Trains & Underground

If you are spending any time at all in London then it’s almost a certainty you will end up travelling on the ‘tube’, London’s underground rail network.

London is covered by 11 tube lines, plus additional overground trains and the DLR (docklands light railway) and a new line is due to open in the next couple of years.

The capital is divided into 9 zones with zone 1 being the most central and the others radiating outward, the pricing is worked on what zoes you travel through.


It is far cheaper, less than half the price to pay for your tube travel using either an Oyster Card (which is a London travel card you preload with money) or a contactless payment card rather than cash.

A journey in zone 1 for an adult using Oyster or contactless would be £2.40. This will increase as you cross into further zones but there is a maximum cap for the day. Always remember to tap in and out at the start or end of every journey, central stations will have barriers but if you head into the suburbs then it can be easy to just walk off and forget to complete your journey.

Underground Tips

Avoid using the tube between 7-30 and 9AM or 5 to 7PM, the trains and stations can get very, very busy in rush hour and if you’re not sure where you’re headed it can be difficult to navigate the crowds.

Always let people disembark the train before boarding and you will see that Londoners will queue at stations for the next available train, you won’t make many friends if you opt not to.

Be careful around the edge of the platform and ‘mind the gap’

Stand on the right when using escalators or use the left hand side if you wish to walk up them.

Free tube maps are available at most stations, all the lines and signage are colour coded, most locals and any station staff would be happy to assist you if you’re trying to find the right platform or train.


The Docklands Light Railway is situated in East London and was opened in the late 80’s to serve the redeveloped docklands. Most of the line runs above ground and the trains are automated, there are no drivers. Kids love this as on a quiet train they may be able to sit at the front of the train as though they were the driver.

If you have reason to visit East London, maybe City Airport or the Excel Exhibition centre then the DLR is a great way to see some of the city. You will see a mixture of shiny chrome and glass buildings, factories and possibly the odd grimey alley way. You might find you get a little taste and feel for East London in a way that you wouldn’t otherwise.

I wouldn’t suggest heading to east London just to ride the DLR but if you are heading that way anyway then it’s a nice chance to see something different in London.

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