Home Living in the UK House & Home Top 10 must-have apps in the UK
Last update on November 23, 2020
Written by Christian Lapper

Just moved to the United Kingdom? Make your new life a little more fun and convenient by downloading some of the top 10 must-have apps in the UK.

As an expat, getting to grips with everyday life in your new home can be challenging. Thankfully, these days there are plenty of mobile apps on the market that can make life in the UK a little easier. Whether you’re going to work in Glasgow or grabbing bargains from your local bakery in Bristol, there’s an app for practically everything. To help get you started, here are 10 must-have apps in the UK.

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1. Citymapper

Moving around a new city is always challenging. Whether you’re a recently-arrived expat or simply visiting for the weekend, knowing which bus to catch or when the last metro runs can be difficult. Thankfully, there are a whole host of transport apps on the market to help out.

Public transport Manchester

Citymapper is a public transit app that operates in the three largest cities in the UK: London, Manchester, and Birmingham. The app lets you plan your route using all modes of transport, from walking and cycling to trams and carshares. You can also keep track of your activity on your personal account, including money saved and distance traveled.

Other must-have UK public transport apps:

  • National Rail – UK-wide train information and tickets
  • TfL – London transport and travel information

2. BBC iPlayer

Looking for ways to integrate yourself into British culture? What better way to do it than by catching up with all the latest news, sports, and TV shows? Not only will this help you practice your English (or Welsh… or Scottish Gaelic), it will also give you an insight into what makes the Brits tick.

BBC iPlayer is a streaming and catch-up service from the BBC that’s also available online. The app has a range of TV shows, from the latest BBC news and current affairs to live sports and kid’s shows. You’ll also be able to download boxsets of new and classic comedies and dramas and watch offline; this is perfect for those commutes on public transport in the UK.

Other must-have UK TV catch-up apps:

  • All4 – Channel 4’s catch-up app with comedy, film, documentaries, and more
  • ITV Hub – watch the latest shows and vintage classics from ITV
  • My5 – a catch-up service from Channel 5

3. Time Out

Arranging your social calendar in a new city like London or Manchester can be tough. There’s often so much to see and do, it can be difficult to know what to do first! Then, of course, there are all the upcoming events. From antique fairs to LGBT film festivals, there never seems to be enough days in the week.

Time Out is an international culture and entertainment guide that started life in London back in 1968. Alongside their world-famous magazine, the app is a great way of keeping up with the latest goings-on in London, Birmingham, and more. You’ll find restaurant reviews, gig listings, and outdoor activities on this handy app.

Other must-have UK entertainment apps:

  • Meetup – you’ll find local friends with similar interests on this nifty social app
  • Wriggle – a Bristol-based app which offers tips and deals for what to do outside London

4. Kapten

Stayed out late and missed the last tram home? Or maybe you don’t feel like braving the metro with heavy suitcases? Whatever your reason, ride-sharing apps can be an important lifeline for expats living in cities around the world.

Best apps in the UK

Kapten is a ride-hailing app based in London which allows you to connect with drivers across the city; helping you get home safe and sound. The French company’s cars have become increasingly visible on London’s streets since launching in 2019. However, they have yet to branch out to other UK cities.

Other must-have UK mobility apps:

  • Uber – the market-leader in ride-sharing operates in several UK cities
  • Santander Cycles – a TfL run cycle-hire service operating across central London

5. Too Good To Go

We all try to live a little more sustainably these days, but it can be hard to get into good habits in a new country. For some, finding the right way to recycle can be challenging enough. However, with the right apps on your phone, you’ll find making those all-important green choices a lot easier.

Too Good To Go helps you cut down on food waste by connecting you with cafes, restaurants, and bakeries in your local area. Their community of waste warriors can pick up fresh food at a reduced rate from local outlets; food that would otherwise be thrown away. It’s a great way to grab a bargain while helping the environment.

Other must-have UK sustainability apps:

  • Refill – find out where to fill up your renewable water bottle in the UK
  • Good on You – avoid fast fashion choices with this ethical clothing app

6. TransferWise

Getting your finances in order is one of the most important things to do before moving to another country. You might be surprised at the number of unexpected costs you face after you arrive, and you don’t want to be left skint. That’s where a money transfer app comes into its own.

TransferWise is a global leader in quick and easy international money transfers, meaning you’ll have funds wherever you are in the UK. For that extra bit of security, you can even open a TransferWise multi-currency account. What’s more, you’ll get a debit Mastercard you can use across the UK.

Other must-have money transfer apps in the UK:

  • CurrencyFair – lets you avoid excessive bank fees and transfer with ease
  • World Remit – an international money-transfer app

7. BBC Sounds

Are you a good listener? Maybe you prefer switching on the radio to turning on the TV? Or perhaps you just like catching up with the latest episodes of your favorite podcasts? A great way to understand the UK is through your ears, and there’s no better way to listen on-the-go than with an app.

BBC Sounds is one of the UK’s leading apps for enjoying radio, music, and podcasts. The BBC’s many national and local radio stations are a great way to keep up with local news, sports, and music. There are also celebrity podcasts and performances from your favorite bands and musicians to listen to.

Other must-have UK entertainment apps:

  • Ticketmaster – get tickets to see your favorite artists and much more
  • Disney+ – the latest arrival on the subscription on-demand video scene

8. Starling Bank

For many expats moving to the UK, sorting out their bank account is at the top of their ‘to do’ list when they arrive. Opening a bank account in the UK is essential in settling into your new home, from setting up home utilities to paying for groceries at the supermarket.

Starling Bank is a mobile bank that operates in the UK. Their mobile banking app offers a range of financial services, including debit cards and budgeting tools. The app will let you split any bills with your new UK friends, and if you need to deposit money, you can do so at your local UK post office.

Other must-have UK financial apps:

  • Moneybox – a UK-based app that helps you save and invest with ease
  • Yolt – budget and save on-the-go with this app from global bank, ING

9. Rightmove

What better way to make your life in the UK more comfortable than by finding the house of your dreams? Buying property in the UK and renting in the UK can seem daunting as a newcomer, but there are plenty of apps available to download that help make househunting that little bit easier.

Rightmove is one of the UK’s leading online property search platforms. Whether you’re buying, renting, or simply checking property prices, their app helps you get to grips with the UK’s property market. The property search features can be particularly helpful to expats who aren’t familiar with the local neighborhood services and transport links.

Other must-have UK property apps:

  • SpareRoom – find a flatshare wherever you’re moving to in the UK
  • Spotahome – this London-only app takes the stress out of finding rental properties

10. HelloFresh

British food might not have the best reputation around the world, but don’t let that fool you. There’s plenty of great restaurants, pubs, and cafés to explore across the country. Alternatively, why not bring those UK flavors home? Whether you’re exploring your local British grocery store or signing up for a recipe box, there are plenty of options.

HelloFresh provides innovative meal kits straight to your front door. Sign up for weekly deliveries and treat your family to some fresh and flavorsome home-cooked meals. They cover all major UK cities, although delivery is limited in more rural parts of the country.

Other must-have UK food apps:

  • Farmdrop – enjoy fresh food from the field, straight to your door
  • Just Eat – get home delivery from a local take-out