Getting Around London
Getting around London is easy - use the journey planner to travel by public transport. The very best way to see London is on foot – this way you can explore some of the lesser known areas, look in more detail and enjoy the view as you go. The walk from the Design Museum in Butlers Wharf near the Tower of London and Tower Bridge along the South Bank to Waterloo and beyond is a great introduction to all of London’s famous sights (this way you get one of the best views of the Houses of Parliament) and for Londoners who think they “know it all” there are plenty of interesting stops on the way. Have you ever been to Shakespeare’s Globe? Shopped in Hays Galleria or Borough Market? Enjoyed one of the free events outdoors near the South Bank Centre? If you enjoy hearing about stories from behind the scenes, there are plenty of guided walking tours you can join through-out London..
A brief history of transport in London
The Sedan chair first appeared for hire in London in 1634. Cheaper than hackney coaches they also had the advantage that the passenger could be carried right into his house! Chairmen were licensed and had to display a number, just like today's taxi drivers.
The first rank for a Hackney Carriage (London taxis are still called this) was established in 1634, Hansom Cabs were introduced 200 years later and “modern” taxis (motorised) ones in 1907. All Black Taxi Drivers must pass a tough test called “The Knowledge” before being licensed, which can take up to two years.
Another distinctive sight is that of the red double-decker buses – the Routemasters, designed in the 1930s and still going strong. Visit the London Transport Museum to learn their history and find out how the first buses came to bear advertising messages.
London’s first railway line was opened in 1836. Some of the earliest railway stations are fine buildings – take a closer look at St. Pancras, Charing Cross and King Cross which are all fine examples of Victoriana. You can see the oldest surviving locomotive (Stephenson’s Rocket) in the Science Museum.
London’s first underground railway was the Metropolitan Line running from Paddington to Farringdon Steet, opened in 1863.