Don’t like the tube or buses? Alternative ways to get to us
Clients come to us from every part of London, every county in England, every country in Europe, and every continent in the world.
And when they arrive, whether by air or road, from Brighton or Bangladesh, it can be somewhat of a shock to the system.
The expectation is for every street to be like Saville Row or King’s road; complete with immaculate period facades, custodian-helmet-adorning police officers, perfectly-lit sidewalks, and jolly, superbly-dressed locals.
Let’s not forget the pleasant, season-obeying weather that makes seeing the sights and getting around a doddle.
But unlike what’s portrayed on the big screen, the reality is somewhat more mundane and disappointing. Not everyone lives in fancy town-houses next door to Buckingham Palace, hangs out with Prince William, and gets around on the tube or big red buses.
And the weather, well, let’s just say London is a dull, grey, and rainy city, at least for most months of the year.
Don’t get me wrong: all this doesn’t take away the unique charm from the capital. Rather, it means you have to get your head down from the clouds and be realistic when planning your journey here — particularly if you have an appointment to stick to.
For instance, just like anywhere in the world, there are many occasions on which the London underground and bus networks are unsuitable — whether it’s because of the time of day, who you’re travelling with, or that you have eyes which are sensitive to pollution and poor air quality.
Luckily, though, there are a host of other ways to get around London, many of which offer an even more authentic and enjoyable way to take in the city.
Although it’s maybe not the best idea to get on a bike directly after your treatment, travelling by one of London’s many public bicycles is one of the best ways to arrive at our clinic and get around the city in general.
London’s bicycle hire scheme — now known as Santander Cycles but more commonly referred to as Boris Bikes — is hugely popular with locals and visitors alike. All you need is to take a bank card to a docking station or sign up via the app and you can start pedalling right away. Bikes are free for the first half hour and cost just £2 for the full day.
The best thing about Boris Bikes is that they’re available 24/7, 365 days a year, and there are more than 11,000 bikes in circulation and 750 docking stations around London. There are three within a five-minute walk of our clinic — Beaumont Street, Bolsover Stree, and Portland Place — so you’ll never be short of a ride or place to park.
When you think of London, you think double-decker buses, red phone boxes, and black cabs. But the black cab stands above all for one reason in particular: in order to drive one, the cabbies have passed one of the most difficult tests in the world.
Known as The Knowledge, the rigours of the black cab test have been compared to the work it takes to earn a degree in law or medicine — requiring students to learn some 320 routes, 25,000 streets, and every business or landmark on them.
So riding in the spacious passenger saloon of an Austin FX4 is not only a great way to experience a piece of design history, it’s also a unique way to get to know more about the city.
Ask your driver to take you to London Vision Clinic, or simply mention Harley Street, and before you know it you’ll be there — safe, dry, and with an ear full of knowledge.
Rent a car
London’s public transport network will get you where you need to go at most hours of the day. However, sometimes you just need your own car. That’s where Zipcar comes in.
Zipcar, a subsidiary of the car hire company Avis, has thousands of vehicles parked around London that are ready and waiting for you to hop in and drive. Prices start from £3/hour and £33/day with fuel and insurance included, and you can even take one-way trips with its service Zipcar Flex.
What’s great about Zipcar is that can use it the same day you sign up. Just download the mobile app to reserve your first vehicle, use it to find and unlock the car, and when you’re done, return it to its reserved parking spot. Unless you use Zipcar Flex or have someone with you, we don’t recommend hiring your own car as your eyes will need a few hours rest after your treatment. What our clients usually do is call a cab or have a friend pick them up.
Bowl of Chalk
Taking a walk, or bowl of chalk in cockney rhyming slang, through the streets of London, has inspired many greats of literature and film for centuries. And best of all — that is if it isn’t taters and brass monkeys, or you don’t mind getting a little wet — it’s completely free.
A particularly good reason to travel to us on foot is the proximity of our clinic to one of the world’s greatest city parks, Regent’s Park. Covering an area of just under 400 acres, Regent’s Park is packed full of large open spaces, tree-lined pathways, and diverse wildlife — including over 100 species of wild birds and a healthy population of hedgehogs.
Hire a boat and feed the ducks on the boating lake, entertain the kids in one of its four playgrounds (although we don’t allow guests in the clinic, sorry kids), or take a quiet stroll up Primrose Hill and check out the view of London’s skyline. It’s a perfect way to spend the day after your initial consultation or chill out (if you can keep it together) before your treatment.