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Photograph: Thomas Riggs

Everything you need to know about public transport in London over the festive period

Staying in the capital over Christmas? London is very much open for business during the jolly season – and thanks to Transport for London’s fantastic (and lowest) off-peak fares and free New Year’s Eve travel, getting out and about is even more affordable

By Time Out in association with Transport for London
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The Christmas lights are sparkling and the carols are ringing out across the city: could the holidays in London be more magical? No matter what your plans are over the festive period, Transport for London is here for you. From Sunday December 23 to Tuesday January 1, the majority of TfL services will be running (excluding Christmas Day). Tapping into the wonderful world of off-peak makes for super-affordable fares for both adults and children, using the Zip Oyster photocard.

To make getting out and about this festive period as smooth as possible, we’ve teamed up with TfL to bring you this handy guide to travelling during the holidays. For even more up-to-date information, search TfL Christmas Travel, and for travel advice on National Rail services, visit nationalrail.co.uk/christmas.

Remember: if you’re drinking, drink responsibly, and take care of yourself and others when travelling home.

Check before you travel this festive season


              

 

TfL’s network is open!

Yep, that’s right: you’ve got no need to stay in when TfL’s network is at your service. Throughout Christmas and New Year, services will be running – so you can spend more time exploring London’s museums, galleries, shops and other cultural activities. Need some inspiration? Check out the Cultural TfL Map, which provides more than 500 Time Out-recommended experiences, all within a short walking distance of key stations. We've also put together a guide to some of London's essential winter experiences, as well as a wrap-up of some fun and affordable winter adventures for families

Buses at ChristmasPhotograph: Sung Kuk Kim

There will be some travel changes

There will be some planned service changes on parts of the public transport network and some road closures. London Overground will have some planned works, as will the DLR and TfL Rail (which won’t be running from Dec 23-26). On Boxing Day, there will be no services on the London Overground, TfL Rail or Thames Clippers services. Make sure you check before you travel to guarantee your most comfortable journey.

There will be no services running on Christmas Day

Although most of TfL’s network will be closed on Christmas Day, Santander Cycles will be open throughout the day, as well as Dial-a-Ride (for registered members only), plus taxi, private hire and coaches.

Fireworks at New Year's EvePhotograph: Stewart Marsden

Public transport is free and open all night on New Year’s Eve

Ringing in the New Year in the capital doesn’t have to break the bank. In fact, TfL offers free travel from 11.45pm-4.30am on bus, Tube, Tram, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services – many of which run special all-night services. Make sure you check TfL’s full guide to New Year’s Eve for all the info. Here’s a pro tip: from 2pm on December 31, bus routes in central London will either be diverted or stop short of their final destination, due to the ticketed fireworks – so if you don’t have a ticket to the fireworks, it’s a great idea to begin your bus journey before 2pm.

Get there for less!

Travel using TfL’s lowest off-peak fares during the festive period
© Transport for London

Travel using TfL’s lowest off-peak fares during the festive period

TfL’s off-peak fares mean that you’ll have more in your pocket to enjoy the festive period.

Travel in Zones 2-6 for £1.50, and travel into Zone 1 from £2.40
Off-peak fares apply on all Tube, DLR and most London Overground services across London. You can tap into the wonderful world of off-peak every weekday before 6.30am, between 9.30am and 3.59pm, and after 7pm. Off-peak fares also apply all day at weekends and on public holidays. Always touch in and out with the same card or device to pay the right fare.

Travel by bus and tram for just £1.50
TfL’s Hopper fare lets you take unlimited bus and tram journeys any time, anywhere within one hour of first touching in for just £1.50. Just don’t forget to begin your bus journey in central London before 2pm on New Years Eve if you don’t have a ticket to the Mayor of London's New Year's Eve fireworks event.

Kids travel free!
Up to four children under 11 can travel free at any time on bus, Tube, Tram, DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail services in London when accompanied by an adult. An adult is anyone over 16 using an adult rate ticket (but not a Group Day Travelcard), pay as you go or free travel concession.

With a Zip Oyster photocard, 11 to 15-year-olds can travel free on buses and trams, and travel at a discounted rate on most TfL services. Apply for a Zip Oyster photocard today by going to tfl.gov.uk/zip.

We know that affordable, convenient public transport is the key to accessing the best that London has to offer – and thanks to TfL’s affordable off-peak fares and other discounts across the network, the possibilities for adventure are wider than ever. Here, you'll find plenty more unexpected and exciting off-peak outings.

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