Whether we like it or not – and many do – smartphone technology is changing the way millions of us are living our lives. And among the drivers behind this are the features and fine functionality offered by apps, designed specifically for us eager consumers. For those looking to visit London, don’t doubt it, there’s numerous and varied apps you can download that are likely to enhance your experience of the UK capital. Here are some of the best…
Addison Lee Car Booking
The cab provider that so many London businesses rely on – Addison Lee comes highly recommended in the capital. And this app allows you not just to book one of their reliable vehicles, but also do so while you’re on the go yourself. You can book on demand or in advance – and with card or cash. Available on: iOS and Android.
Tailored to help you get the best out of the city by finding you multiple routes via the Tube, mainline trains, buses, river boats and Santander bicycles, this app will simplify and improve your public transport experience. It also provides up-to-date details, such as disruptions as well as prices, taxi fares and, yes, calorie burn counts. Its loyal users swear by it.
Great Little Place
Could this app be the online equivalent of London’s ‘little black book’? Quite possibly. Operating as a treasure trove of the city’s numerous hidden gems, this one will help you discover – and visit – many a quirky, trendy venue, from the latest hip restaurants to too-cool-for-school bars.
London Official City Guide
While an all-inclusive affair, this one’s ultimately aimed at helping you get the most out of the capital while you’re on the move. Offering – without roaming charges – bar and restaurant recommendations, up-to-the-minute weather and travel information and offline maps, of all London visitor apps, this one has to be one of the most useful for both tourists and business travellers. Available on: iPhone and Android.
MBNA Thames Clippers
Enormously tourist-friendly, the Thames Clippers boat services are rightly hugely popular with pleasure seekers in London and this app allows you to speed up the process of getting on the river and enjoying the ride – so via your smartphone, you can purchase a journey wherever you are (no need to print out your ticket and all that hassle) and avoid the queues at the riverside stop; merely activate your ticket as your board, showing the crew you’ve done so on your screen.
The Montcalm hotel group runs an elegant and stylish but comfort-orientated range of places to stay in the most fashionable areas of Central London, including Marble Arch, Shoreditch and The City. And, available free on iOS, this offering doesn’t just operate as a hotel deals app, but also enables users to make a reservation at any Montcalm hotel from wherever they may be, receive the latest updates on deals, browse individual hotel photos, maps and amenities, and view, edit and cancel an upcoming reservation they may have made.
Museum of London Streetmuseum
A truly marvellous invention this one – as it allows you to truly step back into The Smoke’s colourful and fascinating history. The idea is you simply hold your phone up (with your camera on) while standing in a London street and images of how that very street looked in times gone by will appear on the screen, so you can compare and contrast the present with the past. Genius! Available on: iPhone and Android.
Natural History Museum
Not only is this app designed to help navigate your way through the highlights and less well known exhibits at the world-leading museum, but it’s also been developed to update visitors with regular info on the latest goings-on at the superb South Kensington venue.
Raise Tower Bridge
So you’re visiting the downright iconic Tower Bridge, but the blasted thing is showing no sign of doing its most impressive thing – raising its roadway to let rivercraft through. Bit of a disappointment, yes? Well, with this very smart smartphone-friendly offering you can now experience – or at least virtually experience – that very event. Merely stroll along one of the bridge’s walkways and aim your phone at a designated point and (hey presto!) you can watch a 360° panoramic video of the bridge being raised. Available on: iOS and Android.
Designed to enable you to personalise and get the best out of your shopping experience on one of the world’s chicest and most renowned retail thoroughfares, this app smartly gets to know your interests and seeks out for you invitations, promotions, offers and event details (from leading stores such as Liberty and the Apple Store).
For those interested in getting to know the Thameside better during their time in the capital, this app covers the stretch running between Lambeth and Tower Bridges, enabling you to find out fascinating tidbits about landmarks as well as listings of leading riverside restaurants and events. Available on: iPhone and Android.
The official name for Tranpsort for London’s (TfL) hugely popular cycle hire scheme, this very useful application allows you to hunt down – and discover the quickest route to – your nearest docking station as well as find out about bike availability. It also allows you to skip having to go through the rigmarole of using a docking station terminal by receiving a release code (to hire a bike) directly on your smartphone. Available on: Android.
Street Art London App
A priceless guide to finding all that priceless street art adorning the outside walls, doors, subways, alcoves and alleyways of London, this app provides not just user-friendly maps but also enables you to search the art by artist and by date. Perfect for hunting down that brilliant Banksy you always wanted to see in person.