HOW TO GET ABOUT LONDON
The stranger to London may well be dismayed at the prospect of finding his way through its ten thousand streets and 700 miles of railway, but he may take comfort from the fact that most of the principal sights are in a comparatively small area. A few minutes careful study of your maps, with the aid of these pages, should make clear the directions of the streets and railways most likely to be of service. At the head of our descriptions of the various show-places will be found notes on train and bus routes.
The principal cross-Channel and other aeroplane services arrive at and depart from the aerodrome at Croydon, some ten miles south of the metropolis. There is regular motor communication with the West End. For current arrangements apply Imperial Airways, Ltd., Croydon, or any tourist agency.
To get to Croyden Airport: train to Croydon or Walden (Southern Raylway), thence by bus. Passengers by the air liners are conveyed between the Air Port and Central London by special motors.
Croydon is the British headquarters of civilian, commercial flying, with huge air-liners of various nationalities constantly arriving from and departing for the Continent, etc. For permission to enter the Control Tower whence telephonic communication is maintained with aircraft en route and to inspect the ingenious arrangements for direction-finding, etc., special application must be made; but there is generally plenty to interest the ordinary sightseer, and the excursion is well worth making.
Occasionally "joy rides" of short duration are arranged: a popular trip enables one to take tea 2,000 feet above Central London. The aerodromes at Hendon, in north-west London, and Houmslow, in the extreme west, are principally used as schools and by private owners.
An agreeable interlude to sight-seeing may be had by taking advantage of the public motor coach trips from London. These are advertised in the daily papers, and seats can be secured at any of the tourist agencies. It is impossible here to give precise details, but among the runs are those to Buckinghamshire (Milton and Penn Country), and the Thames Valley, Brighton, Margate, Oxford, the Surrey Hills, etc. In the vicinity of Tavistock Square, Bloomsbury, is an important Motor-Coach Station, whence vehicles set out for journeys to all parts of England, and to Scotland and Wales.
There is a similar station near Victoria Station, S.W.: and another popular starting point is the Embankment in the neighbourhood of Charring Cross Railway Bridge.
A number of vessels make daily passages during the summer from Westminster Bridge to Kew, Richmond, Hampton Court, etc. Luncheon and tea are served on board at moderate prices. See advertisements in the daily newspapers and elsewhere. On the higher reaches of the river, the saloon steamers belonging to Messrs. Sulter Bros. of Oxford make delightful trips in summer through ninety miles of Thames scenery . For full details see the "Guide to the Thames" in this series "Down the River".
Steamers make daily trips from London Bridge or from Greenwich down river to Southend, Margate, Clacton, Felixstowe, Yarmouth, etc. There are also trips down the river from Westminster Bridge. See announcements in daily papers.
Motor Taxi-Cabs are usually the speediest means of transport for short journeys, though in districts where traffic congestion is pronounced it is often quicker to use the Underground or Tube The taximeter automatically records the fare by a combination of time and distance as the journey proceeds. Four passengers can be accommodated. There are ranks in or adjoining all the principal thoroughfares. Some of the ranks can be communicated with by telephone. The following is the scale of charges:
Only drivers of nerve and experience should motor in the crowded thoroughfares of London. If it is necessary to cross London from north to south, or vice versa, the existence of the river must not be forgotten, and the roads converging on bridges are almost invariably crowded. It should be borne in mind that certain one-way thoroughfares are closed to all vehicular traffic except that proceeding in a prescribed direction.
Please remember that at certain busy spots such as the Marble Arch, Trafalgar Square, Hyde Park Corner, etc., the gyratory or roundabout system of traffic control is observed: instead of cutting through crossing traffic one turns left and follows the "circus" until the desired turning is reached. By this means much annoying delay is obviated.
Visiting motorists, however, will be well advised to garage their cars on the outskirts of the City during their stay; the congested state of the streets robs motoring of any pleasure, while the Tube is generally much quicker.
Owing to traffic congestion the rules regarding car-parking have to be enforced strictly in the busier quarters of London, and before leaving a car standing it is well to consult a policeman concerning the period during which cars may be so left there, if indeed they may be left there at all; the police will also direct motorists to the nearest public motor park. In addition to parking places there are a number of large garages where cars may be left in safety.