Greater London is served by 12 Tube lines, along with the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and an interconnected local train network. Underground trains generally run between 5am and midnight, Monday to Saturday, and operating hours are reduced on Sunday. Exact details depend on the station and the line, so it's worth checking the Transport for London website.
For more detailed information on which stations to use and suggestions for the best route to reach your destination, use Transport for London's Journey Planner.
Zones and Tube Fares
London's public transport network is divided into nine travel zones. Zone 1 is in Central London and zones 6-9 are on the outskirts of the city.
Buy a Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card, Travelcard or contactless card payment to get the best value as cash is the most expensive way to pay.
The cash fare for a single journey in zone 1 is £4.70. The same fare with Visitor Oyster card, Oyster card or contactless payment card is £2.50.
For contactless payment cards issued outside the UK, please check for transaction fees or bank changes.
Free London Tube Maps and Guides
Transport for London produces free maps and guides to help you get around. You can pick up a London Underground Map upon arrival at any London Tube station. London Travel Information centres sell tickets and provide free maps. There are centres at all Heathrow Airport terminals, major stations in London and at Tourist Information Centres.
You can also download a handy Tube and bus map designed for visitors in our Travel Maps section.
Tips for Tube Travellers
Travelling around London on the Tube? Here are some other useful tips that will make your journey more enjoyable and efficient:
- Avoid travelling during rush hours (weekdays, 7-9am and 5.30-7pm) if at all possible
- Check the front of the train for the correct destination
- Stand on the right when using escalators
- Wait for passengers to leave the train before boarding
- Move down inside the Tube carriages while travelling, so you don't block the doorways for other passengers
- Stand behind the yellow line whilst waiting for the train on the platform
- Offer your seat to anyone who is unwell, elderly, pregnant or travelling with small children
- Hold onto the yellow rails if you are standing during your journey
- Mind the gap!
Access to most Tube stations is via numerous steps. The London underground system can become very crowded at peak times and, therefore, difficult for those with mobility problems.
Many deep-level Tube stations have escalators to platforms. But nearly all the stations with escalators or lifts also have stairs between street level and the ticket hall and/or between the escalator/lift and the platforms. The dowloadable Tube map on our free London travel maps page indicates which Tube stations are step-free.
When boarding Tube trains, be aware that there is generally a step of up to 8 inches (20cm), either up or down, between the platform and the train. If this is problematic, travel in the first carriage, so the driver can see you more clearly, and allow enough time for you to get on or off.
For more information, visit Transport for London's Accessibility page.
London Tube Map
Devised in 1933 by Harry Beck, the Underground map is a 20th-century design classic. It's very useful, clearly indicating the general directions used to designate trains (north, south, east or westbound), and with all interchanges clearly shown.