Coming up to my third year in London, I'm putting together a series of articles on living here and what I've learnt. This is for a number of reasons, but primarily because I keep getting asked for my recommendations and it made sense to collate them here on Curias.
In the coming weeks, I'll be writing my top 10:
- Things to do when you arrive
- Coffee shops
- Brunch spots
- Dinner spots
Now, this might seem a strange place to start but getting the rights apps can make anyone a bit of an expert in their own right. Plus they're all free! So here goes:
DOJO - London is well and truly spoilt for choice of activities/events. Sometimes deciding what to do on a weekend is harder that settling on what to watch on Netflix. It's also super hard to know what's going on every week. DOJO helps by producing a curated offering of what to do and where to go. A similar, non-app based offering is OntheGrid (pretty hipster).
CityMapper - by far the best app for understanding your commute options. I wouldn't recommend if you plan on just walking somewhere but if you need to use a bus, train or tube - CityMapper is your best friend. With much more reliable disruption information (that's right, get ready for some signal failures!) and even carriage selection to optimise your route - CityMapper offers a much richer experience than Google or Apple Maps.
BBC iPlayer / ITV Hub - as a British resident (and if you have paid for your TV licence) you can benefit from a wealth of great entertainment content. It's really cool. And it's a great way to really immerse yourself in British culture and work banter - think: British Bake-off, University Challenge, QI, Mock the Week etc..
Uber - it's a necessity in London. Especially in the public transport black holes (I'm looking at you Battersea).
Skyscanner / Kayak / Hopper / Trainline - city breaks and Euro/UK travel is an essential part of your experience of London. And getting the right flights/trains is crucial. Skyscanner is your classic flight comparator, Kayak offers better UX, Hopper is super clever and Trainline is without doubt the best way to book trains.
Podcast App / Audible - London normally involves significant commuting and although there are lots of free reading materials (see: Metro, Evening Standard), I've found listening to podcasts or audio books are a great way of passing the time. Beware, some lines (looking at you Bakerloo) you'll need noise-cancelling or at least noise-isolating earphones to even hear them.
Spareroom - chances are you'll need to move places at least once while you're in London. Spareroom is a great way to find places and roommates. The app is really well done and I actually prefer it to the desktop version.
BBC Weather - this has been the most reliable weather app while I've been here.
CityAir - unfortunately, air pollution is part of living in London. This app tells you what is the current air pollution level and which route you can walk/ride to reduce your exposure. It's pretty clever and was developed by the City of London Corporation and King's College.
If I haven't included an app you think is essential - let me know by leaving a comment below!