The London Underground is the oldest metro system in the world and is the most convenient away getting around the city and its districts. Trains generally run from 5.00am to 12.30 am Monday to Saturday and 7.30am to 11.30pm on Sundays.
The Underground is the quickest and convenient way to travel around central London and its suburbs. However, it's expensive (in comparison to other countries metro systems) as it cost at least 4.30 gbp a single (March 2012) but you're if you're planning to make multiple journeys on the underground if may be worth investing in a Travelcard or an Oyster Card.
Some useful facts:
Source: YHA St Paul's
The underground had the most extensive tiling project that was ever undertaken.
Angel Tube Station has the largest Escalator, with 318 steps, in Europe.
Harry Beck created the iconic map of the London Underground and was paid equivalent of 10 gbp for his efforts.
During World War II, tunnels were used as air raid shelters.
I must say I was a little worried about hoping onto the tube with my suitcase, but I was ensured that people do it all the time.
I found the tube to be at times pretty packed with people and their suitcases. It can be pretty hot and stuffy on the train. Sometimes the timings were on time, sometimes they were off. The good part though was that sometimes it was a quick trip. Since there isn't always a seat available.
Phew! Having finally summed up the courage to write up Phyllis Pearsall, who developed the iconic London A-Z streetfinder, it's now time to move onto Harry Beck, originator of the equally iconic London Underground (Tube) Map.
The mild mannered Harry Beck - who worked for London Transport - received a paltry 5 guineas (£5.25) for developing what was arguably the most influential transport map of all time. 'His' map was published in 1933, and has since served as the template for virtually every other metropolitan transport system ever since. Challenged with trying to depict an extremely complex system in 'user friendly' terms, the leap of logic that Harry made was to dispense with physical realities such as distance and drection, and instead focus on the spatial relationships between stations.
This was a spectacularly bold - but very necessary - departure from previous methods of presenting information. Beck's map was a case study in topology and allowed travellers to understand how the increasingly complex web of Tube lines interacted without being burdened by irrelevant information in the dense network of stations within central London.
I have a passion for poster art, and to this day, one of my favourite London Transport posters - and that's saying a lot - is of the London Underground map depicted as snakes of oil paint squeezed out of tubes (if nothing else, you've got to love the pun!).
Having read a reasonable amount about both of these individuals, it is tempting to speculate on how these two cartographic trailblazers would have got on, particularly given that they were exact contemporaries. Phyllis was priveleged, entrepreneurial, dogged and pushy, whereas it appears that Harry Beck was an unassuming 'back room boy' and just wanted to do a good job ... at best, I suspect that Phyllis would have happily welcomed the hardworking Harry into her employ, and I have little doubt that they would have disliked each other!
If you're interested in this subject, might I recommend that you consider buying 'Mr Beck's Underground Map' by Ken Garland as an imaginative memento of your time in London? This terrific book tells the story of the Tube map's evolution, including numerous illustrations that document the various map incarnations over the years. This is available from the fabulous gift shop at the exceptional London Transport Museum, and would be a fascinating addition to anyone's coffee table!
We decided to get to London Tower by the Underground (or Tube) and we had several reasons for this decision.
The first: it was the most convenient way from our hotel. It took us only 25 minutes.
Marble Arch-Bond Street-Oxford Circus-Tottenham Court Road-Holborn-Chencery Lane-St.Paul-Bank-Monument-Tower Hill (9 stations).
The second: I wanted to see the oldest underground (in Russian – Metro) in the world. When we need to compare something Russian with something in Western Europe we often say: “How can we compare – when London Underground already existed (1863) in Russia serfdom was only just abandoned…”
The third reason: I wanted compare its architecture with architecture of Moscow Metro. But I already knew that there had no comparison – Moscow Metro (Московский метрополитен) is the most beautiful – nothing can be compared with it: nor London Underground or the Tube, nor Métro de Paris, nor U-Bahn Berlin, neither New York City Subway.
The fourth reason: I wanted compare prices. It cost me £2=$4 – almost 5 times more expensive than in Moscow.
You can watch my 1 min 35 sec Video In London Underground out of my Youtube channel or here on VT.
As everybody knows, here at London the subway is named "The Tube" (old, long, interesting history, google it!). The net is huge, covering almost each corner of the metropolis and suburban areas, with fast connections with trains, local or international, and fast ride to the airports.
One detail to take in account, if you buy just a single ticket it is expensive, you will pay 4.5 pounds each ticket for a short ride (from Paddington Station to Embarkment, for example), so depending on the amount of days of your stay check the possibility to buy an Oyster Card, here the benefits:
Unlimited journeys on all London Underground, Buses, Trams, Docklands Light Rail, Over-ground Trains and National Rail Services within zones 1 – 6.
A hassle free day as you don't need to buy lots of different tickets – the travelcard includes everything you will need.
When you buy a 6 day London Pass with Travel you get a 7 day Travelcard - that's a whole extra day for free.
Make huge savings as a single Underground ticket bought in London costs £4.00, a bus ticket is £2.20 so after 2 or 3 journeys you will be saving money.
For more details check the website pointed below.
Gloucester Road Tube stop at Cromwell road is a good area for a hotel location, This Tube connects with three tube lines thus this stop is excellent for connections all around London and to Heathrow LHR airport. From LHR trains won't be already full and you don't need to change trains and returning to LHR the trains can be crowded. Also, keep in mind if one has a lot or heavy luggage the tube can be difficult.
Also, connect with the "Hop-on & Hop-off" London tour buses from this location.
Updated July 2011
Although London residents may not rave about the tube, as a visitor I find this an excellent way to get around the city. Yes, there are occasionally strikes and delays and shutdowns for maintenance but on my two recent trips to London, I only experienced minor delays which are marked at the entrance gates so you have the chance to rethink your journey. There's almost always more than one way to get somewhere via tube, if not then certainly by bus. A lot of the planned maintenance is done on the weekends, you can check on the website below for your travel dates. In the case of planned maintenance, there are replacement buses that travel between the stations.
In terms of how extensive the system is, how close it gets you to all of the major attractions and how straightforward the map is, I think London is one of the best subway systems in the world, if not the best.
What is complicated is the fare structure, the map is broken down into zones-most tourists will not go outside zones 1-2. The only time I went outside on my trips was Kew Gardens and Wimbledon, both in zone 3, and Heathrow which is in zone 6. If you buy a zone 1-2 PAPER travelcard for most of your travel, you can pay the cash fare or get an Oyster or a 1 day travelcard for the different zones. The last time I tried to get an extension on my zone 1-2 PAPER travelcard, they wouldn't let me do it although I'm sure I did on previous trips. If you get an Oyster or a travelcard loaded onto an Oyster, you can add onto the Oyster for the journey.
Single cash fares are more than what is charged to your Oyster for the same ride to encourage it's use. There are also 1 and 7 day travelcards, monthly passes, etc., the attached website lists the many options. If you are traveling between 4:30am and 9:30am during the week, this is considered peak and you will be charged more for a 1 day travelcard; 7 day travelcards include peak travel.
For planning purposes, give yourself an estimated 3 minutes per tube stop. If you are planning a late night out, be advised that the tube stops running around midnight and you will need to figure out where to catch a night bus. Check Transport for London's website for the last tube from the station you will be near.
The London Underground is a fantastic way to get around London. It appears to be really confusing at first but after a few moments study its really not that bad and can be made even easier by downloading a Tube Map app for your smart phone that will tell you the best way to get from A to B
The 'underground is the ideal way to get around London, usually quicker than transport above ground. If you are going to spend time in London you may want to consider obtaining a special pass such as Travelcard or Oyster card.
www.tfl.gov.uk/tickets/14416.aspx will give you details of all the options regarding tickets, passes etc to suit your needs.
The underground opened in 1863 and electric trains were introduced to the Northern line in 1890. There are 270 stations and 402 kms of track, but only 45% are underground which are used by 3.5m passengers a day. 19,000 employees work on the underground and there are 64 lifts. There are 11 different line which are colour coded on the underground map, but unfortunately due to the antiquated equipment it is one of the most unreliable transport systems of its kind in the world today.
With so many passengers each day it is amazing that only three babies have ever been born on the underground, two of them in the last few years.
In 1987 31 people died at Kings X when a match was inadvertently thrown away with the result of a smoking ban.
Another strange fact is that only 29 0f the stations are south of the Thames and mosquitoes underground have evolved into a different species unlike any above ground.
Approximately there are 100 tube suicides each year!!
At weekends there is often engineering work on the London Underground/Tube and DLR resulting in partial closures of particular lines and replacement bus services.
Always check the Transport for London website for details before you travel.
The only thing we had to consider was which card we needed to get around the way we wanted. We saw that London's transport map is divided into 6 zones. The zones 1 and 2 cover Central London and zone 6 covering the outer edge of the capital. So, this means that you simply have to look how much zones you will travel, study the fares structure and match the card and fare to pay. Only a very small minority of people riding on the Underground will buy single tickets (there are no return tickets). Nearly all locals are using an Oyster Card, for some visitors a Travelcard can make sense. If you are in doubt, the manned ticket office (which can be found at all stations) is the best way to ask around and get advised about the ticket to buy.
We noticed that almost all London Underground trains lack air-conditioning, which (in our opinion) can lead to a very hot seat in the summer. This might get very awkward during the rush hours when it will be very, very crowded. Finally, at the time we were in London (may 2012) it was announced that stations along the network would get Wifi coverage.
The London's Underground rail network, or 'the Tube' as it is universally known to Londoners, is normally the quickest and easiest way of travelling around London. I guess that the famous Underground map is a 20th-century design classic. At first it might look a bit hard to understand it, but just take your time to learn its usability. We noticed that it is very useful, clearly indicating the general directions used to designate trains (north, south, east or westbound). Besides that all interchanges are very clearly indicated. This makes travelling by the London Underground rather easy.
Some other useful tips we learned when using the Tube: avoid travelling during rush hour if at all possible, check the front of the train for the correct destination and stand on the right when using escalators.
Our hotel was situated near the Lambert North tube station, so we travelled a lot with the Bakerloo line. On the match day we had to go to the Emirates Stadium, which was easy to find via the Arsenal tube station via the Piccadilly line. And during the evening we did some sightseeing and used the Circle line to get around. So, don’t be scared by the map, just study it well and you will easily get around.
The London Underground (by locals shortened to the Underground) is a very fast transit system serving the Greater London area. It is known for its oldest underground section in the world, which opened in 1863 and now forms part of the Circle line. We read that the oldest lines were built by various private companies and in 1933 all these private lines became one integrated transport system.
The London Underground has 11 lines available. These 11 lines are divided into two classes: the subsurface routes and the deep-tube routes. The Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, and Metropolitan lines make up the subsurface class. The Bakerloo, Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo & City linesare the deep-tube routes.
To be honest, whenever you take the London Underground you won’t notice the exact difference as it will just take you wherever you want to go and it doesn’t matter whenever it is up or under the ground :)
London has probaby the most famous subway system in the world. It is debatably the largest and certainly the oldest subway system in the world. Being so ancient compared to North American mass transit system that I am used to traveling on, I looked upon traveling on the tube as a tourist attraction in itself.
Gazing upon a map of the Tube can be intimedating. The Tube stretches and twists around the city in every direction. There are twelve lines, each represented by a different colour on the map.
The Tube is broken up into zones. How much you pay in terms of fare is decided upon how many zones you will be travelling through. Tickets for the Tube must be bought before hand at a ticket machine or you will be fined for traveling without one. As of 2004 it is ?2.00 to travel within Zone One, the city centre, which seems rather expensive to me. It was just a pound or so when I visited. I recommend that you buy for ?15.00 a carnet of 10 tickets which you can only use in Zone One.
Inspite of my initial excitement of riding the Tube, I gradually found the Tube to be rather dirty, smelly and certainly in need of restoration and repair. I understand that this has been going full throttle in recent years.
And indeed it has improved. During my 2010 visit to London, I found a world of difference in the Tube. The stations where cleaner. The trains were newer and even seemed more spacious. It is highly recommended that if you stay in London for more than one day that you purchase an Oyster Card. This very modern form of paying for transport fees is a card you can purchase at a station kiosk or a newstand. You keep the card and pay either for a weekly, monthly or yearly. Or you can pay as you go loaded into the card. I prepaid for 10 rides in advance. You simply tap the card onto a cardreader at the entrance turnstiles when you begin your trip and the fare is taken off your card. It was very simple to use. Also my compliements to the attendent at the tube station who explained all this to me. He was very helpful and friendly.
London’s Metropolitan Railway was the world’s first subway. A 6 km section of what is still today one of the world's largest and most fun subway systems opened in 1863. The original system ran between Paddington and Farringdon, and proved a hit despite steam trains filling the stations and tunnels with dense smoke. That original system is pretty much gone now but by riding today’s Circle Line from Paddington to Covent Garden and the London Transport Museum you will cover part of that original route. If you just want to visit the Museum, you can also reach it via the Piccadilly line.
One can board the trains in many places and travel to just about any place in Greater London but that may not always be the wisest thing to do, especially if you are going to be in London for some time. They have a remarkable array of combination and discount tickets which can save considerable money. My favorite way to travel currently, and it still may not be the best is to buy an Oyster, which allows you to add as much credit as you wish which the entrance and exit gates will subtract as you use the tubes and/or the buses.
It would, nevertheless, be highly advisable to consult the website below, read some of the materials available in many, but not all, of the stations, or consult one of the ticket agents. I would recommend trying not to tie up a ticket agent for lengthy time periods during rush periods nor at very busy stations.
Just in case you are into transportation history, the world’s second subway opened in Budapest in 1896, beating Paris to the post by four years.