You may very well be one of the lucky few heading to London (or perhaps already in London) for this year’s Olympic games. Since the 2008 games, a lot has changed in the world of technology; it wasn’t until the month after the games that Android 1.0 was released. In fact, London 2012 is being called the first “social media games” and it has come with a number of official Android apps.
We’ve already take a look at how to keep up with the Olympics but you might have a more difficult job navigating your way around London. In this roundup, we’re going to take a look at a bunch of apps useful for those visiting London, even when the Olympics aren’t on.
Naturally, we need to kick this roundup off with this important app — even if you’ve probably already got installed on your phone. Maps definitely deserves an honourable mention since it’s one of the most universally useful apps.
I won’t waste your time explaining what Maps is, since it’s a Google product that you’re probably already very familiar with, but do check out this article if you’re not aware of the app’s new 3D and offline features.
London City Guide is a free app from TripAdvisor that can act as your virtual guide to the city. London City Guide will help you find all the places that are listed on TripAdvisor’s website, including restaurants, attractions and hotels. Plus, it all works offline!
This also means you get access to TripAdvisor’s millions of community-submitted reviews, to make sure you’re only heading to the best. The “Point Me There” feature helps you select a restaurant or attraction and then have your phone’s GPS get you there.
TouristEye is an offlien travel guide that lets you build a trip and then download it, so you can access your itinerary, photos, maps, bookings and more, all without needing to find a fast internet connection, an achievement that will be difficult to garner during the Olympics.
In addition to the planning features, TouristEye includes transportation maps for buses, trains and the subway, all again without needing to have an internet connection. If you’re looking for someone to plan your day for you, though, TouristEye can still pull in expert and user-created tours of shopping, food, and the like.
This app is pretty simple, helping you navigate London with a realtime map of the London Underground and information on buses and cycle hiring.
Powered by the Transport for London Journey Planner API, the built-in journey planner helps you generate a travel itinerary for your trip that can mix and match modes inluding walking, bus, main rail and subway.
This app keeps you up to date with everyone relevant to the National Rail system in the UK, including live train information showing timings and statuses, and a planner for ironing out the details of a trip you want to make. Certainly, around the time of the Olympics where public transport will be stressed, this will help you keep on top and make sure you arrive at your destination in time.
The London Underground app offers up a simple, easy-to-use map of the London Underground subway system alongside live service information so you can plan according to potential disruptions. Naturally, it also comes complete with offline features that allows it to work anywhere, even underground.
The Starbucks app is mainly there for managing your Starbucks card, a form of cashless payment that may have merit during the Olympics so that you don’t need worry about cash when in a Starbucks potentially stressed due to the influx of tourists to the city.
However, the app includes a store locator, allowing those in the city to easily find the nearest place to get a drink (although, we all know how common Starbucks are, so it shouldn’t be too difficult!).
Similar to the benefits of the Starbucks app, the official McDonald’s UK app will help you easily locate a nearby place to eat. You’ll also be able to get information of the restaurant, including opening times and facilities, in addition to access to the UK menu ahead of arriving at the restaurant.
(This is particularly appropriate right now as McDonald’s is a sponsor of the London 2012 Olympics.)
As it’s name suggests, this next app will help you easily locate a Wi-Fi connection, which will likely be a pretty difficult task — especially during the Olympics.
The app will scan for Wi-Fi hotspots nearby and give you easy directions to them, with the ability to filter results by location type so you can find out if you’ll be able to grab a coffee while you browse.
Yelp is a pretty self-explanatory app that helps you find business nearby, of all sorts too. With the app in tow, it should be pretty easy to find anything you need in London, and the abundance of user reviews helps you avoid the ones that might not be too great.
That’s a few of the apps we think will be most helpful for visitors to London. If you’re heading to London, or just know of a good app, share what you’re using in the comments below!