Some top tour tips...

To help with budgeting, here are a few pointers for tours of London with me on foot utilising buses, tube, rail the Overground and waterbus. Contactless travel using your credit or debit card on all these services is fast, convenient and the way to hit the ground running! No more messing around at machines buying tickets – just tap your card on the yellow readers to open the barriers and off you go! But remember on some services to tap out with the same card at the end of your journey. You can also use your smartphone if your card is loaded on it through Apple or Google Pay. No worries about accidentally incurring overseas data charges. Those barriers will open even if your data roaming is switched off! Because it’s no longer practical or as cheap as it was, overseas visitors favour this method and don’t use the Oyster Card anymore to get around. But if you click on the link, then click on the  “contactless travel” icon, you’ll get an idea of how it works.

Black Cab Taxis: Say taxis in London and most people think of the famous iconic licensed Black Cabs (now increasingly every other colour too and
sometimes with sponsorship advertising on them). If the orange sign on the roof in front is lit up, it’s available. These you can flag down on the street and
you’ll be in good hands. Drivers have taken and passed the notoriously difficult but very thorough Knowledge exams over a period of at least three years and
therefore have a map of London in their heads. The only reason you’ll see a SatNav in the cab will be to monitor traffic flow to make your journey as quick
and as easy as possible. You can pay cash or card using your contactless plastic or your smartphone – the card reader is conveniently by the cabin door.

Mini-cabs: these are also licensed, but the drivers are not as knowledgeable. They have to be booked.

Uber taxis: again, the drivers are not as knowledgeable, but they are becoming more popular in London. They are now licensed by Transport for London
(TfL), the regulatory body that monitors the Black Cab and mini-cabs but you have to download the App to use them and the money is deducted from your account direct.

Getting in from the airports: The main ones are Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted although there are other, smaller ones further afield. Heathrow
travellers have the most choice. As well as the Heathrow Express there’s now the Elizabeth Line in addition to the much slower but much cheaper Piccadilly
Line. For the Heathrow Express, you have to buy your ticket at the machine, but for the Elizabeth and Piccadilly Lines, use your contactless card or smartphone to open the barriers (see first item above). Gatwick, Luton and Stansted airports all have good rail as well as bus links into the capital. For more information follow this link:

A word to the wise: never accept a lift from someone purporting to be operating a taxi who approaches you. That driver will be breaking the law, and apart from the obvious danger of accepting such a lift, will not be licenced by TfL, so you wouldn’t be insured. More information on public transport in London from the following link: