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Walking in London

Legible London SignWalking 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.

This online map shows the time it takes to walk between tube stations in central London. Here’s a similar map from Transport for London (pdf)

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).




Maps

If you have a smartphone and don’t want to use your data allowance, it’s possible to save a Google map of London to use offline.

How to save a google map to use offline

1. Open the Google Maps app. (You need to sign into your google account).
2. Zoom into the area you want to download.
3. Click the three line menu in the top left-hand corner. Select ‘Offline areas’, then ‘Custom area’
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 available on your phone. Zoom in or out if you want a bigger or smaller area.
5. Click ‘Download’ at the bottom of the screen.

Google offline maps expire after 29 days.

Offline maps

If downloading a google map 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.

Paper maps & books

An A-Z’s street atlas, a map and street directory in book form doesn’t depend on battery power or a data allowance. The mini A-Z is suitable for anyone visiting central London.

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