Getting around London (London public transport)

Please find a concise guide to London public transport. "Should I use Travelcard or Oyster card? Where can I get free tube and bus map? So, all together how much will I pay?" Find below:

  • London's transport map is divided into 6 zones. All major sights (Buckingham Palace, Big Ben, Parliament, Tower etc.) are within zone 1. Only Greenwich with Cutty Shark and Royal Observatory is in zone 2.
  • In London either Travelcard or Oyster card is used when travelling in tube, buses and other transport services. Travelcard is a normal paper ticket, Oyster card is an electronic smartcard ticket.
  • Oyster cards and Travelcards can be purchased at any tube station.
  • If you are coming to London for a weekend break, we recommend you to buy either One-day Travelcard (it costs £7 and can be used on all buses and tube within zone 1 and 2) or Oyster card (electronic smartcard ticket. You will have to prepay your Oyster card with a £5 credit minimum. You then simply touch your card the yellow reader situated at the tube gates and in all buses and that's how you are charged). If you believe you will spend less than £7 a day on public transport then Oyster card is what you need.
  • If you are coming to London for a week we recommend you to buy 7 Day Travelcard for £29.20 (it can be used on all buses and tube within zone 1 and 2). You can also add 7 Day Travelcard on your Oyster card.
  • Price cap: you will never pay more than £7 a day (during the weekend) when travelling in zone 1 and 2 and £8.40 a day during the week.
  • Fares in zone 1:
    • tube - single journey paid in cash: £4.30. Paid by Oyster card: £2.00.
    • bus - single journey paid in cash: £2.30. Paid by Oyster card: £1.35
  • From Monday to Saturday trains generally run between 5am and midnight. Operating hours are reduced on Sunday.
  • Get your free tube and bus map at any tube station or download it here. Central London bus map can be downloaded here and DLR (Dockland Light Railway, to be used when travelling to Greenwich) here.
  • Try to avoid morning (from 8am to 9am) and evening (from 5pm to 7pm) rush hours.
  • Night buses: London buses run throughout the night. Download the Central London night bus map here. Trafalgar Square is the hub for night buses.
  • Check Transport for London website for more details (maps, journey planner, tickets, live travel news etc.). Website address is:

Travelcard: Travelcard Oyster card (and the yellow reader): Oyster card

Journey planner

Journey Planner

Useful tips:

London Tube

Fares, maps etc. - see above

How to use the London Oyster Card on the Tube (video)

London buses

Fares, maps etc. - see above

Find "London for free Bus Tour" below (cheap alternative to expensive Bus tours using public transport)

DLR (Docklands Light Railway)

DLR is an automated light metro covering East London mainly. You will need it when travelling to Greenwich to visit Curry Shark, Greenwich market or The Royal Observatory with the Meridian line. Download DLR map here. Find more info about DLR here:

Thames Clipper River Bus

Thames Clippers is a water-bus service operating on the River Thames. You will need it when travelling to Greenwich to visit Curry Shark, Greenwich market or The Royal Observatory with the Meridian line. It is also a good alternative to more expensive Thames boat trips. Find more info here:

Looking for Thames boat trips? Download the guide to boat trips on the river Thames here.


If you have some extra time in London we recommend you to enjoy London on the bike. You can visit London parks, Camden market and Greenwich in one day.

Bike tours in London are organised by: London Bicycle Tour Company, Fat Tire, BrakeAway or Cycle Tours of London.

You can also hire a bike from above companies or you can use great London bicycle sharing scheme "Barclay's Cycle Hire" (also known as Boris bikes, after Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London who introduced them and who is also a keen biker). Find more info on here.

How Barclay's Cycle Hire scheme works? See video below

Maps of favourite cycle routes in London - map 1, map 2

Inline skating

Cool and exciting way to discover London and meet new friends. Join Wednesday night street skate (more info on More "skate meet ups" can be found here:, or here


When travelling around London you can also use extensive rail network. Travelcard and Oyster card can be used.

Visiting Hampton Court? Travel by train from Waterloo railway station. Return ticket cost around £8, journey takes around 35 minutes.

Updated on 05/2012.

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