London’s public transport system provides a safe and economical way of moving around the city. The system integrates travel by buses, underground trains (known as the Tube), overground trains, trams, the Docklands Light Railway (DLR), and river boats. By these means, every part of Greater London is accessible to the visitor. Most students use buses and the Tube to get around London. The Transport for London Journey Planner is an excellent tool for discovering what methods will best suit your journey.
The pricing structure of travel on London Transport is calculated according to the Zones through which one travels. The entire network is divided into a series of concentric Zones, with Zone One at the centre covering central London. London Program students spend most of their time within Zone One.
Transport for London is moving towards a cashless and ticketless public transport system, and offers a significant discount to people using Oyster Cards. The London Undergraduate Program provides Oyster cards for its students.
On the Tube, travellers merely touch their Oyster Card against the circular yellow touch pads on the entry gates when they enter the system and touch the pads once again when they exit the system.
Travellers on buses need only touch in once on the pads beside the driver.
Oyster Cards can be used in two ways. There are Pre-Pay Oyster Cards which work like debit cards. Travellers credit their cards with money – which is easily done online and at ticket machines in Tube stations and other outlets – and then the appropriate fare is deducted from the card for each journey made.
Oyster Cards may also be used for weekly or monthly travelcardswhich are good for travel for any number of journeys on any form of transport within a specified period and specified Zones. However, the Oyster Card used with such a long-period ticket must be registered to the specific individual who took out the ticket, which means that the Oyster Card can no longer be used by future London Undergraduate Program students. If you purchase a weekly or monthly season ticket, please also purchase a personal Oyster Card at the same time, rather than the one given to you by the program.
Given the complexities of the pricing structure, it is impossible to advise on which form of payment is best for students. It depends on how much a student intends to travel on public transport and which form of transport the student wishes to use. For further information, please consult Transport for London.
Black Taxi Cabs
Official black taxi cabs are a safe but relatively expensive way of moving around London. Taxis are on the streets 24 hours a day and empty cabs (identified by a lit amber light on the front of the roof) may be hailed, or flagged down, anywhere on the street. Taxis may also found in taxi ranks at mainline stations and other central locations. Black taxi cabs can also be booked in advance for specific journeys, and called, for a fee, through these services.
Students are strongly advised not to use any of the mini cabs whose drivers tout for business outside bars and clubs at night. These are invariably unlicensed and un-insured cabs in which the safety of passengers is easily compromised. You can find details of legitimate, licensed mini cab operators from this website, or by texting the word HOME to 60835, which uses GPS to send you the numbers of two licenced mini cab companies close to your location.
During their time in the Program, many students take the opportunity to travel outside London. This can often be a rewarding and exciting experience, but spending time travelling on the continent leaves less time for exploring London and the UK. Indeed, with fascinating day trips and weekend trips to places such as Oxford, Cambridge, Canterbury, Brighton, Windsor, York, and Edinburgh, staying in the UK for a weekend is often the wiser choice. For longer breaks, a trip to the Lake District (home to Wordsworth, Shelley, Byron, and Coleridge among others) is a must; and a tour through the Highlands and Islands of Scotland is an experience not to be missed.
All students leaving London at the weekend should fill out the online travel form. It’s quick, simple to do, and can save you a lot of hassle when there’s an incident overseas.
Always make sure your phone is charged and got credit on it, and please be aware that call charges abroad can be extremely high.
If you get into trouble, please contact the Rector on Duty as soon as possible using the number listed on your yellow emergency card.
Students should consult the Consular Information Sheets on the US Department of State website for the countries they plan to visit. These sheets include the location of the US Embassy or Consulate, unusual immigration practices, health conditions, minor political disturbances, unusual currency and entry regulations, crime and security information, drug penalties, and descriptions of any unstable conditions.
Students should never travel without photocopies of their passports, credit cards, and other important documents. Keep these in a separate bag. Take your yellow card, with the Notre Dame emergency numbers (issued in London) and your insurance cards.
If you lose your passport overseas, try to make contact with the nearest US embassy or consulate as soon as possible, and please also let us know. We can help and advise you on what to do, and even send through scans of any documentation we have on file.
Travelling by air is one of the fastest ways to get around Europe. Budget airlines can be very economical if you book early and travel at off-peak times. Check to see if there is a comparably priced flight from any of the major airlines. If you are booking late, major airlines sometimes offer the best deals.
RyanAir, the so-called "king of budget air travel", offers some of the cheapest flights and flies out of Stansted and Luton airports. But be sure to check the actual location of the airport you are flying into. The website also gives information on buses to and from the airports and city centres.
EasyJet, a budget airline, offers cheap flights from Luton and Gatwick throughout Europe. Again, it is wise to book well in advance.
British European is another smaller budget airline.
Air Berlin offers services throughout Europe
Niki offers services throughout Europe
Sky Europe offers services throughout Eastern Europe
Wizz Air offers services throughout Eastern Europe
Transavia offers services to the Netherlands
German Wings offers services to Germany
Norwegian Air Shuttle offers services to Norway
Major European Airlines
British Airways flies mainly out of Heathrow, with flights to destinations throughout the world. It is sometimes a bit more expensive than its competitors, but it is widely regarded as one of the best airlines in the world.
BMI British Midlands offers inexpensive flights out of Heathrow and London City Airport to locations across Europe. At times, it offers very low prices to places such as Paris, Dublin and Barcelona. Book early.
Virgin Atlantic offers international flights out of Heathrow to the USA and other places such as Asia and India.
Lufthansa, the major German airline.
Air France, the major French airline.
KLM, the major Dutch airline.
GETTING TO THE AIRPORTS
All four Heathrow terminals are served by the Piccadilly line. The tube runs from around 6.00am to midnight. The journey from central London takes about one hour.
This mainline train leaves from Paddington. It runs from about 5.00am to midnight. The journey takes approximately 15 minutes and the service runs every 15 minutes during peak hours.
This coach service provides a bus service to Heathrow via Marble Arch and Baker Street. It runs from about 4.00am to 10.00pm. The journey time is about one hour.
Official black taxi cabs service Heathrow at any time of the day or night. Book 48 hours in advance. The journey time is anywhere between 45 and 90 minutes, depending on traffic, and is an expensive option.
Buses from Marble Arch and Baker Street run 24 hours a day. The journey takes a minimum of 90 minutes.
A fast mainline train from Liverpool Street Station takes about 45 minutes, and runs from about 5.00am to midnight. The fare may be discounted for Ryan Air passengers - check when booking your tickets.
Official black taxi cabs service Stansted at any time of the day or night. Book 48 hours in advance. Journey times vary greatly, depending on traffic, and is an expensive option.
A fast mainline train from Victoria Station takes about 30 minutes. It runs from about 4.30am to 12.30am.
A mainline train from Farringdon Station takes about 30 minutes.
Official black taxi cabs service Gatwick at any time of the day or night. Book 48 hours in advance. Journey times vary greatly, depending on traffic, and is an expensive option.
A bus service runs from Marble Arch from about 4.00am to 2.00am. It takes a minimum of 90 minutes, but the fare is discounted for Easy Jet passengers.
A mainline train from King's Cross Station or Farringdon Station takes about 40 minutes.
Official black taxi cabs service Luton at any time of the day or night. Book 48 hours in advance. Journey times vary greatly, depending on traffic, and is an expensive option.
Take the Jubilee Line or the Docklands Light Railway to Canning Town for a connecting shuttle bus service. Or take the Circle Line to Liverpool Street Station for a connecting shuttle bus service.
Official black taxi cabs service London City Airport at any time of the day or night. Book 48 hours in advance. Journey times vary greatly, depending on traffic, and is an expensive option.
The British Isles are served by an excellent railway network, making it easy to get to almost any city in Britain. Purchasing tickets well in advance can save a lot of money.
Rail Europe Connection Page offers both schedules and prices (in US dollars) for major cities. Some of the smaller cities, although listed, are not in the database. This site also allows you to book trips and reserve seats in advance.
Deutsche Bahn offers a search engine for all trains in Western Europe, but it provides booking and prices only for Deutsche Bahn Trains.
EuroStar offers links to plan and book Eurostar trains to Paris, Lille, and Brussels from London.
Euro Railways offers information on a variety of rail and youth passes. Also, under the link for point-to-point travel, the site offers information on the connexions and rates for train travel from one city to another. The site also contains timetables for train travel throughout Europe.
www.eurail.com offers information and prices for youth rail passes.
British Isles Travel
nationalrail.co.uk offers online booking and train schedules for all major British train services.
Brit Rail is mainly train travel within Britain. Information is provided on rail passes, train times, and fares.
Iarnród Éireann is the official website for train travel on the Irish Railway system.
Travelling by bus (coach) is by far the cheapest means of travel in Britain and Europe. Inevitably, however, it is usually less comfortable and many European routes have prohibitively long travel times.
Long-Distance Bus Services
Eurolines is an international bus network that covers most of Europe. It provides links to its national sites.
National Express is the British partner in Eurolines. It provides bus services to all parts of the UK out of Victoria Coach Station in London. This website offers travel, fare, and booking information to locations across Europe and to Heathrow, Luton, Gatwick, and Stansted airports. Travel must begin or end in the UK.
Greenline Buses offers great value day trips as well as airport shuttles.
Megabus offer limited, but extremely cheap, bus travel between an ever expanding range of UK destinations with fares as low as £1.
Airport Bus Services
National Express offers bus service to Heathrow and Stansted via Marble Arch and Baker Street.
Greenline Buses offers service to Luton from Marble Arch. Check for discounts if you are flying with EasyJet.
Regional Bus Services