Getting around London can be overwhelming and confusing for any newcomer, with a myriad of routes leading to any one destination. We’ve put together a quick guide to help you navigate the intricate web that is London’s transport system.
Choose your transport
There are many different modes of transport to choose from. The most commonly used for getting around London are:
- London buses
The iconic double-decker buses are a convenient and cheap option to travel around the city
- London Underground
Commonly known as the Tube, this is the quickest and most popular method of transportation around London
- Local trains
The Overground rail services crisscross the city and extend beyond the underground tube network
- London trams
London trams are fast and easily accessible, especially for people with luggage and strollers
How to use an Oyster card and other travel passes
An Oyster card is the most convenient and economical way of paying for public transport in London.
With an Oyster card, you can:
You can buy an Oyster card from an Oyster ticket stop, any Tube, Overground or Transport for London (TfL) stations. It will cost you about £17 to purchase an Oyster card loaded with £10 credit. Note that there is a daily price cap, so however much you travel in a day, your total outlay never goes above this price cap. There is also the option to buy a Visitor Oyster card, which may be best depending on the length of your stay.
There are two ways to top up your Oyster card:
- Weekly or monthly Travelcard (which is loaded onto your Oyster card)
You can purchase a Travelcard for a single journey by bus, tram, Tube, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. Note that you cannot use cash to pay for your bus fare.
You can travel on all buses in London that display the red roundel (illustrated below) if you have a Travelcard or Bus & Tram Pass on your Oyster card.
Using your bank card
Alternatively, you can use contactless payment with your bank card to pay for your travel around London.
If your card was issued in the UK on Visa, MasterCard, Maestro or American Express and displays the contactless payment symbol (illustrated below), you can use it to travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, River Bus and most National Rail services in London.
Bear in mind that using your contactless card can be cheaper than the Oyster card, depending on which zone you’re travelling from and how many stops you make.