Top 5 Novel Ways to Explore London
It will come as no surprise that here at Berry’s Coaches, we’re big fans of transport. While the tube is a speedy and efficient way of getting around London, very few people would describe it as scenic. When you are below street level it’s easy to miss some of the best sights and experiences London has to offer. As a result, this time we are exploring some of the more novel ways to get around London. By leaving the tube behind, you will be shown a whole new perspective and way of interacting with the nation’s capital.
Let’s take a look…
1. Boris Bike
Credit: Sharad Sreenivas via Unsplash
The Santander Bikes – affectionately known as Boris Bikes - are dotted around most of the city. You can simply use their handy app to find the docking stations, which also act as the way to pay for hire. The real marvel of these bikes is that you can rent them for just £2 for a 24hr period. Also, as the first 30 minutes of each rental is free, you can do a series of 29-minute journeys and never pay more than £2.
London once had a bad reputation for cycling. However, with the creation of the cycle superhighway, the Boris bike offers a cheap, reliable and safe form of transport around the capital. While you can cycle on most roads in London, I would definitely suggest following one of the cycle routes for maximum convenience, safety and sightseeing opportunities.
2. Thames Clipper
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You don’t need to take one of the expensive private tour boats to see London via river. The Uber Boat by Thames Clipper travels between Woolwich (Royal Arsenal) Pier in the East and Putney Pier in the West, giving you access to all of London. The boat goes past several major London landmarks (e.g. Tower Bridge, London Eye, Houses of Parliament) and is the best way to see the city by water. Don’t be too put off by the “Uber Boat” title – they are a sponsor and you don’t book via their app. More simply, you can use your Oyster Card or contactless payment card, making getting around by Clipper just as easy as using the tube.
3. London Duck Tours
Credit: Andrew Wolf via Unsplash
If you can’t decide between seeing London by road or river, then why not choose both? The London Duck Tours are conducted in amphibious bright yellow vehicles capable of running on the road, before taking to the Thames to continue the tour. The expedition will take you around several of London’s greatest landmarks by road and water.
Your onboard tour guide will walk you through Westminster sights at a very reasonable 75-minutes. This is something that would take the best part of a day on foot. All tours are given in a very kid-friendly manner with maximum audience participation encouraged (think quacking whenever you see a duck on the Thames). While the amphibious transport may seem like a novelty (and it sort of is), it is none-the-less an enjoyable one for the young and old alike.
Credit: Brina Blum via Unsplash
Part bike, part table, the Pedibus offers a unique experience for groups of people to self-tour London under pedal power. As riders essentially sit around a table on wheels, they must pedal to move the vehicle along with one of you being in charge of steering. Specifically designed routes guide passengers around London’s hotspots including London Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Shoreditch and Borough Market. For groups wanting to turn the ride into a celebration, your own drinks and music can be brought along to liven things up. Prices are around £25 per person for any group size, and groups of between 5-30 can be accommodated so long as the riders are over 10 years old.
5. Canal Boat – Little Venice
Credit: Dan Poulton via Unsplash
When people think of London, a canal barge doesn’t immediately come to mind. However, London is littered with waterways and historically this was one of the most common trade routes through the capital. Nowadays, the waterways are mostly used for leisure pursuits, from kayaking to boat tours. Additionally, with the increasing costs of housing in the capital, many people have also made canal barges their home on the water. The epicentre of this community is in and around Little Venice – an area of London just north of Paddington.
As well as accommodation, barges offer a great way to see London with a tour along Regent’s Canal. These typically start in Little Venice and finish in Camden Lock and vice versa. One of the more popular of these is the London Waterbus Company, which operates every 45 minutes between the two sites. Along the route, you will take in London Zoo, as well as learn about some of the history of the London waterways. We’d suggest starting in Little Venice and ending in Camden Lock to give you the opportunity to explore Camden’s eclectic shops and delicious international eateries once the ride is over.
By exploring London via more unconventional transport, you can discover a range of new sights that you wouldn’t otherwise see. Making the transport a central point of the journey, rather than a means to an end, means that you can go beyond the usual tourist routes and create your own novel experiences for you and your family.
As with all activities, do make sure you give enough time for any potential travel delays. Passengers should be back at Hammersmith Bus Station (Stop D) at least 15 minutes prior to the pre-booked departure time. Unfortunately, the coach is not able to wait if you are running late.
London transport costs vary. The London Underground will be a lower-cost alternative to a taxi or Uber. Remember walking is free!
All information was correct at the time of writing. However, please always check venues prior to travel in case of any changes due to COVID-19 or otherwise.