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London Underground - 2024 fares and how to use them

Be informed and in control using london's underground / metro system.

Earls Court Underground Station London

For the visitor to London the Underground or Tube will probably be the transport of choice to get around town. The Underground is normally the fastest way to get around town, often much faster than any taxi.

There is invariably an underground station nearby where you want to go and also your hotel and finding your way around the system is very easy. 

There are currently 13 Underground lines, with the Elizabeth Line the latest, which opened in May 2022.

Journey planner   Map   DLR, overground & TfL   Oyster card, contactless & Travelcards   Night service   Fares   Concessions   Child fares   Group tickets   Purchasing tickets   Access

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Key points about the London Underground

It is still encouraged to wear a facemask when using public transport in London, but it is no longer mandatory.

The authorities penalise you heavily for buying single journey tickets. In the centre you can pay more than double the price than if you used an Oyster Card for example.

A single journey on the London Underground can involve 1 or 2 changes of train. Your journey starts when you go through the ticket barrier of the station entrance you depart from and finishes when you pass through the ticket barrier at the exit of your destination. You cannot break a journey on a single fare, once you go though an exit barrier of a station that is journey completed.

The buses, Underground, DLR and London suburban trains are managed by a central government body called Transport for London (TfL) chaired by the Mayor of London. The transport passes that nearly everyone uses, Oyster and Travelcard, allow you to travel seamlessly across all modes of transport, bus, Underground, train and DLR using the same ticket/pass.

Children under 11 travel free on the London Underground and DLR (Docklands Light Railway) at all times. Child fares are available for those under 16 and it is possible to get discounted fares if you are under 18 or studying in London with an ID card.

There are no seniors fares for visitors. If you reside in London and are over 60 you can get a pass that makes free bus and Underground travel available. If you have an English National Concessionary bus pass you cannot use it on the London Underground (but you can use it on London's red buses).

The London Underground is closed from around midnight until around 5am, getting started a little later on Sundays. However on Friday and Saturday nights, much of the Underground runs through the night. In Central London there is a very good night bus network when the Underground is closed.

You will rarely have to wait more than 5 minutes for an Underground train at any time of the day.

London Journey Planner - for all types of transport across London

Use the TfL (Transport for London) journey planner to plan your travel. The journey planner covers all public transport.

TFL Journey planner

London Public Transport Journey Planner

London Underground map

The London Underground map is a classic design that when first launched was immediately taken up worldwide for similar systems. The clarity, simplicity and ease of use compromises strict geographical accuracy.

The Circle line doesn't really go around in a squashed circle and it is not apparent for instance that Bayswater Underground is only 100 yards from Queensway.

In 2016 the Night Tube was introduced. On Friday and Saturday nights only Underground trains run through the night. For lines that operate a night service see the Night Tube map linked below or on the right-menu.

In May 2022 the long awaited Elizabeth Line opened its first section. The Elizabeth Line provides a route connecting East and West London. Find out more about the new Elizabeth Line .

Underground map   Tube & rail map   Night tube map

Docklands Light Railway (DLR), overground and TfL rail trains

To the east of London in the Docklands region you will see a region covered by something called the DLR (Docklands Light Railway). You can treat this network as just another Underground line.

Not in the centre of London, but in the suburbs you will find a train network called the Overground which can also be thought of as being part of the Underground for ticketing purposes.

Commuter trains into the suburbs are very confusing for the visitor. You can still use Oysters and Travelcards on these but those lines run by the national railways only give free travel to children under 5.

In the north and east of London most of these services are now run by TfL Rail or the Overground so free travel is available to children under 11, but to the south and west of London, services are still dominated by national railways companies.

The Tube and rail map usefully shows which railway stations are in which travel zones. Travel zones are the basis for fare charges on London's railways and Underground system.

London Underground Night Service - the Night Tube

In 2016 the London Underground began to introduce a full 24/7 service on Friday and Saturday nights only. Introduction has been on a phased basis.

Night Tube services are now running on the Central, Victoria, Jubilee line, Northern line (Charing Cross branch) and Piccadilly line (but not Acton to Uxbridge branch). The Night Tube will offer a 24-hour service on Fridays and Saturdays. Standard off-peak fares are levied for travelling on the Night Tube using Oyster and Contactless cards.

Travelcards are valid from the first day of issue (using the date printed on the card), and for journeys starting before 4.30am the following day. For example, if you buy a 1-day Travelcard at 11am on Friday, you can use it until 4.29 on the following Saturday.

Night Tube map - current lines operated

London Underground fares

The London public transport system is divided up into zones that radiate from the centre. Nearly all the hotels and the main sights are in Zone 1. Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6 and the furthest zone out is Zone 9.

The majority of visitors will only travel in the two most central zones 1 and 2. The Underground Map (link above) has the stations and their zones marked.

Some stations, such as Turnham Green, are in two zones. You use whichever zone for these stations is most beneficial in working out your fare.

Underground fares

You can see from the table below there is big financial incentive not to purchase individual tickets and use an Oyster card or Contactless payment card .

The other main way of paying is purchasing a Travelcard , which is a pass giving you unlimited travel for a set time period. The cost goes up with the coverage of zones required. The more zones you require the more expensive the Travelcard.

London Underground Fares from 3 March 2024 - March 2025

Oyster cards, contactless payment cards & travelcards.

As you can see from the above fare structure the authorities do not want you to buy single tickets, they want you to purchase one of the three payment options, Oyster cards, Contactless payment cards or Travelcards.

The Oyster card is a permanent reusable electronic ticket which is topped up from time to time by its owner. Londoners also have their season tickets loaded onto Oyster cards as well and there are passes for one weekly and monthly durations. All can be loaded onto the one electronic Oyster card.

Contactless cards are standard credit or debit cards that support the contactless payment technology, the total cost of all the journeys that you make in one day is calculated at the end of the day and a single charge is made to your Contactless payment card account.

Unlike the Oyster card the contactless facility has a 7-day cap as well as the Oyster daily cap used by Oyster.

You can use Oyster cards on all of London's public transport, not just the Underground, but buses, overground, DLR, suburban rail services and some river services.

Travelcards are another alternatives. Travelcards are valid on the same modes of transport but are unlimited travel passes for a fixed flat fee. Travelcards are available for 1 and 7 days, 1 month and 1 year durations.

You can purchase and subsequently top up Oyster cards and Travelcards from Underground stations and a wide variety of other outlets throughout London including neighbourhood stores, but not Contactless payment cards.

Oyster cards - more details

Contactless payment cards - more details

Travelcards - more details

Understand the differences between Travelcard, Oyster Card and contactlessd card. Ask bob if still confused.

Seniors concessions

There are no seniors fares for visitors. If you reside in London and are of pensionable age you can get a Freedom pass giving free travel. If you are 60+ and live in London the Seniors Oyster ID Card that makes free bus travel available. You can apply online or get a form from your local Post Office.

Anybody with an English National Concessionary bus pass can use that on London's red buses too and travel free of charge.

If you have a Senior Railcard you can get your 1/3 discount on off-peak Oyster fares. You have to ask a member of staff to load the concession on to a standard Oyster card (note, not a Visitor Oyster card) at an Underground station after showing your Seniors Card.

If you have a Senior Railcard you can also buy a 1 day off-peak zone 1-6 Travelcard at the discount applied.

Child concessions

This is a very complex subject and is covered in detail in the table below. Generally, a child is defined as under 16 years old, but in the last couple of years it has been possible to get child fares after jumping through a few hoops up to the age of 17.

Children under 11 can travel free on the London Underground, DLR and buses without a ticket. If a child is between 11 and 15 years old, you require an Oyster 11-15 Photocard (which has a fee, see below). This allows 11 to 15 year olds to travel at child fares on the Underground, DLR, Overground and some trains, free on the buses.

If you are a short-term visitor (in London for up to 14 days) with kids between 11-15 you can take advantage of the Young Visitor Discount. This means you can get half price fares on an Oyster card on a temporary basis for your child without going through the hoops and expense of getting an Oyster ID card. You do need to read carefully the rules of this scheme though.

Children's Fare Concessions

Group tickets - 1-day group travelcard for groups of 10 or more.

This ticket is for groups of 10 or more travelling together.

This in scope is the same as a 1-day off-peak Travelcard for zones 1-6 and 1-9 providing unlimited travel on all services after 9.30am Monday to Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and Bank Holidays.

The pricing is particularly attractive if you have kids in the group and those staying in one of the outer zones, however if you are staying in the centre of London zones 1 to 3 it will be cheaper to purchase individual Oyster cards.

If you are a group of 10 or more then do check out this product.

Ask Bob about Oyster Cards London

Purchasing tickets & fares levied

There are no longer manned ticket offices at Underground and DLR stations. All tickets are dispensed by ticket machines in the ticket hall and there will be a member of staff hanging around these.

The same machines will allow you to top up your Oyster cards or see what the balance is on your Oyster card and they will also allow you to cancel your Oyster card and get your deposit and any cash left on the Oyster refunded.

If you prefer talking to people selling the tickets there are Oyster ticket stops. These are many of these and typically are convenience stores or news-stands that sell public transport tickets as a sideline. These outlets will have a sign in their front window.

The fare you pay is set by which zone your departure and destination stations are in. Your journey starts when you go through the ticket barrier of the station entrance you depart from and finishes when you pass through the ticket barrier at the exit of your destination. You cannot break a journey on a single fare, once you go though an exit barrier of a station that is your journey completed.

Access to platform & luggage

To gain access to the platforms, and again to exit a station you have to pass through automatic barriers (pictured). There is always one wide ticket barrier for wheelchairs, pushchairs and people with large suitcases.

If you have a single ticket, the barrier at your destination will not return your ticket. There is a manned side gate by the barriers. If you have a Travelcard you insert the Travelcard into the same slot as for the single tickets, the barrier will check that your Travelcard is valid for both date and zones travelled.

If you have an Oyster card or Contactless payment card you swipe the card over a bright yellow pad, the barrier will check validity and will record the station you have started your journey before opening the barrier. The barrier may display the balance on your Oyster too.

At your destination station, exiting through the barrier in effect tells the system you have ended your journey and it works out the fare to be deducted from your card.

Transport for London

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How to Use the London Underground

underground travel charges

Similar to the New York Subway or the Paris Metro, the London Underground is London's series of (largely) underground trains that run a regular service throughout the city.

Since the trains underground run through a series of tunnels, many people (Londoners and visitors alike!) refer to it as the "tube."

Despite this name, a lot of the London Underground network is above ground when you travel, particularly outside of central London.

Map of the London Underground

The London Underground has 11 lines that serve Greater London, intersecting with each other in the centre of town.

The tube map is divided into nine zones, with Zone 1 being the centre of London, and Zone 9 being the suburbs.

The cost it takes to travel depends on which zone(s) you travel in, and how far your journey will take you.

It also connects to the London Overground (a suburban train line that doesn't run through the centre of town), the new Elizabeth Line (a high-frequency rail service that covers both central London, Heathrow Airport, and the suburbs), and National Rail Services (standard train lines that run throughout the country).

The Underground also connects to other rail services that serve the capital such as the Docklands Light Railway (an aboveground small train line that serves the docklands area).

WHEN DOES THE UNDERGROUND RUN?

In general, the Underground trains run from around 5:00 - 5:30 am until the last train leaves around Midnight, (exact times will vary and are listed on the Transport for London website ).

However, there are Night Tube services that run on some of the lines on Fridays and Saturdays for convenient travel on the weekends.

The Night Tube runs on parts of the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, and Victoria lines only.

  • Tickets, Fares, and Oyster Cards
  • The Tube Map
  • Operating Hours
  • Tips from Locals
  • to/from Heathrow Airport
  • Tourist Buses vs. the Tube

LONDON UNDERGROUND TICKETS AND OYSTER CARDS

Buying a ticket for the London Underground is pretty straightforward, but for most visitors, using a contactless payment card is the best payment method.

So, for a more in-depth explanation, including the cheapest ways to travel, check out our previous post about ticket prices and options here in London. Below is our summary.

There are 4 ways to pay for your rides on the Tube:

  • Paper tickets 
  • Oyster Cards
  • Contactless Credit/Debit Cards

We normally recommend avoiding paper tickets and recommend that you buy yourself an Oyster card, unless you have a contactless credit or debit card.

Rides with an Oyster Card or contactless card are much cheaper than paper tickets.

You can add as much money to these as you wish and there is a daily limit that you will spend, (£8.10 for Zones 1-2) so the rides get cheaper the more you use them. The same daily cap applies to your contactless card, too.

Regular Oyster Card

Read our post on which London Oyster Card or Travelcard to buy . 

TIP: The Oyster Card is actually included with the London Turbo Pass at no extra cost. If you're planning to visit several notable attractions in the city, this could be a great way to save some money.

London Underground Fares

While there are 6 travel zones for the London Underground, most visitors to London will travel largely within Zones 1 + 2.

How much you pay depends on when you travel, whether during peak hours (06:30 - 09:30 and 16:00 - 19:00 Mon-Fri) vs. off-peak (all other times).

It also depends on where you travel to and from, and whether you are using a paper ticket vs. an Oyster, Travelcard, or contactless credit/debit card.

If you have one of the latter, then you will pay somewhere between £2.70 and £3.00 per ride within Zones 1 + 2.

The most expensive ride (Central London to Heathrow) will cost either £3.30 (off-peak) or £5.60 (peak).

Oyster and Travelcards can be used on all of London's public transportation options, including buses, DLR, the Overground, suburban trains (within London), a water taxi, and even a gondola. 

Daily Limits

If you use an Oyster Card or a Contactless Card, then there are daily limits to what you will spend. These caps are dependent on where you are traveling within.

So, for example, if you stay within Zones 1 and 2, the cap for an adult is just £8.10 for the Underground and £5.25 for buses.

So, the more you ride, the cheaper each ride is. You can see what the cap is for each zone or between zones here.

Child Offers

Children under 11 travel for free and there is a 50% off on Oyster Card fares for children 11-15 years of age.

To receive this offer, you need to grab a Tube staff member at any Underground station, including Heathrow.

We help you determine which type of card or ticket you need in our in-depth post on Oyster Cards .

Travelcards

Travelcards are prepaid cards that give you unlimited access to specific zones within London. 

You can choose to either order these in advance (in which case you will be given a paper Travelcard) or you can buy them upon arrival (in which case you will be using a plastic Oyster Card with the Travel Card loaded onto it).

Travelcards particularly have benefits for travellers here for an entire week. A 7-Day Travelcard can be worth your while, as a 7-Day Travelcard for Zones 1-2 is £40.70 which works out less per day than the £8.10 daily cap.

Find out more on our post comparing Oyster Cards, Visitor Oyster Cards and Travelcards .

UNDERSTANDING THE TUBE MAP

Picking up a Tube map is easy! They are available for free at most stations on the Underground network.

The maps on offer at the stations are small – perfect for carrying around in your pocket. 

Below is a map of the London Underground. You could also download a PDF version .

Map of the London Underground

Don’t be embarrassed to consult your map as you travel through London, even Londoners themselves occasionally need to check where it is they are heading to!

Some people will actually have an app on their phone sporting the London Underground tube map – though we think Google Maps App is very good. 

If you look closely at the map, you will notice that the center part is shaded white (zone 1) with a ring of gray shade (zone 2) which is also surrounded by white again (zone 3).

Again, most visitors to London will spend much, if not all, of their time in Zones 1-2. 

Focus on Colours

Every line on the London Underground has a different name and colour.

The names and colours will appear on your Tube Map, and also all over the various stations on the network.

For some, memorising the names is easier, but in general, colours can be the simplest way to learn your way around, and also to use when asking for/receiving directions.

Colours-of-the-Tube-Lines

Generally speaking, any particular line will either head north-south or east-west.

FREE TOURS BY FOOT TIP:

Start your holiday in London with our All-in-One London Tour, which takes in most of London's legendary tourist sites and utilizes the London Underground. Get a tutorial directly from us.

OPERATING HOURS AND THE NIGHT TUBE

It’s important to remember that the London Underground system doesn’t run 24 hours a day every day and that timings may be different on weekdays vs. weekends.

How to Use the London Underground

General Hours

Although each station has different timings, in general, the first tube trains start running around 5:00 am - 5:15 am and finish around 12:00 am - 12:30 am from Mondays through Fridays.

On Sundays, the Tube begins a bit later, around 6:00 am - 6:15 am and the final trains depart around 11:30 pm - 12:30 am.

Sundays also carry a reduced service which means there are not as many trains running as on Mondays to Saturdays.

Weekdays: 7:00 am - 9:30 am and 16:00 (4 pm) - 19:00 (7 pm).

Like any major city, London has a very busy rush hour in the mornings and in the evenings when the majority of people are travelling to and from work.

If possible, try to avoid travelling on the tube during these times, particularly if you have any large baggage/luggage with you.

Space is an absolute premium, which means you may have to wait as multiple trains pass you until there’s one with enough space to fit you in.

If you need a place to store luggage, read our advice here.

The Night Tube

As of 2019, some London Underground lines are now operating as The Night Tube, a 24-hour Underground service that operates on Fridays and Saturdays.

Really, this service should be called the "Overnight Tube" as the regular operating hours reach midnight every day of the week.

Click here for a downloadable pdf .

London Night Tube Map

There are 5 lines making up the Night Tube and there are fewer trains operating, which means wait times are more than the standard 2 - 5 minutes.

The lines and approximate timings are:

  • Victoria Line - Trains every 10 minutes
  • Jubilee Line - Trains every 10 minutes
  • Piccadilly Line (Cockfosters to Heathrow Terminal 5 ONLY) - Trains every 10 minutes
  • Northern Line (Camden Town to Morden) - Trains every 8 minutes
  • Northern Line (Camden Town to High Barnet) - Trains every 15 minutes (No Night Tube on the Bank and Mill Hill East Branches)
  • Central Line (White City to Leytonstone) - Trains every 10 minutes
  • Central Line (Leytonstone to Loughton/Hainault) - Trains every 20 minutes
  • Central Line (Ealing Broadway to White City) - Trains every 20 minutes (No Night Tube on other branches of the line)

NOTE: The Night Tube operates with standard off-peak fare prices. Your daily travel card will be valid until 4:29 am the morning after you have purchased it.

TIPS ON NAVIGATING THE UNDERGROUND

Now we will provide you with our top 7 tips for navigating your way through the system, from how to enter a system, how to board the correct train, how to change lines, and when to walk instead of taking the Tube.

Underground Tutorial Tours

Let us,  Free Tours by Foot , show you how to utilize the London Underground to get around the city - like our London in a Day or our   Harry Potter Tour .

Free London Tours

While these are not specifically Underground tours, your tour guide will assist you in learning how to master the system and to offer you some tips and tricks for riding the Tube.

1. Entering and Exiting Stations

All Underground stations have ticket barriers – large grey machines where travellers either insert their paper travel cards or tap their Oyster cards on top of them.

At first glance, most barriers all seem the same but they are actually divided into three different purposes; Enter, Do Not Enter, Bags/Buggies.

London Underground Turnstiles

Some of the barriers will have a green arrow displayed – this means this is a barrier that you can travel through.

Insert your paper ticket, or tap your Oystercard on the yellow pad right next to the sign displaying the green arrow.

The barriers in front of you (just left from the arrow) will open and allow you to walk through.

Other barriers will have a red X displayed – this means this barrier will not open for you and is either closed or being used for visitors traveling in the opposite direction.

Lastly, some barriers are quite large, with signs displaying buggies, luggage, and wheelchairs.

These barriers are much larger than the regular grey ones and are there for people travelling with added items/persons.

They will not close as quickly as the others, giving travellers time to get themselves and all possessions through to the other side. 

Read our post on taking the Tube from Heathrow Airport to Central London .

WillsdenGreenSign

2. Find Your Correct Direction

In general, the Underground lines operate going north-south or east-west and vice versa.

Checking on your map will help you determine which direction you are travelling in, which will help you find the correct platform and train for your journey.

At every station, there will be maps like these showing the two directions that the trains will be travelling in, and under each direction will be a list of all the stations the train will stop at – in order!

This makes it easy not only to see which platform you need to be on but also how many stops it will take you to get to your destination. 

3. Don't Board the Wrong Train

Sometimes, multiple Underground lines share the same track at a station. If you aren't paying attention, you could board the wrong train.

As the trains pull into the platform, you can take a glance at the front of the train. Here will be displayed the final destination of that particular train.

London Underground Signs

Also, on every platform there will be an electronic sign displaying the time until the next train arrives, and which station will be its’ final stop.

4. Lines that Split

Another potential mixup is lines that split. Some lines can have 2 or 3 different ending tracks, so you need to be aware of this.

Take the image below as an example.

Split Lines London Underground

For example, suppose you plan on boarding a District Line (green) train at South Kensington Station (the black square) with a final destination Wimbledon (the bottom-most black arrow).

You would be taking a westbound train. 

However, you can see from the map that there are two additional tracks with different ending points (Richmond and Ealing Broadway), all a part of the District Line heading westbound.

As you probably can tell, you could end up missing the first tennis match.

5. Changing Lines

The Tube map can often be misleading in that many tube lines crisscross over each other on the map, but do not actually connect to one another in reality.

Changing Trains London Underground

If you want to know where you can change from one Tube line to the other, you need to look for the white circle on the line on your map.

Any time you see one of these, it means you can change from one line to another or to British Rail.

Check out our tips on using the Underground with luggage and kids . 

6. Sometimes You Should Just Walk

The London Underground Map is definitely NOT geographically accurate. Oftentimes it is easier to walk instead of getting on the tube to travel just a stop or two.

There is a map that gives the walking times between stations ( pdf ).

Map of Walking Distances between London Underground Stations

A good example of this is Leicester Square and Covent Garden on the Piccadilly Line.

On the map, they appear a fair distance apart, but in reality, it would take you just 4 minutes to walk the journey yourself.

Another good example is Charing Cross and Embankment - it’s just a 2-minute walk from each station! 

7. Step-Free (Handicap) Access

For those with limited mobility, there are clues on the Underground map that will let you know if there is step-free access.

This is also useful if you are travelling with exceptionally heavy suitcases.

London Underground Step-free Handicap Accessibility

Simply look at the map, and on some stations, you will see a blue circle with a white figure in a wheelchair.

This means it is possible to get from the street into the train without any stairs or escalators. 

Handicap Symbols London Underground

The white circle and a blue figure in a wheelchair denote stations with step-free access from the street to the platform.

At these stations, you will need assistance to get into and out of the train, either with a ramp or the help of fellow passengers. 

Note that in larger stations, such as Waterloo, the blue circle appears on one line only, which means the other two lines do not have step-free access. Transport for London has this helpful video .

A final note – Although London is generally a safe and welcoming city for visitors, pickpockets, and thieves operate throughout the entire London Underground network.

Please be aware of your surroundings, keep hold of all of your possessions, and avoid the habit of simply putting your ticket/credit cards/keys/mobile phones into your pockets – this will make you an incredibly easy target!

Also, never leave your belongings unattended on a train or in an Underground Station.

PICADILLY LINE TO AND FROM HEATHROW

By far the easiest and most affordable way to get to and from Heathrow Airport.

The Piccadilly Line runs through all 5 terminals of Heathrow Airport as well as straight through the centre of London, offering connections with every other tube line on the London Underground network.  

Use our Google Map and input the address of your final destination for directions and travel time from Heathrow .  

Travel time on the Tube is roughly 45 minutes to central London.

Piccadilly line trains run out of Heathrow from 5:00 to 23:00.

Ticket prices from Zone 1 to Heathrow are £6.70 for a cash-bought paper ticket, £5.60 on an Oyster card or contactless card at any time.

Read our full post on taking the Picadilly Line to and from Heathrow Airport .

TUBE ETIQUETTE

To avoid faux pas and keep from being marked out as a typical tourist, here are a few tips for Tube etiquette when travelling along the Tube.

London Underground Tube Etiquette

1.  Have Your Ticket Ready

Do not approach the ticket barriers until you have your Oystercard – or paper ticket – ready.

If you walk to the barrier and then fumble through your pockets/bags for your ticket, it will delay other travellers and oftentimes can mess with the barrier censors, potentially causing the barriers to lock.

[Remember you need a ticket both to BEGIN/ENTER and also to FINISH/LEAVE your journey!]  Be sure to read our blog post on the Oystercard and Travel Card .

2.  Stand on the Right

When riding escalators up and down in Underground Stations, please remember to stand on the RIGHT.

Travellers who wish to move up/down whilst on the escalators will be doing so on the left-hand side.

If you stand on the left you may find yourself politely asked to move to the right, or simply shoved past by a multitude of commuters.

This also includes your belongings/suitcases – they must be on the right of the escalators as well.

It is poor form and bad manners to take up the left side of the escalator with your belongings.

Please Stand Behind the Yellow Line

3.  Stand Behind the Yellow Line

On every Tube platform, you will find a yellow line painted along the edge.

This line marks the boundary between where it is safe to stand, and where it is dangerous.

Stand BEHIND the line (not on top of!) in order to limit any risk of death or injury.

You may occasionally see passengers swiftly walking down the platform directly on top of the yellow line – but do not follow their lead!

4. Move Down the Platform

As soon as you get onto the platform, move either right or left.

You will find many people gathered at the entrance to the platform, meaning people cannot get past them and move onto the platform to get their train.

TIP : Besides just being courteous, the rear and front of the trains tend to be less crowded so moving down the platform means you’re more likely to get a seat!

Move Down Carriage

5.  Let Other Passengers Off First

As soon as the Tube doors open, step to either side of the opening doors and let customers off the train before you attempt to board.

Failure to follow this rule may lead to verbal chastisement.

6.  Move Down Inside the Carriage

Once you are inside the Tube – move away from the door! Standing in place will impede others who are trying to board.

Also (especially during peak times) it is important to move as far down into the carriage as possible in order for the maximum amount of people to fit onto the train.

You will see Londoners standing in between the benches on busy Tube carriages, and you should follow their lead.

7.  Keep Feet and Bags Off the Seats

Particularly on crowded trains, it is unacceptable to take up an entire seat solely for your possessions – or your feet!

8. Do Not Lean on the Poles

The poles that are placed throughout the Underground train carriages are meant for people to hold on to.

Leaning against one of the poles means blocking the pole for those that may need it to hold balance whilst the train is moving.

9.  Mind Your Earphones and Your Meals

The music you are listening to should not be loud enough for anybody else on the Tube to hear.

Also, it is best to avoid eating hot/smelly food on the Underground.

10.  Get Out of the Way of Those Getting Off the Train

When you are on the Tube and at a stop that is not yours, make sure you are not in the way of those who are trying to exit the train.

Occasionally, you may need to step outside of the train to let passengers off if the carriage is very crowded.

This is expected behaviour, and you will be able to step right back on once the departing have left.

BabyOnBoard

11.  Stand Up for the Elderly and Pregnant

This is one even some Underground regulars need reminding of!

It’s just good manners in the UK to offer up your seat to the elderly, pregnant, or those who are less able to stand.

Be aware of who comes on the Tube at each stop and do not be afraid to offer your seat.

Occasionally you may see women with a small ‘Baby on Board’ badge with the London Underground logo pinned onto their coats.

Some men even take it upon themselves to stand up for any woman who comes onto the train so chivalry is not completely dead in London!

12.  Take Your Rubbish Home With You

Rubbish left behind on the Tube is unsightly and can be quite disgusting.

There are no bins on Underground trains or at most Underground Stations which means it is expected that you will take any rubbish of yours off the train and home/back to your hotel with you when you leave.

On the London Underground, a little bit of courtesy and kindness can go a long way.

Commuting and travelling in the city can be quite stressful so try to remain courteous to others as you go about their business, and hopefully, they will do the same as you go about yours

HOP-ON-HOP-OFF BUS VS. LONDON UNDERGROUND

If you’re visiting London and aren’t sure about riding the London Underground, then we hope our tips above have made you more confident and willing to use the tube to get around town.

However, we understand that some people may still be a little anxious or unsure about the benefits of taking the tube, as opposed to riding one of London’s hop-on-hop-off tour buses.

To help you make up your mind, we’ve listed a few pros and cons of each below.

London Bus Tour Comparison

Hop-on-hop-off buses can be useful in getting an overview of the city or learning your way around town.

They are also quite useful for people who aren’t physically fit enough to walk through London day in and day out.

However, whenever possible, we strongly believe that the best - and the quickest - way to get around town is by taking the London Underground or to walk.

[Note that if you wish to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour, we have a handy page HERE to help you choose which one to ride]

Pros of a Bus Tour

  • easy to understand routes
  • convenient stops at the most popular tourist attractions
  • climate controlled all year (on the inside)
  • tickets often include night tours, boat cruises, or free attractions.
  • commentary along the routes

Cons of a Bus Tour

  • more expensive than riding the subway
  • routes are only one-direction
  • wait times can be very long due to seasonal or even daily traffic
  • buses can be crowded
  • bad weather is always a risk

Pros of Riding the Underground

  • (relatively) inexpensive
  • flexible routing
  • very warm in the winter
  • you get to travel like a real Londoner
  • Almost always faster than a bus

Cons of Riding the Underground

  • not all stations are accessible for wheelchairs and strollers
  • can be really hot and sweaty in summer
  • can be really crowded during rush hours
  • no commentary

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London Tube Fares 2024

Transport fares vary depending on when and where you travel, and on the payment method you choose.

Time of the day:

If you travel during peak hours, costs will be more expensive than during off-peak hours. Peak hours are Monday to Friday, between 6:30 am to 9:30 am, and between 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, except on public holidays.

Ticket type:

  • Paper ticket or cash ticket: Single tickets cost between £6.70 and £9.80 . 
  • Pay-as-you-go (PAYG) or contactless payment methods:  By using an Oyster card, which is a prepaid or contactless option, you can save significant money on each journey. For example, if you use it in Zone 1, your ticket will cost less than half the price of a paper ticket. It is worth learning more about this money-saving payment option; see below for more information.

Distance between stations:  

When you are in front of the ticket machine, first you must choose the zones you will be travelling through in the next few days.  If you are a tourist, you will usually travel within zones 1 and 2. Our suggestion is to select this option because it is where you will find the most famous attractions in London.

Another tip is to add enough credit for 3 days' travel, for example for a family of two adults and two kids: £20 per adult and £10 per child under 15.

Children under 15 are eligible for discounts and free travel. Children aged 5 to 15 pay half the adult fare, while those under 5 travel for free. To access these discounts, ask for assistance at the station; TfL staff will help you.

You must scan your card or ticket at the ticket barrier's reader upon both entering and exiting the Tube platforms.

Oyster Card and Travelcard

When travelling in London, using a prepaid card such as an Oyster Card or Travelcard is the savvy way to go. Not only do these cards offer cheaper fares compared to paying with cash, but they also come with daily spending limits to help you save even more.

The Oyster Card, costing just £5, can be ordered online and sent directly to your home before you arrive in London. Once you have it, you can top it up with as much credit as you need. This credit doesn't expire – it's yours to use whenever you're in London. Travel on the Tube, buses, and other TfL services becomes more cost-effective, thanks to the daily caps on spending. For example, if you hit the daily cap of £8.50 with an Oyster Card, you won't pay a penny more for any additional trips that day.

Remember, if you don't use all your credit, you can easily get a refund for up to £10 at any ticket machine – although the initial £5 cost for the card itself isn't refundable. The card is reusable for your next visit, though!

And if you prefer to travel light, you can tap in with a contactless bank card. Just keep an eye on any potential bank charges. Similar to the Oyster or Travelcard, contactless bank cards also benefit from a daily cap on charges, ensuring you don’t spend more than a set amount each day, regardless of how many trips you make.

Here are the tables that outline the fare caps and Travelcard prices:

Pay as you go (PAYG) caps: For trips on the Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail, and National Rail, there are daily and weekly spending caps that apply.

Travelcards: These cards give you unlimited travel within the chosen zones and are available for different lengths of time.

We highly recommend using a card when travelling around London – it's cheaper than cash and caps your daily spend. Grab an Oyster Card or a Travelcard for just £5. They're both prepaid, which means you can add money to them and only pay for the travel you use.

Before you come to London, you can buy an Oyster Card online and have it sent to your home. It's a durable card that never expires, ready for your next London adventure.

In addition to the Oyster Card, the Travelcard is an excellent option for those planning to make extensive use of public transport. You can purchase a Travelcard for periods of 7 days, a month, or even a year, making it ideal for regular visitors or residents of London. Unlike the Oyster Card, which charges per trip up to a daily cap, the Travelcard allows you unlimited travel within the zones you have selected, without concern for the number of trips you make.

For added convenience, both the Oyster Card and Travelcard can be topped up online, at ticket vending machines, or at any London train or Tube station. With these cards, you can fully enjoy all that London has to offer, moving around the city efficiently and cost-effectively.

Where to buy tourist tickets online?

Questions and answers.

Where can I buy tickets to travel on public transport in London?

  • Tickets and prepaid card top-ups can be purchased at the ticket machines that can be found at the Tube stations. You can pay by credit/debit card or in cash (coins or notes). Ticket vending machines are available in different languages.

How much do young children pay on London transport?

  • Children under 5 travel free with a fare paying adult.
  • Children aged 5 to 10 travel free on buses and trams with an Oyster card, no ticket needed.
  • Children aged 11 to 15 can receive the following benefit through an Oyster card: 50% off adult-rate pay-as-you-go fares and daily caps on a bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line, National Rail services, and London Cable Car.

For more information on discounts, visit the official transport website . Tourists should note that the Oyster Card can be bought online before travelling to London and be delivered to their home address. The card costs £5. Then you decide how much credit you want to top it up with. This prepaid card has no expiry date.

Where can I find precise information for the rest of the fares and tickets?

  • You can find detailed information on all fares and tickets in the official announcement regarding the March 2024 prices, available at this link: www.london.gov.uk/media/104143/download .

If you notice any errors on this website or have any suggestions, please use our contact form , and we will try to solve the problem as soon as possible.

Thank you for visiting our London Tube fares page, we hope you found it useful.

London tube map | Timetable | Fares | All subway lines

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Child Fares on London Transport

Last updated: 23 February 2024 Discounts for children on London transport are straightforward for children aged 10 and under. For children aged 11-15 it’s slightly more complicated.

Children under 5

Children under-5 travel free on all types of transport in London when travelling with an adult.

  • up to 4 children are allowed per adult on London buses, the underground (tube), DLR and London Overground.
  • up to 2 children under-5 travel free per adult on National Rail (trains)

Children aged 5-10

All children aged 5-10 travel for free on:

  • the underground (tube), DLR, London Overground and some National Rail services within London as long as an adult accompanies them. Up to 4 children can travel per adult
  • London’s buses with or without an adult

Children aged 11-15

Children aged 11-15 travel for free on London’s buses and at child-rate Pay as you go Oyster fares on the underground (tube), DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services if they have an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard.

The child-rate single fare with an 11-15 Zip Oyster is 95p (peak) or 85p (off-peak) for zones 1-6.

Like the ordinary adult Oyster card, there’s a daily cap – the maximum amount deducted from the card in one day. It’s £4.25 peak and £1.80 off-peak for zones 1-2.

This is the cheapest deal for 11-15 year olds. The card is not available from underground stations, although you can apply online . It is available to non-UK residents but you’ll need to apply at least 3-4 weeks in advance. There’s also a non-refundable £15 administrative charge.

Travel in London without an 11-15 Zip Oyster

Applying for a 11-15 Zip Oyster is not worth the trouble unless you’re a resident or frequent visitor.

There are a few other options for young visitors that will save money:

  • Young Visitor Discount on an Oyster card
  • Child-rate One Day Travelcard (from an underground or train station)
  • Pay the child full-fare (underground only, not bus)

Bus-only travel for 11-15 year olds

If an 11-15 year old does not have an 11-15 Zip Oyster, Visitor Oyster Discount or child-rate Travelcard the best option is to let them use your contactless debit/credit card and pay the adult-rate bus fare of  £1.75. (NB only one card can be charged per passenger) or buy a £5.90 adult-rate one day bus pass . See London bus tickets & passes for details.

Young visitor Oyster discount

If you don’t want to apply for an 11-15 Zip Oyster, the cheapest way for 11-15 year old visitors to travel is the Young Visitor Oyster Discount. This is a special discount added to an ordinary Oyster card. It’s valid for 14 days. After 14 days, the discount automatically expires and the card can be used as a ordinary adult Oyster card.

There’s a £7 fee for the Oyster card (non-refundable). Single fares and the daily cap for the underground and buses-only are 50% cheaper than adult fares.

For example:

  • Unlimited travel by underground in zone 1-2 is  £4.25 per day
  • Unlimited travel by bus is  £2.65 per day, for the whole of London

It’s available from:

  • Underground station ticket machines: you need to buy an Oyster card (£7) or use a Visitor Oyster Card. Ask a member of staff to apply the discount to the card via the ticket machine.
  • Transport for London Visitor Centres
  • Victoria train station ticket office

Children aged 16-17

Children aged 16-17 can apply for the 16+ Zip Oyster Photocard . With this they:

  • pay Oyster Pay as you go fares at half the adult rate on the bus, tube and most National Rail services in London. (Children resident in London with a 16+ Zip travel free on the buses)
  • can buy a child-rate weekly or monthly Travelcard.

You must apply online. There’s a non-refundable £20 administrative charge for the 16+ Zip Oyster. If you live outside the UK, you must apply for your card at least 4 weeks before arrival in London.

Without a 16+ Zip Oyster, a 16 or 17 year old is classed as an adult and must either:

  • pay the adult fare
  • buy an adult-priced Travelcard, bus pass
  • use an ordinary Pay as you go Oyster card with an Oyster or Contactless payment.

18+ Students

Students aged 18+ resident in London during term-time can apply for an 18+ Student Oyster photocard. It might also be possible to apply for a 16+ Zip Oyster .

There are no other discounts for students not studying and living in London.

Child ticket prices (11-15 years)

11-15 zip oyster pay as you go single fares (payg) 2024, 11-15 zip oyster daily cap prices from 3 march 2024, child one day travelcard from 3 march 2024.

These are the prices for the Child One Day Travelcard.

Off Peak : Valid for travel after 09:30 Monday–Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday & Public Holidays. Anytime : Valid for travel before 09:30 Monday–Friday.

See London’s Transport Zones if you’re not familiar with the zones and the areas they cover.

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COMMENTS

  1. Fares

    How much it costs and how to pay to travel around London. Find out what's the best ticket for you and how to use contactless and Oyster cards, view fares, check if you can get a refund or replacement and see if you're eligible for free and discounted travel. ... Charges apply 0343 222 1234 Textphone 0800 112 3456 Write. Contact us about Oyster ...

  2. London Underground fares, prices & maps 2024 plus best passes

    The transport passes that nearly everyone uses, Oyster and Travelcard, allow you to travel seamlessly across all modes of transport, bus, Underground, train and DLR using the same ticket/pass. Children under 11 travel free on the London Underground and DLR (Docklands Light Railway) at all times. Child fares are available for those under 16 and ...

  3. Visitor Guide to London Transport Tickets

    For travel in zone 1-2: Single tickets on the underground cost £2.80 with an Oyster card/contactless card. If you buy a ticket from a ticket machine, the full cash fare is £6.70. If you use your card to pay for transport in central London for the whole day, the 'daily cap' - the maximum amount deducted is £8.50.

  4. How to Use the London Underground

    Travel time on the Tube is roughly 45 minutes to central London. Piccadilly line trains run out of Heathrow from 5:00 to 23:00. Ticket prices from Zone 1 to Heathrow are £6.70 for a cash-bought paper ticket, £5.60 on an Oyster card or contactless card at any time.

  5. Plan a journey

    Plan your journey across the TfL network. Journey planner for Bus, Tube, London Overground, DLR, Elizabeth line, National Rail, Tram, River Bus, IFS Cloud Cable Car, Coach

  6. PDF Adult rate prices: All Tube, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail

    Daily Anytime Daily Off-peak Monday to Sunday (contactless only) Monthly Annual Zone Pay as you go Travelcards Caps Day Anytime Day Off-peak 7 Day Zone 6 only £13.20 £13.20 £27.00 £19.10 £13.50 £27.00 £103.70 £1,080

  7. OysterCalculator

    Overall fare. £0.00. Book train & bus tickets to London. Find fares for tube, rail and bus journeys in London. Calculate Oyster card fare costs on the London Underground, DLR, TfL Rail and National Rail train services.

  8. London Underground: the Tube

    The London Underground network is divided into nine zones. Central London is covered by Zone 1. The Tube network has 11 lines. The Tube fare depends on how far you travel, the time of day, and what type of ticket or payment method you use. Oyster cards or contactless payments are the cheapest ways to pay for Tube journeys.

  9. London tube fares 2024, ticket prices updated

    Transport fares vary depending on when and where you travel, and on the payment method you choose. Time of the day: If you travel during peak hours, costs will be more expensive than during off-peak hours. Peak hours are Monday to Friday, between 6:30 am to 9:30 am, and between 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, except on public holidays. Ticket type:

  10. PDF Adult rate prices 2024

    Adult rate prices 2024. The caps below apply to all Tube, DLR, Elizabeth line and London Overground services, and most National Rail services in Zones 1-9*. Zone. Pay as you go caps. Travelcards. Zone. Daily peak. Daily off-peak. Monday to Sunday.

  11. Oyster Card

    If you make 1 journey £2.70 is deducted from your card. If you make 2 journeys, £5.40 is deducted. If you make 3 journeys, £8.50 is deducted. You have now reached the 'daily cap' and all other journeys until 4.30am the following morning are free. £1.50 of Pay as you go credit will remain on your Oyster card.

  12. London Underground Tickets & Travelcards

    Weekly Travelcards: 2024 prices. If you stay in London for 6-7 days and use the underground, trains, and buses every day, the weekly Travelcard is the most cost-effective travel pass. The one-week pass including central London (zones 1-2) is £42.70. It's valid for travel at anytime; there is no peak or off-peak rate.

  13. LT Fares

    This is an independent website that allows expert users to fully explore the single fares available when using an Oyster Card or Contactless Payment Card on rail services (i.e. London Underground, London Overground, Elizabeth Line, National Rail and Docklands Light Railway) in the London area. It can be used to get a general idea of what you ...

  14. London Travelcard Prices and Types

    Weekly Travel Card Prices. If you have a week in the city and you know you're going to be bouncing between the London Underground and those iconic red buses, purchasing a weekly London ticket could save you a few pennies. Type: 7 Day Price: Adult Zones 1-2: £40.70: Adult Zones 1-3:

  15. Caps and Travelcard prices

    Covers Travelcards and Cap fares for Tube, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line and most National Rail services.

  16. What's the best ticket for me?

    Benefits. Make unlimited journeys in the zones covered by your Travelcard. Travel on bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground, Elizabeth line and National Rail services in London. 7 Day, Monthly and Annual Travelcards, or one with any start and end date you choose (any length between 1½ and 10½ months) Day Travelcards are available for Zones 1 ...

  17. London Child Fares and Tickets

    Children aged 11-15. Children aged 11-15 travel for free on London's buses and at child-rate Pay as you go Oyster fares on the underground (tube), DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services if they have an 11-15 Zip Oyster photocard. The child-rate single fare with an 11-15 Zip Oyster is 95p (peak) or 85p (off-peak) for zones 1-6.

  18. TFL

    Chase give TFL and different card number. In the App press on the transaction and then "Adding you card to TFL?" it will show another number. perfect, thanks. Curious if anyone else is having the issue of the 10p TFL charges hanging around on their Chase current accounts for long periods of time?