London, the UK’s capital, has a population of over eight million people - making it not only the most populated city in the country but one of the busiest in Europe.
It’s a densely populated, thriving city that has to handle a huge amount of daily traffic. Although many London residents, and those who live outside the capital but work in the city, use public transport instead of driving, there are still millions of motorists.
If you’re planning to drive in London, be aware that there are rarely any truly ‘quiet’ periods and there are also charges for driving in certain areas of the city. London traffic can be particularly slow here.
The Congestion Charge zone is located in central London, with the amount motorists have to pay every day depending on the type of vehicle they drive. Some charges apply from Monday to Friday between 7am and 6pm, but in others - including the Ultra Low Emission Zone - the charge applies at all times.
Read more details on the congestion charge and pricing for vehicles here. For London traffic news and London travel updates, keep checking this page.
Motorways near London
Several of the UK’s major motorways feed into and out of London, giving motorists access to the city and also a route out of the capital and to other areas of the UK.
The following motorways are near London:
M1 - the M1 starts at Brent Cross, in north London, before routing to the north of the UK. It passes Watford and St Albans - two major locations just outside Greater London - and then heads into Hertfordshire.
M11 - the M11 provides the main route into the east of London. It runs past Stansted Airport and then into Essex, before ending at South Woodford. Drivers can then enter London via the North Circular Road or the A12.
M25 - this is the 117-mile motorway that almost forms a complete circle around Greater London. There are 31 junctions on the M25, starting at Dartford and looping around in a clockwise direction.
M4 - the M4 motorway starts in west London, and provides a route to the west of the UK, past Heathrow Airport and towards Reading and Bristol - and then into Wales.
Common congestion areas in London
There are few areas in London that don’t get busy or congested for drivers.
In official terms, the congestion charge in London applies to vehicles that drive through an area in the very centre of the city. The zone is a rough circle that includes both sides of the River Thames, and covers the City of London - its financial district - and the West End. Popular tourist hotspots such as Big Ben, the British Museum, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral are all located within the congestion charge zone.
Covent Garden, Mayfair and Soho are all within the zone too. But although other popular areas, including Knightsbridge, Hyde Park, Regent’s Park and Canary Wharf, are outside, drivers should still expect these to be busy - especially during daytime hours.
Recent figures revealed - and no surprise at all here - that London was the most congested city in the UK. The top five most congested roads in the UK were all in London:
A406 Northbound from Chiswick Roundabout to Hanger Lane
A2 Eastbound from New Cross Gate to Prince Charles Road
A3211 Eastbound from Westminster Bridge to London Bridge
A102 Northbound from A2/Kidbrooke to the Blackwall Tunnel
A4200 Southbound from Russell Square to Aldwych
The A308 Westbound from Putney Bridge to Sloane Square also experiences heavy London traffic.
Upcoming London roadworks
If you’re planning to drive in the capital, you should be aware of upcoming roadworks in the city - these will have an impact on London traffic. Transport for London posts details and updates of scheduled roadworks, and you should also check any London traffic news before travelling.
Some upcoming London roadworks to be aware of include:
Bishopsgate Cross Route and Southern River Route
Delays are expected as work to upgrade London Bridge rail station takes place up until the end of May 2018. Tooley Street, Duke Street Hill, Borough High Street and Bermondsey Street are all affected.
Bishopsgate Cross Route
Arthur Street (EC4R) will be closed in both directions while Bank Station is being upgraded. Closures could be in place until July 2021.
Farringdon Cross Route
Farringdon Road will be closed in all directions between Cowcross Street and Charterhouse Street until the end of December 2018.
Tavistock Street, in Westminster, will be closed in both directions due to construction work. Delays are expected until June 2018.
Lane closures at Highbury Corner and Holloway Road will result in delays, until the end of July 2018.
For live updates on London traffic, make sure you check this page before travelling.