A Local's Guide to Travelling on the London Underground

If you're heading to the capital to stay in a London holiday apartment, there's only one way to travel if you want to blend in with the locals: the London Underground. The tube conveniently connects you to all of central London so it's essential to get to grips with if you don't want to shell out for expensive taxis.

Spread over 9 zones and with 11 different lines, it's unsurprising that many tourists feel a little intimidated about venturing underground to catch the tube. However, as resident Londoners, we all use the underground every day and love it's convenience, value and speed.

Here's our top tips for using the London tube like a pro:

Tube Etiquette

  • Let other passengers off the tube before boarding. There will be more room to get on and the whole process will be quicker, easier and generally a little nicer.
  • Stand on the right. The left side of escalators is for those who are in a hurry and want to walk up. Don't block the pathway or you could cause a build up of angry commuters.
  • Give up your seat. If you notice an elderly or pregnant person or someone more in need of a seat than you, make sure to ask if they would like it.
  • Wait for the next tube. The tube is famed for its overcrowding where you might have to get a little more familiar than you would like with a stranger's armpit. However,when the service is busy in peak times. there's likely to be a tube every few minutes so save yourself and everyone else by waiting for the next one.
  • Move up the carriage. Move away from the tube doors and down into the carriage to allow more people to fit on and enter the carriage easily.
  • Have your ticket ready. Make sure to have your ticket in hand before you get to the barrier unless you want to cause a human traffic jam. If you haven't, move to the side to find it rather than blocking up a turnstile.

Tube Tips

  • The tube doors open automatically. The 'open door' button is ineffective and will expose you as a tube newbie very quickly if you attempt to use it.
  • Be aware of weekend engineering work. The tube saves its ongoing engineering work for the weekend so it doesn't coincide with Londoners travelling to work. Make sure to check in advance so you can replan your journey if necessary.
  • Avoid peak times. If possible. try not to travel between 6.30-9.30 and 4.30-6.30 as this is when the tube is at its busiest and, consequently, commuters at their grumpiest.
  • Check if it's quicker to walk. Whilst some stations appear far away from each on the tube map, they're very close in real life. You'll feel pretty silly getting on a tube from Charing Cross to Embankment when you realise that they're right next to each other!
  • Be sure to plan your journey. If you don't want to faff around with a map yourself, Journey Planner will plan out your quickest route for you.

Oyster Card or Travel Card?

With single tickets, travel cards and oyster cards all on offer to pay for your journey, it can be easy to get a little confused over which is the cheapest option.

Generally, oyster cards are the cheapest option for single or return journeys. You can get an oyster card by paying a £5 refundable deposit at stations, ticket stops and info centres and and then topping it up as you need to.

For multiple journeys, travel cards are cheaper. They can be used on the underground, buses, national rail trains, the DLR and trams. If you're staying for an extended amount of time, you can make even bigger savings by buying a weekly or monthly travel card.

Happy tubing!

If you are visiting soon and want to book a serviced apartment in London with easy access to the London Underground speak to a customer advisor. Call us on +44 843 289 8820 or email us at info@check-in-london.com for rates and availability.


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