Navigating Public Transport in London and Cambridge

26 April 20235 mins read

When it comes to traveling around London and Cambridge, there are lots of options to choose from. Both cities offer a variety of efficient public transport, including the London Tube, double-decker buses, and scenic bus routes in Cambridge. With our helpful guide and insights, you’ll soon be navigating these cities like a local, experiencing the charm and beauty they have to offer in the most convenient and enjoyable way possible. Let’s get started!


Oyster Cards

The first thing you need to know about public transport in London is that cash is not generally accepted. Instead, using an Oyster Card is the easiest way to get around the city. An Oyster card is a smartcard that allows you to travel and pay for most public transport in London, with pay-as-you-go fares being cheaper than paper single tickets. Contactless debit or credit cards can also be used for pay-as-you-go travel.

To use an Oyster card, simply tap the card on the yellow reader at the gates when you start and finish your journey. There’s no need to tap out when your journey ends on buses and trams.

Oyster cards can be topped up with credit for use on buses, the Tube, Docklands Light Railway, Uber Boat, Overground, TFL Rail, and most National Rail services in London. Learn more about Oyster cards on the TfL website.


Famous double-decker buses provide a convenient, affordable, and enjoyable way to explore the city. With fares starting at £1.75 and a maximum daily cost of £5.25 for bus-only travel, it’s a great budget-friendly option to get around.

You can also transfer between buses or trams for free within an hour of starting your journey. London’s bus network offers 24-hour service, with night buses running between the closing of the Tube network and the start of daytime bus services.

Use Transport for London’s online Journey Planner to map out your bus route. To access all London bus schedules, check out the TfL website.

London Underground

The London Underground, commonly known as “the Tube,” is an efficient way to travel throughout central London and beyond. The network, divided into nine zones with Zone 1 covering central London, consists of 11 lines. Fares are determined by distance, time of day, and payment method, with Oyster cards or contactless payments being the most cost-effective options.

Tube services typically operate from 5 am until midnight, with Night Tube services running on some lines on Friday and Saturday nights. The extensive Tube system connects with other transportation options like the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), London Overground, and the Elizabeth line, making it an ideal choice for navigating the city.

Bell London is located close to Blackfriars and London Bridge underground stations on the Northern or Jubilee lines.

To plan the best route to reach your destination, use Transport for London’s Journey Planner.

Docklands Light Railway

The Docklands Light Railway (DLR) is a cutting-edge, driverless train system that caters to east and south-east London areas. Integrated with the London Tube network, the line conveniently connects to the IFS Cloud Cable Car, providing easy access to the Docklands and other eastern London districts.

Visit the TfL website for DLR timings to help you plan your journey.

Local Train Network

London’s local train network, including the London Overground and the Elizabeth line, offers connectivity outside of central London and beyond the Tube network. To find out about some of the places you can visit along the Elizabeth Line, check out our blog here. If you’re heading outside of central London on the Overground, plan your route on the TfL website.


Trams in London operate in south areas, connecting Wimbledon, Croydon, Beckenham, and New Addington. These trams, known as Tramlink, are frequent and easy to access. Trams begin running around 5:30am on weekdays, 6am on Saturdays, and 7am on Sundays, with the last trams running near midnight.

River Transport

To avoid traffic and enjoy fantastic views, consider traveling on the Thames River. Uber Boat by Thames Clippers operates frequent river bus routes, accepting Oyster cards and Visitor Oyster cards for payment. These services connect major locations along the Thames. Check out the river bus timetable here.


Consider hiring a bike with Santander Cycles, London’s self-service, bike-sharing scheme. The city offers plenty of cycling routes and opportunities to explore. Remember to wear a helmet.



Cambridge buses are mostly operated by Stagecoach (Citi), providing frequent and cost-effective services. Dayrider and Megarider tickets are available for unlimited travel on Stagecoach buses. The main bus station is situated on Drummer Street in the city centre.

The bus stop closest to Bell Cambridge is Addenbrooke’s Hospital and there is a regular service to the city centre. You can buy a weekly Megarider ticket for approximately £15 from the bus driver, and you can use it as many times as you want on any Citi bus for 7 days. Bus timetables are available at the school, and our student services team are here to help if you have any other questions.

If you want to plan your journey online, visit the Stagecoach website.


Cambridge is known as the ‘city of cycling’ as many of its residents choose to cycle around the city. Pedal through the quaint streets and historic colleges, take in the stunning architecture, and immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the city.

If you are studying for a short amount of time, you can easily hire a bike from Rutland Cycling.

If you are staying for a long course, it may be cheaper to purchase a bike, either second hand or brand new from shops like: Rutland Cycling, Cycle King, and Giant Cambridge.

Just remember to always wear a helmet, use a good quality lock, and never buy second-hand until you have seen the bike.

And that’s it!

As you prepare to embark on your journey as a Bell student, make the most of these public transport options available in London and Cambridge. From cycling in Cambridge to boat trips on the Thames, each mode of transport offers a unique experience and will allow you to immerse yourself in British culture. Safe travels and enjoy exploring these beautiful cities!