An Insider's Guide to the Most Essential London Apps
Everyone wants to live London like a local, but here are the best places to stay and the best apps to use to make you feel at home in no time
1. Visit London app
The Visit London app is the official guide app for the city of London. The app features offline maps that you can download ahead of time to save your phone data, lists of attractions and things to do, area guides, and special offers. You’re even able to book tickets and deals on the app itself.
2. TfL Oyster app
The Oyster card is the best way to pay for public transportation in London so you’re going to want an app that helps you manage it. With the app, you can check your available balance as well as top up. You’ll be able to load your card without having to stand in line at the machines in the station, which comes in handy as it can get busy and be time consuming.
3. Citymapper London
Plan your transit route with Citymapper. You can select the city you’re in and it’ll load all the methods of public transportation available. Once you pick London, it’ll show the Tube, bus, rail, tram, bicycles, and cars. It will provide suggested routes, live information, traffic, offline maps, and taxi fares.
4. Tube Map
Only planning to use the Tube while you’re in London? No problem. Download the Tube Map app. Once you open it, it’ll show you a complete map of the Tube and you’ll be able to zoom in and out as you please. Select a station and you’ll be able to see if it’s open, the first and last Tube times, and line status. You can also select the ‘night’ option that will allow you the Night Tube options available. Other features include route planning and TfL updates.
5. Bus Times
Most bus stops in London have a countdown clock that’ll show you how long until the bus is due. But sometimes technology doesn’t always work or you’re not near a bus stop and just want to decide whether or not you’ll take the bus. Well, the famous red buses have their own app too. Download Bus Times, which is directly connected to TfL data and provides accurate live information when you select a bus station or specific bus number.
6. Santander Cycles
Want to cycle around London? Try the Santander Cycles app. It shows bike availability, docking stations, and routes to the nearest ones. Arrange and pay for your bicycle ride on your phone without ever having to use the terminal at the docking station.
7. National Rail and National Express apps
If you fancy taking a train out of London for a day trip, use the National Rail app to plan your journey. You can see live train times and ticket prices. But if trains aren’t your thing or to save a few pounds, there’s the National Express bus app which performs the exact same functions.
8. Regent Street
The famous shopping street can be overwhelming and hard to navigate. You may not want to walk along the 1.3 km road, look into every shop, and try to find something you might want to buy. For that, you have the Regent Street app. It’ll personalize your shopping experience by asking what your interests are and give you information on sales.
9. Stratford London app
Stratford is a major shopping hub in London and the Westfield Stratford City mall is one of the biggest shopping centres in Europe. To navigate the waters, download the Stratford London app that serves as an area guide to help you discover restaurants, shops, and events.
11. Natural History Museum app
Save paper by using the Natural History Museum app, where all the museum information will be at your fingertips. It has a map of the museum, lists of galleries that can be organized alphabetically or by location, online ticket booking, and audio guides so you can hear the details of what you’re seeing on your own phone.
12. Riverside London app
The River Thames, Southbank, Bankside, and London Bridge are all places you’ll want to explore. Granted, they cover an expansive area but the Riverside London app will make it easy for you. It’ll tell you what’s on event wise, suggest things to do with lists of attractions and restaurants, and allow you to create an itinerary right in the app.
13. Plume Air Report London
Pollution and air quality are big problems in major urban cities like London but Plume Labs is here to help. Because pollution is so variable, the Plume API tracks air quality from street to street and minute to minute. If you’re concerned about whether or not it’s a good time to go for a several mile long run, check the app and it’ll tell you the pollution levels for that exact time. It also has a feature where you can set notifications.