Eating in London is a pleasure. But you need some plan of how get to a place where the food is. It wasn’t easy at all for me to find some info about traveling in London last year. First, I thought about getting a travel card. Then I found the Oyster card would be more convenient – and actually it was. We just got on the bus and went to the city centre. Not this year. We lived in more “outer”, suburban places and the easiest way to the centre was by the tube or the Overground. Well we spent lot of money on these journeys. Thankfully lots of them we saved thanks to bikes! Well, just go ahead and read to get more info.
How to get from Stansted Airport to the city
Our last two ways led to Stansted Airport (Ryanair is not the best but nowadays the cheapest airline from Prague to London). If you happen to have the same way – I mean from Stansted to the city – just go for a bus. It’s much cheaper than train. Last year we went by bus from the airport to Stratford and it cost like £18 for both for a one-way ticket. This year we had to take the train and it was £25 for one for one-way ticket (it’s really really expensive).
You can get all tickets right at the airport arrivals hall. There are some booths that say things like “tickets to London”. It’s easy to find them.
Bus A51 goes to Bromley by Bow, Liverpool Street, Finsbury Square, and Victoria Station. Bus A52 goes to Redbridge Station and Stratford Station. (And both of them go back of course.)
There are two buses, one goes to Old Street, another one to Baker Street (say hello to Sherlock Holmes!).
Goes to Tottenham Hale and Liverpool Street. The return ticket costs about £ 33. Tickets may be bought at the platform or on the train.
Liverpool Street Station
You’re in London and now what?
The easiest way to travel around London is the public transport. You can get anywhere by tube, bus, and train. The bus is the cheapest one when travelling in a peak or for a longer distance (a fix price). In peaks it’s the fastest but definitely not the cheapest way to go by tube, Overground or the DLR (train).
The first thing you need to do is to get the Oyster card. Just look for some booth at bus or train station – there is a list of places where you can get it. Top it up with some money (there are lots of “self-service Oyster-machines” for cash or credit card payments). Optionally you can register your Oyster at TFL’s website. By registering your Oyster you get an online access to your journey history, top up online or reconcile incomplete journey (more on that later).
How does the Oyster card work?
It couldn’t be easier. If going by bus, just place your card to the reader (a round, yellow spot at a bus driver’s cabin) and go on. You don’t need to do anything else when leaving the bus (just ring the bell to let the driver know you want to leave – so they’ll stop). If going by tube or train you need to touch in on your way in and touch out on your way out (there are tourniquets). However there are stations without tourniquets but even there don’t forget to both touch in and out. In case you forgot or were unable for any reason to touch out you can either go to your online account (in case you registered you Oyster) or visit ticket office for refund.
How much you’ll pay?
Tube, Overground, DLR
It depends mostly on the number of zones you’re traveling through. Fares information can be found on TFL’s site at Fares section. Typically your fare would be between £2 and £4 for a single journey when using Oyster. If you travel a lot during the day Oyster has a daily cap. When you hit the cap all your subsequent journeys are free of charge.
Single journey costs £1.45. Same as Tube, Overground and DLR the bus has a daily cap at £4.40. You can alternatively use your contactless payment card but be aware that daily cap doesn’t apply yet.
Practically for 7 days of using mainly buses your expenses might be around £30. However if you have to use Tube, Overground or DLR frequently like for getting each day to the city centre and back you might end up with travel cost of £70.
Cheaper, healthier, and funnier journeys around London
Hire a bike. Pay £10 for a week, use it always for half an hour, have five minutes break and go on and on and on. Going on bike is funny, really, just be careful. Even though lots of Londoners go on red light and don’t care about cars and buses (sometimes lorries). Don’t be like these people if you like your life. There’s number of accidents every year caused by not-careful-enough bikers and car drivers. Worry a little bit and be happy! Drivers are polite, no one honked on me for the whole week! And I’m sometimes confused in traffic.
Barclays bikes are easy to hire. These small docking stations are almost on every corner around the larger city centre. You need just a credit card (it’s like an ID card for hiring bikes) and that’s all. Every time you want to hire a bike you use your credit card, print a ticket with bike release code, enter code in the docking point with a chosen bike, unmount the bike and go for a ride!
There are lots of lanes for bikes/buses/taxis but usually you just need to stay close to the left side of the road. When in a huge traffic jam just dismount, use a pavement and/or a zebra and get where you need quickly (but still carefully).
We rode past Buckingham Palace, The Gherkin, Regent’s Canal, through Hyde Park, to Shoreditch, Leicester Square, Trafalgar Square, Covent Garden, Columbia Road Flower Market. We even rode to the South Bank but Borough Market was closed that day. I think we rode to much more places but I just can’t recall all of them.
The only trouble I had was a flying skirt. (I wear just skirts and/or dresses, it’s almost impossible to see me in trousers.) But it’s just a girlie thing I’ll figure out.
Few more pics…