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Transport in and out of London

For those new to the city, we have offered some tips on various forms of transportation below. Please note that LSE cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.

There are many ways to get around in London. Public transport in London is usually very crowded during peak times on weekdays:

Morning: 7:30-9:30am
Lunch: 12-2pm
Afternoon 4:30-6:30pm

It is therefore sometimes quicker to walk or cycle to certain places around London rather than waiting for a bus or a tube.

For helpful directions on how to travel to halls of residence, please visit the Accommodation website. 

Traveling in London

UndergroundBusTrainTaxiCyclingOn FootDriving

The Transport for London  (TfL) website is an essential tool in planning tube, bus, DLR, river, walking, and taxi journeys, or for learning more about transport accessibility.  

Use the online Journey planner to find the best routes, check for delays or find a taxi. Students are often eligible for discounts on travel.  See Student travel cards in the tab above or TfL’s student travel page to learn more.  

Underground:  'The Tube' is the term that locals use for the London Underground

  • TfL has divided London into six zones and fares vary based on which zones you cross.
  • Currently the tube does not run 24 hours a day, so check for the first and last tube  on your route. If you miss the last one, you may need to take a night bus or a taxi home instead. Certain lines on the tube are set to become 24 hours on a Friday and Saturday night from August onwards please see the TFL website for more details.
  • The tube can get very hot in the summer and can often experience delays. If possible always check that the service is running before you start your journey you can do this by checking the status updates.
  • Certain underground lines will branch of so it is important that you check you are on the right train by looking at the electronic boards on the platform or at the destination at the front of the train.

Tickets: Underground tickets may be purchased from ticket machines or ticket counters at Underground stations, and sometimes from newsagents. Oyster cards (please see student travel cards in the tab above) or travel cards are the cheapest way to travel via tube and students may be entitled to a discounted card.

To use an Oyster Card or a contactless payment card, touch the card on the yellow reader on the top of the barrier in the tube station at the start and end of your journey to receive the best fare. 

If you choose to purchase a paper ticket, slide it into the machine at the front with the black strip down. Depending on your ticket it pop it back out for you at the top of the machine. If it does, take the ticket with you. DO NOT LOSE IT. You will need to do this again when you have reached your destination.

Visit Travelling to LSE  for further information on the closest tube stations to campus.

Bus:   Buses are cheaper than travelling by tube, but often can take longer. 

  • Buses in London are cash free. This means that you cannot buy a ticket with the driver; using an Oyster card, contactless payment card, travel card or purchasing a One Day Bus & Tram Pass are the only ways you are able to pay for a bus.  
  • You can check bus routes and live arrivals from here.
  • Oyster cards are the cheapest option, and students may be eligible for a discounted card. If you use an Oyster card, touch it on the yellow reader at the start and end of your journey to receive the best fare. If you purchase a paper ticket, show the ticket to the driver when you board the bus.
  • If during rush hour the bus is full, you will not be allowed to get on and will need to wait for the next bus, so be sure to always allow plenty of time. 
  • Some buses are available 24 hour a day however, your bus route may not offer a night service. You can recognise a night bus by the "N" in its prefix. Visit the Journey planner to find the best way home after hours. 

Visit Travelling to LSE for a list of buses that stop close to campus.

Train:   London offers various over ground rail lines, including the London Overground and the Docklands Light Railway (DLR).  Travelling on these lines is very similar to the London Underground.  You may use the Journey planner to plan your route and you can purchase a paper ticket or an Oyster card to get around. Unlike the Underground, these trains run on timetables . 

Taxi:   London black cabs are a reliable (though more expensive) way to travel 24 hours a day in London. 

  • Taxis that are not black cabs are called mini-cabs and may be less expensive. It is extremely important for your safety that you never accept a ride on the street from a mini-cab. They are unlicensed and illegal and you may be in danger. Mini-cabs should only be booked in advance through a licensed cab company. Details on how to find a licensed mini-cab can be found by visiting TfL's Cabwise
  • To take (also called 'hail') a black cab, look for cabs that have the light on top that says TAXI turned on. Stick out your arm as it approaches. Tell the driver through the front window where you are going and to ask any questions about the fare and then get in the back. The driver will turn on a meter to measure the cost of the journey. Pay the driver at the end of the ride.


  • TfL offers useful cycling information regarding safety and routes
  • London offers a cycle hire scheme which allows for public bicycle sharing for short journeys in and around London.  Go to Transport and facilities for cyclists for more information regarding cycle hire stations on campus.    

    Please note that bicycle theft is very common in London, and so it is also recommend that you visit Travelling to LSE and LSE Security to learn about the best way to lock your bicycle, as well as the location of the racks on campus.

On foot:   Walking in London can be an efficient and interesting way to get around. TfL offers routes and accessibility info for walkers.  Some students also find a London A-Z street map to be a useful way to navigate the city.

Driving:  Due to the expense and difficulty of parking in London, most students prefer to use public transportation. Please note that you must pay a congestion charge if you drive in central London.  You must have a license to drive and abide by laws. See Driving in the UK  for further details on laws and licenses and Travelling to LSE for information on parking on campus.

Student travel cards

Oyster cardYoung Persons RailcardYoung Persons Coachcard

There are a number of different  student travel cards which you can purchase:

Oyster cards

Oyster cards are the cheapest way to pay for single fare journeys on the underground, buses, DLR and some trains in London. It is up to you to determine which Oyster card will best suit your needs. See the info below and TfL Ticket Fares to learn more about the costs for travelling.

Pay As You Go

  • Pay As You Go may be best if you do not travel frequently.
  • Cards can be purchased at tube stations, some newsagents, or online for a refundable £5 deposit. You can then add credit to the card as needed.
  • The rates charged are cheaper than if you pay cash for a paper ticket.
  • Oyster also caps your daily travel, which means that you can travel as many times as you like in a day and you'll never pay more than the cost of an equivalent Day Travelcard.

Student Oyster Photocard

Full-time students over the age of 18 who travel frequently may prefer to purchase a Student Oyster Photocard for a deposit in order to receive a 30% discount on Travelcard and Bus Pass season tickets. It does not offer a discount on Pay As You Go fares. Season tickets can be purchased in increments of seven days, one month or longer periods up to a year.  

  • In order to be eligible to apply, you must be aged 18 or over, be fully registered in an eligible course and be living at a London address during term time.
  • You are not eligible to apply for this card until after your designated Registration date. You must also know your London address.
  • To apply online, visit the TFL website.  Select London School of Economics and Political Science from the drop-down list. You will be asked to upload a digital photo and pay by credit card. 

Do not apply before you register, or before you have a London address, or your application will be rejected.  

Once you apply, the LSE Students' Union will typically approve your application within 1 week.  (Please note that this can take longer in September/October due to the volume of students applying.)  Once approved, your card will then be posted to the address you provided to TFL, typically within 2 weeks.  You will need to pay standard Oyster card fares until your Photocard arrives.  Please contact the Students' Union directly with any questions.

Contactless Payment

London buses no longer accept cash payments for fares. Therefore, it is important that you ensure you have an oyster card with credit on it before travelling. You can also pay for bus fares with a contactless payment card, if you have been issued one from your bank. For more information, see the TFL contactless fares and payments webpage.

Link your Young Persons Railcard to your Oyster card to save money

If you have a Young Persons Railcard you can link it to your Oyster card to save money while travelling on the London underground. This will typically reduce the cost of buying some off-peak day travelcards and single off-peak pay as you go fares by 1/3. For more information, please visit the 16-25 Railcard website.

Young Persons Railcard

The Young Persons Railcard entitles individuals aged between 16-25, or over the age of 26 and in full-time education to a discount on trains. Click here for more information about obtaining a Railcard.

Railcards can usually be purchased online, but some students may need to complete an application form and bring it to the Student Services Centre to be stamped and signed. Please ensure that your section of the form has been filled out completely before visiting the Centre.  If this is the first time you have applied, you may also need to bring a passport-sized photograph with you to be validated as well.

Young Persons Coach Card

The Young Persons Coach Card entitles full-time students to a discount off coach travel.  To apply, visit the National Express website and pay by credit card. 

Other student discount cards

In addition to the travel discounts listed above, students are often entitled to a number of discounts at a variety of other types of vendors.  It may be worth asking whether you qualify for a discount at shops or tourist locations.  In some cases, it may be cheaper for you to join a student discount scheme. See Student discount cards to learn more.

Please note that LSE cannot be held responsible for the content of external websites.

Traveling out of London

For good deals on travel from the UK to other countries, you may consider STA Travel. They specialise in student and young independent travel and have 40 branches in UK high streets and universities, and 250 branches worldwide.  We have also included some information below if you prefer to do your own travel planning.

Rail:   There is extensive rail line coverage throughout a great deal of the UK. Generally speaking, the earlier you book your tickets, the cheaper the fares. See Student travel cards for information on discounted rail travel. Visit TheTrainLine, or National Rail Enquiries  for information on how to book tickets from a variety of retailers.

Planes:   There are a number of airports to choose from in the UK including London CityStanstedLutonHeathrow, and Gatwick airports.  You may prefer to contact major carriers or travel websites directly for advice on budget fares.

Coaches:   Taking a coach can be a cheaper option for travelling in the UK and throughout Europe. Coaches depart from the Victoria Coach Station which is about a 5 minute walk from Victoria Underground station. See National Express for further information on booking tickets and Student travel cards for details about student travel discounts.