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Anyone planning a trip to London any time soon will be faced with a dilemma on how best to travel around in the English capital. There are plenty of options – go on the London Underground, catch a bus, hire a bicycle, jump on a boat, hail a taxi or walk – and selecting the right one to suit your needs could be the difference between having enjoyable London nights and days and enduring a thoroughly miserable time. Here, we run the rule over the different modes of transport available to tourists and sightseers alike.

Going Underground

London tube
The London Underground is a feat of undeniable engineering brilliance. A whole network of train lines operate deep underground and ferry millions of passengers around the city on a daily basis. When everything is running smoothly, it’s a joy to travel on. It’s quick, reliable and easy to use after a few initial teething problems. However, when things go wrong it can be an absolute nightmare. Anyone that has been stuck in a carriage that has broken down in one of the tunnels for any length of time can testify that it’s an experience they won’t forget in a hurry. In the summer months, it’s stiflingly hot on the Tube and often overcrowded. And it’s best to give it a wide berth first thing in the morning and between five and seven at night because that’s when it’s busiest. Numerous improvements are being made to the Underground in preparation for the London Olympics next year so expect some disruption due to possible engineering work between now and then. Be aware that the Tube also only runs roughly between five in the morning and half 12 at night. In terms of cost, a day travelcard around central London is about £6 and this is great value if you’re planning on making quite a few journeys or if you don’t fancy walking.

Get active

Busy Oxford Street
Many of London’s major tourist attractions are in quite close proximity and the only way to really get your bearings in the city is to explore it on foot. It can sometimes take less time and be altogether more convenient to walk from one place to another rather than get on the Tube or bus. Needless to say, it’s also free of charge and a great source of exercise. Mind you, watch the weather – it is Britain after all.

Get mobile on two wheels

Cyclist & phone box
Hiring a bike in London is easy and offers another cheaper and healthier alternative to going on the Underground. A relatively new scheme has seen docking stations installed all over the city where you can pick up a bike and then drop it off at another station convenient for you when you’ve finished with it. If you complete your cycle within half an hour, the journey is free. Despite the cycle lanes, London’s roads are notoriously busy, though, so take care if you decide to rent a bike. It’s a perfect way to see the city if the weather is nice, not so great if it’s not.

Ride the River Thames

Boat on the Thames
A boat ride down the River Thames enables you to see some of London’s landmarks from a different angle and it’s quite a novel and pleasant way of getting about. However, for obvious reasons, you’re limited as to where you can travel to and from and, despite being fast, it’s quite pricey.

Hail a taxi

Black cab in London.
You can’t beat getting a taxi for convenience, but it’s a luxury service for which you pay a premium, especially in a city like London. Given the size of the place, it may be wise to think carefully about how you plan to get back from a particular place at any given time – hailing a taxi should probably be a last resort when all other avenues are not viable.

Catch a bus

London Bus by Ambernectar

It costs less than the Tube, although it does suffer the same problem with the issue of overcrowding before nine in the morning and in the early evening. The night bus service may come in handy if you’re still out and about after the Underground has closed down.