Walking and Biking: Getting around London

Just because London boasts a comprehensive and efficient public transit system doesn’t mean you should feel you have to take the Tube everywhere. Like many cities, much of London can be explored without ever going underground or boarding a bus.

Here are some recommendations for taking on London by foot or by pedal.

Barclay's Cycle Hire

Barclay's Cycle Hire, providing stations full of bright blue bicycles for public use, is a great way to get around London. Photo: Charlotte Gilhooly.

Walking London

We always extol the virtues of walking. Traversing a city on foot is not only free; it allows one to really take in the sights and sounds. In fact, we think "getting lost" (meandering aimlessly—safely, of course) is one of the best ways to get to know a place. And London is no different. Yes, there are many different neighborhoods, and getting from one to another might be time consuming. But most 'hoods themselves are extremely walkable.

Biking London

Circling the city on two wheels is equally rewarding, and it’s easier than ever with London’s Barclay’s Cycle Hire system, which has around 6,000 bikes at 400 locations throughout the Zone One travel area.

How it works

First, you’ll purchase "access" for a one- or seven-day period. Then, you can rent a bike at any docking station in the city. Simply insert a credit card into the pay terminal to receive a five-digit release code, which you’ll enter into the keypad to release your bike. The green light is your cue that your code has been received and the bike is yours for the taking. Note that release codes must be used within 10 minutes of receiving.

What it costs

Access costs £2 for 24 hours or £10 for seven days and can be purchased either online or at a docking station. Your access period begins the first time you insert your credit card in a terminal, and each time you visit thereafter you’ll be alerted as to how much time remains in your access period.

On top of the access charge, usage charges may apply. Each time you pick up a bike you have 30 minutes of free use. After that, fees start at £1 for up to an hour and go up from there.

(Cheapo tip: To avoid usage charges, return your bike before 30 minutes, and you can pick up another.)

If a station is full when you arrive, check the terminal for the location of the nearest available and to receive up to 15 minutes of extra time to cycle there. Any usage fees are debited from your account at the end of the access period.

Additional information

Check out the Transport for London website for more on biking in London. And if you need information on other ways to get around London, click into the links below.

Related articles:

The Oyster card
The London Underground
London city buses
Taxis in London

From our London blog

Welcome to EuroCheapo, a guide to cheap hotels and budget travel in London and throughout Europe.

Our editors have inspected, photographed and reviewed inexpensive accommodation in London’s central neighborhoods in search of the very best values. Although the city isn’t the easiest for travelers on a budget, London does offer some small and inexpensive hotel options, along with lovely family-run B&Bs and some hostels that could also be a good fit.

Ready to find a hotel for your travel dates? Search in the box above to see what’s available.

Or browse through a list of our recommended hotels. All of these are located in central London, and are clean and affordable.

Keep your travel costs down

Hotels are just the beginning, of course. Click through to see a list of articles covering budget tips, including ways to save on the Tube, sightseeing, and restaurants.

And be sure to check out our London blog, which is regularly updated by Nina and Frances, our London correspondents, with ways to save and cheap and free things to do.

Thanks for visiting EuroCheapo. Together we can afford to go anywhere!

Planning to visit London on a budget could initially give any Cheapo a nervous breakdown. Everything just costs more than most other European destinations in this international city. And unlike the euro, which has weaken ... read

For American tourists heading to Eurozone countries, the news just keeps getting better. When I wrote this piece celebrating the strong dollar back in January, the euro had stumbled to $1.17 for one dollar, the lowest it ... read

The monumental and mysterious stones of Stonehenge are a quintessential symbol of Britain, as much as the red telephone box or double-decker bus. A record 1.3 million visitors visited Stonehenge last year, but how can yo ... read

Heading on a trip to Europe this year and deep in the planning stages? Now’s a great time to quickly review your itinerary and “trip strategy” to make sure that you’re not about to make any common ... read

London is a lively city year in and year out, every season bringing with it new openings, events, and activities. 2015 is set to be no different, so whether you’re planning a first time visit or a return to a city ... read

Popular hotels in London

Doubles from $165

7.3 out of 10
Seven Dials Hotel, London

Doubles from $91

7.4 out of 10
Hotel Meridiana, London

Doubles from $173

8.0 out of 10
Alhambra Hotel, London

Follow Us