London is a well-connected city, with international airports, the high-speed Eurostar, national train links and of course the London Underground. The big red double decker bus, a black taxi and the London Underground sign are all associations of London.
London is renowned for its public transport and ability to get you from one part of the city to another in no time at all. For all the information you need to plan your trip, go to tfl.gov.uk which provides the tools to easily plan your journey on public transport in advance, and is available in 15 languages. You can also telephone +44 (0)843 222 1234*(24 hours) or visit any tube station. Here our quick guide to getting around London.
London Underground - there are 11 colour-coded Underground or ‘Tube’ lines. Services run regularly from around 5am to just after midnight (Sunday 07.30 to 23.30) on most routes. The underground network is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the most central area. You can easily recognise London underground stations from the familiar red and blue sign with the station name. Generally, there is 2 minutes between each stop as a rough guide.
See the London Underground tube map here.
London Bus - generally running from 5am to just after midnight with Night Buses operating on all major routes from around midnight to 5am, some routes operate a 24-hour service. To provide a quick service cash fares are not available for bus passengers in Zone 1, therefore passengers must obtain a valid ticket or Oyster card before boarding. Some routes are especially good for sightseeing including routes 9 and 15 which use heritage Route master buses during the day.
Oyster cards – known as the easiest and cheapest way to pay for travel around London whether you are using Tube, bus, tram, DLR, London Overground or National Rail services. The Oyster card can store season tickets (Travelcards) as well as credit for single journeys (pay as you go) and your card is fully re-usable. You can add credit or add another Travelcard when your pay as you go credit is getting low or your Travelcard expires. There are over 3,00 Oyster retailers, station touchscreen ticket machines and at Travel Information Centres in London. With pay as you go, you can travel as many times as you like in a day and the daily price cap means that you will never pay more than the price of an equivalent One Day Travelcard.
If you want to save time by purchasing an Oyster card before you arrive in London you can do at tfl.gov.uk/visitorshop. Make sure you always touch the yellow card reader at the start and end of your journey to ensure you have paid the right price for your journey. On buses and trams you only need to touch at the start of your journey.
Cycle - Barclays Cycle Hire is a public bike sharing scheme in central London. There are over 550 docking stations and 8000 bicycles for hire. Simply hire a bike, ride it anywhere you like and return it to any docking station.
Walk – one of the most enjoyable ways to enjoy London and feel the city buzz. Look out for Legible London signs throughout central London which feature maps and information for pedestrians. You’ll be amazed at how easy it is to walk between so many London landmarks.
London Overground – consisting of four routes which run from Richmond/Clapham Junction to Stratford, Highbury & Islington to West Croyden, Watford Junction to Euston and Gospel Oak to Barking. During peak hours the trains run every 7-15 minutes on most lines. Full timetables are available at the stations.
National Rail– there are 13 terminals in London with National Rail connections to all parts of the UK, plus Eurostar services from St. Pancras International. For further information visit nationalrail.co.uk or call +44 (0)20 7278 5240.
Docklands Light Railway and Emirates Cable Cars - DLR driverless trains run from 5.30am to just after midnight from Monday to Saturday and from 7am – 11pm on Sundays. Generally the trains are every 4-10 minutes running on routes from Bank and Tower Gateway to Docklands, East and South East London. You can visit, Canary Wharf, Excel London, Woolwich Arsenal, Cutty Sark for Maritime Greenwich or London City Airport.
The all new cable car river crossing connects the O2 and Excel exhibition centres via terminals at Emirates Greenwich Penninsula and Emirates Royal Docks. Accessible for all and at any time
The River – a relaxing way to travel whilst seeing the sights, now Oyster cards can be used on Thames Clippers services.
Taxi – in true London style, hail one of the city’s famous black cabs (some may be multi-coloured) when the yellow ‘Taxi’ sign is lit. At larger stations and tourist attractions there will be taxi ranks available. You can also use the Hailo app to get a black cab wherever you are, anytime you want. All it takes is two taps on your smartphone. You can then pay by card or cash and get a receipt emailed to you instantly.
If you are travelling to London from abroad, we advise downloading any apps before travelling to avoid roaming charges.
Drive – if you are driving in central London you will need to pay the congestion charge which operates Monday-Friday from 7am – 6pm excluding bank holidays and public holidays. Visit cclondon.comfor a map of the congestion charging zones.
Coach - London’s main coach services use Victoria Coach Station. Check tfl.gov.uk/coachesfor full information