Odds are if you'll soon be boarding flights to London, you'll need to go “underground” to get around town.
The London Underground, more commonly referred to as the Tube, is London's underground rail network.
To borrow a term from New York City, it's London's “subway” and is one of the fastest and easiest ways to access this huge city.
If you're a bit more adventurous, particularly keen to experience London as a Londoner or there's simply somewhere in or around town that's just beyond the reach of the Tube system, you have options.
A range of overground trains and a light rail system ensure you'll be able to explore more than just the usual centrally located tourist hot spots.
Of course, there are always buses, Thames Clipper water taxis, the iconic and comfortable black cabs and more to aid in your transportation needs as well.
Rail service fares in the London area (both above and below the ground) are calculated by something called the London fare zones system. Greater London and parts of the surrounding counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Kent and Surrey are divided into eleven fare zones.
Every station within each fare zone area served by the London Underground, London Overground, Docklands Light Railway and National Rail is in one or every once in awhile two zones. London itself is split into six somewhat concentric zones for the purpose of determining the cost of single fares and Travelcards. The boundary of Zone 1 roughly corresponds to the route of the Underground's Circle Line.
Whether visiting London for work or for pleasure, the vast majority of hotels, attractions, nightlife hot spots and offices are all well within Zone 1. The London Eye, the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square, as well as all major rail terminals, the City of London and the West End – these are all in Zone 1. However, it is worth noting that the 2012 Olympic Village is in Zone 3 in East London and that Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6 west of town.
As discussed in a previous blog post, an Oyster Card is usually the best way for most people to take advantage of the Tube and other public transportation options. For up to the minute information on routes, ticket prices, travelcard options and a good collection of maps, visit the Transport for London website at www.tfl.gov.uk.
Image Credit: Chris Osburn (Author)
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