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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, quicker and easier 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 or contactless card.

Walking routes that are quicker (and cheaper) than the Tube

  1. Love shopping? You'll find it easier to walk between many of the key shopping areas in London's West End, such as Bond Street, Oxford Street, Regent Street and Carnaby; Mayfair and St James's; or Covent 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. 
  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 you’ll avoid the queue for the lifts at Covent Garden.
  3. Instead of hopping on the Northern line for one stop from Charing Cross to Embankment, enjoy the 300mstroll from Trafalgar Square to the Thames.
  4. Use Transport for London's Journey Planner to plan your quickest and easiest route in advance.

Use a Santander Cycle for just £2

  1. It costs £2 to access Santander Cycles for 24 hours.
  2. The first half hour is free each time you hop on a new bike, which means you can make multiple trips in one day and still pay only £2.

Go contactless for the cheapest fare

  1. A single fare in central London costs £4.90 when you pay in cash. Use an Oyster or contactless card and pay just £2.40.
  2. Use the same card all day long to make the most savings when making multiple journeys. Contactless users benefit from both a daily and weekly cap. 
  3. Don't forget to touch in and out on the yellow reader at the beginning and end of every Tube, DLR and London Overground journey to make sure you get the cheapest fare.
  4. Visitor Oyster card* users can also take advantage of great savings on London attractions such as the Emirates Air Line cable car.

Hop on a London bus

  1. Buses don't just offer a scenic way of getting around London – they're easy on the wallet too! A single bus fare in London costs just £1.50, while unlimited bus travel on a contactless card costs £4.50 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 travel.

Stick to off-peak travel

  1. Travel outside of Zone 1 is cheaper during off-peak travel times in London. Save your pennies by avoiding travel between Monday and Friday from 6.30am to 9.30am, and 4pm to 7pm.