London’s transport system is fairly wonderful. Should you reside outdoors of London, as I do, and must cope with unreliable buses and tram tracks that don’t journey very far, the London Underground looks like a journey utopia. However, it may be complicated. Should you’re utilizing the Tube for the primary time, and even in the event you don’t use it fairly often, the maps, cost techniques, and the sheer quantity of individuals utilizing it may be intimidating.

Just some helpful hints and suggestions could make all of the distinction and may permit you to calm down and benefit from the expertise of touring the town by Tube. As one of many world’s oldest transit techniques, there’s a variety of historical pasts in these stations and platforms, and it’s price driving the tube only for the expertise alone. However the Underground additionally takes you wherever you wish to go in London, and it takes you there quickly. So to make sure your journey goes easily, listed here are some key suggestions for navigating the London Tube.

close up of the main section of the London Underground Map
A fundamental part of the London Underground map
(Photograph Credit score: Thin glass /

1. Familiarize Your self With The Underground Map

While you get to your nearest tube station, it would all be a bit overwhelming. Lots of people use the Tube and most of them use it repeatedly so that they’re dashing by way of figuring out precisely the place they’re going. You, alternatively, could be standing around trying misplaced in the event you haven’t familiarized yourself with a map of the traces and stations earlier than you set off. It’s simple to pay money for one, you may obtain a map here.

When you first have a look at the Tube map, it’s going to appear like a multitude of colored traces, however, these distinctively colored traces are literally your finest buddy. As soon as you realize which line it’s essential to use, you’ll have a lot simpler time navigating the Underground. Simply discover your station, and the place you wish to journey to, and comply with the colored line. Typically, you’ll see there may be multiple lines that may take you to your vacation spot, providing you with a selection of which one to experience.

oyster card
An Oyster Card is essentially the most well-liked approach to paying for a journey around London
(Photograph Credit score: nito /

2. Know How To Pay

Shopping for an Oyster Card, which prices £5, has been essentially the most well-liked approach to paying for a journey around London for a while now. When you’ve purchased your card you may preserve topping it up with journey cash on the machines within the stations, and you then simply faucet it on the limitations and breeze by way.

You too can use your Oyster Card on London buses and the TFL overground trains. In reality, you should use your Oyster card on nearly any journey inside London, together with the river bus. You should buy paper tickets on the machines within the stations, however tapping an Oyster Card is a lot sooner and simpler, and more cost-effective as paper tickets you purchase on the day shall be charged at a better fee.

You too can use a contactless financial institution card when you’ve got one, and also you’ll discover most Londoners do that now. There was a time when everybody had an Oyster Card, however, Londoners quickly realized they might merely faucet their financial institution card, and away they’d go — no must preserve topping it up or fear about if there’s sufficient on there to get you thru the limitations.

Attempt to have your card or ticket prepared earlier than you get to the limitations, as there shall be lots of people going by way and folks get impatient in the event you maintain them up. Additionally, bear in mind, that you must faucet your card or ticket on the best way out of the station at your vacation spot too.

Northbound and southbound lines at the Bakerloo London tube stations
Northbound and Southbound indicators present which course it’s essential to go on the Bakerloo Line.
(Photograph Credit score: Kevin Cole 44 /

3. Discovering Your Approach Round The Station

When you’re by way of the limitations you’ll end up in a really busy Tube station. Keep in mind, that is the preferred type of journey in London, and plenty of many individuals use all of it day day-after-day. The dimensions of your station are dependent upon which one you’re utilizing, however, whichever station it’s, discovering your approach round shall be just about the identical. You must know which line you want, so simply search for the indicators pointing you to the correct line.

You’ll discover the identical color is used that you just noticed on your map. Should you didn’t obtain a map first, you’ll discover them on the wall within the station — however you’ll almost certainly additionally discover lots of people crowded around them attempting to view them, which is another excuse why it’s higher to obtain a map earlier than you set off.

I’ve been within the Underground station on occasions when there have been so many individuals attempting to view the map on the wall that it’s unimaginable to get a have a look at it. Most traces have a Northbound and a Southbound route, so be sure to know which course it’s essential to journey in. Should you’re unsure which one in all these you won’t or can’t discover your platform, there are at all times loads of pleasant workers round that can assist you, or a member of the general public will level you in the correct course.

You would possibly really feel like everyone seems to be in a horrible hurry and a few persons are brusque within the Underground, however, most Londoners are very pleasant and can cease that can assist you.

escalator stairs say stand to the right london tube
(Photograph Credit score: Travers Lewis /

4. Utilizing The Escalators

When you’re heading to your station you’ll both use a flight of stairs to get down, or extra generally, an escalator. A few of these escalators are very lengthy and appear to journey very deep down underground. Angel Underground Station, on Islington Highway, has the longest escalator in the Underground at 60 meters deep. While you first stand on the escalator it appears a really good distance down, so bear in mind that in the event you endure vertigo, you would possibly discover this one a problem. It takes one minute and 20 seconds until you get to the underside.

Stand To The Proper

While you get onto the escalator, at all times stand to the correct. Should you’re not in any rush and/or you might have baggage with you, stand to the correct and let anybody who’s in a rush run up on the left-hand facet. When you have baggage, place it on the step-in entrance of you and stand behind it, however at all times to the correct. This is a crucial Tube rule that you just solely know in the event you’ve traveled by Tube earlier than otherwise you’ve been advised.

Typically there are workers members on the backside of the escalators shouting out to you to face to the correct, and in the event, you do stand to the left or place your baggage beside you on the left, you’re going to search out fairly shortly that you just made a mistake. Londoners are usually a pleasant bunch, however, in the event, you dare to face to the left on the escalator these locals in a rush will shout at you and even shove you out of their approach! In fact, in the event, you’re in a rush and don’t have baggage you may run up or down on the left.

London Underground Tube platform at Farringdon Station showing a businessman embarking a train wearing a face mask
A man embarks a preparation on the London Underground Tube platform at Farringdon Station
(Photograph Credit score: Chaz Bharj /

5. Boarding The Tube

While you get to your platform, stand nicely behind the yellow line painted on the ground. When your tube preparation arrives, look ahead to the individuals getting off to depart earlier than you attempt to get on. There are normally lots of people disembarking at any given platform, so stand again, even when different passengers are pushing their approach on.

Loads of passengers don’t have any endurance and can shove their approach onto the carriage earlier than everybody has gotten off. That is harmful, as there’s a hole between the platform and the prepare, and it’s additionally simply impolite! Don’t be stunned if there aren’t any accessible seats if you’ve obtained the preparation. The poles are for holding onto in the event you stand, and on busy traces, it’s doubtless you’ll have to stand, however you’re not alleged to lean on them (though individuals do).

On the within of the carriage, there’s a map of your line above the home windows. This implies you may simply comply with the progress of your journey and work out how distant you’re out of your cease. The voice bulletins on board will inform you if you’re approaching you to cease so there’s no want to fret about lacking it.

London Tube Professional Ideas

  • Don’t panic. Keep in mind, that the Tube preparation runs continuously and it’s dependable. There’s no must rush the prepare or push your approach on. Should you miss it or can’t get on as a result of it’s full, one other one is coming 5 minutes behind it.
  • Even in the event you get on the incorrect prepare, it’s probably not that large a deal, as all you must do is get off on the subsequent cease and discover your technique to the correct prepare.
  • You may at all times simply cross over to the opposite facet and get the subsequent prepare again to the cease you began at.
  • Should you’re touring for leisure and never commuting, that is a journey, so take your time and have an enjoyable. And in the event you get just a little misplaced, who is aware of, possibly you’ll uncover one thing wonderful alongside the best way.

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