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London Underground Tips

How to Get the Best from The Tube System


The London Underground has twelve color-coded lines. It may seem confusing when you first try to find your way, but with practice it can be quite straight forward.

1. What is the Tube?

London Underground Sign
Photo: © Marion Boddy-Evans
Keep hearing everyone referring to the tube but don't know what it is? Find out here.

2. Color-coded Lines

How to recognize the color-coded tube lines, find out their names, where each line starts and finishes, plus useful stops on each line.

3. How to Save Money on London Transport

Using an Oyster card offers cheaper fares than paying cash on tubes and buses. Read these articles for more advice:

4. Online Journey Planner

Journey Planner is on the Transport for London web site. It allows you to submit exactly where you want to start and end your journey and gives you the best routes.

5. Weekend Engineering Works

There are planned weekend engineering works on London Underground every weekend. This means whole and part line closures so you need to check the line status in advance if you have any important travel - like getting to the airport on time.

6. Don't Drink Alcohol or Smoke

From 1 June 2008, drinking from and carrying open containers of alcohol is banned, making the tube a safer and more pleasant experience for passengers.

Smoking has been banned on tube trains since 1987 (following the King's Cross fire) but was extended in 2007 to include all public spaces such as train platforms (even when outside), bus shelters, and coach stations.

7. Stand On The Right

We have an unspoken rule on London Underground escalators: always stand on the right. Many a visitor to our city has been caught out by this rule as it's not made clear when you arrive, but if you stand in the way of a London commuter they'll soon let you know! Find out more about this rule.

8. Tubes Do Not Run 24 Hours

Be prepared, London tube trains do not run 24 hours! During the week, trains start around 5am from the ends of the lines so reach more central parts around 5.30-6am. On Sundays, tubes start around 7am. Tube stop each day around 11.30pm-12.30am. Find out more and how to get home late at night and London taxis.

9. Avoid Peak Times On The Tube

Avoid traveling at peak times on the tube as these are the commuter times and it can be horribly crowded. Find out more about London's rush hour.

10. Personal Safety Tips

London is generally a safe city to visit, as long as you do not put yourself in unnecessary danger. Here are some ways to be more streetwise in a big city.
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