Having only moved to London a month ago, I will admit to feeling utterly lost more than once a day; I am a Hobbit in a very big, very strange city. Fortunately, settling in has actually been much less calamitous than it could have been, thanks to a host of apps which make the city much more navigable. As much as there seems to be an app for everything, I’m not entirely sure there’s an app which lists apps for highly specific needs, so here I am, filling a gap in the market with a list of my own.
Whether you’re in London for a trip, a new resident, you’ve lived here for longer than you care to admit, or you get an unbeatable high simply from downloading apps, you will no doubt find one or more of these useful.
Best for exploring
Wriggle essentially acts as your local bargain hunter, sorting through independent bars and restaurants to present you with a seemingly endless amount of on-the-day offers. The offers are for a limited time only, often a few hours, and will sell out or expire in real time. There’s always a great deal to be had though if you’re feeling spontaneous and it’s always possible you’ll try a new cuisine or find a nice independent bar to take your friends to and pretend you know all the ‘underground’ places to go.
Locappy is great, because rather than feeling like you have to go to the centre of London to see all the best bits of the city, it will help you uncover the hidden gems in your local area, which is especially useful for someone who has just moved to the city and frankly doesn’t yet have the constitution to visit the centre. Splitting London into over 60 neighbourhoods, the app shows you in live time what other app users are discovering in your area, what the local business are offering, and lets you share your own discoveries. You can follow as many neighbourhoods as you want, and we’re all for avoiding the tube, spending money closer to home, and supporting the local economy.
Best for culture
In London there’s an endless amount of things to do, to the point where you just need someone to categorise it and set it in front of you. Enter Yplan. Yplan is the titan of event apps, helping you discover what’s on in the city and letting you book straight from the app. You can filter by event type, from theatre to sport to nightlife, or area, and you’ll have to because the app just has so much stuff to choose from. Whether you want something for tonight, or next week, Yplan will have something to interest you.
Dojo is the app that makes the list you will never have time to, discovering underground events, pop-ups festivals, independent eateries, exhibitions, and markets for you to explore. If anything Dojo has too much to do, and you will inevitably find yourself scrolling through endlessly fun things and not deciding on one. Like event Netflix.
Best for eating and drinking
CityHawk believe that “life is too short for mediocre meals” and I completely agree. With over 800 of London’s best restaurants to browse though, this is pretty much the only app you’ll need for finding somewhere to eat.CityHawk finds restaurants near you with guaranteed seats, offering deals on last minute tables. If you want to go a bit further afield, you simply have to adjust the filters. You can view restaurant photos, menus, and reviews and in 3 simple taps you can have a table booked and be on your way to a delicious meal, without having to work up an appetite by scouring endless streets looking for a free table at peak eating times.
There’s nothing worse than leaving a bar as it closes and finding your night is forced to end before you want it to, because you’re not quite sure where to go next, or even if anywhere will be open. Nightcapp is your solution. Nightcapp is a very simple app, which takes your location and shows you all the bars near you that are open on an easy to navigate map (which is essential after you’ve had a few). Everything happens in real time, so if somewhere is open it will appear green, if it is set to close in the next hour it will go orange, and if it’s closed it won’t appear at all. Now your night doesn’t have to end! Until a close friend ends it for you with your best interests at heart.
Best for getting around
Citymapper is the only app you will ever need for commuting. It’s a big claim, but honestly, this app makes getting from A to B in London much easier with real-time information on all modes of transport, from where they’re available to next departures and line status, the ability to book a taxi or a car through integration with Uber and Hailo, weather, and disruption alerts. You can save locations for quick access and now they’re even giving you information on where to on the train in order to be best positioned to the exit / transfer when you get off. Minutes saved and a small amount of zen achieved.
Sometimes you can feel a bit cheated when you look at the price of your train ticket, particularly when you’re leaving London to travel home a bit further away. Tickety Split is an app that helps you get the best walk-on train ticket prices by finding which stations on your journey to split your travel ticket. The app can save you anything from 50% of your ticket price to a measly 40p, but it’s always worth a look.
Best for keeping track of your cash
When you’ve just been paid, or you’re on holiday with a big crowd of people, it’s easy to become incredibly generous, buying rounds, entire meals, loaning money. Then two weeks later, you’re no longer the generous friend but the debt collector, desperately trying to get back your pennies to make it to the next pay day. Payfriendz makes this painful process easier, letting you share money with your friends safely and easily without any fees. All you need to do is pick a phone contact, choose whether you want to send them money or request it, then enter the amount with a message. Exchanges are instant, as is the relief when you see your funds start to build back up.
10) Frugl – Free on iOS
When you’re on a budget, which if you’re like me is probably quite often, Frugl is there to help make sure you’re not missing out anything by setting you up with a plethora of affordable events. You can filter events – comedy, film screenings, live music, theatre, club nights and many more – by price, knowing it will cost you at the most £10 and at the least absolutely free! You’ll never have to be stuck in the flat again.
So, whether you’re feeling hungry, thirsty, thrifty, or simply bored, you now have your digital directory. Explore, save, go!
Main Image: © iStock/Leonardo Patrizi