When you’re spending some time in London, the London Underground is one of the most effective ways to get around the city, with fast and efficient connections taking you all across the capital. While the London Underground, or the Tube as it’s more affectionately known, is an exceptionally convenient way to travel in the city, it can also be overwhelming and difficult to navigate, especially if you are unfamiliar with it.
If you’re planning a visit to London soon and want a stress-free experience of the Tube, read on for some helpful suggestions.
Plan your route before you travel
There are eleven different lines on the Tube, with 270 stations across London, so inevitably, it can often get a little confusing at times. If you’re travelling across the capital, it’s a good idea to spend a few moments to work out the best route to take so that you can enjoy a smooth and hassle-free journey.
If you’re not sure which Tube station to use, it’s best to check on a street map of London to identify the nearest stations to you. If you’re staying at the Montcalm Hotel Shoreditch, there are a number of convenient stations within a few minutes walk, including Liverpool Street, Moorgate and Old Street, as well as a few Overground and train stations too. Once you’re at a station, the relevant platforms for different lines and directions will be clearly marked to help you make your way there easily.
There are several apps available to work out the best route to get to your destination, including possible changes that you may have to take. You can also work this out by looking at a copy of the Underground map, and seeing how you can change onto a relevant line to get to where you need.
There are a number of payment options available
Before you plan to use the Underground, it’s a good idea to check how you plan to pay for it. There are a few different choices, and which one to use will depend on how frequently, and how long, you plan on using the service.
If you are only visiting or travelling through London for a day or less, and plan on making a lot journeys within one day, then a Travelcard might be the most cost-effective solution. You can purchase these at any station, either at a ticket machine or ticket office, and they offer the option of different zone areas.
If you are staying in London with London hotel packages for a few days and expect to be using the Tube several times during this period, then an Oyster card or contactless payment may be a better solution. An Oyster card is a pre-paid card that can be used on the turnstiles by simply tapping when you enter and leave a station, and it will automatically deduct the relevant fare. You can purchase an Oyster card at most stations, as well as in many newsagents and stores, including near the Montcalm Hotel Shoreditch. You can also use a contactless payment card in the same way. If you are using a contactless form of payment, make sure that you have it ready to hand when you get to the turnstile, to avoid causing delays with other passengers behind you.
Check train times and travel issues
Trains on the London Underground run frequently through the day and evening, and most trains will start operating in the early morning, around 5am, with services stopping late, around midnight. If you are visiting the city and plan on checking in to you London hotel packages outside of these times, then it’s a good idea to plan alternative transport to make sure that you can get to your hotel easily and conveniently.
The Underground also has Night Tube services on selected lines on Friday and Saturday, which run throughout the night, with slightly reduced frequency. This provides an easy way to get around when you’ve been out at the weekend. You can find Night Tube services on the Victoria, Central, Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines, although some stations may not have service during this period.
It’s also worth checking signs and notifications about any occasional delays or closures on the Tube while travelling, as you may need to make alternative plans to get around.
Behave courteously on the Tube
The London Underground is a fairly safe and convenient way to travel, but it can often get busy and crowded, especially at peak times during the morning and evening, when Londoners are often making their way to and from work. It’s best to avoid travelling during these times if you want to uncomfortable being in crowded environments.
It’s also a good idea to practice common courtesy when travelling. It is a form of public transport, so it’s best not to eat or drink anything strong smelling when you’re on the move, as this can be extremely uncomfortable for other travellers. You’ll find plenty of restaurants near Finsbury Square and elsewhere if you’re hungry.
It’s also wise to keep your bags or luggage safe and close to you, and avoid taking up unnecessary seats. If you have a backpack or large bag, you may want to keep it on your lap, rather than in an empty seat, unless the carriage happens to be very empty. For those with wheeled suitcases, you can often find spaces close to the carriage doors, where they can be stacked out of way, but you will need to ensure they do not move around as the train is in motion.
Lastly, when using the escalators in and out of the station, stand on the right or walk up the steps on the left hand side, if you’re in a rush. Many people are keen to get going, so even if you prefer to take it easy while travelling, make sure that you’re not obstructing anyone’s path, by taking up the wrong side of the escalator.