Whether you’ve booked to see the haunting supernatural thriller 2:22 A Ghost Story as a couple or are heading for a family day out in London to see The Tiger Who Came to Tea, you’re probably looking for easy ways to get around the capital. London can seem overwhelming if you’re not a regular visitor - but it’s really not that hard to navigate. Promise! With this in mind, here’s what you need to know before exploring the Big Smoke.
1. Get an Oyster Card
One way to get around with ease is to get an Oyster Card. This pay-as-you-go system is one of the cheapest ways to travel around the city and can cut ticket prices by up to 50%. Oyster cards can be used on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, most of the Elizabeth line, IFS Cloud Cable Car and Thames Clippers River Bus services. This means you can travel extensively around the city easily without having to work out how to use the ticket machines at each station. What’s really cool about Oyster Cards is that they don’t expire. So if you top-up and don’t use all your credit, you can simply book to see more family theatre shows and head back to the West End another time.
2. Go Contactless
If you’re unfamiliar with London and not sure how much money to put on your Oyster card for family fun days, then don’t worry. You can use your contactless bank card to tap in and out on the Tube. Most bank cards with the contactless payment symbol will be accepted and you can also make mobile payments using services such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Samsung Pay. Make sure you use the same card or device to touch in and out so that you pay a standard adult fare and are not overcharged. If you plan on taking buses or trams only then you just need to touch in and not out again.
3. Plan Your Route
When heading to the theatre, try to plan your route in advance as this will help you to catch the most convenient Tube. If you’re going to Shaftesbury Avenue, for instance, the closest Tube stations are Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square and Tottenham Court Road. For theatres in and around Covent Garden, the closest stations are Covent Garden, Holborn and Temple. Looking at a Tube map will allow you to plan your journey with ease and if you get stuck, there are always London Tube employees that can help.
Walking is a great way to get around London. You’ll see so much and might surprise yourself as to how much ground you actually cover. If you arrive at Paddington Station from other parts of the UK, walking up to Little Venice could be a great way to start your trip. From there you can get a canal boat to Camden Lock and then catch the Tube into Theatreland. Also, did you know it’s possible to walk from Oxford Street to Leicester Square without hopping on the Tube? Many people think certain tourist attractions are only accessible by train, but this is not the case.
Knowing how to travel around London will make your trip to the theatre so much more enjoyable. Book your West End tickets today and enjoy a day out to remember.