London buses

London's iconic double-decker buses are a convenient and cheap way to travel around the city, with plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.
Content contains affiliate links, marked with asterisks (*). If you click through and make a purchase, Visit London receives a commission – every purchase supports London’s jobs and economy.
  • London buses are all cashless, so you need an Oyster card, Travelcard or contactless payment card to ride.

  • Bus fare is £1.75, and a day of bus-only travel will cost a maximum of £5.25.

  • You can transfer to other buses or trams for free an unlimited number of times within one hour of touching in for your first journey.

  • Night buses run overnight between the close of the Tube network and the start of daytime bus services.
  • For a different perspective on the capital, try a London tour by bus.

London’s bus route network covers the entire city with a 24-hour service. Read on to find out all you need to know about bus travel in London.

Pay your fare on cash-free London buses

London buses are card only, so you cannot buy a ticket with cash.

Use a Visitor Oyster card*, an Oyster card, a Travelcard or a contactless payment card to pay your fare. 

Unlike the Tube zone fare system, a single London bus journey costs £1.75 no matter how far you go. You can even take multiple buses within one hour at no extra charge thanks to the Hopper fare. No matter how many buses or trams you take in a day, it will never cost you more than £5.25 total – just make sure you use the same payment card for every journey.

For contactless payment cards issued outside the UK, check with your bank to find out whether transaction fees or other charges apply.

Paying your London bus fare is easy. Simply touch your Oyster card or contactless payment card on the yellow card reader as you board the bus or show the driver your paper Travelcard. To avoid card clash, make sure to only touch one card on the yellow reader and keep your other cards separate. 

If you don’t have enough credit on your Visitor Oyster card or Oyster card, you will be able to make one more journey on a bus before needing to top up.

For more information about London bus fares, see the Transport for London website.

Still not sure which travel ticket you need to buy? Unclear on how to use your Visitor Oyster card? Read our Oyster FAQs section for the answer to these and other Oyster-related questions.

Explore more of London by bus and tram

A green, white and blue London tram drives through the city with a sign that reads "West Croydon"
The capital's tram network covers parts of south London. © / Antoine Buchet.

Parts of south London, from Wimbledon through Croydon to Beckenham and New Addington, are served by London Trams

Pick up a one-day bus and tram pass and you can travel on the Transport for London bus and tram network for £5.90 no matter how many bus or tram journeys you take. The single day actually lasts until 4.29am the following day to cover any late-night journeys.

2023 London bus and tram pass prices (standard adult fares)

  • Seven days: £24.70
  • One month: £94.90
  • One year: £988 

Check the TfL website for more bus fare information

Save money with bus fare concessions

There are a number of ways to save on your bus and tram journeys in London. Children under the age of 11 travel free, and other discounts are available for children, students and concessions.

Freedom Passes provide free travel for wheelchair users, as well as for older people and travellers with disabilities. If you're from outside London and have a bus pass issued by another English council, you can use it to travel free on buses displaying the red roundel. Find out about all the discounts and concessions on London's bus and tram network.

How to request a stop on a London bus

A red London bus waiting at the bus stop as people queue near a London Underground station.
London buses stop at set points on their routes © / Antoine Buchet.

In most cases, buses stop only at designated bus stops. They do not stop on request between bus stops. 

To ask the driver to let you off at the next bus stop, press one of the red buttons which can be found on the upright metal posts throughout the bus. You will probably hear a bell and see a lit sign appear at the front of the bus that says "bus stopping".

On some routes in outer London, buses operate on a "hail and ride" basis, with no fixed bus stops. Press the red button to signal to the driver and you can then get off at any safe point along the route you will be informed when a bus is in a "hail and ride" area.

Find out more about using bus services in London with TfL's guide to using buses in London.

Plan your London bus route with maps and timetables

Check out the London bus maps section on our Free London travel maps page or get travel advice from a TfL Visitor Centre

Plan your bus route online with Transport for London's Journey Planner.

For all London bus timetables, visit TfL’s website.

Ride a London bus no matter the time of night

Many of London's bus routes run all night. Several London bus routes run 24 hours, or look for the "N" in front of a bus number – this letter indicates a bus that covers the period between the close of the Tube and the start of daytime bus services.

If you're not familiar with the routes, head to Trafalgar Square (the hub for night buses) or check the information board at any bus stop. London bus services are less frequent during the night.

See the sights on a London bus tour

Hop on a London bus tour for the perfect opportunity to appreciate the full architectural splendour of London's famous streets and monuments. Tour guides offer historical background and interesting facts with commentary available in several languages. For something a little different, try out a themed bus tour, perhaps afternoon tea or an eerie evening ghost tour.

Some regular bus routes are good for sightseeing, too – try route 9 for London's museums and palaces, route 17 for heritage and pubs, or route 35 for a tour of London's markets. Check out top sights from an iconic red London bus with these landmark-packed TfL bus itineraries.

London bus accessibility

All 8,500 London buses are low-floor vehicles, and bus travel is free for wheelchair users.

Low-floor buses are accessible to everyone including those using wheelchairs, with baby buggies (prams/strollers), with assistance dogs or with other mobility requirements. Every bus also has a retractable ramp.

All London buses have room for one person using a wheelchair. Buses can accommodate wheelchairs up to 70cm (28 inches) wide by 120cm (47 inches) long. Wheelchair users have priority over everyone else for use of the wheelchair space. There is no limit on the number of assistance dogs allowed on the bus, as long as there is space.

See Transport for London's accessibility guide for more details.

Arrive in London by bus or coach

Coaches are a great option for cheap travel to London from almost anywhere in the UK or Europe. Read about coaches to London.

Find more traveller information.

Discover the long history of London buses

The first London buses started in 1829, although back then they were horse powered. You can discover the evolution of the bus up to the modern electric vehicles at the London Transport Museum.

For longer journeys, hop on the Tube, London's underground train service.