Coming to a big, sprawling city like London can feel a little overwhelming to a first-time visitor, especially for those wanting to find their own way around the city. Given that there were 18,477 reported cycling casualties in London in 2016, it certainly pays to be vigilant on the roads. However, the heavy investment put into road safety in the city has brought about effective safety measures, as well as many thriving bike and pedestrian-friendly routes. This means that there is ample opportunity for you to enjoy what London has to offer on the ground.
Considerations when experiencing London by car
Driving round London can provide a real sense of the bustling nature of the city, as well as giving you some eye-catching views (London Bridge at night being one example). However, if you do wish to drive around London, make sure you have appropriate insurance and allow yourself enough time to familiarize yourself with the Highway Code and vehicle rules. As is the case wherever you are, it is important to know how to react if you are in a road incident. Be especially mindful of cyclists, pedestrians and motorcyclists, who may appear suddenly in your blind spot or walk across very slow-moving traffic.
The ‘Boris Bike’
A lasting legacy of Boris Johnson’s time as Mayor of London has been his implementation of 11,000 Santander Cycles (popularly dubbed ‘the Boris Bikes’) across the city. These are available to hire extremely cheaply every day of the year, and can simply be stowed away at one of the 750+ docking stations whenever you have finished using them. They offer a cheap, accessible means of transport around the city that not only enables you to experience London in fun and interesting ways, but also keeps you fit (and safe) in the process.
Take in the views by foot
Sometimes the best way to enjoy a big city like London is to just take a stroll. Whether you are drawn to history, architecture, parks, the arts, good food or simply retail therapy, you are bound to find something that appeals on a walk around London. Alternatively, you can make the most of the helpful online guides available on how to experience the city’s highlights on foot. Meanwhile, a walking tour of London’s canals makes for a very worthwhile experience. Whatever you choose, exploring the city by foot is a popular and safe option, made all the more so by the increasing number of traffic lights that signal how many seconds a pedestrian has to cross the road.
London: a place for all types of travel
London is certainly a large, busting city that can be quite a hit to the senses. Getting from A to B may well seem quite daunting if you are not used to big cities. However, once you explore what London has to offer – whether by car, foot, bike or a bit of each – you will hopefully discover that getting around the city is actually more straightforward than you thought.