There’s no shortage of ways to get around this great city. You can descend into the underground and grab the subway (known as the Tube to Londoners), hop on a bright red bus to see the sights, or hail one of the ubiquitous London Black Cabs. It's hard to find one of the old time "Routemaster" double decker buses since they have been retired except for two "Heritage Lines", but modern double deckers are everywhere and afford a fantastic view from the top deck. One of the best ways to see everything in London, however, is free – just get out there and explore on foot. Throw on a comfortable pair of shoes, pack your camera and a bottle of water in a bag and you’re off to create your own unique tour of London.

London may seem intimidating at first glance, but you’ll find that most of the main attractions are within walking distance. Start off at the London Eye, walk towards Big Ben, through Whitehall and end up in Trafalgar Square for an afternoon at the National Gallery to peruse all the famous paintings and sculptures on display. Piccadilly Circus and Leicester Square are just a short jaunt away from there, and soon you may even find yourself wandering around Covent Garden, picking up knickknacks you never knew you needed from the street vendors.

If you’d rather ride than walk and plan to do sightseeing in many different areas, purchase a one day travelcard as these are much cheaper than single fares (£6.60 for travel after 9:30am, vs. £4.00 for a single fare), or a seven day travelcard for £27.60 if you are traveling for 7 days or more.  If you are in London for several days, consider an Oyster Card, which will charge you the fare for the trips you make, but never more than the cost of a daily travelpass.  You can also have a travelcard loaded onto the Oyster Card.  This will allow you unlimited travel on the buses and London Underground within the specified zones that you purchase the travel card for.  You should be able to see all of central London sights on a zone 1 travel card.  However, if you are not staying directly in cental London, check to see what zones you will require.  Buses are a good method for getting around and could be considered favorable to the underground because they allow you to see London as you travel.  All London buses now have written and spoken announcements with the bus destination and the name of the next stop, and all buses (except Routemasters) are accessible for disabled people including those in wheelchairs.  Natives find the bus system frustratingly slow at times, due to the many stops and are less than pleased at the replacement of the Double Deckers with "bendy buses" (Ones that have a hinge in the middle, although these are now slowly being fazed out themselves in favour of double deckers). The main benefit, however, to the bus over the Tube is that travelers won’t miss out on all the fantastic sights this city has to offer by simply being above ground.  A good route for sightseeing is the 26 departing Waterloo (direction Hackney Wick).  This takes in Waterloo Bridge with fantastic views of Westminster and the City, and then passes down Fleet Street past the Royal Courts of Justice, then past St. Paul's Cathedral and through the City to Liverpool Street.  Get off at Liverpool Street and wander through Spitalfields and Bengali Brick Lane, which both have Sunday markets. Or try the number 11 bus: details.

The tube is probably the fastest way to get around if you don't mind the less than stellar cleanliness and price (which can get quite high) but if you plan to use the tube more than once, purchase the daily travel card and you will be able to ride all day and save money on fares. Its also a good idea to pick up a map of the entire Underground system so that you will be able to work out the different Tube lines. Maps are available free of charge from all train station ticket offices.  If you have an iPod Touch or iPhone, there is a very useful app you can install with a map and route planner for the tube.  It will tell you which line to take and which stations to change at.  All you need do is enter which station you are starting out at and where you want to go.

A great way of finding the best way around London if you have internet access is the Transport for London web site.  The journey planner accessible from this page allows you to enter starting and stopping locations and it will calculate the best route, including the tube, bus and foot.  It also creates route maps that you can print out.  Also,  TourbyTransit - London has transit information geared specifically for tourists with easy directions for getting to most of the popular attractions, parks, museums and theatres in London.

More tips (originally written for the olympics).