I’m going to make myself sound totally old now I think, but when I first moved to London – there was no such thing as Google maps on your phone. I had a spiral bound London A-Z that I toted around with me whenever I was going somewhere new. I may as well have just had a sign on my head saying ‘lost tourist’ … but almost a decade on from first moving here, the A-Z is no longer permanently stashed in my bag and on most days I barely even need to look at a map to go somewhere as I’ve gotten to know the city pretty well. That’s not to say I don’t need a few little helping hands every now and then in the form of my essential London apps – that I would recommend to anyone moving to or visiting the city.
1. Citymapper (citymapper.com/London – free app)
Not to be all ‘cocky Londoner’ type on you, but I do know the tube map pretty well and generally don’t need to check an app for most places centrally. But when venturing further afield in the city I always use either Citymapper to get around easily – or if I’m at a blog event or meeting and just want to know quickest way to get home. I love the ‘near’ feature where you can really easily check where the nearest tube or bus stop is and where the busses and tubes go to from there. It’s also really handy being able to check the status of the tube in case of delays so can plan a new route based on current situation. It’s also really handy to have an app that also works in a load of other major cities too. If you want to get really cocky on the tube download tube exit so you can best position yourself for a smooth exit from the tube to your connection/get out!
2. Beauty – (Wahanda – free app)Ok, not strictly just a London app, but it is one I use a lot. Generally for ‘routine maintenance’ type of appointments and the occasional massage or pampering treatment. My favourite thing about it is that I can book appointments so easily – just a little search and I can book direct from the app. Easy. Can search based on your current location or wherever it is you want to head for your beauty (or some health/exercise classes too). Also a big fan of Class Pass that I have mentioned recently on the health front – being able to take a whole bunch of classes at different studios rather than pay £££ per class is a great idea. So you pay one membership (£89Both apps that I love for beauty and general well being in London right now!
3. London deals – (London for Less – £26.99 – If you’re a tourist in the city then London for Less is a good one to check out. It is a paid for one that I downloaded via being registered for the British10k in a few weeks but there are few things I can imagine being very handy for visitors to the big smoke. One, it has offline maps and transport info – good if you want to save on roaming data whilst here. Plus it offers discounts on a few touristy attractions all over the city too.
4. Tastecard (tastecard.co.uk free app but membership needed) – I’ve been a member of Taste for years now and whilst I haven’t used it as much since I left my previous job (we used to get discounted membership for the year) I would still wholeheartedly recommend it – especially if you’re maybe new to London, in your first job but still want a social life. The discounts are great (think 2 for 1 or 50% off all food) and it’s easy to check where near you offers deals using the app so can make a great saving on eating out by simply checking before you go. Also reminds me that the Taste London festival just happened last week – also worth a visit if you’re in town when it’s on! Festival all about food (my sort of festival) where loads of the city’s top restaurants have stands offering tasters of their signature dishes. Go hungry and wear loose fitting clothes… so much food!
5. Gett/Get Taxi (Gett app free app…taxis not so much! But use my code to get £10 off your first ride – GTJENR) – Ok sure, so Uber is probably the one most people default to, but in my eyes there’s nothing better than a black cab in London. No need to have full address and post code and no drivers relying purely on sat nav – they know the city better than anyone thanks to The Knowledge. Plus the majority of cabbies are also great for a natter whilst you get from A-B (something I newly appreciate after working from home). I’d never have thought to try the traditional Pie & Eel shop on Chapel Market if it hadn’t been for a cabbie recommendation or known that when you see guys on mopeds with a big map on a clip board are actually future cabbies revising the knowledge… the things you learn!?
Any London apps you love that I should add to the list??
FYI these are all just apps I have on my phone and use day to day for life in London – not sponsored or anything like that. Just thought it might be a handy one to share since it’s tourist season!