Travelling in and around London

Heathrow Airport

There are three ways to reach Heathrow Airport by rail from central London, the Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect and the London Underground.

To purchase tickets for the Heathrow Express from London Paddington you will need to enter the following information during the booking process under 'Buy Tickets':

  • 'From' - enter your origin station. This does not need to be London Paddington - you can make a through booking from any Greater Anglia station.
  • 'To' - Heathrow Terminal 1,2,3 Rail (HXX); Heathrow Terminal 4 Rail (HAF), or Heathrow Terminal 5 Rail (HWV).

Heathrow Express trains go directly from London Paddington every 15 minutes at 10, 25, 40 and 55 past each hour from 05:10 until 23:25 to the main Heathrow station, Terminals 1,2,3. They then continue to Terminal 5. The journey takes 15 minutes to Terminals 1,2,3 and 21 minutes to Terminal 5. For Terminal 4, change at Terminals 1,2,3 for a connecting shuttle service. Journey time from Paddington to Terminal 4 is 27 minutes.

If you wish to go to Heathrow via the Piccadilly Line Underground, enter 'Heathrow Underground (ZHJ)'. From Liverpool Street or Stratford, take the Central Line of the Underground to Holborn, then the Piccadilly Line to Heathrow. Ensure you board a Heathrow train and not one for Uxbridge or Rayners Lane. Journey time from Liverpool Street to Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 is approximately 70 minutes.

If you wish to use the stopping Heathrow Connect service from London Paddington, enter a journey from Paddington to Heathrow Terminal 1,2,3, search for times, then click on ' Click here to check if slower routes with cheaper tickets are available', and select the 'Not Heathrow Exp' ticket. As these tickets are valid any time on the day of issue, it does not matter if the system cannot find a train when you wish to travel. Heathrow Connect services run half-hourly at 03 and 33 past each hour from 05.33 until 21.03 from London Paddington to Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3, taking 32 minutes. Additional early and late services run at non-standard times. A free rail transfer service is available to Terminal 4 and Terminal 5.

Please note Travelcards, Oyster Cards and Freedom Passes are not valid on the Heathrow Express, nor on the Heathrow Connect service beyond Hayes & Harlington to the airport.

Stansted Airport, Southend Airport and Gatwick Airport

To travel to Stansted Airport, Southend Airport and Gatwick Airport, simply type those names into the 'from/to' field. Through tickets can be purchased from almost any National Rail station.

London City Airport

London City Airport is served by its own station on the Woolwich Arsenal branch of the Docklands Light Railway. The station is in Fare Zone 3. For travel from Greater Anglia stations outside London on the line to Shenfield, Chelmsford, Southend etc, a ticket to "Underground Zone 3" would be required. Unfortunately tickets to this destination cannot be purchased online. These are available from the booking office or ticket machines. Alternatively a ticket to "Underground Zone 123'"or a One-Day Travelcard may be purchased or, for the journey on the DLR, an Oyster Card may be used.

To reach London City Airport, change at Stratford on to the low-level Docklands Light Railway from Platform 17. If no direct Woolwich Arsenal train is shown, take a Beckton service and change at Canning Town. Alternatively you can take a Jubilee line train to Canning Town and then the DLR.

Children aged under 5

In common with the National Rail system, children aged under 5 travel free of charge, at all times, on all forms of transport in London without the need for a ticket.

Children aged 5-10

If you intend to use only the Underground and buses in London, you will not need a ticket for accompanied children under the age of 11. They can travel free of charge at any time when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket, Travelcard, Oyster card or other payment authority. This also applies on the other rail systems operated on behalf of Transport for London - the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), TfL Rail (Shenfield to Liverpool Street stopping services) and on London Overground services. On Greater Anglia services, this applies in the area bounded by Liverpool Street, Stratford, Tottenham Hale and Seven Sisters only.

Children aged 11 or over, and unaccompanied children aged over 5, need a ticket at all times to travel on the above rail and underground services. On all other National Rail services in Greater London, as in the rest of the UK, all children over the age of 5 require a ticket to travel. This can be a paper Travelcard, a Young Visitor Oyster card, or a child-rate 'Zip' Oyster card.

Children under 11 travel free on London buses at all times. They do not need to have a ticket to do so.

If a child has a '5-10' Zip Oyster card, they can travel free of charge on almost the entire Oyster network. This includes the whole of Greater Anglia's Oyster area, which covers Liverpool Street and Stratford to Broxbourne, Hertford East and Shenfield. The only lines not covered by the free travel concession are the High Speed line from St Pancras International to Stratford International, and any service running beyond Coulsdon South towards Gatwick Airport.

Children aged 11-15

A ticket or Oyster card is required for all travel. This can either be a paper Travelcard, a Young Visitor Oyster card, or an '11-15' Zip Oyster card. The '11-15' Oyster card gives free travel on London buses and substantial discounts on rail and underground travel.

Full details on child rate travel in London and on how to obtain a 'Young Visitor' or 'Zip' Oyster card are on the Transport for London website here

Oyster cards are plastic smartcards which are used to travel around London. They can hold either Travelcard Season Tickets for a particular number of zones, or a stored cash value used to 'pay as you go', or both.

On the Greater Anglia network, Oyster cards can be used on the London suburban system between Liverpool Street, Enfield Town, Cheshunt via Southbury, Broxbourne via Tottenham Hale, Chingford, Gidea Park and Shenfield, also on the Romford to Upminster line.

Oyster cards can also be used on the entire London Underground system, the London Overground network (including to Watford Junction), the Docklands Light Railway, all scheduled London Bus services (including those that cross the Abellio Greater London boundary, e.g. no. 498 Romford to Brentwood), the London Tramlink system and all other National Rail services within Zones 1-6.

When using an Oyster card to pay as you go, you must touch in at the start of your journey and touch out at the end. If you pass through a set of barriers on your journey, you must touch in or out as required. The Oyster system will calculate the correct fare for the through journey being made.

If you have a Travelcard on your Oyster card, you can add a cash balance to pay as you go for any journeys outside the zones where your Travelcard is valid. For example, if you have a Zone 1-3 Travelcard, and you travel from Liverpool Street to Chadwell Heath in Zone 5, the system will charge you for the additional two zones when you touch out at Chadwell Heath. For this to work correctly, you must touch in at Liverpool Street when you start your journey. If you have not touched in at the start of your journey, the system will charge you the maximum single fare when you touch out.

Remember you can only use Oyster Cards to pay as you go when your journey is entirely within the Oyster Pay as you go area. If you are travelling from, for example, Romford to Southend, do not touch in with your Oyster Card at Romford as you will have no means of touching out when you arrive at Southend. You will either have to touch out within the Oyster area, for example at Shenfield and then buy a separate paper ticket to travel to Southend, or, as we advise, buy a through ticket from Romford to Southend and use that for your entire journey.

Full details on the Oyster card scheme are on the Transport for London website

London Day Travelcards are valid for travel within the zones shown on the ticket on the services of:

  • London Underground
  • London Overground (National Rail services operated on behalf of Transport for London)
  • Docklands Light Railway
  • London Buses. Any Travelcard valid in any zone is valid on any scheduled London Bus service displaying the TfL 'roundel' logo, including those services that run across the Greater London boundary
  • London Tramlink (in the Croydon/Wimbledon/Beckenham area), where your Travelcard includes Zone 3, 4, 5 or 6
  • National Rail train companies operating in Greater London (excluding Heathrow Connect between Hayes & Harlington and Heathrow, Heathrow Express, and Southeastern High Speed services ("Javelin") between London St Pancras, Stratford and beyond)
  • Scheduled Riverboats at 1/3 off the normal fare. Just show your Travelcard (or Oyster card with a Travelcard on it) at the time of travel
  • The Emirates Air Line (the cable car from North Greenwich to the Royal Docks) at a discounted fare

Except on London Buses, your Travelcard must be valid for all the zones through which you are travelling.