London transport: The London Tube, buses and other ways to get around the city

Visit the top spots in London with ease using the city’s public transport network.

London has an expansive transportation network to get you from central London to the airport and surrounding areas. Since the city is so spread out, the London Tube is the best way to visit the major attractions. Only some attractions are within walking distance of each other, but all are near a transit station.

London public transport

Types of transport. Public transport within the city includes the London Underground which is also referred to as the Tube, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), the Emirates Air Line cable car and a river bus as well as buses, local trains and trams. Trains can be used to access tourist cities outside of the city, for example, Bath, Oxford, Cambridge and Windsor. Some of the main train stations that can get you out include Paddington, Kings Cross St Pancras, Victoria and Liverpool Street.

Paying for transport. The best way for tourists to pay for transport is to pay-as-you-go instead of buying single tickets. If you have a contactless card, you can use it to pay for transport or you can purchase an Oyster card and pre-load it. Simply use the card to tap on when you first get on transport and tap again when you depart. You can buy an Oyster card at all stations and some visitor centres, and you can use the Oyster card for trips on any of the above mentioned forms of transport.

Best apps for getting around. The Citymapper app provides a journey planner for all types of transit. It shows real-time departures, transit maps, disruption alerts and is integrated with Uber.

Getting to and from the London airports

London Heathrow. From Heathrow to the city centre, the fastest option is the Heathrow Express, which takes 15 minutes from terminals 2 and 3 and slightly longer from terminals 4 and 5. The most budget-friendly option is the London Underground. The Piccadilly Line runs from all terminals and the journey takes 50-60 minutes. The National Express coach runs to Victoria coach station and takes 40-80 minutes. Other options are the Feltham rail link to London Waterloo and Heathrow Connect to Paddington.

London Gatwick. The Gatwick Express train reaches London Victoria in the city centre within 30 minutes. Coach buses like easyBus and National Express services, which you can find at the lower south terminal forecourt, run low-cost options to central London.

London City. A DLR station is connected to the London City Airport terminal. It connects to the London Underground for access to the city. Two public bus routes, the 473 and 474, also run from the airport.

Stansted. National Express coach buses have 15 pick-up and drop-off stops in central London. The Stansted Express train is the quickest transport departing every 15 minutes.

Luton. The Luton Airport Parkway train provides services to central London and departs every 10-20 minutes. There is a shuttle from the Luton Airport outside the terminal at Bay T to the train station. National Express and Green Line coaches run to and from Victoria London station.

Taxis and Uber

Taxi. Taxis can be hailed from the side of the road or found at designated ranks. They can also be pre-booked.

Uber. Uber is available from all London airports and costs approximately £26-£109 from Heathrow Airport to central London.

London Tube map

The London Tube is the most popular way to get around London and is an easy and budget-friendly transport option.

London car hire rental companies

Renting a car in London is not very common and we don’t recommend it to tourists. Public transport in London is very reliable and easy to use when visiting all of the major attractions. As London is quite large and the attractions are spread out, it is not always possible to walk from attraction to attraction.

Avis, Hertz, Budget, Europcar, Enterprise, National, Alamo and Sixt are available for car rentals in London. Use DriveNow to compare prices and find the best deal.






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London airport transfers

It’s a breeze to get into and out of the city using local airport transfers like Viator and Jayride.

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Stephanie Yip

Stef is the Travel Editor at and has been writing about travel for over a decade. She's visited over 50 countries and has had some incredible experiences, including hot air ballooning over Cappadocia, hitchhiking across Romania and seeing the Northern Lights (twice!). And while she’d never say no to a luxury escape, she's far more likely to stretch her travel dollars as far as they can go by keeping her ear to the ground for unbeatable travel bargains. And she'll tell you all about them, too! Stef has had articles featured on Travel Weekly, Escape and Hostelworld.

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