Travelling through the UK is a wondrous and picturesque dream. Take your pick. Actually, why not do both? Prepare to be enthralled by the regal Romanesque architecture and the bustling cultures unique to every city as you explore within. Or, travel by bus or train between counties, through the fascinating countryside where your thoughts slow, as the scenic view zooms past your window, your little gateway to the outside world. You attain a deeper appreciation for the little things in life as the seemingly boundless rolling fields passes you by, and you catch glimpses of beautiful mother nature far removed from modern civilization: lush vegetation, rich fields of flowers, cows, horses and sheep etc.
To do that comfortably and stress-free would require a person with innate navigational skills and a keen sense of direction, capable of going to a foreign country and knowing exactly whether to take a bus or train, then following, which bus/train station to go to, and finally the correct service to take to get to your destination safe and sound. While these people exist (lucky you!), perhaps it is a safe bet to assume that the majority travelling to a foreign country would require at least a little guidance, if not sweeping instructions. That’s where these travel apps come in – navigational and transport.
Think of this app as your pocket GPS. For people not as directionally inclined as others, this handy app is a godsend. CityMapper is the most widely-used and premier app to navigate urban public transport. Found an exciting plate you want to explore? No problem. Simply enter your destination into the app with the “Get Me Somewhere” button and it will utilize its real-time data and consider any potential disruptions, formulating the best route(s) for you and the appropriate transport method(s) to get there.
Tired and would like to go back to rest? Give the “Get Me Home” button a press, and assuming you’ve keyed in your home/accommodation address inside, the app will immediately direct you with the best way to get back from your current destination. All with just one push of a button. To understand the difference between CityMapper and Google Maps, you will have to explore both options. Google Maps is by no means a pushover but CityMapper is just that slightly crisper and smoother in how it transmits information.
Due to the technological workload required for this app to work and provide accurate and up-to-date solutions to its users, the one con is that it only operates in major cities. In the UK, you will be able to use CityMapper in London, Birmingham and Manchester.
Where available, people generally have CityMapper as their preferred navigation app due to its wider functionality and streamlined processes. However, as I’m sure you’re already aware, Google Maps remains a stalwart for your navigational and transport purposes worldwide.
Google Maps edges Citymapper in the coverage area so you won’t have to worry about the app not being able to provide accurate directional instructions at places outside of London, Birmingham and Manchester. No matter where you are, enter your destination into Google Maps and it will relay efficient instructions to you on how to get there, and that’s why it remains a staple app to be used in the UK with its plethora of bus and train services.
Thinking of booking a train or coach for traveling between the UK’s counties? Undecided as to whether you should take a train or coach? Trainline is your solution. Trainline is an all-in-one app for booking trains and buses, where you can check the timings and availability for you to plan your journey. The app also provides a price comparison between trains and buses as well as a price comparison between trains/buses at different times and/or days so you can make a more informed decision as a price-conscious consumer.
You are also able to book European trains including to destinations like Germany, Italy, France via the Eurostar etc. This was my go-to train app while I was in the UK as you can buy tickets conveniently on the go without heading to a train station kiosk and it provides you with live, up-to-date information on the timings of the different trains and buses.
UK Bus Checker
This nifty little app is catered to the buses of the whole of the UK. That is no exaggeration, it encompasses all 300,000 bus stops worth in the UK. Users can get live, integrated information on bus’ arrival and departure timings. You may also use the journey-planner feature conveniently found in the app. It even has a “Stop Alert” feature that alerts you, preventing poor tired souls that have fallen asleep from missing their stops.
While Uber has had its run-in with the English courts, it remains the preferred ride-hailing in the UK after having been granted a new license to work in the capital, London. Uber is a global name, and in the UK that is no different. The majority of English drivers use the Uber app due to its widespread popularity thus, creating a huge network effect where others join in. As a result, Uber remains the eminent app for finding a ride in the UK.
The frigid cold wind bellows outside your accommodations. You wrap your blankets tighter around you as you desperately seek all the warmth you can get. You’re famished and nothing could be more heavenly than a hot piping meal to warm your soul. But how? The UK weather, infamously gloomy, volatile and harsh, has made leaving your place in search of comfort food infinitely more daunting. Enter your knights in shining armors: food delivery app.
Deliveroo remains the go-to app for users craving food deliveries in the UK due to a combination of factors. The app has a smooth ergonomic interface, its impeccable customer service is unrivalled in my humble opinion, as well as Deliveroo being one of the earliest market participants in the UK’s food delivery scene. You can track your food delivery in expectation of your food. Food vendors agree as well, where you would have a higher chance of finding food delivery options from the “higher-quality” food providers compared to other food delivery apps.
By “higher-quality” food providers I am referring to more recognizable brands such as international franchises like PizzaHut, KFC, McDonald’s. Deliveroo’s food delivery also includes restaurants like Bill’s (a British restaurant serving burgers, steaks etc.) AskItalian (Italian restaurant duh) and many others. Once you have made your order, there will be a service and delivery fee quoted for the food delivery. However, if you foresee yourself making this a routine, you can subscribe to Deliveroo’s subscription service, paying £3.99 a month to waive the delivery fees, provided you spend over a minimum amount of an order.
I fondly remember my university days in the UK where after a long and arduous day completing assignments, the hunger pang would hit immediately. Instinctively, I would fire up the Deliveroo app and an assortment of food choices would spring up, each eagerly inviting me to dine with them. After a long, long, time of indecision, I would finally decide and wistfully submit my order. Not too long after (a duration shorter than the time I take to choose), the delightful waft of food would announce their arrival. Then, I proceed to lie in bed and spoil myself with the delectable food while watching “How I met your Mother”. Unhealthy? Maybe. But those were the days of student living, and boy, were they good times.
JustEat is another huge player in the UK’s food delivery scene. JustEat’s primary focus is quantity, quantity, quantity, with the sheer amount of its food offerings outweighing all other food delivery apps in the UK. You can expect to find your local favorites, including little-known gems such as the kebab stores and pizza joints you swear by here. Chances are, if you’re craving food from small or local eateries, you will have the highest chance of finding it on JustEat.
I would say Deliveroo provides higher quality food options to JustEat, and (obviously) following, you can expect to pay more generally for food delivery via Deliveroo compared to JustEat. JustEat provides a more economical option due to the sheer number of eateries found on the app and restaurants even have the option of waiving the delivery fee to appear more attractive and competitive. To conclude, JustEat’s calling card is cheap, affordable food from a large variety of options to choose from.
UberEats is another one of your knights in shining armor. To be very frank, I never really did use this app during my time in the UK. From personal memory, I did remember preferring Deliveroo and UberEats due to their wider offerings. However, I did see UberEats drivers out and about fulfilling food deliveries, so perhaps it has more to do with personal preference. You should look between the 3 apps if you have a place in mind to order from and don’t see it from your preferred app. Happy eating!
How do your groceries being delivered to your place sound? Contrast that to lugging heavy bags of groceries while traversing the London traffic or perhaps, imagine carrying heavy groceries while walking on hilly and uneven cobblestone surfaces. Thank God for technology eh?
Tesco is the biggest supermarket in the UK by market share, controlling about 30% of the market share in the English supermarket space. On a more practical note, Tescos are everywhere in the UK, and their selection for groceries is unparalleled. You have fresh meats, vegetables, fruits, household necessities, snacks. Everything. You name it, they have it.
Tesco Groceries is an app that enables users to carry out quick and convenient groceries shopping from a range of over 50,000 products! The app even allows you to change up your orders at any time, amend your delivery timings and add or remove items up to 11.45 pm before the evening that your items will be delivered. This is convenience at its finest.
If there’s anything the British people love, it is a good “TimeOut”, a night filled with good food, good mates and who could forget good drinks. Could it be more apt for an app dedicated to having its users enjoy a night out in London to be called TimeOut?
TimeOut is the perfect app for adventurous individuals travelling to London in search of a good time. Timeout is a platform that inspires as to where to dine, where to drink, where to party. The app contains information about the best places for food and drinks all around you. After a good meal out, you’re in search of experiencing the local English culture of having good drinks and good clubs? TimeOut has got you covered.
The apps discussed in this article have been carefully curated considering the general public’s perception and the opinion of yours truly. I hope they serve you well during your time in the UK!