12 essential apps for getting around London


Roadworks, tube strikes and signal failures. It doesn’t have to be so. Use these smartphone travels tools to dodge delays

1)    London Congestion Charge Check

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £2.99)

Confirm whether you’re inside the congestion charge zone and pay by text or phone if you are – avoiding those eye-watering  £120 fines.

Android user? Try Congestion from the Android market

2)    London Tube Deluxe

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £0.59)

The best choice in the ever-expanding crowd of London Underground apps. Features include a journey planner, live service updates and a nearest-station finder. Also comes with a full tube map that you can browse offline.

Android user? Try London Tube Live

3)    Park-up – London Parking

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £2.99)

Details of more than 10,000 places to park in central London – including multistorey car parks and on-street parking, plus disabled and motorcycle bays.

For each parking site, this app tells you opening hours and costs, plus (where available) number of bays, security arrangements and height restrictions.

4)    London cycle: maps and routes

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Free)

The best-selling app for the Barclays Cycle Hire Scheme – with more features than many of its paid-for rivals. Features include real-time cycle availability data, a cycle station finder, cycle-friendly routes and a clear map that you can view offline.

Android user? Try Barclays Bikes

5) Addison Lee

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Free)

London’s best minicab company in your pocket. Hail a cab from your phone, or make an airport booking.

Android user? Try the Android version here

6) LDNtaxiApp

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. Free)

View black cabs near you. Then hail a taxi, telling the driver about your destination. A driver then accepts the hail and makes his or her way to you. When the taxi is outside your building, the driver lets you know electronically. Neat. But be warned: this app is brand new, so there may be teething problems as user demand starts to climb.

7) TravelTracker Pro

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £5.99)

This app stores all vital information for a trip and displays it in a comprehensive itinerary screen. Includes live flight status by FlightStats, which updates each flight’s status in real time. The US flight data is particularly rich – rendering this app an essential tool for regular pond hoppers.

Android user? Try FlightStats for Android

8) UK Train Times

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £4.99)

Real-time journey planning for routes across the National Rail network and live departure information for all stations. Much more reliable than the trains themselves.

Android user? Download your version of this app here

9) London Transport

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £0.59)

The best all-in-one London travel app. Work out how to get across town via tram, bus and tube. Or cheat and book a licenced minicab. Also offers details of roadwork’s and other essential travel information.

10) Oyster Balance

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £0.59)

View your Oyster card balance and related information in real time – helping you to avoid getting held up at ticket barriers when you’re already late. We’ve all been there.  

Android user? Try Travel Check

11) NextBuses

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £0.59)

Covering 370,000 stops throughout England, Scotland and Wales, NextBuses tells you when your next red chariot is due.

Android user? Try Catch That Bus

12) London’s Best Coffee

(iPhone, iPod touch and iPad. £0.59)

Okay. This isn’t a transport app. But it’s still essential for anyone who can’t stand a journey across town without some caffeine in hand. So download this app to discover London’s best independent cafes serving locally roasted coffee. It even tells you which type of beans and machines each cafe uses. Take that, Starbucks.

Android user? Download your version at London’s Best Coffee