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London Attractions Map

Plot Your Sightseeing Tour with a London Attractions Map

When you next visit London, the chances are you won't have weeks to spend visiting every single attraction. In a city that's so vast, and with so many things to see, it really helps to know where everything is. That way, you can reach galleries, museums, palaces and venues as quickly as possible and make the most of your time in England's capital. That's where a good London attractions map comes in really handy. So let's explore some great ideas for charting your next route around London's standout attractions.

london map

Easy Ways to Find a Comprehensive London Attractions Map

Getting around London is so much easier if you have the right map to guide you. The city occupies around 600 square miles, and the Tube network alone extends for 250 miles, so there's plenty of real estate to cover. And with attractions wherever you look, knowing how to get between them is absolutely vital. After all, who wants to head home having missed out on acclaimed restaurants or royal palaces because they mismanaged their time? Thankfully, if you use modern tech, there's no reason to miss anything. 

Options for smartphone users

Smartphones have revolutionized tourism across the world. With these pocket-sized computers, visitors to London can call up incredibly detailed maps with ease, and see exactly how far it is from A to B. The demand for a good map app has led to the appearance of some impressive services. For instance, VisitLondon offer an iOS and Android app which aggregates a range of activities. You can scroll through today's free attractions, food markets, budget eateries, and Top 10 lists for different types of traveler. It's a great tool for homing in on things to do, but it's even more useful when used with local apps: In conjunction with the Riverside London App for the Thames waterfront, and the Regent Street App pointing visitors towards the street's luxury stores, VisitLondon will keep you busy!

Use Google

Specialist map apps are a great way to orientate yourself when you arrive in London, but many people rely on Google Maps for their day-to-day navigation. When you type "London attractions" into the mapping tool, Google provides a series of suggested tours. These feature attractions such as Sherlock Holmes' house on Baker Street, the Charles Dickens Museum, Westminster Abbey, and the Tower of London. Everything is clearly laid out, with estimated walking or Tube times, so you can manage your schedule down to the last minute. Alternatively, you can use Google Maps to plot custom routes featuring the attractions you are interested in. It's a powerful tool, so make the most of it.

Where to download a map

Both Google Play and the iTunes Store feature a range of apps which cover the whole of central London. Be sure to add them to your phone before you touch down in the UK. Popular options include Ulmon's London Offline City Map, which lets you "pin" attractions before you travel. There's also the London: Guide, Map & Routes created by Spanish blog OverLondres.com. It's all in English, and includes their acclaimed tour routes of historical attractions and gourmet eateries in equal measure. And, as we mentioned above, the VisitLondon attractions map is an excellent smartphone tool. A great feature is the "Discover Nearby" button. When you're in a neighborhood, just press the button and VisitLondon will suggest attractions within a few minutes' walk.

london transport

Find Your Way Around London's Transport Network

So far, we've looked mainly at attractions maps which focus on above-ground museums, historical sights, and shopping centers. But some of the most useful map options add a subterranean dimension: bringing in the huge London Tube network. If you master the Tube system, you'll find it much easier to move from attraction to attraction, so these maps are absolutely essential.
Understanding the London Tube map
First off, you'll probably encounter the main Tube map at some stage in your visit. It can be found on the walls of all Tube stations, and each station should also offer fold-up paper versions, which we would definitely recommend picking up. First created in 1931, the Tube map makes a complex system easy to grasp, but it's not a like-for-like representation of the world above. So don't assume that because two stations are close on the Tube map, they will be close in reality. The map doesn't include attractions, but station names like Westminster, London Bridge, or Oxford Circus are pretty self-explanatory. Other stations to remember include Holborn (for the British Museum), Tower Hill (for the Tower of London), and Waterloo (which is handy for the London Eye).
Ways to download easy-to-use London Tube maps
However, the standard Tube map isn't the only option for Tube users. Enterprising companies have used that map as a template to create apps and maps which superimpose attractions. This makes it easy to whizz between them via the city's subway lines. For example, City-Walks.info have created .pdf maps of the city center which clearly show the closest Tube stations to major attractions like Buckingham Palace. Attractions are shown with a red star, making it easy to find them when you emerge from underground. Downloading the maps is simple, and they have been designed with printing in mind. Print them before you travel or ask your concierge to do so - they should be happy to help.
Work your way around with buses
The Tube isn't the only way to get around London's tourist attractions. In fact, traveling by bus is probably more rewarding. There's nothing like sitting on the top deck of a red London bus as it passes through Westminster or down Oxford Street. But there's no denying that the bus system can be complicated for new users. That's why Transport for London have created an online tool to show local bus maps. Just type in your location (say, "Tower of London") and their site will call up "spider maps" showing where you can go. Private tour bus operators like Big Bus Tours have apps of their own. These provide tour times and stops, as well as details about which attractions they cover.
london free map

Where to Find a Free Map

If you want to save money while traveling around the British capital, map tools can be a key ally. For starters, almost all of the maps we've talked about so far are free of charge. There's no need to buy expensive guide books if you need a local map, when free apps will do the job just as well. Many map creators also offer suggestions about free things to do or places to find cut-price eats. So take advantage of their expertise. Finally, you can easily waste money traveling around London if you don't know where you're going. A good map can make central and suburban London simple to navigate.
The best maps of central London
If you want to visit the Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, and St. Paul's Cathedral in the same day, a central London attractions map is indispensable. LondonPass have come up with a great version. It shows museums, galleries, historic buildings, top restaurants, famous stores, as well as leisure activities like bowling or leading cinemas. It comes in a clickable online map, or a printable pdf, which focuses on the most popular attractions. London360 is an alternative. Their central London map shows the road network in great detail, with bus routes clearly displayed. There are also special maps for bus tours and river cruises. Either company's attraction maps are handy to tuck into your pocket or store on your phone.
Great maps that show London's suburban attractions
When it comes to Greater London, tourist maps are slightly harder to find. But if you're heading to Windsor Castle, the RAF Museum at Hendon, or sports venues like Wembley, they will be really useful. One excellent resource is BritainExpress, who have come up with a map that reaches out to the surrounding counties. From Forty Hall in Enfield to Henry VIII's Hampton Court Palace in the southwest, this map will connect you to some of the capital's suburban treasures. And if you just want to get a feel for Greater London's geography, the road atlas provided by ViaMichelin is hard to beat. 
Discover attractions maps featuring the entire UK
But why stop when you get to London's ring-road, the M25? When you spend time in London, you can easily explore southeast England. Even attractions like Shakespeare's home town Stratford-upon-Avon or Stonehenge are well within reach. If you have a couple of weeks in the capital, it's well worth planning a day trip or two. Brighton is a couple of hours away, with the amazing Royal Pavilion, and the Beatles Experience in Liverpool isn't much further. VisitBritain is a handy site to bookmark when planning excursions. Alternatively, the web site Empty Pipes has created a map showing how long train journeys take from central London - another really useful thing to know.
buying cheap tickets in london

Things to Remember

Whether you opt to stick with a smartphone app like VisitLondon, a variation on the Tube Map, or a printed map provided by services like OverLondres, here are a few tips to consider. For one thing, if you use a printed map, print a few copies. You're sure to deface several maps with routes or directions, and they can easily get lost as well. Secondly, keep your phone well charged. If you rely on a mapping app, don't get caught in a strange part of town without a route back to your accommodation. And try to plot your walking or bus routes in advance. It really helps if you have an idea of the route before you start, instead of improvising when you're out and about.
Buying cheap transport tickets
Then there are ways to economize when using a London attractions map. Using public transport is much cheaper than using taxis for short hops, so familiarize yourself with the Tube and buses. It might be a good idea to purchase an Oyster Card when you arrive. The card costs £5, needs to be charged periodically, and makes it easy to use the buses or subway whenever you wish. Buses are cheaper than the Tube or train, so you might want to stay above ground if you can. And prices rise a bit at peak times, with tickets bought before 9:30 a.m. costing much more. So why not take a bit of time over breakfast to plan your day?
Don't forget peak times and traffic
Ticket prices aren't the only things that rise at peak times. London's traffic has improved a lot in recent years (largely thanks to the introduction of a Congestion Charge for vehicles entering the city center). However, some routes remain congested at times. Avoid buses on Oxford Street or Euston Road in the late afternoon. And try to avoid the Tube from 5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. as many services are packed with commuters. If you have a choice, the Victoria Line tends to be the Tube's fastest line. As it runs from the William Morris Gallery in Walthamstow to Brixton Market, it's really handy for sightseeing of all kinds.
How long do you need for the leading attractions?
Let's say you have a week to see all of London's sights. How long should you devote to St. Paul's, the Tower of London, or the Tate Modern? This is where planning and prioritizing help out. Make a list of the things you really, really want to see: Things you would like to see or do, but can skip if necessary, and optional extras that can be added if there's time. For major attractions like the British Museum or the Tower, set aside half a day, and don't pack your schedule too tightly. Most of the city's sights require some time to properly explore, and flying visits can be unsatisfying.
In a city like London, the challenge is a) knowing what to see and b) knowing how to get there. With the right London attractions map, visitors can prioritize the things that are important to them, and find ways to travel that use their time wisely. When you're on vacation, every minute matters and you don't want to miss a thing. So arm yourself with the apps and maps you need, and use your tourist savvy to make them work for you. The result will be a stellar vacation filled with London's unique experiences.

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