Life in London can be tough. It’s busy, people are dicks, and getting around can be a labyrinth. Why not ease some of that pain and download some (or all) of these helpful apps?
The following list of apps are all on my phone, and I use most of them quite frequently. They’ve been a great help to me, so I thought I would share with the rest of you – some you might already have, and if I missed any good ones, let me know in the comments!
Some will help you get around easier, some will help you find stuff to do, and some are just useful for the stress of city life…
Citymapper lets you get around with ease. It knows where you are (if you let it), and it’s as simple as popping in your destination to get a list of routes. It takes into account every method available, and can even tell you how many calories you’ll burn by walking it!
“The taxi magnet”. This app is one of my favourites – I don’t always take a cab, but when I do, this is my saviour. Gone are the days of waving down a taxi, fumbling with cash, and worrying about all that jazz. Hailo lets you summon a taxi, and pay using your credit card(s). Simple. Except it doesn’t usually work on a Friday or Saturday night, due to the sheer volume of drunken revellers needing a ride home.
Uber is basically Hailo for rich fuckers. The cars are nicer, the drivers are friendlier, and your journey will cost you a bit more.
In the last year or two, many of London’s bus stops have been upgraded to include digital countdown timers, indicating when the next buses will be along. This app does exactly that, so when you find yourself at a stop that hasn’t gone digital yet (which is still a lot of them), or one that is out of order, break out this piece of software. It also shows you the entire route of each bus overlayed onto a map, which is VERY handy.
Despite the bikes themselves being FUCKING TANKS, “Boris Bikes”, as they have become known, are a handy way around the city. The tricky part is finding the stations with available bikes, and locating an end rank with spaces to finish your journey. The accompanying app helps solve both of the aforementioned issues..
London Tube Deluxe
Most of us have come to accept that the Tube is usually buggered in some way – but just incase you wanted to be doubly sure, you can check this app before you set out in the morning. Oddly enough, things were running well when I took the screenshot – maybe the app doesn’t actually work. It has a built in tube map, which is the main reason I have the app.
Rail Tickets: First Capital Connect
Bit of a niche one this, but handy nonetheless. Part of my commute includes bridging the gap between Highbury & Islington and Old Street – a distance not easily connected by tube, but IS serviced by the First Capital Connect. This app shows the timetables – and shaves off a good 40 mins of my daily back & forth.
Google Maps vs. Apple Maps isn’t much of a comparison, but still people debate the topic more frequently and vocally than the Grassy Knoll.
Use this for finding out where you are, where you’re going, and how to get there. There’s a lesser known destination function which included public transport and walking – very handy for Londoners!
I’ll be honest and say that I’ve still not actually used this one. But the concept is cool, and if I remember to pull it out in a bar, I’ll definitely have a shot.
Basically, various bars and venues in London have installed the service, and it allows you to queue up the next track on the speakers.
Push notifications to let me know when I’m in a compatible bar would be great.
Movies by Flixster – with Rotten Tomatoes
Everyone likes movies – but everyone likes knowing what time they start too. And if they’re shit or not.
With this app you can set your local cinema as your favourite, to check times and reviews. The reviews come from Rotten Tomatoes as well, not IMDB. So you can trust them.
If you’ve got one of these things (read: “If you’ve been conned into parting with £79.95 per year for one of these things”), then you might as well get the app too.
The card gives you discounts at restaurants around London, but without this app you’ll probably never find one.
Another restaurant finder – you can set a time, amount of people and locate great quality food buildings nearby. Nom.
Postbox UK lite
I’d hate to think I was the only person that’s ever said: “Where’s the nearest motherflipping postbox?”
Yes, they’re old school – but sometimes you just have to send physical mail. Not everything can fit down the Internet (yet).
So the next time you’ve got a mixtape to send someone, launch this thing and it will tell you where to stick it.
No idea what is missing from the Lite version – maybe a virtual Postbox that you can stroke and put firecrackers into?
Until network carriers stop shafting us with data charges, and the speeds get fast enough to use consistently, free wifi is a necessity in our capital city. This handy thingymajig will tell you nearby spots with glorious free interwebs.
London Travel Guide – Lonely Planet
I got this one for free, but now you suckas have to pay. It’s useful enough, though I rarely find myself opening it – plenty of information that might be handy to the casual tourist. There’s a list of free things to do in London, which is actually quite a lot of things. Perfect for the frugal dater.
You thought I’d forgotten this one, right? Aside from the check-in function being rather pointless yet handy for showing off to your friends, there are some useful parts to this app.
The tips are the nectar, and things like menu recommendations to wifi passwords may be found within..
As I said, London is busy, and people are dicks. When you’ve simply had enough of it all, reach for this instead of the booze.
“Zen” out and relax – hold your finger on the screen and relax for as long as humanly possible. I managed 4 seconds!
And there we have it – hopefully some of these will reduce the strains and pains of London life. If I missed any good ones, please let me know – I’ll add any that are not on the list!