London is or is top three of one of the most iconic cities in the world. The centuries old history of Westminster, the hipster vibe of Camden, and the shopping center of Oxford Circus London simply has a little bit of something for everyone. I, myself, fell in love with this city the second I saw Big Ben from the plane before landing in Heathrow. When I arrived at York, I was already thinking about when I can go back to London for more. I made this guide for all future York study abroad students, so they know the ins-and-outs of getting to my favorite city in the world.
Here we go!
You will have no problem finding places to stay in London, but your budget may have one. Finding a wonderful place to stay that still makes your wallet feel full may be a bit of a challenge, but it is doable! The city is separated into zones. We are only going to look at zones one and two because past that is just too far from where you wanna be. Zone one is where all the tourist spots are and is the zone that draws thousands of tourists to London daily, but is also the most expensive. I recommend staying on the outskirts of zone one. By doing so, you will be only about three to five stops away via The Underground from the most touristy sites London has to offer. Zone two will be even cheaper and still within four to five stops via the tube away from the sites. The only down side on this is that you may be paying more on the tube because you will be entering zone one from zone two (I will mention the tube more further on!). What you save on the room will surely cover the additional tube costs hopefully!
There are two major ways of getting to London from York. Via coach or train all leaving from York Rail Station. The bus 66 from York campus takes you right to the rail station. You will take this bus all the time to get to York City Center and will learn how to use it! The bus drivers are super kind and will help you out.
Train will be the most expensive out of the two options, but you will be saving loads on time. For example, it is a two-hour train ride to London on a direct train while it is a five hour and forty-five-minute coach ride direct. See what I am getting at here? If you book in advance, you will be able to find very cheap tickets to London by train that will make it all worthwhile.
- Look into a 16-25 railcard. The railcard is a little steep at 30 pounds, but it pays for itself in as little as two trips. Using a railcard allows you to get 1/3 off the price for every train you take to anywhere in the country! So, if your trip to London cost 60 pounds then you would get about 20 pounds off! Just like that, already paid for half of itself!
- The best place to find cheap trains in a website called Trainline.com. It is a super easy website to use and it finds the best train options for you.
- Go into Kings Cross Station. It will be cheaper than Victoria Station, but still check prices going to both for rare occasions when Victoria may be cheaper.
- If the cheapest train you find is with Virgin Rail, the go to their actual website to buy the tickets. You get complimentary wifi when you book through their website and not through a third party like Trainline.com.
Coaches are ridiculously cheap for getting around anywhere. Like super cheap. If you don’t worry about time, then I would recommend this way of travel because of how much you will save!
- I used National Express and it was a clean and comfy bus. High quality.
- I think Megabus is cheaper than National Express.
- Both take long time so take early buses or maybe night buses so you can sleep.
Once There/The Underground:
King’s Cross is super busy, but just follow the crowd because they will lead you right to the exit and to the nearest tube station which is about twenty steps from the exit of King’s Cross. The station is literally called King’s Cross so it’s easy to find!
Get an Oyster card. This is the metro card of The Underground. You can get them at all stations. They cost five pounds and you can add as much on it as you like. When you go home you can get the five pounds back and any unused balance!
The tube is super easy to follow. They have massive maps of the entire tube system and all you must do it just follow along the lines on where you need to go from the map and just remember where to exchange trains if needed. The Tube also has massive signs that clearly state where each train is heading. It makes total sense unlike NYC’s metro. So simple I assure you.
I hope this guide will help you out when you plan your London trip from York! London = Must See