The London metropolitan area is divided into 9 concentric fare zones - zone 1 being the more central - and journey costs vary depending on the number of zones one crosses. The Underground (the Tube) covers most destinations, though south of the river it is often replaced by the local rail service and east of the city by the DLR (Docklands Light Rail). The Overground network (orange on the map) is composed of an external orbital route and several suburban routes.
Whether travelling by buses, Tube, local trains, DLR or Overground within the nine fare zones, single or return tickets are a lot more expensive than using an Oyster card. These are chip-embedded cards (available at all staffed stations or selected ticket machines and retailers for a £5 refundable deposit) that can be topped up with a fixed amount (in multiples of £5) and can also store weekly or monthly passes. You must touch each time you enter and exit the network and the system will deduct the correct fare between the two points travelled. On the buses you only need to touch on a reader when you board as it’s always a fixed charge.
As in all major cities, London’s transport network is very congested at peak time (8-9 am and 5-7pm) and some stations can occasionally close due to overcrowding.
A nice alternative is to use the Clipper river services, operating between Richmond and Canary Wharf: with several routes, stopping at key locations these are a great way of seeing the capital’s riverside attractions.
London Black Cabs (taxi) are a famous sight in London and can be found pretty much everywhere. They don’t come cheap though and recently they have been put under pressure by the rise of Uber. There are also private vehicle for hire (mini-cabs) however do not use any firm that has not been acknowledged and vetted by TFL (check for the classic crossed roundel symbol) and do not accept service from unidentified taxis.
Check all public travel information on the Transport for London website at www.tfl.gov.uk