Best UK Travel Apps for iPhone and iPad

Whether you're using the car, bus, or train to travel across the UK, there are a whole host of great apps available in the App Store to help you get where you're going.

With the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch at your disposal, these apps will all help make hitting the road or rails as easy as possible.


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Since each line across the country is run by a different train operator, the best way to find fares in one place is with the Trainline app. It allows you to search for routes and pay for them with Apple Pay, as well as on some routes allowing you to use a digital ticket within the app.

It's not exactly glamorous, but it doesn't have to be. It's well-designed and simple to use and offers additional features, like live tracking to keep tabs on where your train is at all times. The Apple Watch companion will offer limited functionality but does keep you in the know on times for your chosen routes. It'd be swell if a future update enabled digital tickets on the Watch.

If you use the trains, you should use Trainline.


While this doesn't cover the whole of the UK, for the bits it does support it's an essential route planner and general public transport helper. In London, Manchester, and Birmingham you'll get one of the most comprehensive route planners around, with a neat iMessage app that lets you share with your friends and family.

Besides public transport maps, you've also got Uber integration, so there's no need to even leave the app to get a car. Want to use one of the public hire cycles? No problem, Citymapper has real-time information.

And with an Apple Watch, you'll be guided every step of the way without having to touch your phone. The only downside is it's not available for iPad, but it's a must-install on your phone.


Pre-dating Uber in these parts was Hailo, and it's still going strong. It allows you to do much the same as Uber in London, only you're hailing a licensed cab instead. And there are benefits to that. Cabs in London, for one, are regulated by the city, Uber drivers are not.

The app itself is a breeze to use and supports Apple Pay for seamless, cash-free transactions. You just open up the app, say where you want to go, and let your driver do the rest.

Hailo also has an Apple Watch companion app so you can get going without even pulling out your phone. Because we live in the future now!

UK Bus Checker

UK Bus Checker

If you're in the capital, there's a London-specific version of this app, but of course, not everyone is. And so you get to use the excellent UK Bus Checker, which does just what you'd hope, given its name.

It takes all of the guess work out of catching a bus, wherever and whenever you are. By pinpointing your location, you'll be able to see the nearest bus stops, routes, and when the next one is set to arrive. And nowadays it'll also help out with trams, trains, even ferries as well.

Simple, yes, but almost unmatched in execution and a thoroughly nice app to use at the same time. It's free if you're happy to have ads or you can buy the version without.

ViaMichelin GPS navigation and traffic


Want a free traffic and GPS routing application that's actually free and doesn't have any in-app purchases? That's where this Michelin-powered app comes in. It's not as full-featured as other navigation apps, but it'll do a fine job at creating a route to your destination.

It's also fantastic at keeping you informed of real-time traffic information. Using a phone behind the wheel is very bad and you shouldn't ever do it, but if you're stuck in stationary traffic or you have a passenger, you'll be able to find out what the hold-up is in a jiffy.

The iPad version loses the actual navigation (which is fair), but perhaps more useful to savvy road-goers is that you can enter your exact make and model of car and the app will tell you how much each journey will cost in fuel based on current prices. And that's just excellent.


There are plenty of apps that allow you to pay for parking without the need to use the pay and display machines, and one of the better ones is PayByPhone. It's supported nationwide and while it doesn't capture all of the parking spaces (because different companies use different providers), this one does a great job at capturing local authority parking, which is often a little better priced.

It's also a nicely done app that has an Apple Watch companion, so you're never far away from knowing when your parking expires. Once you've set up an account with payment and your car(s) registration plates, it's only a few taps to park each time. Should you need longer, that's fine. Just pay for more. No more rushing back to the car to put more in the machine!

Bonus - Apple Maps

Apple Maps

This one's a bonus because it comes pre-loaded on your iPhone and iPad, but have you used Apple Maps recently as a serious travel companion?

It now has UK public transport information built right in, as well as comprehensive traffic news and the current weather. Whether you need to see current road closures or figure out which bus to get into town, you can do so now in Apple Maps.

It's not as full-featured in each area as some of the other great apps available, but if you just need one app to do everything, Apple Maps is here to help.

How do you get around the UK?

Let us know which apps you use in the comments below.

Richard Devine

Editor at iMore, part time racing driver, full time British guy. Follow him on Twitter and Google+