One of the things to get your head around when living in London is the various travel zones that make up the capital. If you ever find yourself at a house party and someone asks, ‘what zone do you live in?’ don’t worry — it’s not quite as crazy as it sounds. So, are you a zone 1 city slicker or a zone 3 suburbanite? Here’s our handy guide to London’s magical twilight zones.
What are the London fare zones?
Greater London is covered by the TfL (Transport for London) fare zones 1 to 6, which applies to London Underground services as well as London Overground, National Rail and the Docklands Light Railway. Central London is covered by Zone 1; inner and inner-suburban London by zones 2 and 3; and outer London by zones 4 to 6. Special fare zones 7, 8 and 9 are located outside the London boundary but are connected to the capital through the Oyster card system.
Which is the best London zone to live in?
Unlikely as it may seem, your choice of London travel zone says something about the London lifestyle you’ll lead. In truth, finding a place to rent in zone 1 is no easy feat, short of winning the lottery or finding a long-lost oligarch for an uncle. These days, zone 2 or 3 are the best choice for young professionals looking for somewhere to rent in London. Here you can still be in the heart of the action but keep enough cash for dinner, drinks and dancing till dawn.
Which areas are in zone 2?
In Zone 2 you’ll find classic London neighbourhoods within the sound of Bow Bells (or at least on the Monopoly Board). Some of our highlights include Islington in the north, Brixton in the south and Earl’s Court in the west. Zone 2 is where stucco-fronted Georgian townhouses meet bustling local markets, chilled neighbourhood bars and not an Angus Steakhouse in sight. What’s more, you’ll have an affordable commute into town and a fast Uber ride home. What’s not to like?
Which areas are in zone 3?
Londoners looking for the best of both worlds — not too suburban, not too central — are increasingly flocking to zone 3. Here you’ll find down-to-earth, authentic neighbourhoods where incomers from zone 1 and 2 are creating a bigger buzz by the day. Areas like Tooting, Ealing Broadway and Streatham have been rejuvenated by an influx of bright young things and families, with loads of amazing new places to eat, chill and hang out. Here you’re close enough to central London to feel connected, but distant enough to enjoy a ramble on the local common (Wimbledon, we’re looking at you). So if you want the vibe of city life but with a better chance of getting a seat on the tube, zone 3 is your oyster!
Check out our London Shared area guides and work out where you fancy renting in the capital.