London is a vast city that spans 607 square miles (or 1,572 km). Irrespective of its size, the city maintains a reliable public transportation network that connects each of the 32 London boroughs. There are several ways to get about, including the tube overground, river buses, a tram system, and even a cable car. It is expected that first-time visitors to the city could feel a little overwhelmed, but don't worry; reading the blog till the end will help you. Going forward, we're going to explore the different London zones 1 to 9, which will give you an idea of how to navigate your way through!
What are London Zones?
At resent, the London zones 1 to 9 are the most well-known. London travel zones are separated for transportation, with Zone 1 being the city centre and Zone 9 being the city's outskirts. Transport for London (TfL) uses the technology to determine a customer's journey distance and charge appropriately. Since most of London's major attractions and the city centre are located in Zone 1, most visitors won't need to venture outside. For those travelling far, it's crucial to consider how many London zones you'll pass through because this will influence the ticket you need. If you plan to travel around London as a student and are wondering what to do, our blog on Student Life in London can help you with a lot of insights!
What are the 9 London Zones?
Rail transportation in London is divided into London zones 1 to 9, which are being managed by London Transport. Six fare London zones are given to each station on the London Underground zones, London Overground, National Rail, TfL Rail, and Docklands Light Railway. The central core region is covered by Zone 1, while fare zones 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are basically concentric circles around Zone 1. Zone 7,8, and 9, which extend into Buckinghamshire, Essex and Hertfordshire to include all stations served by TfL services and some Southeastern and Greater Anglia services that are outside Greater London. However, these zones do not form complete rings around London. To purchase tickets faster, zones were created to lower pricing. In addition to navigating within the city, it's important to consider transportation options for journeys beyond the city limits, such as London airport transfers. There are various platforms providing reliable and convenient transfer services, ensuring a smooth transition to or from major airports like London’s Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, and City Airport. Here’s a breakdown of the London zones 1 to 9 and their locations for better understanding:
Zone 1: London City Centre
The heartbeat of the city, Zone 1 encompasses iconic landmarks like Big Ben and the Tower of London, offering a blend of historical richness and modern vibrancy.
Zone 2: Notting Hill, Camden Town, London Zoo
Zone 2 is a cultural hub with the trendy streets of Notting Hill, the alternative charm of Camden Town, and the zoological wonders of London Zoo, along with two prominent football stadiums for sports enthusiasts.
Zone 3: Kew Gardens, Wimbledon and London City Airport
Embracing natural beauty, Zone 3 features the lush landscapes of Kew Gardens, the renowned Wimbledon tennis championships, and the convenience of London City Airport for quick getaways.
Zone 4: Wembley, RAF museum, Richmond Park
Zone 4 boasts the iconic Wembley Stadium, the fascinating RAF museum, and the tranquil expanses of Richmond Park, making it a diverse blend of sports, history, and nature.
Zone 5: Twickenham, England Rugby Union
A haven for rugby enthusiasts, Zone 5 is home to Twickenham Stadium, the world's largest dedicated rugby union venue, and serves as the heart of England Rugby.
Zone 6: End of the line for Central, District, Thameslink, Heathrow Express, Elizabeth, Metropolitan, Overground and Piccadilly
As the gateway to various transport networks, Zone 6 marks the termination point for multiple train lines, providing essential connectivity and convenience.
Zone 7: Zones A - Croxley, Rickmansworth and Watford and B - Chorleywood
Zone 7 encompasses charming towns like Croxley, Rickmansworth, and Watford in Zone A, and the picturesque surroundings of Chorleywood in Zone B, offering a mix of suburban tranquillity and urban accessibility.
Zone 8: Zone C - Chalfont & Latimer
Zone 8 features the serene locales of Chalfont & Latimer, providing a peaceful escape from the bustling city life.
Zone 9: Zone D - Amersham and Chesham
The outermost reaches of London, Zone 9's Amersham and Chesham offer a more rural atmosphere, showcasing historic charm and scenic beauty.
What are the types of London transport in London zones?
London is a massive city with various modes of transport, wherein everyone can travel on a budget and in comfort. The city provides London transport through buses, underground tubes, DLR, also known as Dockland Light Railways, Cable cars provided by Emirates, river buses, overground trains and the most efficient bicycles. With these many options, you can comfortably and conveniently travel within the zones in London, and also explore the city and visit the top restaurants in London.
1. The Underground
First ride: 5 am
Last ride: 12 am
The London Underground Zones 1 to 9 is the oldest underground rail network and one of the best London travel zones in the world. Locals call it the "Tube" because parts of the network's tunnels resemble round tubes running through the ground. Underground stations are marked with a red and blue roundel around the city. To know more, we have a detailed blog about how to use the London underground.
The Underground transport is a hallmark of public transit in London. Take a look at our webstory on public transportation in London if you're a visual learner!
2. The Overground
First ride: 5:30 am
Last ride: 12:30 am
The overground, which should not be confused with the "Tube," runs above street level and connects the city centre to the larger metropolitan area using zones in London. To improve connectivity between the zones in London, it was introduced in 2007. North and West London railways had experienced serious degradation over the years. To build a complete orbital network to serve the Capital, London Overground sought to merge these older networks into new lines in east and south London, and now is one of the best London travel zones.
3. Docklands Light Railway
First ride: 5:30 am
Last ride: 12:30 am
Unlike the rest of London's transport system, the DLR is one of the completely driverless London zones. The DLR connects with London's cable car, the Emirates Air Line, and serves the docklands neighbourhood of London zones, located directly east and southeast of Central London. Use the Light Rail to scout out the best living areas. For more information, read our blog on the 10 best neighbourhoods in London.
4. London Buses
First ride: 5 am
Last ride: 12 am
In addition to being a great way to view the city, buses in London travel zones have one key advantage over all other forms of London transport: they are not constrained by the "zone" system. Why does this matter? There is a set rate of £1.65 for each trip, regardless of how far or where you are going. Additionally, they benefit from the hopper fare, which allows unlimited bus rides within an hour for a fixed fee of £1.65.
5. Emirates Air Line (Cable Car)
First ride: 8 am
Last ride: 8 pm
Don't be deceived by its misleading name; the UK's only urban cable car system will only take you 90 metres above London (295 feet). Enjoy stunning panoramic vistas of London zones 1-6 as it moves from Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock—more magnificent than helpful. You can also use an Oyster travel card contactless card to make payments through the TfL system, just like you would if you were travelling by bus or train.
6. Boris Bikes
First ride: all-day
Last ride: all-day
London 1-6 zones Santander Cycles, often known as 'Boris Bikes' locally, operates a public bicycle rental programme in zones in London 1-6 with more than 12,000 bicycles and 800 docking stations. Cycling around the city is a terrific (and environmentally responsible) way to explore. In the last ten years, the number of cyclists on London's roads has more than doubled.
7. River Bus
First ride: 5:30 am
Last ride: 11:30 pm
The imprecisely called 'River Bus' runs 6 routes along the River Thames between Putney in the west and Woolwich in the east, departing from 22 piers. Since departures only occur every 20 minutes, we advise scheduling your trip in advance to prevent delays in travelling in London zones 1-8. The river bus is an excellent way to go around the city and enjoy fantastic views of London's riverfront and witness the scenic beauty.
What are the London zone fares?
While travelling in London, the fare you will pay depends on the zone you are travelling in. The fare is calculated according to the London zones you pass by while reaching your destination, considers your mode of transport, and covers underground buses and trains. There are also several ways to pay for your travel between London Zones 1 to 9, keep reading to know all about the different ways you can pay!
How to pay for London transport in London zones
Even though London's transport system is among the best in the world, a newcomer to the city could find it a little challenging to navigate. Oyster card, debit or credit card, and Apple or Contactless Pay. It is extremely important to keep in mind that every person requires their own means of payment; otherwise, you can be charged more than you are in general.
1. Apple Pay
Apple Pay is one of the most preferred options to pay for public London transport in London zones 1 to 9 and London zones 1 to 9. Except for using your phone, this payment option is much the same as the contactless. You can tap the yellow card reader with your phone just like you would for a physical card if you have your credit or debit card set up in your Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet.
2. Oyster Cards
These convenient tiny cards make navigating the city easy when it comes to figuring out how to pay for public transport in London zones 1 to 6 or London zones 1 to 9. You can purchase them at the airport, several train stations, and many convenience stores in the city. You can top up your oyster card as many times as necessary, and they cost five pounds each. The London oyster card price is around £7, which is the price of purchasing the card. If you use a Pay as You Go Oyster card, top it up with enough cash to either pay for a single ride across the zones you travel through or add enough cash to cover the cost of the "daily cap" if you want unrestricted travel for the day. The cost of a zone 1–5 weekly Travelcard is £65.70 if you stay in Zone 5. A weekly Travelcard for Zones 2–5 costs £38.20, saving you £27.50 each week. To find out more information about oyster cards, head to our blog on the ultimate guide to oyster cards.
3. Contactless Payment
Contactless payment is available for those with a credit or debit card that accepts contactless payments. Check for the "contactless" icon on the card's front (shown above) or inquire with your bank or card provider if you're unclear if your card has it.If you do have it, this is undoubtedly the simplest and most practical method for paying for London transport zones. The fare is automatically generated based on the distance you have travelled if you tap your debit/credit card on the yellow card reader at the ticket booth. To make sure that you are paying the correct fare and you are not overcharged, you should always tap it at the beginning and end of your tube ride. You simply need to tap in once on buses to begin your trip, making travelling in London zones easy for you.
4. Foreign contactless card
You may pay for transport in London with a contactless debit or credit card if you have one. If you don't have or don't want an Oyster card, it's perfect. Or if the pay-as-you-go credit on your Oyster card runs out. You tap in and out at the ticket barriers at the tube or railway station or press the yellow card reader when you board a bus to use your card like an Oyster card. The primary distinction is that the fare is deducted from your debit card or credit card the next day; you no longer need to load money onto your Oyster card.
How to save money on travel to central London zones 2-6
The London Travel card has the primary advantage of being accepted on buses across all of London, regardless of which London zones you want it for. Purchasing a weekly or monthly Travelcard that excludes London Zone 1 but includes Zone 2 is a smart money-saving move if you live in Zones 2–6 and need to travel to Zone 1 (the centre of London). Take the bus to and around Zone 1 after taking the train or tube to the Zone 2 station closest to Zone 1. You will only save some money if you use a weekly or monthly Travelcard. Have a look at these prices for better understanding:
Zone 1-5 weekly Travelcard is £69.60
Zone 2-5 weekly Travelcard is £40.50
Zone 1-5 monthly Travelcard is £267.30
Zone 2-5 monthly Travelcard is £155.60
Zone 6-9 weekly Travelcard is £64.40
Zone 6-9 monthly Travelcard is £247.30
Fares for stations in two zones
Zones 1 through 9 are the nine fare zones that make up the London public transport system. Zone 1 covers the city's centre, and the remaining zones are distributed outside. A station is said to straddle the boundary between two adjacent zones when it is located on their border. This is especially true for public transportation systems like the London Underground Zones 1 to 9 (Tube) and others where the fare you pay varies according to the zones you go through.
Stations on the border of two zones are frequently marked on the tube map with a unique graphic clue to help passengers understand their location. To be more precise, the names of certain stations on the map might have a white box around them. Because these stations are situated on the border between two fare zones, they have a particular status that makes them easy to identify for travellers. It is advised that passengers may have particular ticketing concerns when travelling to or from these border stations. This can entail different rates, ticket options, or fee computations when compared to trips that take place wholly inside one zone.
Popular places to visit outside London Zone 1
Zone 1 is a London zone which covers most of central London. However, the areas outside of Zone 1, too, are filled with tons of tourist attractions, culture, and eateries for you to explore during your stay in the capital of England. Here are some of our favourites:
1. Horniman Museum: near Forest Hill station
2. Greenwich: near Cutty Sark station
3. Highgate Cemetery: near Archway station
4. Battersea Park: near Battersea Park station
5. Oxleas Wood & SevernDroog Castle: near Eltham station
6. Brockwell Lido: near Herne Hill station
7. Broadway Market: near London Fields station
8. London Wetland Centre: near Barnes station
9. Bruce Castle Museum: near Bruce Grove station
10. Crystal Palace Park: near Crystal Palace station
You are all set to venture around London through the London zones 1-9! We hope our London zones guide will help you navigate the city easily and comfortably as a new traveller in the country. Remember to follow all the laws of the country, and don't forget to tap in and tap out to avoid any penalties on your travel cards. If you're a student planning to study in the UK, finding suitable accommodation might be a concern. Explore the amazing student accommodation options in the UK and start your journey today!.