Travelling In & Around London
Travel in London
Most often it's easiest to travel in and around central London using the Tube – London's underground system – though buses and taxis (for short journeys) can prove useful.
It's inadvisable to use a car in central London, you may have to pay a congestion charge to drive the car, traffic can be difficult, and London is a warren of streets. If you do plan on hiring a car, ensure that you have GPS.
http://www.tfl.gov.uk/ is the central site for transport in London. It includes bus and tube maps to download. http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/1106.aspx, or http://www.london-tubemap.com/ for a geographically accurate map.
Journey Planner is a useful tool to find out how to get around in London and time your journey.
Public transport directions for London within Google Maps works on the same principles as Journey planner.
The tube covers all of central London, and most of the outlying areas. It's divided into six zones, with most of the tourist attractions being in the central zone 1. Croydon, is in zone 5.
The map of the tube is highly stylized, and doesn't correspond exactly to the geography of London; places may be much closer or further apart than the tube map shows. A useful rule of thumb is that a tube journey takes about 3 minutes per station.
There are 3 different classes of tickets.
Single and return tickets can be bought in stations, from the ticket office or machine. These cover a single journey and possibly the return journey. The price varies depending on the number of zones. This is the most expensive form of travel with tickets starting from about £4.
Travelcards cover all journeys in the applicable zone/s for the card on tube, bus, and rail. Travelcards can be bought for single days (anytime and off-peak hour travel), seven day, and more. Off-peak travelcards are substantially cheaper (about 50%) compared to anytime cards, and cards for longer periods are typically another 10% or so cheaper. Off-peak travelcards are valid for journeys in the applicable zone/s after 9.30am Mon-Fri, for all weekend travel, and for journeys starting before 4.30am the day after issue. Anytime travelcards are valid for all journeys in the applicable zone/s on the day of issue, until 4.30am the following day. Seven day travelcards are only available via Oyster...
Oyster Cards are electronic Pay-as-You-Go RFID smartcards, with a cap on the price of journeys at the daily travelcard rate. (http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14825.aspx) They are the cheapest way of paying for tickets and can be used in all zones. For single journeys, Oyster cards are up to about half the price of the comparative single tickets, however you have to keep your Oyster card topped up with enough credit for a single journey £1.90 and they cost about £5 which is in theory (but not necessarily in practice) refundable. Oyster cards are purchasable online (http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/), at many stations, and in many shops (look for the logo). Oyster can be used for travel on tube, bus, tram and some rail. You can use Pay-as-You-Go Oyster on trains between Croydon and central London. To pay using your Oyster card, you place it on an Oyster terminal for a moment; it's an RFID system. There are no Oyster terminals inside trains or trams. Oyster terminals can be found at the entrance to train platforms and along the tram platforms.
Ticket machines accept cash, debit and credit cards.
The tube does not run all night, however night buses are available. You can find the first and last train details at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/gettingaround/1129.aspx.
London buses are often not the picture postcard double-decker buses, but they are red, and can also be a good method for surface travel.
You can find details of day and night routes at http://www.tfl.gov.uk/tfl/gettingaround/maps/buses/. Enter a place name to find buses that run though it, for instance 'Croydon'. For night buses, click on the Night tab on the left.
You can buy single tickets on the bus for cash but not in central London. In the centre it's better not to rely on buying single tickets from the machines at the bus stops as they don't always work.
Oyster cards and travelcards are valid for bus journeys on any bus with a Transport for London logo. (In practice this is almost all buses, except for the National Express intercity buses.)
Taxis are also available; but car travel in London is usually inadvisable except for short distances. If you need a taxi, look for a London cab, usually black, also quaintly called a Hackney Carriage; as everywhere, it's best to use licensed taxis.
Taxis cost a minimum of £2.20, with the fare being dependent on the distance, the time taken, and the time of day. In practice this means that a journey of 1 mile can cost anything between about £5.20 and £8.40. There occasionally are extra charges too.
Unless you have a large amount of luggage, and/or an expense account, it is inadvisable to catch a taxi from the airport to your hotel – you can expect to pay between about £45 and £90 for a one-way journey.
Travel between Croydon and London
Croydon has two stations – East and West Croydon. East Croydon is closest to the Fairfield Halls – about a 5 minute walk. http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/ can gives train details.
From London Bridge, trains stopping at East Croydon depart every few minutes: the longest you should have to wait during the day is 20 minutes, but more usually trains are about 5 minutes apart. Trains depart from more than one platform, so look at the departures board to find a suitable train and travel to East Croydon takes between 12 and 17 minutes.
Similarly, trains run to East Croydon from London Victoria
Trains run to East Croydon from both London Bridge and London Victoria all night, though not as frequently as during the day. You may have to wait up to about 30 minutes.
There is an alternative mode of transport called Overground. London Overground Highbury & Islington to West Croydon runs directly between West Croydon and Canada Water [Jubilee line interchange], Shoreditch [Brick Lane area] and charming Islington. Overground trains are more spacious, modern versions of Underground trains. Trains depart from West Croydon Overground station every 15 minutes.
The metropolitan area of London is made up of a conglomeration of the Cities of London and Westminster, and the towns and villages and boroughs that London has absorbed, each of which retain their own character but not their strict boundaries.
Central London is often called the City is historical centre of London. It's about a mile square, north of the river, from the tower of London, westwards to a little beyond Blackfriars bridge. It's largely taken up with banking, financial and legal institutions. For those using metric measurements: a mile is about 1.6km.
This is the area with Palace of Westminster (Parliament), Big Ben, and Downing St. It's north of the river, adjacent to the City.
A tourist and public amenities area. Unsurprisingly, the central London area along the Thames. Best place in London for a walk.
The theater district, hotels, tourists, and shopping. Central London, west of the river and north of Buckingham Palace.
A revitalized part of London, now full of places to eat and entertainment. East of the City, and north of the river.
Museums and palaces. West of Westminster.
Great shopping, and good food. North of the river, and north east of Buckingham Palace, just off Oxford St
Famous for theater, eating and pubs, clubs, it's gay scene. A great place for tourists. Adjacent to Covent Gardens.
Home of tennis too. Sadly, we will be a couple of months too late. A village in the boundaries of London, south west of the centre.
A laid back area, famous for Camden Market. North west of central London.
Historic maritime area. South of the river and east of central London. The Royal Observatory is historically the centre of all time.
Canary Warf and Docklands
East of the London, on the river. Home of the new financial district and newspapers. The O2 arena, where we are holding the party, is here.
Croydon is a town south east of central London. It's one of the largest boroughs of London, and home to DrupalCon for the week.