Visiting London?

A few things to know before you visit London.

If you want to use the internet on your phone, you have a few options.

1. You can buy an English SIM card. (For phones which use a SIM card and are unlocked)

  • “Pay as you go” (PAYG) SIM cards give you free internet (how much depends on the network) when you top up.
  • Or you can buy a month’s worth of internet without having a contract on PAYG cards.
  • All UK phone networks have PAYG sim cards.

2. Free Wifi is not very common in the UK.

  • Street Wifi in London has to be paid for see
  • McDonalds and some cafes offer free wifi – the signal can be poor however.
  • Some hotel’s offer free wifi to their guests – often requiring a code.

3. Tube stations offer free maps. Railway stations offer discounts. See before you travel

  • Pocket maps of the tube are easy to find and use, however the centre is not to scale so some tube stations are an easy walk to go from one to another but the map is not clear which.
  • The Tourist Bus Map of London from the tube stations, show how to get around to tourist spots using the normal buses – a lot cheaper than the tour buses.
  • Tube stations all have local maps on the wall and to take away. On the back they show bus services in that area.
  • ¬†Railway stations have leaflets offering discounts to tourist attractions when you have a train ticket.

4. Bus stops have lots of information.

  • Check the very top of the bus stop sign for it’s letter – this will be on maps and will help to locate you to the right bus stop going in the right direction.
  • Bus stops not is use are indicated by a yellow sign at the top of the bus stop sign stating not in use.
  • Bus stops have information about some – but not always all – the buses that stop at that stop.
  • Bus shelters have maps showing local bus routes – there are two maps – one day service and one night, check you are using the right one. Sometimes the other map is on the outside of the shelter.
  • Cash is the most expensive way to travel by bus – try to get a ticket of some sort – Oyster or paper. Tube stations and shops with the Oyster logo sell them.
  • Bus routes which begin with N eg N18 are night buses and are less frequent and sometimes go slightly different routes to day buses.
  • Night buses run all night.
  • You have to have a ticket before you get on “bendy buses” ticket inspectors are not uncommon.

5. Buy Walkin London in the Android Market to get a lot of off-line information about ticket prices, phone numbers, tourist sites nearby and an off-line street map.