CategoryLondon

My Top 5 London Travel Apps

If you’re like me, your phone is packed with apps. I could do with having a clear out actually..!

Anyway, I’m often down in London and when I am I usually rely on apps to help me on my way around the City. Although I’m an Android guy, all of the below apps are also available from the Apple App Store.

1. Google Maps

Google Maps app logo
Google Maps is an ‘all-in-one’ app, not just acting as a map with GPS pinpointing, but you can also see local businesses, hotels and restaurants and reviews (thanks to Google+ integration).
It is perfect for tourists and visitors new to the area.

Google Maps comes as standard with Android devices. To download it for iOS, click here.

2. Tube Map:

Tube Map london app logo

This is a must in my opinion and cam save you a fair amount of time figuring out where you need to be. Rather than the app just showing a static map or image, you can tap on individual stations to see the service status and when the next train is arriving/departing. You can also view the status of each Tube line:

Tube map london androidTube map london line status androidTube map london android

Download:

You can download the Tube Map app from one of the following links:
iOS / Android

You can also find out more info by visiting their website here.

3. London Oyster Balance:

London Oyster balance app logo

This is a must for travellers who have an Oyster Card and visit London regularly.

It has a number of features including balance, and also shows your journey history.
There is a free trial version which works for 21 days. But the full version is only £1.99, so worth upgrading to.

You can download the Oyster Master app from one of the following links:
iOS:
FREE / PAID

Android:
FREE / PAID

4. TripAdvisor:

tripadvisor

Looking for somewhere to eat? In my opinion, you can rarely trust what a

You can download the TripAdvisor app from one of the following links:
iOS / Android

5. Airbnb:

airbnb

Airbnb is a new way of booking overnight accommodation, where instead of staying in a hotel you stay in the spare room of somewhere.

Rather than booking a traditional hotel, I’ll often use Airbnb to book a last-minute room.

Also, the app has a handy “Help, I need a place to stay tonight!” feature which can be a lifesaver if you get stuck somewhere with nowhere to sleep.

You can download the Airbnb app from one of the following links:
iOS / Android

La Pappardella (London) review

As you may have seen from my previous post, I was at Earl’s Court on Wednesday for IP EXPO. Having spent the day walking around talking to exhibitors, I decided to have a meal before my train back to Newark at 9pm.

I’d already had a look online at reviews for restaurants in the area, and in the end decided to try La Pappardella after seeing excellent reviews.

La Pappardella London outside

When I went in (which would’ve been at about 6pm), it was fairly quiet with only one other table being taken.

I didn’t have any (substantial) cash on me, so before ordering I wanted to make sure they accepted card payments (which they thankfully did).

I’m a big fan of Italian cuisine, and not a very fussy eater either, so it took me a fair while to decide on what I was going to have. In the end, I went for the home-made lasagne which I guess is a bit of a ‘safe’ option! You can download a PDF version of their menu by clicking here.

Whilst waiting for my meal, I saw a few pizzas and a calzone being brought out to a neighbouring table which looked massive. I only had to wait about 10-15 minutes for my meal.

La Pappardella lasagne
For dessert, I decided to have the Panna Cotta with fruits of the forest (the alternative was chocolate sauce).
La Pappardella panna cotta

They seem rather generous with their portions and are fairly cheap for the area.

Overall, a great restaurant in a good location if you’re in the area for a conference maybe. If I went again, I’d probably go for a pizza or calzone (both looked just as good!). As the night went on, the restaurant got busier and had a lively atmosphere to it.

Oh and they have free Wi-Fi too (just ask for the password!).

Oyster card

Oyster card london

If you’re travelling in and around London using public transport, the Oyster card is great. Many people don’t realise that it can reduce fares by 50% or more.

To get the card, you pay a refundable deposit of £5 which you get back upon returning the card.

Once you’ve got the card, you can avoid queues full of tourists waiting to buy single fares or travelcards and simply scan your card at the barrier. You then scan the card again at the exit barrier.

When you need to top up your card, you can do so at one of the many Oyster machines at Underground stations or on the TfL website.

Another benefit of the card is that there is a daily cap, meaning that once you’ve spent a certain amount in a day, any additional travel for that day is free. The exact amount of the cap depends on the zones you have been travelling through.

There are even mobile apps available which show your current pay-as-you-go balance along with your journey history and other details.

Itsu Review (Oxford Circus, London)

Itsu is a retail store and restaurant chain with stores across London and two flagship restaurants.

I visited one of their retail stores near Oxford Circus tube station.

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When you get inside, there is seating on the left and on the right a row of open refrigerated cabinets with an array of boxed foods. The food boxes are separated into different ‘categories’ so you can choose what you would like.

Don’t be confused though. Whilst the food is pre-boxed, it doesn’t come on a lorry from a factory! They prepare food fresh on an hourly basis, and whilst I was there they were constantly re-stocking the shelves with fresh food.

This is important as with sushi being raw fish it needs to be eaten as soon as possible after being prepared.

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As well as the cold boxed food, they also do hot pots of rice or noodles with chicken or vegetables, called ‘Potsu’.

 

Chargrilled Chicken & Noodle Potsu

Having seen this on a big sign up behind the counter, I thought that I would try this “potsu”.

I imagine you could compare it to a chicken stew, but with vegetables, noodles and broth. The vegetables were the type you would get in a stir fry which was nice.

I was expecting the noodles to be a bit smaller, but I didn’t mind the larger noodles. There was a sort of chicken “broth” which added to the flavour.

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Salmon teriyaki on a bed

I really enjoyed eating this and it was an interesting combination of flavours. Cooked salmon with green beans, on a bed of rice infused with a teriyaki sauce. There was also a pot of soy sauce but I didn’t use it.

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Salmon sushi & salmon and avocado maki rolls

I have to admit, I’d never tried sushi before so didn’t really know what to expect. Although it was quite a different flavour to what I am used to, I liked it however I don’t think I could manage a full sized box of sushi.

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Itsu “vitsu water” (superberry)

This was an interesting drink. Unlike some drinks where you can almost taste the sugar, this drink tasted light. Although the main ingredient is water, it isn’t one of those “flavoured water” drinks with a weak hint of flavour and instead it was fairly strong. I imagine this drink would be good for a “detox” diet as it is mainly water.

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Once you have paid for your food at the counter, you can either sit down to eat it there and then (there is seating inside and outside the store), or alternatively you can have it to take-away.

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