13 best tips for cheap travel in London

Travel in London doesn’t have to be expensive with these money-saving transport tips.

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Transport in London can be affordable, quick and easy, with cheap travel options to suit everyone. Whizz around on a Santander Cycle, see the sights from London buses or make use of off-peak London Underground fares using an Oyster card or contactless payment card.

Walking routes that are quicker – and cheaper – than the Tube

  1. If you love shopping, it's easy to walk around many of the key shopping areas in London's West End, such as Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent StreetCarnabyMayfairSt James'sCovent Garden and Seven Dials. You can also walk between Knightsbridge (the home of Harrods) and fashionable Sloane Square in around 10 minutes – much simpler than swapping lines at South Kensington Tube station. 
  2. Don’t fall into the trap of taking the Piccadilly line between Covent Garden and Leicester Square. It takes just four minutes to walk and avoids the queue for the lifts at Covent Garden.
  3. Instead of hopping on the Northern or Bakerloo lines for one stop from Charing Cross to Embankment, enjoy the 300-metre stroll from Trafalgar Square to the river Thames.
  4. Use Transport for London's Journey Planner to plan the quickest and easiest route.

Use a Santander Cycle for just £2

Cyclists ride on a canal towpath in London
Cyclists ride on a canal towpath in London. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
  1. It costs £2 to access Santander Cycles for 24 hours.
  2. The first 30 minutes of your ride is free each time you hop on a new Santander Cycle, which means you can make multiple trips in one day and still pay only £2.

Go contactless for the cheapest fare

  1. Use an Oyster card or contactless payment card to pay for your journeys around London. It's cheaper than buying paper tickets with cash.
  2. Use the same payment card for every trip to save the most when making multiple journeys around London. Oyster card and contactless card users benefit from both a daily and weekly price cap. 
  3. Don't forget to touch in and out on the yellow card reader at the beginning and end of every Tube, DLR and London Overground ride to pay the correct fare.
  4. Pay with a Visitor Oyster card*, Oyster card or contactless payment card to save on riverboat journeys and the Emirates Air Line cable car.

Hop on a London bus

A red London bus driving across Tower Bridge on a sunny day
A red London bus on Tower Bridge © visitlondon.com / Ben Pipe
  1. Buses not only offer a scenic way of getting around London, but they're also easy on the wallet! A single bus fare in London costs just £1.65, and unlimited bus travel using an Oyster card or contactless payment card costs £4.95 for the whole day.
  2. Make the most of the Hopper fare, which allows you to make unlimited bus or tram journeys for free within an hour of when you first tap your payment card.

Stick to off-peak travel

  1. Journeys outside of Zone 1 in London are cheaper during off-peak travel times. Save money by avoiding travel during the morning and evening rush hours. Peak prices are in effect from 6.30am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday.