As well as being bona fide experts on London's top attractions, us here at The London Pass® are also pretty knowledgeable when it comes to getting around the city. The London Underground can seem intimidating to a first-time visitor, but if you follow these handy tips, you'll find it a breeze.
From escalator etiquette, to money-saving tips, find out how to navigate the Tube like a true Londoner.
1. Keep right on the escalator
London Underground asks that you stand on the right when using the escalators and leave the left free for others to walk down. If you’re travelling in a big group, or with lots of shopping bags, stand and stay right and let others pass you – it will speed up the process and be a more pleasant journey for everyone!
2. Remember the ‘rush hour’
The tube network is very busy during ‘rush hour’ with commuters moving around the city. You can expect the trains and stations to be overcrowded between 7.30AM and 9AM in the morning and between 5PM and 7PM in the evening.
3. Have your ticket ready at the barrier
Sometimes there can be a bit of a bottleneck at ticket barriers, especially before 9.30AM and around 6PM during the rush hours. Make sure you have your ticket ready at the barrier so you can move in and out of the station smoothly.
4. Don't panic - you can always go back again
If you’ve caught the wrong tube or missed your stop – don’t panic! London Underground trains run every 2-7 minutes depending on the line so just get off at the next stop and locate a printed tube map on the platform to work out your next steps.
5. Choose your ticket wisely
If you're only planning on using the tube a couple of times during your trip then 'tapping in' with your bank card is probably the most cost-effective way of getting around. However, if you're planning on using it throughout your trip, a Visitor Oyster card is your best bet. With The London Pass®, you can purchase one of these handy travelcards alongside your sightseeing pass, so not only can you access 80+ attractions, you can get between them with ease.
6. Let people off the train first
It helps everyone using the busy underground to let people off the tube before you board it; allowing more room for you to get on and passengers to alight the train.
7. Check line closures before you travel
If possible, check ahead and plan your journey to make sure there are no delays or closures on the lines you need to travel – especially at the weekends when maintenance work is common. TFL’s website provides live network updates and will alert you to any disruptions and suggest alternative routes in advance.
8. Carry a bottle of water in the warmer months
The London Underground is over 150 years old and although the trains have been modernised, many still lack air conditioning and cooling units. Make sure you take a bottle of water with you, especially in the summer, as the long tube journeys can get very hot at peak times.
9. Keep your personal belongings safe
Like any large city be wary of pickpockets operating in the busy stations and tubes. Carry a bag with zips and keep your personal belongings and valuable items on you and safely stored away to avoid any incidents.
10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
London Undergrounds are well-staffed with helpful Transport for London officers who can guide you to the nearest exit, or help you plan your onward journey. Usually, there is one at every main station platform – if not, go up the escalators into the entrance foyer where there will be ticket desks, free maps and information leaflets.