Five ways to explore London without a map

May 27, 2014 9:00 am

Getting around London with a twist

London is a cartographer’s dream with its winding River Thames and warren-like alley ways and streets. But sprawled over 1,572 km² it’s a vast area and there’s no way you can even dream of seeing it all!

The city’s jumbled nature has resulted from centuries of buildings filling every nook and cranny, even since the Roman Empire times and there have been various attempts at simplifying London’s layout, including Harry Beck’s first world-famous London Underground map in 1931 – pretty much identical to the one we use today.

But we’ve set a challenge – why not explore London without a map! You don’t want to walk around the capital with your face buried in a A-Z street map, or running your phone out of battery on Google either; there are plenty of other ways to explore if you’re feeling adventurous.

Throw caution to the wind, give yourself plenty of time and discover a new way of navigating London. Who knows, you might see some things you didn’t expect along the way…

Follow a tube line

Pick a colour, any colour. Well, preferably one of the ones with plenty of attractions along the way. If you follow the Piccadilly Line for example, you’ll be able to see loads at various stops on the way, including Buckingham Palace near Green Park, the hustle and bustle of the theatres at Leicester Square, the cobbled market at Covent Garden and even Arsenal FC Stadium and Finsbury Park. If you choose the District Line, too, you can walk along the Thames for the most part, starting at Kew Gardens, all the way along to Embankment, passing Westminster and South Kensington on your way for a bit of culture.

Use ‘places of interest’ signs and landmarks

Everywhere you go in central London, there will be ‘places of interest’ signs pointing you in the direction of local tourist attractions and curios. Better yet, use the landmarks and monuments themselves to plot a mind map and help you find your way around. The Shard at London Bridge is especially useful as you can see it for miles around. Here’s one to test your in-built compass!

Follow the river

The most defining natural influence for the construction of London is undoubtedly the River Thames, which carves the capital into two distinct halves. Walking along its banks is a highlight of any holiday and a great way to get some unparalleled views, including that of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, as well as the Tower of London. Stop off at one of the stalls and pop up eateries on the Southbank for a true London experience.

Guided tours

If you’re looking to learn a few things on your way and have a thirst for knowledge, a guided tour could be the answer. Locals will be able to give you the insider secrets on the capital’s colourful history, too. Did you know, that the Monument, which commemorates the Great Fire of London of 1666 is 62m tall because it’s precisely 62m from where the fire began at a bakery in Pudding Lane? Fine, you probably did know that one. But it never hurts to ask…

Thames River Cruise

If you’d rather put your feet up and let someone else to the work, why not try out a Thames River Cruise? It’s a great way to explore the capital and get your bearings from the central flowing artery. Listen to a seasoned guide fill you in on your whereabouts and the what-to-see – it may be cheating, but at least it’s fun!

 

Make the most of your trip to London with The London Pass to save time and money.

 

12 Comments

  • Avatar Rolando says:

    I already bought passes for me, my wife and my son, through a travel agent in Germany. Will be traveling in August this year.

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Rolando,
      We hope you enjoy using the passes and have a great time in London!
      Thanks,
      The London Pass Team

  • Avatar Analiza says:

    Would I be able to use London Pass if I travel via trains from Feltham to Brighton and back?

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Analiza,

      No, the London Pass with Travel is only valid for zones 1-6 in London. Brighton is outside of these zones; although Feltham is zone 6. You will get free travel to London Victoria or London Bridge included from Feltham, but you will have to purchase a separate train ticket from a London rail station to Brighton to complete the journey.

      Hope this helps.

      Thanks,
      The London Pass Team

  • Avatar Joanne Tan says:

    Hi, I will be in London for a week in early July together with my brother’s family. All in there will be 4 of us, all adults. Do you have London Pass for group fare? If not, can you advise.

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Joanne,

      Great to hear you’ll be visiting London in July! The London Pass is a great resource for you and your brother’s family. We sell 6 day Adult passes which would suit your week long trip but you would have to buy one each as we don’t offer group passes. The London Pass allows you free entry into over 60 top attractions and experiences in London and if you add on a Travelcard too you can get an extra day travel for free. With a six day adult pass you can make a saving of over £213 during your week of sightseeing. To find out more about how it works and what you get, click here for more information.

      Many thanks,
      The London Pass Team

  • Avatar Tata Wong says:

    Hi, I ‘m going to London in July for five days sightseeing with my family (four persons), we would like to buy 3 Days London pass with travel card . please suggest how can we arrange the rest of 2 days transportation in London.

    Many thanks,
    Tata

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Tata,

      Thanks for your email, great to hear you’ll be visiting London this summer.

      Your London Passes with Travel will cover your three days; however, once your cards have expired you will have to purchase your own travelcards for the remaining two days. Note: once you activate your passes and travelcards, they work on a consecutive day basis so if you start them at 5pm that will count as day 1.

      Travelcards are available from any tube or train station. You can buy daily travelcards or travelcards by ‘zone’ depending on how far you want to travel that day. Best speak to a member of the TFL staff who will be able to assist you further and find a travelcard to best suit your needs for the remainder of your trip.

      Many thanks,
      The London Pass Team

  • Avatar Brenda says:

    Hi: any discount on buying the London Pass? sometimes the web site shows 10% discount, sometimes no, how often will have the discount be offered? Thanks!

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Brenda,

      Unfortunately we can’t give out exclusive discounts; keep an eye on our site for the latest offers – but don’t forget, you’re already making a significant saving with The London Pass anyway!

      Thanks,
      The London Pass Team

  • Avatar CassieYun says:

    your idea of walking one of the tube lines is a great idea. how many miles do you think the line for Westminster abbey/Buckingham palace, etc. would be? I plan on doing a lot of walking in this touristy area. thank you.

    • Avatar London Pass Blogger says:

      Hi Cassie,

      Walking across London is a great way of exploring the city. To walk between Westminster Abbey and Buckingham Palace is relatively short and is only 0.8miles. You could make a slight detour and go through St James’ Park for a more scenic route but you’re looking at a 15-30 minutes. While you’re in the area you can also visit Churchill War Rooms, too, which is right around the corner.

      Thanks,
      The London Pass Team

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