Getting around London
In London you can use the following means of transport:
If you see a car with a ‘Taxi’ sign on the front, signal it to stop.
All London taxis have a meter, so you can see exactly how much the fare is.
Make sure you only use licensed taxis, with the correct plates on the back and certificates and ID in the front window – illegal and unlicensed taxis can be dangerous.
You can also book a private transfer from London airport and be driven directly from the airport to your hotel or final destination. This option may be a little more expensive, but it’s safer and means you won’t get lost in unfamiliar territory.
Prices are more affordable than the metro, but slower.
If you’re going out clubbing, don’t worry about how you’ll get home! Bus services have fleets of ‘night buses’ that run from midnight to 6am.
At the bus stops, there are signs indicating all the routes that stop there and the time it takes to reach other destinations. There are also electronic signs at most bus stops, showing the next buses that will be passing that location, in order of arrival and travel time.
The Day Bus Pass costs £5.20 (€6) and you can walk around the city and change buses as often as you like. The Weekly Bus Pass costs £21.90 (€25) and is valid for 7 days. It can also be used throughout the city.
There is also a bus service with a tour guide, The Big Bus Company. Boat trips on the Thames are another option for visiting the main tourist attractions along the river. Another means of transport is by taxi (“black taxi”). Although expensive, they are a safe way to get around.
The London Underground, or Tube, serves 12 lines, spread over 270 stations that run along 480km of track between 6 areas of the city. Currently 144 stations offer free wi-fi. Generally, on weekdays, the Tube opens at around 5.30am and closes at midnight (times vary by station). On weekends, it opens and closes earlier, between 7am and 11.30pm. However, some metro lines already operate in 24-hour mode on weekends.
It is the fastest and easiest way to get around the city. They cover the entire centre and most of the areas in which the city is divided. The lines are colour-coded and free metro maps are distributed at the stations. Fares are based on zones (from 1 to 6). The main lines are the Central Line (red), the Piccadilly Line (dark blue) and the Victoria Line (light blue), but all lines are of great importance to all Londoners.
You need to know what type of ticket to buy. There are single travel cards, return travel cards, day travel cards, weekly travel cards and monthly travel cards. Remember that if you buy a travel card, you can also use the buses. Daily, weekly or monthly travel cards and bus passes are available in local grocery shops or news agencies. In the case of the Day TravelCard, you can also buy it from vending machines at bus stops.
With the Day TravelCard, you can walk around the city and change Tube lines as often as you like or take unlimited buses all day.
How much does the London Underground cost?
There are 2 options, either buy an Oyster Card or a Travelcard
Is it compulsory to buy an Oyster card?
We advise you to do so as the single ticket is rarely advantageous, as the Oyster fares are lower and the card simplifies the payment of journeys. A single ticket costs from £6.80 for the Tube – the London Underground.
Did you know? Oyster is a smart prepaid card, as the system automatically calculates the value of each journey. There is a daily limit to the charge on your prepaid – called the travel cap. When you pay with Oyster and reach the limit for a zone or mode of travel, you pay nothing more that day.
Where can I buy Oyster?
The card can be bought from vending machines, both at London Underground stations and at London Overground and TfL Rail stations. And you can top up your card on the Tube or even at newsagents. Visitor centres also sell Oyster and advise you on the best option for your journey.
There is a welcome centre at Heathrow airport, in terminals 2 and 3, just outside the tube station.
How much does Oyster cost?
The reloadable card costs £5 (€6), which is refundable, in addition to the amount to be deposited for the journey or for the purchase of the chosen package – in the case of a Travelcard. Payment can be made by cash, credit or debit card. In other words, load your card with the amount you want to use, plus the £5 deposit for the Oyster.
How much to put on your Oyster?
How many days will you stay in London? It all depends on this answer. It’s also important that you estimate how far and how long you want to travel on the London Underground. But don’t worry. The Oyster is easily reloaded. If you find that you have used up most of the amount originally deposited, go to one of the machines and put in a few more pounds.
Most of London’s tourist attractions are located between zones 1-2 of the Tube. Travelling by either tube or bus costs £7 (€8) per day – use as many times as you need. So multiply by the number of days you plan to stay.
Tip: If you’re staying in London for more than 5 days, you should get a 7-day Travelcard for £38.40 (€) – for zones 1-2.
What is the Travelcard? Is it worth it?
There are special passes for tourists, lasting 1, 7 or 30 days. The values vary according to the zone. Use is individual.
Check some of the options:
1 day – zones 1 and 2: £14.40 (€17)
7 days – zones 1 and 2: £ 38.40 (44 €)
30 days – zones 1-2: £ 147.50 (170 €)