Visiting London? Download These 8 Apps Before You Go

From Banksy to Bikes, and Much More

Light trails from a London bus
••• Ricardolr/RooM/Getty Images

Planning a trip to London? Forget guidebooks and paper maps, out-of-date brochures and visiting the same boring "attractions" as everyone else.

Instead, install a bunch of these useful apps and be better informed, save money and have a more enjoyable time in the UK capital!

London Official City Guide

Start off with the city's official guide, crammed full of local tips for restaurants and bars, attractions and things to do.

The app works offline, so you don't need to worry about expensive roaming charges, and includes step by step public transport directions.

You can create your own itineraries, and there's a full list of amenities like pharmacies and currency exchange outlets.

Free on iOS and Android

CityMapper

There's no shortage of free navigation apps out there, but for London, CityMapper is one of the best. You'll get detailed transit options for all available modes of transport, including city bikes, Uber and more – and exact or estimated prices for all of them.

Service disruptions are factored in, in real time, and you can get a live ETA at a glance.

Free on iOS and Android

National Trust

Britain's National Trust administers over 500 sites throughout the country, including historic houses and buildings, archaeological sites and monuments, and much more. You can search the entire database, or just see what's nearby.

It works offline, and you can create a wishlist to ensure you don't miss anything. With around 20 sites in Greater London and plenty of others within an easy day trip, you'll run out of time before you run out of places to visit!

Free on iOS and Android

MetOffice Weather

London's weather is infamously fickle, regardless of the time of year.

You can't do anything to change it, but at least you can be prepared with the MetOffice app. It includes hourly forecasts for the next two days, extended forecasts for a week, and push notifications for severe weather.

Oh, and if you don't want to deal with your temperatures in Celsius while you're in the UK, the app lets you switch to Fahrenheit to make life easier!

Free on iOS and Android

Time Out

London is massive, with something for every taste – but just getting a handle on your options for any given day can be an overwhelming challenge. The companion app for the city's venerable Time Out magazine helps you narrow things down with up-to-date listings for concerts, food and drink, theatre and events and much more.

Search and filter to your heart's content, book restaurants, and tickets, and save favorites for later use.

Free on iOS and Android

London Theatre Direct

The UK capital is rightly famous for its theater scene, with world-class shows every night of the week. While the most-popular can be sold out months in advance, it's often possible to pick up seats for other great performances with little notice – sometimes, even the same day.

The London Theatre Direct app lets you browse and purchase seats for a wide range of shows, and (usefully for travelers) gives you the option of collecting tickets at the box office.

Free on iOS and Android

Santander Cycles

When the weather's nice, cycling around London is a fantastic way to see the city at its best and get some exercise into the bargain. The shared city bike service is a flexible and inexpensive way to get on two wheels – paying two pounds gives you unlimited half-hour journeys within 24 hours.

After registering your payment card, the official app shows you bike availability at nearby docking stations and sends an unlock code to your phone when you decide to rent one. Just walk up to the docking point, enter your code and ride away. Easy!

Free on iOS and Android

Street Art London

For fans of good street art, look no further than this dedicated London app. You can filter by your favorite artist, or just see what's nearby and follow the map to track them down.

Sure, Banksy's works are included – but so are those from hundreds of other, lesser-known artists across the city.

You'll get detailed information about both the artist and their art, and there are interviews and other features in the app to help you learn more.

Free on iOS and Android