Always stand on the right when using escalators on the Tube!
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
For the purposes of working out different fares, London's transport map is divided into six concentric zones. Zone 1 and 2 are in Central London and Zones 6 to 9 cover the outer edge of the capital.
Consider purchasing an Oyster card and/or a Travelcard to get the best fares and beat the queues. If you're caught on the Tube without a valid ticket you're liable for an on-the-spot fine.
Oyster card prices are always cheaper than paper tickets for the Tube. For example, the cash fare for a single journey in Zone 1 is £4.70, which is £2.50 more than the Oyster pay-as-you-go fare of £2.20 for the same journey.
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
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. Some other useful tips when using the Tube:
- Avoid travelling during rush hour 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
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.