The 5 best smartphone apps for your London trip

Arriving in a foreign city can be a little overwhelming for some. Others feel comfortable from the moment they land and want to maximise their time.

Whatever type of traveller you are, we’ve compiled a list of the top 5 mobile apps to download onto your smartphone on your next trip to London. From navigating the public transport system to finding a laundry valet service, these apps will make your London trip even more enjoyable.

We’ve personally used all these apps during London vacations and can attest to how much easier and enjoyable they made our time in the UK’s Number 1 destination.

#5: Laundrapp, the Uber for your laundry

 

If you’re travelling for more than a few days, it’s nice to be able to wash your clothes or get your shirts or blouses pressed. One great benefit of being able to do laundry when you travel is you don’t need to pack as much in the first place. But no one wants to pay the often exorbitant hotel laundry prices — some hotels might charge $5 just to launder a single t-shirt!

That’s where the Laundrapp app saves the day. Laundrapp gives you dry cleaning and laundry to your door. Download the app, create your account, book a collection, then Laundrapp will collect it from your London accommodation, Airbnb or hotel, professionally clean and press it, and then it’s all delivered back to you.

Think of it like Uber for your laundry! You can even watch in real-time as the driver is on approach to pick up and drop off your laundry.

Laundrapp best mobile app when travelling to London UK
Screenshot from the Laundrapp app for London

It’s an extremely flexible service and you can book a collection or delivery from early morning through to late in the night. The pricing is great value, and you get up to 6kg (13 pounds) of laundry washed, tumble dried and folded for just £12 (AU$21). If you just need your shirts or blouses pressed, then it’s just £12 for five men’s shirts washed, ironed and hung, and just £24 for five women’s blouses cleaned, hand-finished and hung.

Want a free £25 credit to use on Laundrapp? Just use the referral code MYUKSIM and you’ll automatically get a free £25 credit.

#4: Opentable, treat yourself to London’s top Michelin star restaurants for less

 

We love the Opentable app so much that we wrote an entire blog article about it already.  The Opentable app unlocks discounted specials at some of UK’s finest restaurants, including London’s top Michelin starred restaurants as well as celebrity restaurants, including those of Gordon Ramsay. We also used it a lot on our weekend in Manchester

Just download the Opentable mobile app, choose your dining time and the number of people, and the app will give you live availability at restaurants near your location. You’ll get to see any special offers available only for Opentable bookings. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at some of the great offers available, particularly at lunchtime. Paying half price is common!

Visit the website and get eating at some of London’s best restaurants.

 

Opentable best mobile app when travelling to London UK
Screenshot from the Opentable app for London

#3: Citymapper, your holy grail for navigating the London public transport system

 

London’s public transport system is one of the best in the world. The idea of owning a car is a foreign concept for many Londoners. With an efficient underground train system (called “The Tube”), an extensive bus network, as well as aboveground trains, getting anywhere in London (or in the UK) is fast and efficient.

We devoted an entire blog post to navigating the London public transport system so make sure to check it out. The ONLY app you need to download to get around London is the Citymapper app.  It’s free and you can download it from your phone’s app store.

Citymapper is the holy grail for navigating the London public transport system because it:

  • Gives you point-to-point detailed instructions, including your arrival time (and takes into account live traffic information)
  • Gives you a variety of options (just the Tube, Tube + Bus, walking etc)
  • Tells you the best train carriage to board so that you get the fastest exit or transfer at your destination.

You can save your “Home” location (e.g. your hotel or Airbnb) so you can just tap Home wherever you are looking for quick directions. This app is just awesom. We cannot speak highly enough about it.

 

Citymapper best mobile app when travelling to London UK
Annotated screenshot from the Citymapper App for London

#2: Uber, cheapest taxi fares in London

 

Right, you probably already know about Uber so we won’t go into too much detail. Suffice to say that using Uber is a great addition to using the London public transport system.

If you’ve not used Uber before, then it’s a must-download app for your London vacation. Uber fares are about 20% less than a traditional taxi in London, and your payment details are stored in the app, so when you get to your destination there’s no fumbling about with cash or cards.

Want a free ride when you first use Uber? Just download the app and enter the invite code nickb2423.

#1: Visit London, your new favourite list of best things to do and see in London

 

The Visit London app is your one-stop shop for London. It will help you get the most from your vacation, with handpicked lists of the best things to do and see, all viewable as a list or on a map. You can find free attractions, the best markets, cheap eats, weekend activities and secret venues.

It’s a customisable app and you can create your own personalised map and itineraries by saving all of your favourite things to see and do.  And you can save money and skip long lines by buying tickets for top West End theatre shows, famous attractions, comedy nights, gigs and more, all through the app.

One final tip: get a local UK SIM card and avoid expensive international roaming costs

 

Unless you’re a millionaire, the idea of using international roaming on your mobile phone is probably something you’re not contemplating. But all the apps above require data on the go, along with all those apps you’ll use to share your experiences with your family and friends back home.

Fortunately, you can now buy a prepaid UK SIM Card right here in Australia and have it shipped to you before you leave home.  UK Pre-Paid SIM Card offer a great value SIM Card with 12GB of high speed 4G LTE data, minutes and texts. And if you’re travelling through Europe too, the SIM Card works seamlessly in more than 30 European countries such as France, Spain, Italy and Germany.

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