Despite being completely redesign by Sir Christopher Wren in 1667, London remains one of the most daunting cities in the world. Luckily, with a trusty iPhone and a selection of key apps, the overwhelming capital will feel much more manageable – as if it fits in the palm of your hand.
First things first – you’ll need to get around. The London underground is the oldest in the world, and as such it has been expanding and changing for the last century. This means that it is both confusing and subject to frequent weekend closures.
London Tube Deluxe shows you a tube map, the status of the closures and a route-planner. The option that makes the app worthwhile to veteran London-travellers, however, is the status board display. The app will display how long until a tube train reaches your station – letting you know whether to break out into a sprint, or if a casual stroll is needed to make the train.
Being buried underground, you don’t get signal on the Tube. That’s why if you have an RSS reader, it needs to be able to save stories to read when you have no signal. Byline not only saves the articles, but it also caches images and the website that the story came from – allowing you to browse the article in its full glory.
AroundMe is an augmented reality app which shows you various “layers”. Hold your phone up in the air and the display will show you the nearest restaurants, pubs and more. The feature that makes this a must-have, however, is the ATM finder. It comes in very useful!
Yell Labs is another augmented reality app, but a much faster one. It boots almost instantly and has a shortcut bar on the left, so you can find anything faster than you even need. No ATM-finder, however!
Streemuseum has mapped old photos of London on to the current capital – hold your phone up to the exact spot and see how it looked 80, 90 or even 100 years ago. An amazing, unique experience.
An in-depth audio guide to 150 of London’s most popular attractive. It’s pretty simple to use – just click, listen, enjoy. There are write-ups, too, if you don’t fancy listening to the whole thing.
Free London will, ironically, set you back 59p. It does provide over 90 free (or almost free) activities to chose from, however, from galleries like the Tate to events, such as the changing of the guard.
If you fancy getting off the beaten track, use this app to find the more alternative London sights. Written by Helen Ochyra, a freelance travel writer who has worked for the Guardian and Time Out, as well as being a travel editor for the Rough Guide series, she really gets in to depth about interesting places. Not just one for the super-keep tourist.
From the website with the best local-event knowledge in London, this app covers everything from DJ sets to theatre shows. The unmissable feature is the “around me” and “radar” options, which show you the nearest goings-on near you, and on a cool radar.
For the bigger events and for a wider variety, you’ll need TimeOut. While there are no awesome radar-style functions, it does have the “Inspire Me” option. It’ll show you a list of interesting things going on, and if you don’t like them, shake the phone to show new ones. It’s a great way to find new activities that you’d normally never even think to look for.