Guide to London Transport and Tubes

The transport system in London is subsidised by the Government, with the majority of trains, buses and tubes operated by the Mayor of London’s office.

When compared to other European capitals, the tram network in London is fairly limited and only runs in the southern suburbs.

The tube network is much more extensive and covers the vast majority of the city, from the centre to the outer suburbs and sometimes even into the open countryside of the Home Counties! The tube lines run 7 days a week, although they are closed between approximately midnight and 5:30am every morning.

The bus system in London is one of the largest in the world and operates 24 hours a day. Routes operate across the entire city, including to and from Heathrow Airport.

London also boasts a regular riverboat service, with many of the services being run on high speed catamarans. Unfortunately these riverboat services are not included in daily or weekly travelcards, so you will be paying a small premium if you decide to use them. However, the views of the city from the river more than compensate for the slightly higher fare!

Finally, there is an extensive railway system in London which covers large swathes of the suburbs. Some of these lines are operated by the Mayor of London, whilst others are operated by the privately owned rail franchise companies. Whichever rail service you opt for, as long as you’re travelling within London’s travel zone system then your fare will be covered by daily and weekly travelcards.

Essential Apps

Citymapper London (Free)

iPhone and iPad Link / Android Link

One of the most comprehensive London travel apps available. Seamlessly integrates tubes, buses, trains and cycle hire, as well as providing up to date travel information (e.g. if the tubes are delayed, when buses are set to arrive, etc).

London Tube (Free)

iPhone and iPad Link

Less feature-rich than Citymapper, but really useful if you just want to quickly bring up a tube map. Also includes push notifications for when lines are closed or suffering from delays.

Useful Links

A huge tube and train map provided by Transport for London

Plan your journey online with Transport for London’s Journey Planner

Thames Clippers – Use the River Thames to get around London!

Next article

Travel Guide to the UK

By Ben Johnson

Welcome to Historic UK's Travel Guide to Britain, including first hand hints and tips from the team!

Read story