Walking is one of the best ways to see London. You’ll save money on transport costs and for short distances, especially in the West End, it’s often quicker than taking the bus or tube.
Some tube stations in central London are only 300-500 metres apart. It’s not worth taking the tube to travel between Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Covent Garden, Charing Cross or Embankment stations – it’s quicker to walk.
Legible London maps
To help you find your way around London, there are Legible London map columns everywhere. These columns give simple directions to places of interest and a list of streets in the local area. The maps show you where you can walk to in 5 and 15 minutes.
Walking route planners
Walkit.com, is a useful website to plan a route between streets, train/underground stations, postcodes or attractions. It gives estimates for the time it takes for slow, medium and fast walkers.
There’s a handy circular route planner, if you just want to wander around. Just type in your starting point, select how long you want to walk and it will suggest a route. They have an app, but it’s not free.
If you have a smartphone try the free Citymapper app. It’s one of the best all-round transport planning apps for London.
Some scenic or interesting walks between tube stations are on Mark Moxon’s Tubewalking website. His free app covers central London (zone 1).
Use the google map app if you have a smartphone. If you don’t want to use your data allowance, it’s possible to save maps to use offline.
How to save a google map to use offline
1. Open the app. (You need to sign into your google account).
2. Zoom into the area you want to download.
3.Click the three line menu and select ‘Settings’, then ‘Offline areas’, then the plus symbol at the bottom.
4. You will see a ‘Download this area?’ message at the top. It tells you how much space the map will take and how much space you have available. You have the option of zooming in or out if you want a bigger or smaller area. Downloading the area with the M25 motorway uses approximately 295MB
5. Click ‘Download’ at the bottom of the screen. Name your map and wait for it to download.
Google offline maps expire after 29 days.
If downloading google maps is too much of a faff, an alternative is the free Citymaps2go London map app from Ulmon. It doesn’t list all streets, but it’s good enough for a general sightseeing/walking map.
If you need an accurate offline map with all streets marked, the A-Z map app is worth the money (IOS only). The A-Z mini street atlas covers zone 1 & 2 and will be enough for most visitors.
If you live in London or want to visit London’s suburbs, The Greater London A-Z covers the whole of London.
Paper maps & books
A-Z’s street atlases don’t depend on battery power or a data allowance. The mini A-Z’s cover enough area for anyone staying in and visiting central London.