London is divided into travel zones which determine the price of travel on public transport across the city. Therefore, it’s good to understand the London travel zones so you know which Travelcard you need to buy, and it’s a particularly important consideration when choosing where to stay in London. The further your accommodation is from the city centre, the more expensive it will be to travel into the city each day to visit tourist attractions and places of interest.
London is divided into 9 radial zones. Looking at the London Underground tube map above, you can see that zone 1 is the centre of London with zones 2-9 extending out in a circle around it.
What to bear in mind about London travel zones when planning a trip to London
1. Tourist attractions
- The majority of London’s most-famous tourist attractions are located in the city centre within London’s transport zone Here’s you’ll find some of the most iconic places of the British capital including: Oxford Street, Regent’s Street, Piccadilly Circus, Covent Garden, Trafalgar Square, the London Eye, Big Ben, Houses of Parliament, Notting Hill… plus many more.
- The most visited tourist attraction outside of zone 1 is Camden Market which is located in zone 2.
- Stansted and Luton airports are located outside of the London transport zones so it’s necessary to buy a specific train or bus ticket to get to and from these airports.
- Gatwick Airport is also located outside of London, but it is now possible to use an Oyster card to travel from Gatwick Airport to London and vice versa.
- Heathrow and London City airports are both located within the London travel zones. Therefore, to travel to and from these two airports you can use the standard London transport tickets like an Oyster Card or a Travelcard.
What area to stay in when visiting London
If you’re planning a trip to London, the closer you stay to the centre of London, the cheaper your transport costs will be each day and the less time you’ll spend travelling on the tube or bus. Therefore, we recommend looking for hotels within London travel zones 1 or 2. You can find more detailed information on where to stay in London here, as well as some recommended hotels within zones 1 or 2.
What areas to look at when deciding to live in London
If you are looking for a place to live in London, it’s often a good idea to take into account the area that you work in. The less distance and zones that you have to commute through each day, the less time and money you’ll spend on travel.
That said, it’s pretty expensive to live in zone 1 of London so it’s normal to live outside the city centre. We recommend having a look at zones 2 and 3 where accommodation is more affordable, yet you can still quickly travel into the centre of London on the tube.