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True stories

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Underground 'tube' trains and buses

London has a quick and efficient underground (metro) train 'tube' system, and the famous red 'double-decker' buses. The tube is quicker, especially at rush hours. But you will see more of London from a bus!

Buses and trains are operated by London Regional Transport. Their website includes travel information and other transport links. As well as maps and journey planners, Tube Tourism contains all the necessary information for visitors to London about using the tube and is available in different languages.

They have Travel Information Centres at all four Heathrow Airport terminals, and MAIN Underground stations, where you will find free leaflets and maps for the underground and bus services.

Tourist tickets

After 09.30 am, you can buy the One-Day off-peak Travelcard. The One-Day Travelcard covers you for travel on underground trains and most London buses all day after 09.30 Mondays to Fridays, or anytime weekends and public holidays. Different prices cover different zones of the underground.

he easiest ticket to use is an Oyster Card – use this on any bus or train within London. Buy a card for £10, and when it runs out, top it up. All underground tickets carry a magnetic strip. You place the ticket in the barrier, which then opens automatically. Your ticket comes out again at a hole on top of the barrier. Don't forget to take it out again!


The famous London black taxis 'cabs' will take you anywhere in London. The taxi 'cabbies' pride themselves on 'The Knowledge' - knowing every street in London. You can stop a taxi in the street if the yellow 'for hire' or 'taxi' sign is lighted. You can also book taxis by phone.

If several people travel together, the cost becomes reasonable.

Try to avoid travelling in the rush hour periods as you pay for the time, as well as the distance!

Driving in London

If you have not driven on British roads before, London is a bad place to start. You will find it much better to use taxis and public transport. If you must drive in London, then buy a good London route map, as well as the A-Z Street Map.

Cheap Accommodation

Happy Homes

'Happy Homes' is one of London's leading bed and breakfast/accommodation agencies. They are a family-run agency that places overseas tourists and foreign language students into bed and breakfast accommodation and private family homestays in central and south-west London.

Where to go in London

The British Tourist Authority produce the free 'BRITAIN: LONDON GUIDE'. The British Travel Centreis the place to visit for information on where to go in London and the UK. British Travel Centre 12 Regent Street Piccadilly Circus London SW1Y 4PQ

They are open 7 days a week.

They can book rail tickets, reserve tours, theatre tickets and accommodation, change money, and give you information on all of the United Kingdom in many languages.

There is so much to see in London that it would take months to see it all! Unfortunately, more and more museums and attractions now charge for entry. Note that there are sometimes cheaper prices for students or groups. (See our section on Students and young people under 26.) offer discounted sight seeing tours in London.

Free Entry

There are still some London attractions with free admission! They include (at the time of writing) the British Museum, the Museum of Mankind, Sir John Soane's Museum, and the Museum of Garden History. The main art galleries - the National Gallery, National Portrait Gallery, Tate Gallery, Wallace Collection are all free. Below is a complete list, with telephone numbers which you could print out.

The London Pass

is a London Tourist Attraction Card that once purchased offer free entry to over 50 London Attractions including Tower Of London, St Pauls CathedraI, Windsor Castle, Kew Gardens London Zoo and Aquarium and many more.

You will also find many beautiful old churches around London which are usually free to visit, and usually open during the day. Many are masterpieces designed by Sir Christopher Wren (1632-1723). There are often free mid-day music recitals in St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church, and St. John's Smith Square. There are free 30-minute lunchtime music recitals in St. Bride's Church, Fleet Street, starting 1.15pm, several days each week, except for the 4 weeks before Christmas, the 6 weeks before Easter, and all of August. (Nearest underground station: Blackfriars, nearest rail stations: Blackfriars and City Thameslink, Bus routes: 4, 11, 15, 15B, 23, 26, 76.)

Also free to watch is the 'Changing of the Guard' outside Buckingham Palace. Here you can see British soldiers in ceremonial uniform handing over their guard duties. It is a very popular tourist attraction. It is at 11.30am every two days in the winter, and every day in the summer. Arrive at least 15 minutes early to get a good view. Notices at Buckingham Palace will tell you which days it will be.

When the Houses of Parliament are in session (not over the summer), it is possible to watch the debates from the Public Gallery. There is very limited space in the Gallery, and you may have to queue and wait for a very long time.

List of attractions with free entry

We believe this list to be correct for 2004. Unfortunately, the situation may not remain the same.

Age Exchange Reminiscence Centre 0208 381 9105

Albert Memorial Visitor Centre 0207 225 1059

Alexandra Palace and Park 0208 444 7696

Baden Powell House 0207 584 7031

Bank of England Museum 0207 601 5545

Bethlem Hospital Museum 0208 776 4307

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood 0208 980 2415

Boston Manor House 0208 570 0622

British Library Exhibition Galleries 0207 636 1544

British Museum 0207 636 1555

British Telecom Museum 0207 248 7444

Bruce Castle Museum 0208 808 8772

Burgh House 0207 431 0144

Cecil Sharp House 0207 485 2206

Central Criminal Court (Old Bailey) 0207 248 3277

Church Farm House Museum 0208 203 0130

Clock Museum 0207 606 3030

Contemporary Applied Arts 0207 436 2344

Cuming Museum 0207 701 1342

Eltham Palace 0208 294 2548

Fitzroy House 0207 255 2422

Forty Hall Museum 0208 363 8196

Geffrye Museum, 0207 739 9893

Grange Museum 0208 452 8311

Guards Chapel 0207 414 3228

Guildhall 0207 606 3030

Gunnersbury Park Museum 0208 992 1612

Hackney Museum 0208 986 6914

Hall Place 01322 526574

Harrow Museum and Heritage Centre 0208 861 2626

Heathrow Roof Garden 0208 745 5259

Hogarth's House 0208 994 6757

Horniman Museum 0208 699 1872

Keats' House 0207 435 2062

Kelmscott House 0208 741 3735

Kenwood House 0208 348 1286

Kneller Hall 0208 898 5533

Leighton House Museum and Art Gallery 0207 602 3316

Life London International Financial Futures and Option Exchange 0207 623 0444

Livesay Museum 0207 639 5604

Little Holland House 0208 770 4781

London Brass Rubbing Centre 0207 930 9306

London Docklands Visitors Centre 0207 512 1111

London Ecology Centre 0207 387 2363

London Silver Vaults 0207 242 3844

Marx Memorial Library 0207 253 1485

Museum of Artillery in the Rotunda 0208 316 5402

Museum of Garden History 0207 261 1891

Museum of Mankind 0207 437 2224

National Army Museum 0207 730 0717

National Gallery 0207 747 2885

National Museum of Cartoon Art 0207 405 4717

National Portrait Gallery 0207 306 0055

National Postal Museum 0207 239 5420

National Sound Archive 0207 412 7440

North Woolwich Old Station Museum 0207 474 7244

Orleans House Gallery 0208 892 0221

Photographers' Gallery 0207 831 1772

Pitshanger Manor Museum 0208 567 1227

Plashet Zoo 0208 503 5994

Prince Henry's Room 0208 294 1158

Pumphouse Educational Museum 0207 231 2976

Ragged School Museum 0208 980 6405

Royal Courts of Justice 0207 939 6000

Royal Hospital Chelsea 0207 730 0161

Royal Mint Sovereign Gallery 0207 931 7977

Royal Naval College 0208 858 2154

Sir John Soane's Museum 0207 405 2107

Smith's of Covent Garden 0207 86 6253

Southwark Cathedral 0207 407 2939

Tate Gallery 0207 887 8000

Trocadero 0207 439 1791

Vintage Wireless Museum 0208 670 3667

Wallace Collection 0207 935 0687

Westminster Abbey 0207 222 5152 (not free for individual visitors to enter the "nave". There is also a charge to enter the Royal Chapel.)

Westminster Brass Rubbing Centre 0207 222 2085

Westminster Cathedral 0207 798 9055

William Morris Gallery 0208 527 3782