London Zones and Tube Travel

London Zones and Tube Travel
Image © faze // Fotolia

London is one of my favorite cities for public transportation. It is incredibly easy to find your way around and the tube is convenient. In this post I’m going to give you a brief overview and some great resources for London Zones and Tube travel.

Watch my London Zone and Tube Travel Tutorial:

The Zones furthest from Central London are the cheapest to travel through, while the closer you get to Central London, the more expensive. You can purchase tickets at any Underground station, or you can order a pre-loaded Visitor Oyster card and have it mailed to you before your trip. With a Visitor Oyster card you can preload various amounts and just swipe it at the station, instead of fumbling with tickets and waiting in line to purchase them. If you run out of money on your Oyster card, you can reload at the underground station as well.

You also have the option of ordering a Travel card. A Travel card allows you to travel an unlimited amount for either 1 or 7 days. A Travel card costs roughly 60 pounds for unlimited travel for 7 days, within the zones that you purchase it for. A Visitor Oyster card will charge you per ticket, with a daily cap between Zones. This means if you travel a certain number of times within the same Zone on the same day, you won’t be charge for any additional trips within that Zone. When I visited, I opted for the Visitor Oyster card and started with 35 pounds (about 50.00 USD). I ended up putting another 10 pounds on it while in London. So, 45 pounds total just as an idea.

Preorder your Visitor Oyster card or your Travel card here: https://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/

Always remember to stand on the RIGHT side of the escalator when navigating the stations. The right is for standing, the left is for walking. Don’t be THAT person blocking everyone from getting through. Also get used to hearing the phrase “Mind the Gap.” Which basically means “watch your step when getting off the train, so you don’t fall in that little gap between your train and the station platform.”

What city has your favorite form of public transportation and why is it your favorite? Which city has your least favorite form of public transportation (or none at all.)

What city has your favorite form of public transportation and why is it your favorite? Which city has your least favorite form of public transportation? (or none at all.)

*If you you can’t see the above tutorial, or you are not in a situation where you can listen to audio – read the written explanation below**

Tutorial Written Explanation

London is divided into 6 Zones. Zone 1 is central London, Zone 2 is the ring around the city center, Zone 3 is the ring around Zone 2, all the way to Zone 6 – like a bullseye. Transport for London, or TfL has various lines of transportation. The Tube operates in all 6 of these Zones. You can also use the London Overground, Rail, etc to get further out from the city center. Read more about your other TfL options here: https://tfl.gov.uk

Take a look at the map below. Ignore all the stations and Lines for a minute, and notice the grey and white lines on the background. You can see that it is separated into Zones.

standard-tube-map

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/standard-tube-map.pdf

Each underground station has a map of the lines that run out of that station. As long as you know which station you are going to, you can easily figure out how to get there. TfL has a great map that shows the most popular attractions in London and the underground stations nearest to them.

key-bus-routes-in-central-london

http://content.tfl.gov.uk/bus-route-maps/key-bus-routes-in-central-london.pdf

(Keep in mind the lines on this map are actually the bus route, so go back to the tube map above to actually plan the trip. Just use this bus route map to see which stations are near top attractions.) You can also google which underground station is closest to where you need to go.

After you figure out which station you’re going to look at the lines coming out of the station you are at, or are closest to. Do any of those lines go to the station you want to travel to? If they do, find the end of that line in the direction you are traveling. For example, if I’m going from London Bridge station to Camden, I’d take the Northern Line (the black line on this map) toward Edgware (The last stop on this line) and get off at Camden Town station. If the station you are at does not have the line you need. Find on the map where the line you need intersects with a line you have access to. You can get off at one station and switch trains.

The Zones furthest from Central London are the cheapest to travel through, while the closer you get to Central London, the more expensive. You can purchase tickets at any Underground station, or you can order a pre-loaded Visitor Oyster card and have it mailed to you before your trip. With a Visitor Oyster card you can preload various amounts and just swipe it at the station, instead of fumbling with tickets and waiting in line to purchase them. If you run out of money on your Oyster card, you can reload at the underground station as well.

You also have the option of ordering a Travel card. A Travel card allows you to travel an unlimited amount for either 1 or 7 days. A Travel card costs roughly 60 pounds for unlimited travel for 7 days, within the zones that you purchase it for. A Visitor Oyster card will charge you per ticket, with a daily cap between Zones. This means if you travel a certain number of times within the same Zone on the same day, you won’t be charge for any additional trips within that Zone. When I visited, I opted for the Visitor Oyster card and started with 35 pounds (about 50.00 USD). I ended up putting another 10 pounds on it while in London. So, 45 pounds total just as an idea.

Preorder your Visitor Oyster card or your Travel card here: https://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/

If you are taking the Eurostar train from Paris into London, you will arrive at Kings Cross, St. Pancras Station, so plan your journey from there to your accommodations.

Always remember to stand on the RIGHT side of the escalator when navigating the stations. The right is for standing, the left is for walking. Don’t be THAT person blocking everyone from getting through. Also get used to hearing the phrase “Mind the Gap.” Which basically means “watch your step when getting off the train, so you don’t fall in that little gap between your train and the station platform.”

What city has your favorite form of public transportation and why is it your favorite? Which city has your least favorite form of public transportation? (or none at all.)

Image © faze // Fotolia

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