Unmissable tourist sites
The London Tube is the quickest way to get around London.
The 12 tube lines (which go as far as Heathrow airport and some of the towns in Greater London) are identified by a name and colour. Once you have identified which line you want, you need to decide if you are going northbound, southbound, eastbound or westbound. The terminal is indicated at the front of the train and on the platform.
Keep your ticket, you will need it to pass it through the turnstile on the way out.
Times – Monday-Saturday. 5.30-6am to 12.30-1am, Sundays 7am to 11.30pm-midnight.
t 0207 2221234 - www.tfl.gov.uk
A network of nearly 130 lines of famous red buses serves the centre of London. Timetables are somewhat haphazard and you will need to stick out your hand to get the driver to stop.
Docklands Light Railway (DLR))
Independent, driverless underground line running to East London from the City.
Times – Monday-Friday. 5.30am-12.30am, Saturdays 6am-12.30am, Sundays 7am to 11.30pm.
Some sixty night buses, identified by a letter N in front of the number, run at night, taking over from the Tube and day buses from midnight to 7am.
Fares and discounts
London public transport is very expensive, but discounts are available. Passengers should note that fares change depending on the zones and time at which you are travelling, making the pricing system somewhat baffling to newcomers.
Tube ticket: £4. On sale in stations.
Bus/DLR ticket: £2. Bus drivers do not sell tickets (vending machines by the bus stops).
Book of 8 bus tickets: £8.
Travel cards: unlimited access to the Tube, buses (day and night), DLR and Greater London trains. There is an anytime card, which enables you to travel whenever you like and an off-peak card that can only be used after 9.30am from Monday to Friday and at anytime during the weekend. Valid 1 day (£6.80-9.80 for zones 1 and 2), 3 days (£17.40 for zones 1 and 2), 7 days and more.
Oyster Card: pay-as-you-go, top up card valid on the whole network (except Greater London), it is more flexible and more attractively priced than other passes. Passengers can store up to £90 of credit on the card and top it up as needed. The Oyster Card can enable savings of up to 50%. The card must be validated at the beginning AND end of each journey (except in buses), so that the correct amount can be debited, otherwise you will be debited for the cost of a journey on the entire line. However many trips you do in a single day, the cost of an Oyster Card is never more expensive than the cost of a One-Day Travel Card.
Even though they are relatively expensive, the London taxicab is a sightseeing attraction in its own right. The traditional black cabs of yesteryear now come in a range of rainbow colours. If the orange For hire light is lit, the cab is vacant. There is a fixed pick-up charge of £2.20, after which the meter will calculate the fare.
For long distances, it is cheaper to book a minicab; negotiate the fare because they do not have a meter.