What are the best London street maps?
March 10, 2007 3:06 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to live in London for a year, and want to know where I'm going. Which street maps should I purchase? I'll probably end up getting two: a smaller one for quick reference, and a more comprehensive one to keep at home. When I was a student in Paris, everyone carried the Atlas Routier Plan de Paris — what's the equivalent?
posted by jed to Travel & Transportation around London, England (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The A to Z. I loved 'reading' it as a child.
posted by wackybrit at 3:16 PM on March 10, 2007

To elaborate..

Regarding more comprehensive ones, just go into any cheap bookstore and you'll find lots of them. They tend to mostly be produced by automobile associations. Both the AA and RAC have good larger maps for instance. The best way is just to find something to your taste at a bookstore. Regarding the small map, however, the A to Z is really the only good choice.
posted by wackybrit at 3:17 PM on March 10, 2007

Seconding wackybrit: the "ay to zed" is indispensible.
posted by Orinda at 3:34 PM on March 10, 2007

Thirding the A to Z.

Small one for quick reference. Bigger one to keep at home. Don't buy the spiral bound ones. The pages always fall out.
posted by TrashyRambo at 3:39 PM on March 10, 2007

The London Mapguide. The Mapguide series are the absolute best I have seen for a pocket map, I own several of them for various cities.
posted by fire&wings at 3:41 PM on March 10, 2007

A to Z(ed) - get a big one for looking up at home and a pocket one for your bag.
posted by k8t at 4:03 PM on March 10, 2007

nth the A to Z. Transport for London's Journey Planner is also indispensable.
posted by cbrody at 4:10 PM on March 10, 2007

Is google maps on your phone/PDA an option?
posted by chrisamiller at 4:46 PM on March 10, 2007

I'm partial to the Mini A to Z myself. This credit card sized Underground map is less useful, but a lot of fun to carry aound.
posted by roger ackroyd at 4:46 PM on March 10, 2007

indispensAble. shucks.
posted by Orinda at 4:52 PM on March 10, 2007

A to Z, definitely.
posted by ASM at 5:35 PM on March 10, 2007

Nth the A to Z, small pocket one to carry around and a larger one at home.
posted by Joh at 6:26 PM on March 10, 2007

There is a PDA A to Z but it only works on Windows Mobile devices.
posted by k8t at 8:44 PM on March 10, 2007

The A-Z is such an institution that people have been known to refer to the page number in giving directions. From memory. Back when I was a London bike messenger, we regularly described locations by A-Z coordinates. It's sold everywhere and they do a great job of keeping it accurate with frequent new editions.
posted by normy at 9:02 PM on March 10, 2007

FYI, the pocket-sized A to Z isn't as complete as the standard size. You'll be better off with the one that's roughly 7"x5".
posted by phatkitten at 9:16 PM on March 10, 2007

As a new resident, I use multiple small A to Z's. For home, I use google maps postcode lookup.

If I need to be very adventurous, I use the A to Z software on a Mio p35 which is a pocket pc with a built in satnav. I can store the entire greater london (1400 square miles) on a 256 meg flash card.

If you get this one, either buy it direct, or make sure you get the most recent version. I bought mine in a shop and had to jump through a few hoops to get the newer software.
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:23 PM on March 10, 2007

Oops, not a Mio 35, Mio 350 (Mitac Mio 350 specifically)
posted by Lord_Pall at 11:24 PM on March 10, 2007

As everyone says, the mini A-Z is most useful and fits handily in a pocket. It covers most of central London, out to zones 2-3. If you live or work further out than that, you might need a bigger one. You can get it in most bookshops.

Spiral binding: very useful if you're driving since the book stays open, otherwise not so much.

More of a curiosity: the Way Out Tube Map (extract) shows the actual geographical paths of the Tube lines which can be helpful. It also shows you which carriage to sit in to be closest to the exit.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 11:35 PM on March 10, 2007

N-thing the A to Z, but for bopping about in central London I can't beat the all-on-one Quickmap. It covers zones 1 & 2, shows bus routes and tube lines as well as streets, and is small enough to fit in your pocket.
posted by goo at 3:11 AM on March 11, 2007

Don't forget to pick up free bus maps -- the London Transport information centre at Victoria Station is a good place, but there are others. Also onlne .

The All-On-One Quickmap puts buses and tubes onto one small map, it isn't much use for ordinary detailed navigation but is good to carry for emergency changes of plan, especially station closures.

I suggest getting the free Metro program for your PDA/Symbian phone -- it sorts out the best underground routes.

I would second (nth) getting one of the maps that show where tube lines really run -- there are several places where walking along the surface is a good alternative, and some interchange stations where you will find a long hike underground which might be avoided by changing elsewhere.
posted by Idcoytco at 3:55 AM on March 11, 2007

Oh yeah, you need the Metro program not just for which lines to take, but also for how much time the journey will take -- info you don't get elsewhere unless you use the TfL journey planner. Most central zone stations are close, further out on the map can take a whole lot longer.

Metro also has downloads for a whole lot of other cities.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:05 AM on March 11, 2007

And, having checked out the link above to the extract of the Way Out Tube Map, I don't like it as much as the one that you can buy from vending machines on tube platforms, they don't have the carriage info, but do have street info as well as showing the bad interchanges where different lines are a long way apart. (Can't name it as I have given mine away to a visitor, again.)

And I guess I should point out that my experience is that a folding map beats either a small book or a PDA, it really helps to see what is just beyond the area of interest.
posted by Idcoytco at 4:17 AM on March 11, 2007

Just to be different, I'm going to suggest you use a Moleskine London, and back it up with Mobile Google Maps. The various A-Zs are great, but even the mini one has hundreds of pages covering obscure suburbs, that you're never going to need.
posted by roofus at 5:44 AM on March 11, 2007

And if you're interested in London maps, there's the biography of Phyllis Persall, who compiled the first A-Z of London and set up the company that publishes the A-Z wackybrit links to.
posted by paduasoy at 5:01 PM on March 11, 2007

Seconding the all-in-one Quickmap. I have a copy that I loan to visitors and it's the easiest way to make sense of zone 1 and 2.
posted by quiet at 6:30 AM on March 13, 2007

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