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.
This map from TfL shows the time it takes to walk between tube stations (pdf) in London.
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).
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.
If downloading a google map is too much of a faff, an alternative is the free Maps.me app which lets you download maps to use offline. It good enough for a general sightseeing/walking map.