There is no need to own a car in London. If you do, make sure that parking is available and free when you decide on a place to live. If you decide to not own a vehicle, tubes, overground trains, buses and taxis make it easy to get around London.
As the city is large and spread-out and traffic is bad at almost all times, most agree that using a train or bus is the most efficient way of moving around the city – if you are not within walking distance of your destination. The tube system is rapid, with most trains arriving every 2 – 3 minutes. Overground trains operate at about 10 – 15 minute intervals. Get an Oyster card and top it up as you travel or buy a Travelcard with unlimited travel in zones 1-2 for £7.30 per day or less if you purchase one for a week. Whether you decide to drive or use public transportation, you will soon learn the art of “travel-survival” in London.
Invest in the essential London A-Z street map. It is available at bookstores, most grocery stores and petrol stations. It is an excellent source for finding all the intricate streets of London.
London River Services (LRS) provides safe and reliable river transportation for both commuter and leisure journeys. Services operate all day from Masthouse Terrace Pier in the east to Savoy Pier in the center near Embarkment. At peak hours there are services to the West (Putney) and to the East (Woolwich).
There has been a big push to encourage Londoners to cycle, the London mayor has launched a bicycle pick-up scheme where members can hire bicycles on an as-needed basis: http://www.tfl.gov.uk/roadusers/cycling/11598.aspx.
Black cabs operate across London and you can also use the services of “mini-cabs”. Besides all these means of transport, London also has a tram system and the Docklands has its own automatic trains (without drivers), the DLR.
There are 4 main airports: Heathrow – Stanstead – Gatwick – Luton, all of which are within 2 hours from the city center. London City airport is much nearer but also much smaller.
Remember transport is crucial when choosing a place to live. Traffic can be very slow and roads really congested. On the plus side, though, there are less accidents in London than in the rest of the country. Also be aware that three quarters of central London is covered by a traffic charge or congestion charge. Driving within the congestion charge costs £10/day, for residents as well as commuters.