- Capital experts 5. An easy way to pay for the trip
- A place to see history 6. A healthy form of transport
- Popular tourist routes 7. A contrast to the dark city
- Named after its form 8. Why driving on the other side
A. The London Underground is the quickest and easiest way of getting around the city. Today it is as important a landmark of the capital as Big Ben or the London Eye. The underground is often called the Tube because of its shape: tube shaped tunnels, stations and trains. The Tube became an official name for the first time in the early 1900s, after the Central London Railway (now the Central Line) was named the Twopenny Tube.
B. In 1956 the red London double-decker bus appeared on the London streets for the first time. At that time, the London buildings had gone black because of smoke from the coal used for heating. What’s more, due to the local climate and lack of wind, there was always fog in the city. Under such gloomy circumstances, the bright-red London double-decker bus became a sensation! In the past 50 years, the red double-decker has become an icon of London.
C. Oyster is an electronic smart card ticket. Regardless of whether you live in London, or you are a tourist, a day trip visitor, or a regular visitor to the capital, the Oyster Card is definitely the easiest way to travel around the London Transport system. Simply touch the card on the yellow reader to get through the Tube gates or board other London public transport. The card doesn’t even need to be removed from your purse or wallet to work.
D. The London Transport Museum is worth visiting. Entrance is not free but the price of £15 for a year pass is more than reasonable. The exhibitions displayed in the museum present London transport in its historical context. There are more than 80 vehicles, including a red London bus and the world’s first Underground train. The galleries are full of interactive exhibits for young people to play on – including real buses and trains!
E. In London there are around 23 000 taxis. The taxi drivers know every corner of London because all of them have to take an exam, called the Knowledge. This exam supposes that the candidate driver can recognize most of the 20 000 London streets and knows how to choose the shortest route between two points. Each taxi driver should also know all the parks, cinemas, theatres and museums in the city.
F. Over the last few years, cycling around London has been getting more and more popular. The reasons are obvious — there is no ‘carbon waste’ and it prevents obesity and heart disease. For tourists, it is often also the quickest and the easiest way to see London, with the bonus of getting some exercise. The casual user hires a bike at one of the numerous bike stations, rides it where he or she wants and then returns it to any of the docking stations.
G. If you’ve ever been to Britain, one of the first things you will have noticed is that the British drive on the wrong side of the road. They drive on the left! The reason for this goes back to the days when people travelled on horses. Most people are right-handed and the left is the natural side to ride on if you are on horseback — you need your right hand to hold a sword in case of any trouble.