There are ways to feel like a local in a new city. Staying in an Airbnb or boutique hotel in a neighbourhood away from the tourist centre is one and using the right apps is another. Download these genius tools to your phone before a trip to London to find your way around more easily, get discounts at popular attractions and more.
If you enjoy the challenge of working out the Tube by yourself, go for it. But if you want the best route to take from any point A to any point B revealed in seconds, right down to which exit to take at the Tube station, use Citymapper (Free; iOS and Android). The app also compares how long it will take to use public transport versus taking a taxi or walking to your destination and tells you how many calories you’ll burn if you choose the latter (which is not a bad thing to know in the land of ale and fish and chips).
The Oyster card is the simplest way to get around London’s transport network and topping up the balance on your account is easy with the Oyster contactless app (Free; iOS and Android). All you need is an Oyster account to download and start using the app.
SEE ALSO: Reasons to Download the Qantas App Now
Free city guides, an offline map for when you’re not in a wi-fi zone, a list of free attractions, links to purchase tickets for events happening over the dates you’re in London are just a few of the reasons to download London’s official app, Visit London (Free; iOS and Android).
The unofficial bill-splitting app of London, Qkr! (Free; iOS and Android) makes it easy to divvy up the total when dining out in a group at more than 1000 restaurants across the city. So much better than awkwardly trying to calculate who ate what at the end of dinner.
London has certainly done a better job of implementing bike-sharing than some Australian cities. Santander has the most bike stations in London, with the average ride costing £2 (A$3.60). On the Santander app (Free; iOS and Android), you can find available bikes near you and the nearest docking station when you’re done.
Uncover historical landmarks all over the United Kingdom with the National Trust app (Free; iOS and Android). This brilliant depository of information can guide you to more than 500 interesting and beautiful spots around the country, including centuries-old homes, archaeological sites, hidden gardens and monuments. It’s an ingenious way to discover pieces of history you might have otherwise walked right past.
Sitting in the back of a Black Cab is a quintessential London experience. Hail one the new-school way with Gett (Free; iOS and Android), an app with a network of more than 6000 Black Cab drivers. There’s also Uber, Hailo and Kabbee, although non-Black Cab drivers use those apps as well.
The London Coffee Guide
It can be surprisingly hard to track down a good latte in London – particularly if you’re an Aussie used to decent brew at every turn. Launched by three coffee lovers, The London Coffee Guide ($4.49; iOS) shows the best independent cafés and coffee shops nearby, directions to get there, reviews and even the type of beans being used. Never resort to Starbucks again.