London is one of the largest cities in the world by size, and has a widespread public transport service covering most of the key areas.
Central London Travel
Most of the buses, all of the Underground railways and much of the mainline services are controlled by one organisation, Transport for London, and their prepay card -- known as Oyster -- will work on all the services.
To make costs easier to work out, London is divided into zones, and travel between any station within a single zone is charged at the same flat rate.
There is also a daily cap on how much you can pay, so once you've done, on average your third train or bus trip, the rest of the day is effectively free of charge. This makes it very affordable to nip around the city without worrying about escalating costs.
Edges of London
Although Transport for London manages most of the buses on the edges of London, they don't operate that many mainline railways -- so you may need to buy a separate ticket for some journeys.
It's best to ask at the station you are departing from if your Oyster card covers the journey you want to make. Most will, but there can be some odd exceptions.
London Travelcard Zones
London is divided up into travel zones, and travel between any station within a single zone is charged at the same rate. If you need to travel between zones, you pay the fix rate for each zone you travel through.
There is also a daily cap applied, which limits how much you will ever be charged. That means once you have done a few journeys, the rest of the day is effectively free travel.
The cap applies to all the zones you use -- so if you travel from a hotel in Zone 3, into Zone 1, the cap will cover unlimited travel within Zones 1,2 and 3 for the whole day.
Examples fares for adults
|Zone||Peak hours ticket||Off-peak ticket||Daily price cap|
Every railway station will have maps of the travel zones, and the maps are also available online.
Buying a Visitor's Oyster Card
The Oyster card is a prepay plastic card, about the same size as a credit card which permits travel on the London Underground, London buses, and most mainline railways.
Note, you can pay cash for train travel in London, but the cost is much higher. Cash is not accepted at all on buses.
You buy an Oyster card before you visit London, or pick one up at a number of major railway and underground stations.
To buy an Oyster card before you arrive in London, click here.
Alternatively, there are visitor centres at a number of main railway stations, including Liverpool Street, Piccadilly Circus, Victoria, Euston, King's Cross and Paddington, as well as Heathrow and Gatwick Airports.
Your hotel may also offer Oyster cards for sale.
Tube and Train Stations
For information and travel guides from the train station closest to your hotel, select from the list below:
List of all London railway stations