London Underground: maps, directions, fares, and opening times
Read an article about London Underground with updated high resolution map, scheme, fares and opening hours. From this article you will learn how to use subway, what are the nuances of travel, and at what stations are the major attractions of the British capital.
- Official name of the Underground : London Underground
- Number of lines : 11
- Number of stations : 270
- Lines : 402 km
- Yearly number of passengers : 1.5 billion
- Year of tube’s launch : 1863
- Name of transport company : London Underground Limited
- London Underground official website : Tfl.gov.uk
- Subway operating hours : approximately 5:00 to 1:00 with traffic intervals of 5-10 minutes.
The London Underground is the UK capital’s public rapid transit system, used by locals and tourists alike. Also London Underground is the most popular form of transport in the city and when traveling in England, you will 100% use it.
London Underground is the oldest in the world and today it has 11 lines, 270 stations and 402 km of tracks.
Entrance to the London Underground is signposted Underground.
But the exit to the platforms is through turnstiles. Depending on the type of ticket you need to attach or scan before entering.
Now a few observations and tips about the London Underground.
- The subway is often very hot and stuffy, so bring a bottle of water.
- Locals call the subway “tube”, because in English it is called “tube”.
- There is a large distance between the platform and the entrance to the train, so watch your feet carefully to avoid getting stuck.
- The subway is old and often breaks down entire lines. Train cars are very narrow and low. Internet on Wi-Fi and cell phones are not available in the carriages. But at the stations Wi-Fi Internet is available.
London Underground Fares
The fare on the London Underground depends on the number of stations you want to travel, time of day and what you will pay for the ride. The most expensive way to pay is the individual fare cards. Payment by bank card and Oyster card is the same. The peak time with the highest fare is considered Monday through Friday from 06:30 to 09:30. At all other times, including public holidays, the same cheaper fare applies.
You can pay the fare on the London Underground in the following ways: Oyster transport card, single trip ticket, travel card or contactless bank card American Express, MasterCard or Visa
Now here are examples of fares. A ticket from Heathrow airport to the center costs £6.00. If you pay by bank card or Oyster card £5.10 at peak times or any other time £3.10.
The fare through a couple of stations is £4.90 if you buy a separate ticket.
You can also buy a 1-day or weekly pass. For example, a 1 day pass costs £13.50 and a week pass from Monday to Sunday costs £36.10.
The Oyster transport card costs £5. The card can even be returned after use through a machine. Tickets and cards can be purchased from vending machines or cashiers.
The penalty for stowaways is £80, so always put your card to the validator at the start and end of your journey.
Names of London Underground lines
Each London Underground line has a name and a color designation. The inconvenience is that on maps the names of the lines are not marked in any way, and there is no letter or number designation, so if you are colorblind and have trouble remembering the names, you will have problems.
- Bakerloo line is light brown
- Central line is red.
- Circle line is yellow.
- District line-green
- Hammersmith & City line, pink
- The Jubilee line in grey
- Metropolitan line purple
- Northern line black
- Piccadilly line – dark blue
- Victoria line-blue
- Waterloo & City line – turquoise
London Underground stations by the sights
I’ll list the important tube stations with London’s landmarks and transport hubs.
- Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 – Station at London Heathrow Airport Terminals 2 & 3, from which you can take the blue line directly to London, such as King’s Cross train station.
- King’s Cross – King’s Cross train station.
- Victoria Station – Victoria Station.
- Tower Hill – The Tower of London and Tower Bridge.
- St James’s Park – Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey and Big Ben Clock Tower.
- Waterloo – London Eye Wheel and London Waterloo railway station.
- Aldgate – The Cucumber Skyscraper.
- Baker Street – Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in London and Sherlock Holmes Museum
- Charing Cross – Trafalgar Square and Nelson’s 50 metre column, National Gallery
- Piccadilly Circus – Piccadilly Square
- Greenwich – Greenwich Royal Observatory
London Underground map
Below you can see London Underground map with the stations, lines and fare zones. Download the map to your phone so that you have it always at hand even if you have no internet connection.
You can learn more about the history of the London Underground during a group tour in Russian “London Underground Daily Tour”.
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London Underground, fares and tube diagrams
London Underground is one of the largest and one of the busiest subways in the world. It was opened on January 10, 1863 and is the oldest subway in the world, as well as one of the symbols of the British capital. Because of the shape of the tunnels, Londoners nicknamed the subway “The Tube” (from English – “tube”). The first section of the London Underground called “Metropolitan Railway” was serviced by trains on steam traction and ran underground. It consisted of seven stations connecting the central district of the City with King’s Cross and Paddington railway stations. Despite the smoke of the stations, the subway quickly gained popularity among the population of London, which led to the rapid development of a new form of public transport. As a result, in 1908 the London Underground consisted of eight lines and continued to expand rapidly. Today the London Underground consists of eleven lines, many of which branch into several routes, covering most of Greater London. It is the most convenient and popular form of public transport in the British capital. Every day it transports about 5 million people, which is about half of the total population of the city. By tube you can reach the main railway station Waterloo (London-Waterloo Station) and other major stations, international airport Heathrow (London Heathrow Airport) and most sights of the British capital: the Tower of London, St Paul’s Cathedral, The British Museum, Madame Tussauds Museum, Buckingham Palace. The London Underground is operated by TCL and, together with buses, forms the basis of public transport in the British capital. The London Underground is divided into nine fare zones. The cost of a ticket on the London Underground depends on the number of zones to be crossed and varies from 4.9 to 8.5 GBP. You enter and exit through the turnstile, there are ticket inspectors at the stations and in the trains, so you must keep your ticket until the end of the journey. It is much more convenient and economical to pay with a contactless Oyster card, which, unlike a one-time ticket, is valid on all public transport in London. London Underground stations are marked with the Underground logo on a blue background encircled by a red circle. The symbol of the London Underground is one of the most recognizable and marketable brands of the British capital. Most of the stations are equipped with escalators and elevators to enter. Inside they London Underground is decorated very concisely, with an emphasis on functionality: a lot of information boards, signs, diagrams. For the visually impaired on the floor laid tactile tiles, installed special machines. London Underground platforms are of pylon type with a shortened central hall. This station design has been dubbed “London”. Most stations serve trains of several directions, so you need to be very careful when boarding the train. Trains in the London Underground are found both modern and quite old. The latter run mostly on the Circle Line and are characterized by a lot of noise and much less speed. Doors of London Underground cars open automatically, and handrails are painted in line color.
The London Underground has 270 stations on 11 lines. Each line has its own name and color: Bakerloo (brown), Central (red), Circle (yellow), District (green), Hammersmith & City (pink), Jubilee (gray), Metropolitan (purple), Northern (black), Piccadilly (blue), Victoria (blue), Waterloo & City (turquoise). Most lines have branches and there are trains with different routes. At many Metro stations you can transfer to suburban railroad and light metro trains. The total length of the routes is 402 km. Opening hours are from 5:00 to 1:00 on weekdays and 7:00 to 1:00 on weekends.
The London Underground transport system is divided into nine zones and the fares depend on them. The cost of a single ticket, valid for all forms of rail transport, varies from 4.90 to 8.50 GBP depending on the zone and time of travel (higher during rush hour). There are also 1-day tickets ranging from 6.60 to 17.20 GBP and 7-day tickets priced from 33.00 to 85.70 GBP depending on the fare zone. You can also pay with top-up Oystercards. The card is free, valid on all modes of transport and the fare is 30-50% lower. Tourists can buy Travel Cards from 12.30 GBP for 1 day, 33 GBP for 7 days and 126.80 GBP for a month.
You can buy tickets at the ticket office or from ticket machines. Some machines accept coins, bills and credit cards, others only accept coins and some only accept credit cards. To pass through the turnstile, the ticket must be dropped into a special hole and the card must be attached to the yellow circle. At the exit the procedure should be repeated, as the payment is counted at the end of the route. There are controllers on the line.