Getting Around London

London Transport Logo on a Bus

London is renowned for its public transport system, and national and international travel links. This makes exploring the city and surrounding areas easy, safe, and economical. 

How can I get around London?

Within London there are several travel options: on foot, by bike, bus, subway (Underground / “Tube”), Docklands Light Railway (DLR) mainline train, tram, Emirates Air Line (a cable car across the River Thames at Greenwich), taxi, or boat. The most convenient way depends on distance and time. The keys to planning travel are Google Maps, the Transport for London website, and its Journey Planner.

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What is the Transport for London website and Journey Planner?

Transport for London is the official London travel website. You can get live travel news, check for delays and incidents, find out about the different modes of public transport, tickets, fares, and more.

TfL Journey Planner is an app on the website that tells you your different journey options and durations based on the location and destination you enter. It also allows you to enter optional information, for example, if you wish to go via another location or select particular modes of transport.

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London on Foot

London Undergraduate Walking

Walking around London is often quicker, and always more interesting than other modes of transport. You can see many more famous sites and buildings that make up the cityscape on foot than you can from a bus window. London now has many popular walking routes and guided walking tours, complete with interactive maps, so you can avoid paying an arm and a leg for a red bus tour. You can also plan your routes using online apps and take part in walking events.

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London by Bike

There are many official bike lanes and routes around London, and cycling can be a quick way to get around. Santander Cycles is a self-service bike rental scheme for short periods of time and allows you to drop it off at any docking station in the city. The bikes are easily recognizable from their red, branded mudguards and baskets.
 
Hiring a bike is simple – just insert a credit or debit card, follow the onscreen instructions to get a release code, and choose a bike! The first time hire a bike, you will be required to register for a small fee (£2). Up to half an hour is completely free, and if you select 24-hour bike access, you can make unlimited journeys of up to 30 minutes throughout the day for just £2. Other fares apply for longer journeys.
 
If you are a regular cyclist, you can register online and get a key for quicker bike access. A one-off fee of £3 applies, but 24-hour and 7-day fares are then discounted.
 
London's roads are extremely busy, so if you decide to use the bicycles, please do so with extreme caution.  We strongly advise the use of helmets and high-visibility, protective clothing.
 

London by Bus

Buses in London travel the length and breadth of the city. Every bus stop and bus route has a number or a letter. It is clearly marked on the bus stop which buses stop there, but you may have to flag the buses down even so. Night bus numbers begin with “N” and they run throughout the night.
 
Transport for London allows you to search for bus routes and timetables by location, route number, or stop name. If you have a smartphone, it is even easier to download the Bus Mapper app, where you can search by location or destination, and view, routes, nearby stops and live arrival times.
 
Buses are one of the cheapest modes of transport in London. It is one price per journey, whether you are traveling up the road or across the city. An adult fare is currently £1.50 with an Oyster Card or contactless payment card. Please be aware that cash payments are no longer accepted on London buses.  If you use the bus several times in one day with an Oyster Card or contactless payment card, the fare is capped at £4.40 (see What is an Oyster Card). Weekly fare caps are also available, as well as travel cards for regular bus users. For more information on bus fares, see the TfL website.
 

London by Train (Tube, DLR, and Overground)

London Undergraduate Taking the Tube

The Tube is another cheap way of getting around London. Every platform at the Tube stations has a map and a complete list of the stops. Be sure to check the destination on the train itself or the electronic noticeboards as some stop before the end of the line and you may need to change onto another train.
 
Once again, Transport for London and the Journey Planner are key to understanding Tube travel and you can get comprehensive journey instructions. If you have a smartphone you can also download the Tube Map app, which also displays maps, route options, live travel updates, and departures.
 
Tube fares are grouped into zones (1-6), which are marked on the Tube map by grey and white circles.  The further you travel between them, the more you pay.
 
There are several ways of paying for the Tube. You can buy a ticket from the machines or vendors (with cash or card) by specifying the zones you want to travel within. If you wish to use public transport for the day, a day travelcard is the best option. This allows you to use all modes of public transport within the zones you have selected. An Oyster Card offers discount fares and capped travel on all London public transport. Contactless payment cards are also accepted on the Tube.
 
The nearest Tube stations to Fischer Hall are Piccadilly Circus, Leicester Square, Charing Cross, and Embankment. These provide access to the Northern, Piccadilly, Bakerloo, Circle, and District lines. From Conway Hall you can reach the Northern, Jubilee, Bakerloo, and Waterloo & City lines from Waterloo station.
 

What is an Oyster Card and how does it work?

An Oyster Card is a smartcard, which can be used on trains within London zones, tubes, buses, trams, some boats, the DLR, and the Emirates Air Line instead of regular tickets.
 
You can buy Oyster Cards from all Tube stations and many newsstands. The initial price is £5, plus the amount of money you wish to “top up” your card with. Whenever you use your card the balance will decrease until you top it up again. This is called “Pay As You Go”.  If you use your Oyster Card several times in one day, to save you money, it will automatically stop deducting your credit once you've spent the equivalent of a day travelcard.
 
If you travel regularly on public transport, you can use your Oyster Card as travelcard. You can purchase travelcards for the day (off-peak or anytime travel), week, month, or year. Select the type of travelcard you want, pay the total cost upfront, and you can use it until the travelcard period is over. A monthly travelcard will cost less per journey than 4 weekly travelcards, so paying more to begin with is usually cheaper in the long-run if you use public transport frequently. The Oyster Card is so smart, that if you wish to add Pay As You Go credit and a travelcard, it will automatically work out which to use, depending on where you are traveling.
 
To use an Oyster Card on the bus, you must touch your card against the yellow reader at the front of the bus. On the Tube and trains, you have to use the card readers to enter and exit the platform or station. The readers will usually show you your remaining balance for Pay As You Go travelers. You can also check your balance or existing travelcards by holding your card against the yellow reader at any ticket machine.
 
Discount Oyster Cards are available for resident students over 18, residents over 60, and children.  Alternatively, if you buy a 16-25 Railcard (£30 and valid for one year), you can link it up to a regular Oyster Card and receive a 1/3 discount off Underground travel after 10:00 a.m. on weekdays, and any time at weekends. The card also gives you a 1/3 discount on off-peak rail travel.
 

Black Cabs and Taxis

Taxis are the most expensive mode of transport in London, with just a short journey costing over £10. However, if you wish to go somewhere at night and you are alone, it is often the safest option.
 
“Black Cabs” are the famous black London taxis with a yellow “taxi” light on the front. You can hail these cabs on the street or find them at taxi ranks around the city and by train stations. Always make sure your taxi has a license number.
 
You can also book taxis in advance, but it is advisable to use companies on the Transport for London website or by downloading their Cabwise app. Via the app you can call licensed black cabs and minicab (taxi) companies. If you are unable to access the Internet and wish to book a taxi, just text HOME to 60835, which uses GPS to send you the numbers of two licensed mini cab companies close to your location.
 
The nearest black cab taxi ranks to Fischer Hall are outside Charing Cross station or outside Theatre Royal Haymarket.
 
Most taxis accept credit card payment, however, a transaction charge is usually added. If you need to use a card, make sure you check they accept this form of payment when you ring or hail the taxi.