get on but not to get off. The credit also does not expire so it can be used later for a short trip to London.
Commuting with the river ferry
Many of London’s attractions can be also seen travelling by the river ferry, which is also used daily by commuters depending on the tides. If you are going for excursions towards Greenwich, it is a very good alternative for taking the train.
The train in London
Rail transport in London speaks a lot about its long history. The trains arrive here from many different parts of the British Isles. King's Cross, St Pancras, Victoria or Waterloo are just a few of the large and architecturally impressive buildings, which connect the city with other cities and the rest of the country. The time between stations should not be underestimated.
The intercity buses
These buses are an alternative form of transport to the privatized railway, and many start at Victoria central station. There are also tickets to buy there for those who have not purchased them online.
Our Tip 1: An alternative to public transport or the legendary London Cabs are the bikes - at least for experienced cyclists who are willing and able to take on the traffic. This is not for the faint hearted, because in addition to the cars which have little consideration for the cyclists, there are also the pedestrians who very often cross the road even if the traffic light is red for them. The wheels of the bikes can be unlocked via a mobile app.
Our Tip 2: If you want to fit well in London, then avoid making eye contact with people on the subway or talking loudly on your mobile phone or with others around you, and don’t take up too much space with leaving your rucksacks lying around. Living in a large city means developing some useful strategies to minimize everyday ‘friction’ or aggression. Therefore the rush hour in the morning and the evening should definitely be avoided.