Greenwich outside Time Out’s city limits

Over the royal wedding holiday weekend, Time Out offered free downloads of its city guide applications. I’ve got a trip coming up, and generally I find TO’s guides to be the best of the lot, so I downloaded a few – including the London one, out of curiosity.

Sat on my sofa at home in Charlton, I had a play with the London guide. Despite nestling in cosy zone 3, the app kept telling me I was “outside the city limits” – even though there were still attractions within walking distance*. I consulted its map, and saw that Charlton was, indeed, outside these arbitary “city limits”.

I could understand it for a largely residential area that is largely off the mainstream tourist trail, but what about Charlton’s more glamorous neighbour?

So off I went to check out the view and the crowds at the top of the hill in Greenwich Park.

Surely one of the most famous views in London – and one that will be beamed around the world next summer – would be on the map?

No, it wasn’t.

I should make clear that Greenwich’s attractions (and, indeed, Charlton’s – well, The Valley and the Thames Barrier) are included in the guide itself. But the map manages to leave off most of south-east London, and east London too.

Want to explore the Docklands or the Olympic Park? You won’t find them here… which in the latter case, is a bit sad considering Time Out is the official travel guide publisher for London 2012.

So where does this map show, then?

So that’s all the way out to Kew in the west, but no further east than Bermondsey – and while north London attractions like the Freud Museum get a look-in, Greenwich’s wealth of sights are shut out of the map, along with other south London things to see like the Horniman Museum.

With the Olympics, new transport links and the continuing growth of the Docklands helping shift perceptions of London eastwards, it seems a shame Time Out’s app is stuck firmly in the old days of looking west and north – particularly for a company associating itself with London 2012.

(*including, brilliantly, the Diana, Princess of Wales memorial fountain in Hyde Park – whose entry is confused with that for the Princess of Wales pub on Blackheath.)


  1. Absolutely – and what about Charlton House – and – and -Woolwich and so on. Clearly the entire Time Out staff live in Camden and Clerkenwell – perhaps we should arange some trips out for them. And perhaps the Council could produce a list of all the attractions in the Borough which don’t normally get noticed – oh hang on! -Perhaps I did do somthing. (Look on the Council web site under Sustaimable Communities Scrutiny Panel)

  2. Time Out regularly show disgust for South London. I cancelled my subscription in the end after the constant disdain just got too much. Ridiculous.

  3. They have probably just been using The Evening Standard Map of London. Easy mistake to make when you have never crossed the river yourself.

  4. Dave beat me to it re the Evening Standard map.

    Have you dropped a line to Time out pointing out this nonsense?

  5. Hi Darryl

    The reason for the bug / issue you raise is to do with trying to limit the map size that is built in to the app and keep the app at a reasonable size.

    We use 4 or 5 map layers and we were trying to keep the app size under the 20mb limit so it can be downloaded over the air not just via wifi.

    In the end this wasn’t possible and the app is getting an upgrade with a bigger map.

    As the apps work completely offline – all the map layers have to be loaded in at time of download.

    Its a known problem, but I thank you for raising it as a user as its this kind of feedback that keeps us making things better.

    All the other apps in the series, Paris, Barcelona, Berlin, Buenos Aires have a smaller city area so the map size issue is not a problem.

    I hope I have explained why it has been launched this way, and that when we do upgrade the map area you can see all the local areas.

    I welcome any other feedback.

    Kind regards

    David Pepper
    Managing Director
    Time Out Digital

  6. Thanks for the response, David. It still seems odd that the map skews so far west, but I look forward to future editions….

  7. I call BS. Of all the areas to ignore they chose the South, again. God knows why TO are so blinkered, but looks like they haven’t changed much.

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