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Last updated October 2020
Once you have booked your flights, planned your itinerary and sorted out your accommodation for London, don’t forget to download some handy apps to your phone.
There are thousands of London apps to help you with everything from navigating the tube to booking theatre tickets. I have chosen my favourite and best apps for London and some runners up that are worth chewing up some storage space on your phone.
Best apps for getting around London
Citymapper [iOS and Android, free to download]
The Citymapper app is brilliant for getting you from point A to point B via any mode of transport – tube, train, bus, taxi, bike, walk, ferry, etc – and letting you know how much it will cost.
You can choose the fastest or cheapest route or a specific method of transport. Where possible the app uses live data and can recalculate your route to account for any disruptions.
It will even tell you the closest transport options to you if you happened to get lost. An added bonus is the app is available for many other cities in Europe and across the globe.
Google maps [iOS and Android, free to download]
Where would we be without our trusty Google maps? Lost! That’s what. If you don’t want to chew up lots of data make sure to set up your offline maps before you go.
Uber [iOS and Android, free to download]
Uber is back in London after a lengthy ban (you can read about it here) Thank goodness because Ubers are often the most available and convenient way to get around town if you don’t want to use the public transport network. Use it as you would in your home town or city.
Gett [iOS + Android]
Order, track and pay for black cabs – my favorite way to travel in London. Black cabs are one of the more expensive ways to get around the city but if you have a large group, lots of luggage or a stroller or wheelchair they are well worth the extra expense. You do not need to collapse your stroller – you just wheel it in the taxi. Genius.
You get up to £5 credit for your first ride with this Gett link
Best app for booking tours and attractions in London
Get Your Guide [iOS and Android, free to download]
Search, select and pay for all your London activities online using this handy app that also holds your ticket information. From skipping the line entry tickets for St Paul’s Cathedral or a street art walking tour, there are activities for every visitor to London.
It’s great if, like me, you don’t like carrying around paper vouchers and want to manage as much as possible on your smart phone. To read our full review of Get Your Guide – click here
London tour ideas from Get Your Guide
Best app for managing money when traveling to London
Transferwise [iOS and Android, free to download]
If you are looking for an economical way to access your funds in London consider opening a TransferWise Borderless account. Simply load your account with your own currency and transfer funds into GB pounds as and when you need them. You access your money with a Mastercard debit card and track spending, manage your card and make transfers on the handy app.
With super low fees and up to the minute exchange rates it is a much cheaper option than using your bank, travelers checks or exchanging money when you arrive >> more information
Best app for restaurant reservations in London
Open Table [iOS and Android, free to download]
Make instant reservations and access deals at some of London’s iconic restaurants with this easy to use app. You can also browse by cuisine, location, availability and price and read reviews to help you decide where to eat.
An example of a current deal: 3 courses and 2 glasses of wine at Alain Ducasse at The Dorchester for £60 per person. Note – you really need to be quite well organised to book the best restaurants so take heed or take note of the next app.
Best app for for last minute and high end restaurant reservations in London
Velocity [iOS only currently, free to download]
If you have not been super organised and secured your reservation for The River Cafe, Hakkasan or other restaurants on your London wish list, this app reveals available tables at some of the hottest places in town for same and next day bookings.
Best app for what’s on in London
Time Out London app [iOS and Android, free to download]
For over 50 years, Time Out has been the definitive guide to what’s on in London. Download the app to learn the events happening in the city during your stay including festivals, theater, concerts and more.
Best app for London theatre bookings
London Theatre Direct [iOS only, free to download] Your trip to London would not be complete without catching at least one show. With the London Theatre app you can browse musicals, plays, opera and ballet listings and read reviews to help you decide what you would like to see. Then continue in the app to review seating plans and book seats for your favourite show.
How to access data in London
All these apps are fantastic resources but you will need data to make the most of them. Here are the top ways to use your phone data in London
- International roaming with your provider – unless you are coming from the EU (where your standard rates apply) this will probably send you broke
- Purchase a prepaid or rechargeable international SIM before you depart – OneSimCard offers 4G coverage across the UK at reasonable rates. You can use the same SIM card if your trip includes countries in mainland Europe too – click here for more info
- Use your hotel or AirBnB wifi plus public or restaurant wifi- free and easy, but you won’t be able to cross live to your followers on Insta from Buckingham Palace! Also, prepare for slower speeds..
- Our favorite method – take a wifi hotspot with you so you are connected wherever you go. We use the Skyroam Solis – it can be used by up to 5 devices so it is perfect for couples, families and friends traveling together.You can also charge those devices with it – now that’s smart! For more information on the Skyroam Solis click here. If you’re interested in this option you can use our coupon UNTOLDM for 10% off
- Purchase a local SIM – simply head to a corner store or newsagency in London and you can easily buy a SIM. Don’t expect a lot of support though and speeds are woeful. You could also buy one from the local carriers – our favorites are “3” or “EE”
More apps for your London trip
Street Art London [iOS only, free to download] – view and visit street art by artist and location
BBC Weather [iOS, Android and Amazon, free to download] – will you need a cardigan or coat?
TodayTix [iOS and Android, free to download] – last minute theatre tickets
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