Ultimate Guide to London Zones 1 to 6
8 min

Ultimate Guide to London Zones 1 to 6

8 min
Uploaded on
Dec 14, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
Uploaded on
Dec 14, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 13, 2023
London Zone guide
Get in the zone!

London is a vast city that spans 607 square miles (or 1,572 km). Despite its size, the city maintains a reliable public transportation network that links 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. The different transportation payment methods, such as paper tickets, Oyster cards, and contactless payment cards. 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.

London Transport Zones 

London zones are separated for transportation, with Zone 1 being the city centre and Zone 9 being the city's outskirts. TfL (Transport for London) uses the technology to determine a customer's journey distance and charge appropriately. Since most of the major attractions and the city centre are located in London zone 1, most visitors won't need to venture outside. For those travelling farther afield, it's crucial to think about how many London zones you'll pass through because this will influence the kind of ticket you need.

Travel prices are also influenced by the time of day; TfL charges higher fares during busy hours, sometimes called "peak hours." These times are from 06:30 to 09:30 and 16:00 to 19:00 on Monday through Friday (excluding federal holidays). Buses in London zones are not subject to the "Zone" system; any travel card allows unlimited travel within zones 1 through 9.

What are the 6 London zones?

Rail transportation in London is divided into 6 London zones, which are being managed by London Transport. Six fare London zones are given to each station on the London Underground, London Overground, National Rail, TfL Rail, and Docklands Light Railway. The core region is covered by fare zone 1, while fare zones 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 create concentric circles around it. To make purchasing tickets faster, zones were created to lower pricing. You can travel from one place to another to visit the top restaurants, go to the top museums, enjoy beer at the best clubs or just enjoy the beautiful city by road. 

Types of London transport in London Zones

Types of London Transport

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 in the form of 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 travel within the London zones in comfort and convenience. 

The Underground 

The London Underground is the oldest underground rail network and one of the best London transport systems in the world. Locals refer to it as 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. We have a detailed blog about how to use the London underground

The Overground 

The overground, which should not be confused with the "Tube," runs above street level and connects the city centre to the larger metropolitan area. To improve connectivity between the London zones, it was introduced in 2007.

Docklands Light Railway

The DLR is completely driverless, unlike the rest of London's transport system. The DLR connects with London's cable car, the Emirates Air Line, and serves the docklands neighbourhood of London zones, which is located directly east and southeast of Central London.

London Buses

In addition to being a great way to view the city, buses in London 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 you take, regardless of how far you are going 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.

Emirates Air Line (Cable Car)

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 to 6 as it moves from Greenwich to Royal Victoria Dock—more magnificent than helpful. You can use your Oyster travel card contactless card to make payments through the TfL system, just like you would if you were using the bus or train.

Boris Bikes

Santander Cycles, often known as 'Boris Bikes' locally, operates a public bicycle rental programme in London zones 1 to 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.

River Bus

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 to 6. The river bus is a fantastic way to go around the city and take in fantastic views of London's riverfront if you're not in a rush. 

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. You'll probably end up paying more than necessary if you don't understand the ins and outs of the most efficient ways to pay for public London transport in London zones. In this post, we'll go over each of the three main methods for paying for transportation in the city: Oyster card, debit or credit card, and Apple or Google Pay.

It's also important to remember that each person requires their own means of payment; otherwise, you can be charged more than you should.

Apple Pay or Google Pay

Apple Pay or Google Pay are the most preferred options in our article about how to pay for public London transport in London zones 1 to 6. Except for using your phone, this payment option is much the same as the contactless. You can touch your phone on the yellow card reader just like you would a physical card if you have your credit or debit card set up in your Apple Pay or Google Pay wallet. 

Oyster Cards 

These convenient tiny cards make navigating the city easy when it comes to figuring out how to pay for public London transport in London zones 1 to 6. They are available for purchase at the airport, several train stations, and many of the city's convenience stores. You can top up your card as many times as necessary, and they cost five pounds each.

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 public London transport. Your fare will be automatically computed based on the distance you have travelled if you simply touch your debit or credit card on the yellow card reader at the ticket booth or the front of the bus next to the driver. To ensure you pay the correct fare and aren't overcharged, you must always tap it once at the beginning and once at the 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. 

How to save money on travel to central London zones 2-6

The Travelcard has the primary advantage of being accepted on buses across all of London, regardless of the zones you purchase. 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. The cost of 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.

You are all set to venture around London through the London zones 1 to 6! We hope our London zone guide will help you navigate through the city with ease and comfort 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.