Known more commonly as ‘the Tube’, the London Underground is the perfect way to travel and in and around Central London. With waits for trains typically no more than a few minutes, it forms the basis for most people’s visit to the city.
- Underground stations are usually open between 5am and midnight, with selected ‘Night Tube’ services operating later on Friday & Saturday evening
- Contactless and oyster cards are the most cost effective way to use the underground
- The price you pay, will depend on the time of day you travel, how far you’re travelling and how you want to pay for your ticket
- There are 11 different Tube Lines, denoted by different colours
- London’s underground network is divided up into 9 zones, with Central London located in Zone 1
The area denoted as Greater London has 11 different underground lines, in addition to the DLR and connected local rail networks. These services typically run from 5am to 12 midnight, between Monday and Saturday, with reduced opening hours and services operating on a Sunday.
You should refer to Transport For London’s (TFL) Journey Planner for more detailed information on which stations and routes to best choose to reach your required destination.
Underground Zones Explained
The London Underground or ‘Tube’ network is separated out into 9 different zones, with Zone 1 being right at the heart of the capital and Zone 9 being on the very outskirts of the city.
The cheapest method of travelling on the underground is by purchasing either an Oyster card, a Visitor Oyster card or a Day Travelcard. If you just turn up and pay cash for your ticket, this will cost the most, so it pays to think ahead.
A single journey on the underground bought with cash, will cost you £4.90 if you are travelling within Zone 1. Should you make the same journey with an Oyster card or a contactless card, it will cost you as little as £2.40, so you can see that it can really add up.
For more information, please check the TFL website.
If you are using a contactless payment card that has not been issued within the UK, you should check with your bank for any associated bank charges or transaction fees you may incur.
Discounts can be enjoyed by O.A.Ps, students and children on the London underground. Please check with the TFL website for details.
A London Pass is the perfect choice for those wanting to take in some sightseeing whilst in the capital and as it offers access to over 60 attractions and museums and priority entry to venues like the Tower of London and Westminster Abbey.
A Map of London Underground
The London Underground map was devised by one Harry Beck, back in 1933 and was designed to clearly differentiate train lines and their directions from each other. By denoting each line going North, South, East, West and on an orbital route with different colours, one can easily see which route goes where and where each line interchanges with another.
Please click on the map beneath or click into our ‘Free travel maps’ section to download a handy London Tube Map in PDF format.
Free Guides and London Tube Maps
Transport for London offers free guides and maps to help visitors to the capital, navigate their way round during their stay. Alternatively, you can find free maps at any of London’s underground stations and travel information centres. There are also centres at at major London Rail stations, Tourist information centres and terminals at Heathrow Airport.
It is also possible to download bus and tube maps in the ‘Free travel maps’ area of our website.
For those with smart phone’s, TFL offers a free online underground route planner, which offers a easily readable overview of the entire network, making planning your journey that much easier.
Other Useful Advice for Travellers on the Underground
If you are about to travel on the capital’s underground network, here are some useful pieces of advice to make your journey go that much more smoothly:
- Avoid using the Underground on weekdays, during rush hour (7am-9am & 5.30pm-7pm)
- Check that the destination displayed on the front of the train is going the right way
- When using the large escalators on the underground, be sure to stand to the right
- Don’t try and get onto Tube carriages until passengers have gotten off
- Don’t block doorways on Tube carriages and be sure to move down inside wherever possible
- While you’re waiting for your train to arrive, please stand behind the yellow line
- If no other seats are available, please offer yours to the elderly, disabled, pregnant and those with small children
- If stood during your journey, be sure to hold onto available rails and handles
- Last of all…Mind the gap!!
Underground Opening Times
Times can differ from line to line, but most London subway stations will start operating at around 5.00am, between Monday and Saturday. The only exception is on a Sunday, when reduced hours are in operation.
After their normally extremely busy day, the Underground will stop operating at around 12 Midnight. This may vary slightly, so please check with staff en route to find out details of when the last train is.
There are 24 hr services on the underground on certain lines.
Is the London Subway Easily Accessible?
Whilst most subway stations is London are easily accessible via stairs, the facilities catering for those with poor mobility differ from station to station, so please check before making your journey, as it may change the route you take.
There are many tube stations that are buried deep within the underground network, which mean large escalators are need to make your way in and out. Almost all of the stations that have these escalators, also have a lift available to take passengers to and from street level. ‘Step free’ stations are marked on the downloadable map on our ‘Free travel maps’ page.
When embarking and disembarking a tube train, it is important to remember that there is usually a step of around 8 inches between the train and the platform. If you think that this might be an issue for you, then you should travel in the carriage nearest the driver, so they can see you clearly and allow you sufficient time to safely get on or off.
Visit TFL’s website for details on accessibility of London Underground stations.
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