Is it your first time to go to London? Do you need to take the Tube to get to the next attraction, but you’re confused which line to ride to get there? This blog is to help you understand how to use these insane lines of the London underground!
My first time to ride the tube was when my family went to Bognor Regis to visit my aunt. From Norwich, we took the train to Liverpool St. station, and we needed to go to Victoria station to ride the Southern Railways. Whether I like it or not (I really don’t, I’m
claustrophobic and hate undergrounds), we had to take the tube to get there. Then during our short trip to London, we needed to ride it again to reach some tourist attractions.
It is a busy world down there. And just by looking at the different colored lines, you’ll be confused (I was!). So here’s a simple guide on how to survive the crazy underground:
- First of all, you should get a Visitor Oyster card. As what I’ve mentioned on my previous blog, having this type of card will give you good discounts on public transportation in London. Read: Travel London on the Cheap
- You will need two kinds of maps: the London map and the Tube map. You can get the “regular” London map from your hotel lobby or souvenir shops nearby. On the other hand, just simply look at your mobile phone’s map! Then you can download the Tube Map, or if you’re already at the station, look for the place where they give it for free.
- Now the usual way of using a map; know where you’re located and where is your destination on the map. then look at the nearest station near you. If you’re using maps on your phone, you should look for an image of a train with an arch over it; those are the underground stations while the plain images of trains were the regular train stations (maybe going out of London). When you already know your closest station, figure out the nearest station to your destination. For example: Let’s say, my hotel is somewhere near the Heathrow airport, and I want to go to the Tower of
London, it will be too far for me to walk to get there so I will need to take the tube. The nearest stations to me are the Heathrow Terminals and the Hatton Cross station, and the closest undergrounds to my destination will be the Monument or Fenchurch stations; I will choose Hatton Cross to monument station.
- We already know which stations we should go, but the most challenging part is to know which lines do we need to take? If you look on the Tube map, it has loads of lines with different colors. For first timers, you will really get lost if you don’t pay attention to the correct lines to ride. Here’s a tip: know which direction you should go: East, West, North, or South. Then you can now figure out which lines are connected to each other until you reach your destination. Remember that there are loads of colored lines, and they go to different routes; none of them go around the whole Central London alone. Going back to my example: I will take the Hatton Cross station which is on the blue line (Picadilly) Eastbound, and the Monument station on the yellow line (Circle). All I have to do is to look at the Tube map again to know which station the blue and yellow lines will connect. South Kensington is the best station that they are connected, so I will get off on that station and switch to Eastbound of the yellow line (Circle) until I reach the Monument station. And there you go! I can start my walk there to the Tower of London while enjoying the view along the way (like the Shard and the Tower Bridge).
- Alternatively, if you don’t like reading and following maps, then just download the Tube Map London Underground App on IOS and Android. It works online as well as offline.
Reminders: Pay attention to the signs, please always read them! Or else, you might get the incorrect direction of the tube you’re supposed to take, and that’s the last thing you want to happen. People underground are always busy, and you might be carried away with the flow of people passing by. Most of them are in a hurry going to their destinations. While on the escalator, step to the right if you want to relax and give the left side to those in a hurry. And don’t worry about being left behind by the tube, they consistently come every three minutes or less.
The underground tube is a part of London that you wouldn’t want to miss. So get your map and explore the city with adventure!
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