London Transport Options
There are many ways to get around London including the tube (Underground), Docklands Light Railway (DLR), buses, cycling, overland trains, National Rail (BR) and, if you’re feeling really adventurous, river boats.
The best way of planning your journey is to use Transport for London’s journey planner.
London’s transport map is divided into six concentric zones with Zones 1 and 2 in Central London and Zone 6 covering the outer edge of the capital.
Ticket types vary and single journey tickets can be quite expensive. So, you should buy a weekly or monthly Oyster Card as you will be able to use the Underground and/or buses as many times as you wish and the cost will be much cheaper. Contactless payment is also available throughout the London Underground and on buses. If you have a contactless bank card, you can use it to pay – the cost will be the same as a single journey on an Oyster card. See this page for further information.
Citymapper is a fantastic app which will help you navigate your way around the city, giving you lots of clear options to choose from.
London’s Underground rail network, or ‘the Tube’ as it is universally known, is often the quickest and easiest way to travel around London. If you’re caught on the Tube (as well as other TFL modes of transport) without a valid ticket you’re liable for an on-the-spot fine. Some other useful tips when using the Tube:
- Avoid travelling during rush hour if possible (ticket prices are also higher during peak times)
- Check the front of the train for the correct destination
- For more information visit the TFL website.
Using any one of the 700 bus routes in London is a great way of getting around the city once you know where you are going. It is certainly more scenic but at peak traffic times you’ll need to allow plenty of extra time to travel to your destination.
Your Oyster Card will work on the bus. Just remember to touch your card when you get on. Using the bus is a great way to learn the geography of London, and you can get on and off any time – an all day bus pass using your Oyster card is about £4.
It can be confusing working out the bus routes on a journey you haven’t done before, especially after being out past midnight when the tube stops running.
For help, check out Busmapper or use TFL’s Journey Planner. The former is meant for use with an iPhone or other smartphone.
Depending on when you’re travelling, it might be cheaper and faster for you to take a taxi, especially if you’re with several friends, as you can split the cost.
To ensure your safety, make sure the taxi is licensed as drivers will have had their criminal record checked by the police (DBS checks). Their licence will be displayed on the windscreen.
Do not use taxis that do not show a valid taxi licence. If you are not sure, don’t get in. Here are some tips on how to stay safe:
- Use only taxis (with the illuminated taxi sign) or licensed minicabs. Look for the green triangle licence in the front and back windows of minicabs.
- Cars cruising the streets or waiting outside popular nightspots are illegal and uninsured. Book a taxi or minicab in advance using a trusted, licensed company. Always ask for the driver’s name, as well as the make and colour of the car, and confirm the driver’s details when they arrive to check that this is the taxi you ordered.
- When ordering a cab, do not let anyone overhear your name and address.
- Share a minicab or taxi with friends where possible and arrange a buddy system by calling when you get home to inform your friends that you are home safe.
- If you feel threatened at any time, trust your instincts. Ask the driver to stop in a busy area and get out of the car. If the driver refuses to stop – call the police on your mobile and alert other drivers and pedestrians by waving or calling out of the car.
A great way to get about town is to cycle using either your own bike or a Santander Cycle Hire. Excellent cycle maps are available at TFL.
Currently there are some 8,000 ‘Boris Bikes’ and 570 docking stations in the SCH scheme, so there should always be one around when you need it. The three nearest ones to the Registry are at Bayley Street across from My Hotel (100m from the Registry towards Tottenham Court Road), at the corner of Alfred Place and Store Street (one block north of the Registry), and on Rathbone Street (about 300m west of the Registry). Take a bike, ride it where you like, then return it, ready for the next person.
It’s self-service and there’s no booking. Just turn up and use the terminal by the docking station to pay £2 for 24hrs and go. If you think that you will use ‘Boris Bikes’ more than once a week, it’s cheapest to buy an annual membership; this costs £90 per year, plus £3 for your ‘key’. Bear in mind that there are additional charges if you keep a bike ‘undocked’ for more than 30 mins (£1 for 30 mins to an hour, £4 up to an hour and a half, £6 up to 2 hours, etc.). For more information see the TFL website.
Bike thefts are common in certain areas in the city, so make sure you invest in a high-quality lock and learn how to use it properly. If your bike is quite valuable, you might also consider registering it with the police at either www.immobilise.com or www.bikeregister.com. A helmet and reflective cycling gear may make you feel more confident, especially when cycling at night. Second-hand bicycles can be purchased throughout the city as well as online (Ebay and Gumtree are good places to start).