There are so many ways of getting around London, sometimes it is hard to pin point what way is the best value for money, what is the quickest way around and which way is the cheapest! Well I have got some answers for you after my few days away. Here is what I learnt;
As we arrived into London Stansted Airport, I did not have any transfers booked or anything researched about how to get into London. I set off visiting the different transport offices that is located in arrivals to find out some more information.
I went to Stansted Express first, this is a rail service that leaves the airport every 15 minutes until late. I personally prefer to travel by train, I think it is much more comfortable and relaxing as opposed to a bus. There are two different locations that this train stops at on the way into the city; Tottenham Hale Station and Liverpool Street. You will be directed which one to get off for your accommodation while purchasing your ticket. You will arrive in Liverpool Street in under an hour and it will cost you just under £30 return.
Another option that is available is the bus service from the airport. National Express offers various different routes that will bring you into the city with different stops along the way. This is cheaper than the train service costing you £20 return. The length of your journey, of course, depends on traffic so it could easily end up being twice as long as the train.
Uber is another way of getting to and from the airport. Uber is the greatest thing in my opinion. I actually never thought about using Uber while I was there until the final day. If you have 4 people or enough people to fill a car to split the cost, I think this would be a good way to get to the city. There is one Uber pickup location at Stansted Airport. You can download the app and enter where you are heading to and it will give you an estimated cost and a rating of the taxi driver that is closest, before you have to actually book the Uber. This is very handy so you can decide if you aren’t happy enough with the driver or that it may not be within your budget you can just decline and change your mind! I think it would cost about £50 one way.
What I did was get the Stansted Express train to Liverpool Street as this was the closest station to my accommodation. On arrival to Liverpool Street I headed to the ‘Greater Anglia’ office where I purchased an Oyster card. You can purchase a visitor card or chat to the worker to see what they think is best for your time in London. It cost me £33 for unlimited travel on the Underground service for the 4 days and 3 nights I stayed in London. You can just buy a card and top it up as you go along also. There are lots of stairs in the underground so if you have several suitcases and bags, I would be cautious of this.
Getting Around London;
Uber is a of getting around the city. If you are just going short distances then this is quick and easy but traffic levels could increase your fare and would add onto the duration of the journey.
Hop on Hop off Bus is another way to see the city. I have used Hop on Hop off Buses before but decided against this in London as I had 4 days there. I felt I didn’t need to spend the money on a touristy bus tour. In saying this, if I was only there to see specific attractions that were available on the routes, along with having a shorter stay, I would use this service. Tickets are valid for 24 hours and usually have the option to upgrade to a 48 hour ticket. It is exactly what is it, you just hop off at a location that interests you and you can catch the next bus to move on at a later time. Golden Tours seems to be a bit more expensive but they offer more add on’s with their tickets such as; free walking tours, a free river cruise and discounted ticket prices for various attractions.
Hop on Hop off Boat is an exciting way to get around. The Thames Clipper is just one example of this type of service available. I think this would be a good purchase if you are staying along the Thames River so you can access the piers easily. Not sure if I would purchase this as I feel as though it would be a slower way of getting around. Why not go on a river cruise instead and enjoy the views once, instead as a means of getting from point A to B? That’s just me!
Underground Tube in my opinion is the best and easiest way of getting around the city. For me, I was doing a lot of site seeing and moving around so I would use the underground multiple times a day. This made the £33 Oyster card really worth it. The trains arrive every couple of minutes and once you get used to the different lines and platforms it is easy to use. It is a bit daunting when you first arrive and we ended up on the wrong train a few times but people are very helpful and this is another plus side to the Oyster card, you won’t have wasted your ticket if you had bought it singly as you can just get off and use it again instead of getting off and maybe having to buy another ticket. You can download the App ‘Tube Map’ to help you figure out the underground system. Your Oyster card also gets you travel on the city buses so your options are endless with this card. Well worth the money.
Walking is as good as any, pick your points of interest that are all close to each other for the one day and stroll around London. You miss all of this when you are in the underground so it is nice to wander the streets and see all the different shops, streets, cafes and parks that London has to offer.
My flight from Shannon to London Stansted was less than €40 and my train and Oyster Card cost me £60 so my transport to/from the airport and travel during the 4 days cost me approximately £100 in total.