10 Essential Apps to Download When Visiting London

Make the most of your time in London by downloading these 10 handy apps that save you time, money and hassle. 

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    Baker Street Station on the London Underground.
    ••• Kimberley Coole/Getty Images

    Getting from A to B in London can be a complex task at times but with Citymapper you can navigate the city like a local. This handy app compares routes via all London transport options (walking, tube, bus, train, Uber/taxi, bike and boat) and provides accurate journey times, real time departures and costs (it also lets you know how many calories you burn if you walk/cycle). The journey options take road and rail disruptions into account and the maps clearly highlight train stations, bus stops and Santander Cycle docking stations in the area. 

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    See London's next big thing perform a secret gig in an intimate venue by downloading the Sofar Sounds app. This global community connects music fans with unsigned artists who perform in unusual settings like warehouses, rooftops, offices and even members' apartments. You'll need to sign up to search for gigs and you'll only receive the location information the day before the event. Tickets cost £10 and there's a bring your own booze policy. 

     

  • 03 of 10
    Two children on a bridge over the River Thames
    ••• Sally Anscombe/Getty Image

    If you're traveling to London with your family, Hoop makes it easy to track down fun things to do with children of all ages. You can browse hundreds of events and activities taking place across the city and sort listings by age and category (exhibitions, music and singing, stories and talks etc). There's also a filter to search for free events. 

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    Tap into London's fine dining scene with Velocity, a sleek app that highlights on-the-day reservations at top restaurants across the city. You can search by category (date night, power lunch, quick and casual) and location and access curated lists put together by food bloggers and critics. The interface features picture galleries, menu highlights and price points and you can put together a wish list to come back to. You can also pay for meals and split the bill between diners via the app. It's best for central London locations; there aren't many restaurant listings in south London or in neighborhoods outside Zone 1.

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  • 05 of 10
    Phone Millennium Bridge
    ••• A women uses a phone on Millennium Bridge. Cultura Creative 2012/London and Partners

    Get off the beaten track and explore London at your own pace with an immersive audio tour from Detour. Each tour lasts between 30 and 90 minutes and is narrated by a local that knows a specific neighborhood well. Highlights include Backstage Westminster, Radical Clerkenwell and Arsenal: Pints, Pubs and Football. The app is free to download and the first 10-minute section of every tour is free; the full cost of each tour is $5 or there's a yearly subscription service for unlimited access. The Remote Playback feature allows you to resume a tour from any location if you're unable to finish it in one go.

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    Space Invader Street Art in Brixton
    ••• Space Invader Street Art in Brixton. Rachel Erdos

    Explore London's colorful streets with the Street Art London app, a handy tool that indexes the city's best urban art. You can browse work by specific artists and read detailed biographies, or search work in a specific area by clicking on map pins. The App has been created by the team behind the popular street art walking tours in Shoreditch.  

  • 07 of 10
    People walking on pavement in rain, London, UK
    ••• Daniel Sambraus / STOCK4B/Getty Images

    Wise up to London weather by downloading the official Met Office app, a comprehensive climate guide that provides daily and hourly forecasts. You can track rainfall using a radar map, monitor pollen and air pollution and set up weather alerts for saved locations. You can also change the units from centigrade to fahrenheit. 

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    The YPlan app is an easy way to find and book tickets to cool last-minute events throughout London. The list is curated by editors and you can search by activity (nightlife, culture, music etc) and take advantage of regular VIP upgrades and freebies. The date and price filters make it easy to find events to suit your budget and you can set up an account via PayPal to make booking tickets super easy. 

     

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  • 09 of 10
    An audience eagerly anticipating the start of a show in the Coliseum Theatre, one of London's largest theatres, located on St. Martin's Lane
    ••• An audience eagerly anticipates the start of a show at the Coliseum Theatre, one of London's largest theatres, located on St. Martin's Lane. Society of London Theatre/VisitBritain/Pawel Libera/Getty Images

    Stagedoor is a must-have app for theater fans. It allows you to search for shows by category (musicals, Shakespeare, fringe performances etc) and read at-a-glance summaries about each production including information about cast lists. You can set up alerts about specific shows, actors and directors to stay on top of the London theatre scene. 

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    Find a Bar to Suit Your Mood With BarChick

    Duck & Waffle bar
    ••• Duck & Waffle bar. Duck & Waffle

    BarChick is a curated guide to London's best bars. You can search for bars based on location or theme (dates, rooftops, gin) and read recommendations from BarChick's team of on-the-ground reviewers. Use the concierge service to receive instant tips, bar suggestions and to make reservations.