13 best free apps for surviving London
London can be a little overwhelming, even to the locals! Our staff come from all over the globe, so we’ve compiled a list of apps that helped them survive London when they first got here! Whether you’re just in town for the weekend or you’re planning a longer stay, these free apps will help you get the most out of your trip and live life like a Londoner.
1. CityMapper (App Store/Google Play)
The app of apps. Citymapper is one of the apps most used and trusted by visitors and locals alike. The easy to use app will show you how to get from anywhere, to anywhere in the city. It’ll tell you how much the journey will cost, what transportation options you have, how long it will take, and even sends you alerts so you don’t miss your stop! What are you waiting for?! Download it!
Viktoria (from Austria): Citymapper is the best app EVER! I can’t imagine living in London without it. The city is a like a huge jungle and the app helps you to find the right tube line, especially if you wanna use the iconic (and amazing) tube – a great way to discover the city, btw ;)
2. Santander Cycles (App Store/Google Play)
You have probably heard of Boris Bikes. They’re the bicycles you see all over town with red Santander sponsorship on them. You may well have something similar in your home city.
Colin (from the USA): The bikes are really cheap and simple to rent, and the app makes this process so much easier (it’ll even tell you where the nearest bikes are located)!
3. Tube Map (App Store/Google Play)
London has one of the best underground transport systems in the world. It’s already easy to use, but download the free Tube Map app to make sure you can always plan out your route, and keep up to date with any disruptions on the various lines.
Charlie (from France): When I first arrived in London a year ago I was really nervous about taking the tube. I have no sense of direction whatsoever. A friend told me about Tube Map, and it’s great. It’s available offline, so it’s nice to have a map of the tube with you at all times, that way you can always get home even when Google maps is not working ;). And a must-have if you are visiting London for the first time.
THINGS TO DO
4. YPlan (App Store/Google Play)
There are loads of great apps helping you find things to do in London, but we’ve picked out the very best. YPlan creates a shortlist of the best events happening around the city in the near future. It often offers perks like access to sold-out gigs!
Raquel (From Portugal): Cool app to check for things to do in London. Sometimes with great discounts too!
5. Dojo (App Store/Google Play)
Dojo is another really cool app with all you need to know about what’s happening in London in your pocket.
Roberto (from Italy): Each place/event shows average costs and opening times so you won’t get taken advantage of!
6. Hype (App Store)
Hype is awesome. The app allows you to make your own custom profile, which will in turn provide you with personalised tips and suggestions about things to do, eat, see etc - all based on your personal preferences.
Carolina (from Brazil): I love the fact that you can bookmark the events you want to go to remember in the future (there’s always so much going on in the city!). Also, it’s great that there is a human curation element behind each suggestion.
7. Dice (App Store/Google Play)
Dice is a no-nonsense music app and without a doubt my go-to for booking gigs, club nights and festivals. There’s no annoying booking fees so you literally pay face value, and it’s super easy to navigate around with a visual and colourful layout. There’s an awesome scroll feature so you can easily browse gigs by date, and filter by gigs, clubs, festivals and genres.
Danielle (from Wales): I especially love it because the selection is handpicked by the Dice team and I always find unique events that I wouldn’t otherwise discover just browsing on the web.
8. Great Little Place (App Store)
GLP is so easy to use and full of helpful info. All of their hot tips and suggestions come recommended by locals, and are mostly quirky and definitely off the beaten track.
9. Frugl (App Store)
A simple app and a great one, Frugl curates some of the best things to do, see and eat, all for less than £10.
Colin (from the USA): I don’t have the time to hunt for the best deals and I certainly don’t have the money to not plan it out. Frugl saved me here in London!
10. TimeOut (App Store/Google Play)
Time Out is a definite favourite of locals in London. The app contains all the articles, tips, tricks and reviews of all things popular in London. When in doubt, Time Out.
Marta (from Spain): It´s basically like their amazing website coming to life in your hands. It has a “find inspiration” section with the coolest things to do in town!
WHERE TO EAT
11. Wriggle (App Store/Google Play)
Wriggle is all about giving you last minute tips on deals happening that day, and focuses on awesome independent food sources that will really help you get to know the real London. Their deals last for hours rather than days so if you’re quick you can save a lot on food. They’re even offering a £3 credit to new users using the keyword: "Hostelworld"
Roberto (from Italy): Perfect app for your lunch break (and more!): deals, and online buying option and maps to see that’s going on around you! What more could you need?!
12. Opentable (App Store/Google Play)
With Opentable you can search for and reserve open spots in restaurants all over the world, so after a busy day in London you won’t have to wait in line or search all over the city for an empty table.
Raquel (from Portugal): I really like this app because it's very user-friendly! It’s easy to book a table, check for reviews and even see pictures of the restaurant. It’s very useful when searching for a restaurant as you don't need to go through 10 different websites to find the information you need.
13. Hostelworld (App Store/Google Play)
Of course we had to give our app a little plug, but seriously it’s one of the best travel apps available. The Hostelworld app allows you to search and book cheap stays all over the world and on the go, bringing the world’s adventures right to your fingertips.
Johanna (from England): ‘I’ve just joined the Hostelworld team, after two glorious years of travel. I worked out that I stayed in 105 different hostel beds in Asia alone – so this app for me was a godsend, allowing me to book hostels from my phone. I may work here now, but I was an unbiased travelling fan a few months ago!’