With every company, organisation and individual releasing an app these days, it can be tricky to decide which ones to install on your iPhone. Take a city like London, you’ll find literally hundreds of apps available to help you find out what’s going on, use public transport or book a London hotel. To save you time, here are my top five, divided into different categories to help you get the most out of the city without breaking the bank. By Matt Lindley
Best Events App: TimeOut London
London’s most popular weekly listings magazine (which if free as of this week) also offers one of the best iPhone apps for planning your free time in the capital. The content is updated daily with the latest info on gigs, club nights, cinema and events, so you’ll never be at a loss for things to do, and the map feature lets you see where you are in relation to what’s happening right now. You’ll never be bored again!
Best Transport App: London Tube
Despite the impeccable design of Harry Beck’s Tube map, using the Underground can still be one of the trickiest parts on a first visit to the capital. London Tube is the best and most fully-featured Tube app available, bringing you the latest information on delays and disruptions, as well offering a route planner and the map itself. The other really cool feature is it integrates with Google Maps to show where you are in relation to the nearest Tube stations – perfect for when you’re lost in a strange part of town.
Best Art App: Love Art National Gallery
Love Art is an ideal companion for any visit to the National Gallery – one of the best collections of European painting in the world. Enrich your experience of the paintings on display with videos and commentaries by famous artists, writers and experts of over 250 works. You can also zoom in really close to see the brush strokes of famous works, making it a suitable alternative for those not yet able to visit the gallery in person.
Best Taxi App: Hailo
One of the biggest problems with catching a cab in London is that there often aren’t any around when you need one, and when there are, you’re competing with three other people to flag one down. Hailo solves all this by letting you book a black cab from the comfort of your iPhone (currently 10% of all such cabs are signed up to the service). The best thing is that you can pay by card and won’t be charged above the meter. Just don’t be rude to the driver or you might get a bad review!
Best Literary App: Dickens’ Dark London
To celebrate Dickens’ 200th birthday, the Museum of London have recently released an innovative app which brings one of Britain’s greatest writers into the digital age. Follow Dickens on his night-time adventures through the city in this graphic novel (he was an insomniac) while the audio track gives you descriptions of the places he visits taken from his greatest works. You can also overlay an 1862 map of London with one now to see how things have changed. Dickens’ Dark London is perfect for those wanting to explore the capital’s cultural heritage.
Price: First edition is free, subsequent editions are £1.49
Matt Lindley is a travel blogger and music fan living in East London. He currently writes for HotelClub where he helps others find the best things to do in the capital.