Wednesday, 6 July 2011

My (personal) hints for successfully navigating the Underground

I need to preface this by saying that I don't think I'm an expert at all when it comes to the Underground (the Tube) in London. I'm sure there are things that I might do that totally annoy native Londoners. But, having been here for a couple of years, these are some of my tips to help make the journey just a little bit easier.....

1. Use an Oyster card to pay your fares if you're in London for a few days or more, it really is the easiest (and cheapest) option. You pay a 5 pound deposit (refunded if you return the card), Single journeys within zone 1 & 2 (the main tourist areas) are then charged at 1.90 pounds, as opposed to 4 pounds for a cash fare. And if you make lots of trips by tube in one day with an Oyster card, your charges get capped at the same cost as a day travelcard. As I said, definitely the most cost effective option in my opinion

2. Get a Tube map. And make use of it personally, I think pre-planning your journey if you can is much easier...

3. Stand on the right hand side of the escalators - I have no idea why the rule is 'stand on the right, walk on the left.' But it is. And there's plenty of signs up next to the escalators. So there's no real reason not follow the signs...

4. Know about planned disruptions beforehand if you can if it's the weekend, Transport for London will be doing line works. There will be track closures. The TfL website lists the closures ahead of time....really helpful in the planning process of getting from A to B.

5. Avoid the Tube in rush hour if possible especially with luggage. I've been there, done that. Not one of my favourite experiences.

6. Use the whole length of the platform to board the train head for the first or last carriage if you can. They're usually less crowded. It doesn't really matter which carriage you get on, you'll still get to where you want to go in the end...

7. You don't always have to use the Tube to get from A to B sometimes walking is quicker (and easier)

Is there anything else anyone would add to this list?


  1. I LOVED the Tube. I took it everywhere all the times I was in London and it was so convenient. I miss it so much sometimes - especially when riding our stupid, crappy bus system here in Halifax lol. I think these are great tips! I would also say be prepared to stand, esp on busier routes there is no way you are going to get a seat. And be courteous but also be quick - it's usually crowded down in the stations and getting on and off so you have to be at least a little "pushy" (though I don't mean actual pushing, of course) or you won't get through

  2. great tips! I loved the tube! I was overwhelmed at first but then I realized how manageable it was and fell in love!