Vanessa

Five ways to explore London without a map

Getting around London with a twist

London is a cartographer's dream with its winding River Thames and warren-like alley ways and streets. But sprawled over 1,572 km2 it’s a vast area and there’s no way you can even dream of seeing it all! The city's jumbled nature has resulted from centuries of buildings filling every nook and cranny, even since the Roman Empire times and there have been various attempts at simplifying London’s layout, including Harry Beck’s first world-famous London Underground map in 1931 – pretty much identical to the one we use today. But we’ve set a challenge – why not explore London without a map! You don't want to walk around the capital with your face buried in a A-Z street map, or running your phone out of battery on Google either; there are plenty of other ways to explore if you’re feeling adventurous. Throw caution to the wind, give yourself plenty of time and discover a new way of navigating London. Who knows, you might see some things you didn’t expect along the way... Follow a tube line Pick a colour, any colour. Well, preferably one of the ones with plenty of attractions along the way. If you follow the Piccadilly Line for example, you'll be able to see loads at various stops on the way, including Buckingham Palace near Green Park, the hustle and bustle of the theatres at Leicester Square, the cobbled market at Covent Garden and even Arsenal FC Stadium and Finsbury Park. If you choose the District Line, too, you can walk along the Thames for the most part, starting at Kew Gardens, all the way along to Embankment, passing Westminster and South Kensington on your way for a bit of culture. Use 'places of interest' signs and landmarks Everywhere you go in central London, there will be 'places of interest' signs pointing you in the direction of local tourist attractions and curios. Better yet, use the landmarks and monuments themselves to plot a mind map and help you find your way around. The Shard at London Bridge is especially useful as you can see it for miles around. Here’s one to test your in-built compass! Follow the river The most defining natural influence for the construction of London is undoubtedly the River Thames, which carves the capital into two distinct halves. Walking along its banks is a highlight of any holiday and a great way to get some unparalleled views, including that of the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben, as well as the Tower of London. Stop off at one of the stalls and pop up eateries on the Southbank for a true London experience. Guided tours If you're looking to learn a few things on your way and have a thirst for knowledge, a guided tour could be the answer. Locals will be able to give you the insider secrets on the capital's colourful history, too. Did you know, that the Monument, which commemorates the Great Fire of London of 1666 is 62m tall because it's precisely 62m from where the fire began at a bakery in Pudding Lane? Fine, you probably did know that one. But it never hurts to ask... Thames River Cruise If you’d rather put your feet up and let someone else to the work, why not try out a Thames River Cruise? It’s a great way to explore the capital and get your bearings from the central flowing artery. Listen to a seasoned guide fill you in on your whereabouts and the what-to-see – it may be cheating, but at least it’s fun! Make the most of your trip to London with The London Pass to save time and money.
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