Obviously, London is huge. Several million people live there. Also, it’s huge when it comes to sheer land mass. For goodness’ sake, get yourself a tube map. No point in having a car here. I only saw a tiny fraction of the city, with only a tiny fraction of the public transportation system used. Check their website for more information!
As I mentioned, I was totally lost coming from the airport. The London tube system is massive, and from what I understand, it is constantly being repaired, with lines in court doors shut down, and also certain lines decommissioned entirely. I ended up at Victoria Station thanks to one of those repairs/divergences which I didn’t mind, but if you’re not looking to get lost, just ask! I talked to one of the folks in the vests at the gate to help me get my bearings straight.
The tube system has six zones to make things a bit more complicated, and the more zones you need to travel through, the more ridiculously expensive it gets. That’s why they’re gracious enough to cap it for you…at seven pounds a day. Ironic, I always seemed to somehow spend that much!
The Oyster Card (funny name, right?) is the city’s transportation card that you hold against a reader. It can actually be used on nearly all forms of London transportation. You “top up” (add more money) at the automated machines or at a booth.
If you have no oyster card, you have to stand in line at a pay station, specify where you’re going and buy the ticket each time. The automated machines take coins and smaller notes but won’t take a credit or debit card unless it’s chipped.
I learned fast that the white bubbles on the map means you’re gonna have to haul your carcass along the street a ways to get to the connecting station. From Tower Hill station (where I squawked about the castle) to my connection at Tower Gateway I had to drag my luggage a few blocks.
I also learned really fast why Europeans are generally healthier; stairs. Stairs everywhere. Random stairs. Uneven stairs. High stairs. Low stairs. One stair two stair, red stair blue stair. I tried to make the most of it by focusing on my glutes the entire time.
I never even got on the bus (that would required talking to people *shivers*) so I can only point you back to the website. Also, buses no longer take cash payment for fares. I didn’t even want to try to figure it out. There are millions of tube lines, so there’s bound to be trillions of bus lines. I feel like the only way to learn the entire system is to be born and raised in London, and I have zero interest in learning any of it except how to get to where Tom Hiddleston lives.
The Clipper, basically a big boat, goes up and down the River Thames. Which, by the way, I’d been referring to as the THAYMS River. But no, you don’t say it that way. It’s pronounced “tims”. Like the boots.
Also, you put “river” before “tims” so there’s that. So the whole time I was there I was telling people how I was walking up and down the THAYMS RIVER. Ain’t that some sh*t.
The ferry simply goes back and forth, taking commuter vehicles across the river. There are two of them; they load up with cars and switch. Essentially all day, from what I’ve seen. If I had to do that over and over again all day I’d throw myself into the THAYMS RIVER.
Since the system is so huge, I’d recommend just talking to a human being. Even better, drag your British friends with you wherever you go!