Getting Around London
London has one of the best public transport systems in the world which makes it easy to travel to where ever you need to be. This page is designed specifically for visitors to London.
Transport for London Website
Transport for London provides you all the information you need to know about getting around London and includes an excellent journey planner tool that advises you on the best way to get to where you want to go. (Including an estimated time the journey should take). If you are heading out of London it may not be accurate as you need so in that case also try Nationalrail.co.uk to plan your journey.
UK Postcode System and Multi Map
A UK post code should have between 6-7 numbers and letters in it. The first two letters and 1-2 numbers indicate the general area whilst the last 3 numbers/letters indicate a specific area. e.g. The post code Sw6 1BW is that of Fulham Broadway shopping centre. SW6 is the general Fulham area post code. 1BW indicates the specific location. If you have a full post code you can pin point that location on an online map such as google maps.
A-Z Maps London
A-Z provide pocket maps for the London and the UK. They can be purchased at any bookshop or newsagent.
Public transport System in London
The Underground (Tube)
starts operating between 5.00am – 6.00am and ceases operation between 12.00am – 1.00am daily. Tube maps are present at all underground stations and are easy to use. The map is colour coded for each tube service which makes it easy to follow.
starts operating between 5.00am – 6.00am and ceases operation between 12.00am – 1.00am daily. Like the Underground, this service is pretty self explanatory and easy to use. Trains run 24 hours a day to Gatwick Airport from Victoria.
London buses are easy to use and cover most of London. It can sometimes be quicker to use the bus to get to your location rather then using the tube. It is also likely your area will have a 24 hour night bus service from Piccadilly or Trafalgar square. Night buses are marked with an N in front of the bus number. It is advisable when moving house to check on the Transport for London website to see if there is a night bus or underground tube service available. Note: You will need a travel card, oyster card or contactless card to pay for the journey as buses no longer accept cash payments.
London Tourist Buses
One option for tourists is to use the hop on hop off bus services that do loops around popular tourist attractions in London. It is more expensive but is an efficient way of seeing the city and there is the benefit of tourist information as you travel. The three companies that run these services are Golden Tours, The Original Tour Company and Big Bus Tours. You will save money purchasing online and it can be worth doing research to see which bus will give you the best experience and deal.
Oyster card/Travel cards/Contactless Cards
can be used on all London buses, tubes and overland train services within the London zone system. This is the cheapest way to travel around London. It is worth purchasing a weekly, 14 day travel card or monthly pass with the zones you are likely to most travel in frequently. If you have not purchased a daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly pass it is still worth using the ‘pay as you go’ option whereby you can top up money onto the Oyster card as required. This will also make travelling cheaper. For example, travel on buses in London for one trip without an Oyster card will cost you £2.00 per trip, using an Oyster card will only cost you roughly half the price. (Note: not valid for any Airport express services).
Travel Cards can be used on the tube, overland trains and buses for the zones which you have purchased for as many trips as you like. While getting an Oyster card is very easy and should always try to be your first option, the next best thing to do to save money using the public transport system is to purchase either a daily, weekly or monthly travel card. If you only need to purchase a daily travel card, it is best to purchase it after 9.30am on the day (during off peak travel) as it will be much cheaper. (Note not valid for any Airport express services.)
You can also pay for tube and bus rides using contactless cards, however, if these cards are from a different country they may not work in UK and you may also be charged a fee from your bank every time you make a transaction. The idea with the cards is that they a charged similarly to Oyster Cards.
Black Cabs/Mini Cabs
There are two main types of taxis services that operate in London are black cabs and mini cabs. On top of this there is also the Uber App which operates in a similar way to Mini Cabs.
are the uniformed black bubble looking taxis with the sign on top and separated seating from the driver. Black cabs can be expensive, so if an alternative mode of transport can be used that is cheaper it can be worth considering. The drivers are very knowledgeable in terms of roads and places of interest and should know most locations in London. If you are unfamiliar with the area you are travelling to, it sometimes may be worth using a black cab to get you to your final destination.
Mini Cabs are often but not always a cheaper alternative to black cabs and provide a similar level of service as the black cabs. Mini cabs, in most cases, are unmarked cars without any signage but are marked with a mini cab licensed sticker on the back or front window of the vehicle. They can either be booked via phone or at a mini cab shop (these shops can be found in most areas along high streets). Mini cabs are all privately operated so you will need to find the mini cab service for your area. They should be able to tell you the exact price before your journey so ensure this is agreed upon before travelling.
Uber in London
Uber is a popular App that enables you to book any type of car and agree a price for the journey you want.
Driving in London
Driving in London is a nightmare. It is only worth hiring a car if you are planning to travel outside London to multiple locations. To find the best way to get somewhere and be notified of roadworks or traffic delays always use The AA journey planner service
Santander Bikes are a cheap way of cycling in London and can be hired using your card at any docking station that holds the bikes. Look at the rules as keeping them too long can be expensive.
To find information on cycling routes go to the Transport for London website link here.
Unique & Interesting Ways of Exploring London
Emirates Airline - Enjoy stunning 360 degree views of London via the cable car with a journey between Royal Docks and the O2.
Thames River Boat Cruise - See London via the Thames with a trip between Westminster and Greenwich.
Jason's Canal Boat Tour - See London via a traditional canal boat with a trip between Camden Lock and Little Venice. (Closed during Winter)
London Duck Tours - Great for kids, travel on a amphibious vehicle exploring London by both land and water.