As one of the largest and busiest cities in the world, it should come as no surprise to find that getting around London can be a challenging prospect for first time visitors.
Faced with getting from the Amsterdam Hotel in Earls Court over to Buckingham Palace for example, most newcomers to the Capital are left staring at a map that seems so complicated it’s almost tempting to stay in the hotel room and forget all about it.
Yet of course, as much as we love welcoming you to the Amsterdam, even we know that you didn’t come all the way to London to stay in your hotel room all day.
That’s why we’ve put together this short beginners guide to using London public transport.
First Things First, Ditch the Car
There’s a reason we’re making this guide all about public transport and not just getting around London in general. As anyone who’s ever spent time in the city before will tell you, taking the tube, train or bus network is going to be far easier for you than battling your way through hours of congestion on London’s complicated road networks.
Whilst this may come as surprise for those of you used to going everywhere in your trusty automobile, we’ll advise you to leave it where it is when travelling around the capital.
Download a Tube Map App Before You Arrive
It’s a fairly safe bet that if you’re travelling around London, the London Underground -or ‘Tube’ as its better known around here- is going to feature into your journey at some point.
With so many different underground trains going off in so many different directions, knowing which line -and which stop- you need can be baffling at the best of times.
Not that it has to be. If you own a smartphone such as an iPhone or Android device, you can download a London Underground map application free of charge. Lots of similar models are available, and most work the same way – simply type in where you are and where you want to go, and the app will tell you where to embark, which line to take, and where to disembark again.
If you prefer a traditional paper map, you’ll find plenty London Public Transport maps at tube and train stations, as well as in the lobby of the Amsterdam Hotel in Earls Court.
Be careful you don’t go the wrong way!
Trust us, you wouldn’t be the first visitor to London who got on the tube at the right station and on the right line, only to find you’re going in completely the wrong direction. Screens at tube stations will tell you which way your scheduled train is going, but if you’re in a rush, it’s easy to dash right onto the first one you see without checking it.
When you do get on the tube, pay close attention to which way you’re heading, and if you are heading the wrong way, simply jump off at the next stop and go back on yourself.
Avoid peak hours
Though many of us think of London as a thriving tourist hotspot, it’s worth remembering that the capital is still home to countless businesses, most of whom require employees to make their morning commute via the London Underground. Ask around, and you’ll no doubt hear plenty of horror stories about just how crowded -and almost hostile- the Underground can be before and after office hours. Take our advice, wait until most everybody has gone to work for the day (or come home again) before making a journey.
A word about cabs
If you’re going to take a taxi around London, look out for the officially licensed black cabs. More than just a London icon, these cabs are the only ones that are legally allowed to be flagged down to take you from A-B. Alternatively, if you’re heading straight from your base in Earls Court, ask the reception staff at the Amsterdam Hotel to book one for you.
If there’s anything else we can do to help you make the most of your time in London, just let us know and we’ll be glad to do what we can. Until then, welcome to London, and let us wish you safe and happy travels from all of us at the Amsterdam.
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