Transport in London: arrive from the airport and move around the city

London is a huge city, so it is necessary to use some means of transport to visit its main attractions. In this article we tell you how to get to the center from the airport, as well as the operation of public transport for tourists and the connection with other cities.

Below you have an index with all the points that we are going to deal with in this article.

Public transport

Although London's public transport is reputed to be quite expensive, it is the best option for tourists, since its connections are optimal and it has a great variety of fares, some of them very cheap.


He subway, or as it is known in the United Kingdom, Underground or Tube, is the option most used by Londoners. It is also the oldest in the world, as it opened in 1863. It currently has a total of nine areas.

It has twelve different lines, which are operational from Monday to Saturday from 5 in the morning until 12 at night. On Sunday, your schedule is reduced. There are some lines, such as the Victoria, Central and Jubilee Line, which operate 24 hours a day.

It is advisable not to use this means of transport at peak times, which are from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. and from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. During that time, agglomerations form in the subway.

The London Underground and its famous warning

The price of a single ticket is £ 4.9 for zones 1 to 3. However, if you travel with the Oyster card (which we talk about below) or a payment card contactless or without contact, prices range between £ 2.4 and £ 3.3 depending on how you move between zones 1, 2 and 3.

The other option to move around the British capital is the bus. In them you cannot pay the ticket in cash, only with one of the transport or payment cards contactless.

The single ticket is £ 1.5 with the Oyster card. Once validated, you have one hour to take another bus or tram for free. The maximum paid with this card is £ 4.5, so once this limit is reached, the rest of the bus trips will be free.

You can also purchase passes, which are priced at £ 21.2 for a week, £ 81.5 for a month and £ 848 for a year. We can use this medium throughout the day, as there are night buses and 24-hour lines.

The red bus: London icon

To request a stop, you must press one of the red buttons on the bus, where the “bus stopping«, Which means« requested stop ».

Accessibility for disabled people is better on the bus than on the subway, since all of their vehicles are adapted. In addition, it is a good option to get to know the city, since lines 9, 14, 15 and 22 are considered tourist routes.

In the south of the city we also find trolley car, which is composed of three lines, as well as the network Docklands Light Railway (DLR), which works in the east and southeast, and is a kind of driverless train.

Also, we can also move around the city through its river, the Thames, since London has River transport. The ticket can be purchased at the ticket office, on board or with Oyster cards or contactless. On the other hand, the Woolwich ferry, which connects Woolwich and North Woolwich, is free.

River transport in London: a different option

The stops that the boats make, also called river buses or Thames Clippers, are the following:

  • Tate Modern
  • London Bridge
  • Tower of London
  • Hilton London Docklands Riverside
  • The O2
  • Greenwich

Payment methods

To use the urban transport means mentioned above there are different payment methods. One of the most recommended is the Oyster Card, an electronic card on which you charge the credit in advance.

Oyster Card: the most convenient method of payment for transport in London

Trips with this card are cheaper than single tickets and, in addition, the card is automatically limited so that, after several trips, the rest will be free. It is the best option if you are going to be in the city for a weekend, 3 or 4 days.

This card can be purchased at Gatwick airport station, Victoria station, Eurostar trains and other establishments. However, you can request it at home before traveling to London.

London Victoria Station: connection with train, subway and bus

One of its advantages is that if you travel by bus and you run out of credit, you can validate an extra trip, but your card will be blocked until you recharge the balance again.

Another payment option is the Travelcard. There are for a day, a week or a year. With it, you pay a fixed price and use all the means of transportation you need during the chosen time.

This option is not valid for river transport or for some trains of National Railway. Also, its sale is exclusively online. The one-day rate is € 15 for adults and € 7.5 for children, while for a week its price is € 40 and € 20 respectively.

Special rates and schedules

The children up to 5 years travel free in all transport options, provided they are accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket. Up to 10 years have the same advantage, except for some trains National Rail, which are no longer included.

Use London public transport with children

Children between 11 and 15 have free or reduced rates, but they must have their own Oyster Card with a photo and an administrative fee has to be paid.

The students over 18 years can benefit from a 30% discount on Travelcard of a week, a month or more time. To do this they must request the card with photo «+18 Student Oyster«.

The pets They travel for free on any public transport, as long as they are stored or strapped. On the train and subway there is a restriction of a maximum of two dogs per person.

In the time of Christmas, the metropolitan transport is altered. On Christmas Eve, the service is normal until eight in the afternoon and, from that time, it is reduced.

Christmas in London: a magical time

On Christmas day there is no public transport throughout the day and on December 26 the schedule is Sunday. At New Year's Eve, there is Saturday schedule and the metro and bus is free between 23:45 and 4:30. On January 1, there is Saturday schedule on the subway and Sunday on the bus.

Other options

In addition to public transport, London has a large fleet of taxis officers. They are black and easy to find in the main points of the city.

The taxi: the most comfortable means of transport in London

If the “TAXI” sign is lit, it means that it is free. The flag drop is £ 2.4, a figure from which the meter begins to count. At Christmas and New Year's Eve the rates are higher. Payment by credit card is allowed in some taxis.

Another alternative for travelers is the touristic bus official, which is called «Original Tour«. These buses make three different tourist routes and have a total of eighty stops.

Tourists who choose this option can get on and off at any stop. During the journey, there is audio guide in several languages, including Spanish.

The tourist bus as an alternative to get to know London

The price of the day pass is € 37 for adults and € 18.5 for children. The 48-hour ticket costs € 49 for adults and € 23.5 for children. The price includes a walking tour with a tour guide and a Thames cruise.

From the airport

All airports near London have different alternatives to reach the city center. These are the main ones:

  • Luton Airport: receive companies low cost as easyJet. Near this airport is the train station Luton Airport Parkway, to which you can get through a free bus. Trains departing from here stop at St. Pancras International and Farringdon, and take about 24 minutes to arrive. There are also buses from National Express, Green Line (which collaborates with Terravision) and easyBus.
  • Gatwick Airport: the train Gatwick express Arrive at Victoria station in half an hour. Other train companies that operate are Thameslink, which reaches the London Bridge, Shoutern and First Capital Connect. By road, we find the easyBus company, with prices from £ 2, and National Express.
EasyJet plane in flight
  • Stansted Airport: here arrive the flights of airlines like Ryanair. Operate the train Stansted express, which arrives in 47 minutes at Liverpool Express and has WiFi. If you prefer the bus, you can choose between National Express (with 18 different stops), Stansted CityLink, Airport Bus Express and Terravision, which has services to Baker Street, Victoria, Liverpool and King’s Cross.
  • Heathrow Airport: we found two trains, the Heathrow Express, which takes 15 minutes to Paddington, and the Heathrow Connect, which takes more than half an hour. This airport also has a metro, and has stops at terminal 5, at 4 and another between 2 and 3. There are also local and National Express buses, as well as the Hoppa Hotel, which runs from the airport to The main hotels in the city.
Heathrow Airport Departures Building, London
  • London City Airport: It is the closest airport to the city. Until he arrives Docklands Light Railway (DLR), a driverless train that goes to Canning Town or to Woolwich Arsenal station in seven minutes. It also arrives at the station Stratford International in 17 minutes Also, buses 473 and 474 operate at this airport.
  • London Southend Airport: in it we find a train that goes to Liverpool Street station in 53 minutes and Stratford station in 44. Its average price is £ 14.9. The X30 bus and local buses 7, 8 and 9 also arrive here.
Liverpool Street Station, London

In addition to the services at each airport, we can also choose other alternatives, such as renting a car, taking a taxi or hiring a chauffeur, a high-end private taxi.

Main points of the city

Whether they are near the center or on the outskirts, there are some neighborhoods and attractions that are essential in your visit to the city. It is important to know how to get around London, so here is the way to reach some of its attractions by public transport:

  • London Eye: The nearest subway stop is Westminster (Circle, District and Jubilee lines). By bus, lines 7, 211 and 381.
  • Harrods: is located near Hyde Park. The subway stop is Knightsbridge, from the Picadilly line. The buses that arrive are: 9, 10, 14, 19, 22, 52, 74, 237, 414 and C1.
Harrods: the most famous department stores in London
  • Legoland: We found it in Windsor, a city that also stands out for its castle. You can take a train from Paddington to Windsor & Eton Central station, where a bus leaves to Legoland. Also, from Victoria leaves bus 702.
  • Harry Potter Studios: They are inside the Warner Bros. Studios. You have to take a train from London Euston or Birmingham New Street to Watlford Junction. The Mullany’s Coaches bus company goes from the latter station to the studios. Golden Tours organizes trips from central London.
  • Abbey Road: To get to this famous street, you have to get off at the St. John’s Wood stop (Jubilee line) or take bus 139 or 189.
Abbey Road: the world's most famous zebra crossing
  • Chinatown: Get off at the Leicester Square metro stop, on the Northern and Piccadilly lines.
  • London Bridge: It is important not to confuse it with Tower Bridge. Its subway stop is London Bridge (Jubilee and Northern lines).
  • Brixton: It is in zone 2, the last stop of the Victoria line. The buses that pass are: 2, 3, 35, 37, 45, 59,109, 118, 133, 159, 196, 250, 322, 333, 345, 355, 415 and 432.
  • Covent Garden: Your subway stop has the same name, on the Piccadilly line. As for buses, they are the following: 9, 13, 15, 23, 139, 153 and RV1
Covent Garden Market, London
  • Greenwich: in zone 2, it is possible to go on DLR to Cutty Sark. We can also ride a boat to the Greenwich Pier stop.
  • Notting hill: subway to Notting Hill Gate, on the Central line. Also buses 7, 12, 23, 27, 28, 31, 70, 94 and 328.
  • Temple Church: Famous for the book "The Da Vinci Code" by Dan Brown. You will reach the Temple metro stop, on the District and Circle lines.
Temple Church in London
  • Camden Town: subway to Camden Town, on the Northern line. A ten minute walk is Primrose Hill and the Zoo.
  • ExCeL: It is the most important convention center in the city. You can reach the Canning Town subway stop, the Jubilee line, or DLR to Custom House or Prince Regent.
  • Euston Station: It has a metro stop with the same name, through which the Northern, Victoria, Circle, Metropolitan, Hammersmith and London Overground lines pass. It can also be reached with buses 10, 18, 73, 30, 68, 91, 168, 205, 390, 476.
  • Victoria Station: it connects the Victoria, District and Circle lines, and buses 11, 211, 239, C1, C10 and N11.
  • Madame Tussauds Museum: at the Baker Street stop, on the Jubilee, Bakerloo, Metropolitan, Hammersmith and City and Circle lines.
Beatles figures in Madame Tussauds Museum, London

Connection with other cities

You can take advantage of your stay in the United Kingdom to go from London to other cities, such as Liverpool. In this case, the fastest option is the train, which arrives in two and a half hours.

However, if you want to travel cheap, the best thing is the bus, although the trip is more than five hours. The companies that make this journey are National Express and Megabus, a vehicle that usually stops in Manchester and Birmingham.

Liverpool: coastal city of United Kingdom

Harwich, Oxford and Brighton are also connected to the capital by train and bus. In the case of Oxford, you can take the train from Paddington station, or a bus from Victoria.

A farther destination is Edinburgh. You can find cheap Ryanair flights, the journey from London is 1 hour and a half. You can also go by train from King’s Cross, although it takes between 4 and 5 hours.

If your goal is to go to Bath, you can catch a train from Waterloo or Paddington. From this last station, trains leave for Cardiff, a destination that can also be reached by National Express or Megabus bus, from the Victoria Coach Station.

To get to Cambridge You can catch a train from Liverpool Street or King’s Cross, or a National Express bus from Victoria. We found the same options for Bristol, unlike the train is taken in Paddington.

Cambridge: the university city

Canterbury can be departed by train from Victoria, Charing Cross or St. Pancras International. You can also take a National Express bus. In the case of Bournemouth, they also have buses with this company, and the train leaves from Victoria.

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