The 2012 Olympics are finally about to get underway this week, with the opening ceremony taking place at the Olympic Park at 9pm (British time) on Friday!
If you're visiting London for the first time over the next few weeks to take it all in, finding your way around can be quite daunting. Fortunately, there are a number of apps which you can download to help you get from A to B, whether you want to use the tube, get around on a bus or cycle your way through the city.
However you move around London during the Olympics it's going to be extremely busy, but for most journeys the tube might be the best way to go. If you've never used it before, or you're unfamiliar with the routes available, you should download the Tube Map app.
Available for free with ads, or without ads for 69p, Tube Map will be able to provide you with a route for any journey on the Underground. Simply give it a starting and final destination and you can choose from the routes which you can take. You'll also get an overview of the service on each line, so you can see if there are any disruptions at your station before you walk there.
If you have an Oyster card, Tube Map will also let you check your balance so you know if you have to top it up anytime soon.
If you try out Tube Map and don't like it, you can also give the 'London Underground' app a go. It provides a similar set of features to Tube Map, but may work better on certain devices.
London Bus Checker
There will be a lot of buses running through London during the Olympics to help spectators get to their events. If you intend to take the bus yourself, you should definitely use the London Bus Checker app.
Using GPS, you'll be able to locate the nearest bus stop to your current location, and all the bus times from that stop will be available right from your phone so you know when the next bus is due to arrive.You can filter bus times by the service that you want by tapping the number of the bus on the screen.
If you aren't familiar with a route that you need to travel, you can view exactly where your bus will pass through and where it stops en route. Maps integration here is really nice, with the route plan overlaid on a map of the city.
Bus Checker will cost you £1.99 - a nationwide app is available for slightly more - but it's definitely worth it if you're looking to travel around London using bus services; you won't find a better app than this.
London is one of the most bike-friendly locations in the UK with dedicated bicycle lanes covering main routes around the city, although if you're unfamiliar with the roads, it can be a slightly terrifying experience.
For those looking for an alternative to catching the tube or the bus, you can hire a bike from certain docking points throughout the city. You can ride for free for up to half an hour. After that, the cost is scaled depending on how long you keep it for; two and a half hours of cycling will put you back a tenner.
The app itself uses GPS to locate the nearest docking station to your current position, from which you can either pick up or drop off a bike. You can tell the app how you want to ride (speedy, steady or quiet) and then begin to cycle from one point to another.
As the charge for using a bike goes up pretty fast depending on how long you use it for, the app has a built in timer that reminds you when your 30 minutes of free cycling is up.
London City Guide
Well there's no point getting around if you haven't got anything to see now, is there? The London City Guide app from TripAdvisor will point you in the direction of the best restaurants and attractions that the city has to offer.
It's GPS based, so you can seek out suggestions close to your current location, or search for places the old fashioned way if you don't mind a little bit of travelling to get there. The best part is that the app is completely free, so download it and check it out!