Are you travelling to London in 2016? Here are the London apps you need to download to make your trip to the Big Smoke a breeze.
Do you remember a time when we used to travel with heavy guidebooks and paper maps? When you had to go into internet cafes to check your emails and send a note to your mum to reassure her you were alive. When we used to go to travel agents to book flights and rely on outdated travel tips to get around.
I know some of you reading this will have no recollection of this Dark Age and I’m going to politely ask you to stay quiet and not make me feel old with a comment like, ‘Paper maps…? What…? How do you use a paper map without your flashing red dot?’ I know, mind boggling isn’t it.
We live in a modern world and, personally, I think we’re really lucky to have so much amazing technology at our finger tips. I know some people may disagree and think we’re killing our brain cells and teenagers losing the skill to actually talk to one another, but I think it’s awesome.
I can’t imagine travelling without a smartphone. Well, I can, I’d just rather not. I wouldn’t be able to checkin online, check the times for public transport, book last minute hotels, research new destinations, ask Twitter for travel tips, instantly share my experiences with friends and family or find myself when I’m hopelessly lost.
I can’t even imagine being in London without a smartphone. I lived there for years but I still relied on my phone to guide me through the streets, tell me how to get around and find out what’s going on.
It’s with the help of smartphone apps that I can do all of this in an instant. So today I’d like to share some of my favourite apps for travelling in London.
Spotted by Locals – For unusual things to do
Spotted by Locals pops up a lot on this blog and it’s because I love it and use it for most new cities I visit. This app allows you to find loads of things to see and do as well as places to eat and drink. You can find things to do on the map – very handy for a big city like London so you can find things close by. The tips in this app are written by locals, so you’ll find a lot of unusual activities that don’t make it into guidebooks. It’s perfect if this is your second visit to London and you’ve seen the major tourist attractions before – or even if you live in London and you’re looking for something new!
Agio – For the best currency conversion
Unfortunately, London is an expensive city and you’re going to need plenty of moolah during your visit. If you’re changing currency in London then I recommend using Agio. It’s a really clever and really simple app that finds your locations and tells you the best places to change your currency nearby. In a big city like London there could be 10 currency conversion places within walking distance so be smart and get the best rate.
Bubblo – For indecisive newbies
The best thing about London is that there’s so much to do and so many places to eat, drink and dance all night. But if you’re a newbie to the capital, this can also be the worst thing about London. How on earth do you decide where to go!? This is where bubblo comes in. Using your location, bubblo finds the five best places near you to make the decision much easier. Choose from clubs, bars, restaurants, coffee and also special deals and the app will show you the best options close by. Here’s the link for iOS and the one for android.
TicketySplit – For days outside of London on the train
If you plan to explore more of Britain and stray outside of London on the train then check out TickeySplit to find cheap tickets. Train companies like to make things really complicated when booking train tickets and make us work really hard to find the best deals! You’ll often find that booking split tickets is cheaper than booking a ticket for the whole journey. For example, if you’re travelling from London to Manchester via Crewe, it may be cheaper to book one ticket to Crewe and another from Crewe to Manchester. You probably won’t even need to get off the train!
WiFi Finder – To avoid roaming fees
If you don’t have a British sim when visiting London then you’re going to spend a fortune on data roaming. It’s best to turn off your roaming and stick to wifi. Use the WiFi Finder app to find free wifi hubs around the city. You can often sneak onto the networks of cafes, fast food chains and even museums by lurking outside.
City Mapper – To get around the city with ease
Even if you’ve lived in London for years, it can be a difficult city to find your way around and public transport can be complicated. City Mapper is a transport app that tells you the best way to get from A to B. It will even give you the best options during strikes and delays and offers cycling routes too.
Frugl – For budget travellers
Believe it or not, it is possible to do London on the cheap. We all know that London has a lot of free museums but once you’re all museumed out (usually within about 20 minutes for me) Frugl is a great app to show you all the cheap, free or discounted activities in London.
Street Art London – Street art enthusiasts on a budget
There are some really good street art tours in London but if you don’t want to fork out for a tour, or you’re not that into street art, check out the street art London app. It will help you discover the best of London’s street art scene – and that includes more than just the famous Banksy’s!
Time Out London – For events
You may be able to pick up a free copy of Time Out on the tube or around hotels and cafes. If you don’t find one, make sure you use the Time Out London app for loads of suggestions for things to see. They list the latest events, culture and nightlife and have lots of suggestions for first time visitors too.
Pub Crawl: London – For a boozy tour of London
If there’s one thing Brits love, it’s a good pub crawl and London is the perfect place to do it thanks to over 7,000 pubs! Some of these pubs are amazing. They’re filled with history and stories and old fashioned British charm. Some of them are cheap and nasty and your shoes will stick to the carpet as you order your burger with a free pint. Make sure you visit the nice ones and explore London with a glass in your hand.
Do you have any more suggestions for London apps?