I would reccommend when coming to London to definately use the tube as your means of getting around. I found that black cabs were extremely expensive. The tube is cheap and very easy to figure out. it's also a good way to mix with the locals, though I wouldn't recommend starting a conversation with them. Peope just seem to be in their own world on the tube and that's ok. I did come across a minor delay once and I'm sure it happens often, but the delay was only 5 minutes and there are other lines to get you where you need to go if one line is closed or delayed. Also check if you can before planning your day.
The only complaint about the tube is that some- not all-can be dirty.
We primarily got around London through the use of the Tube, or the Underground as some might call it. From our home base in Kensington, we were able to jump right onto the Tube and get to all of the sights pretty quickly. We bought books of ten tickets...saved a little money, yet left us the flexibility to travel when we wanted without wondering/worrying "did we get out money's worth?" which goes with day passes.
We were always amused by the automated "mind the gap" audio and visual warnings, intended to warn passengers of the gap between the platform and the trains.
The Tube is an excellent way to get around in London. The price is reasonable, it is pretty much clean and the service is reliable.
We also enjoyed the buskers (although the many no busking signs) they were singing and playing their guitars. And they seemed to be enjoying entertaining us as well, til they found out we were Americans, then they started singing nasty songs about Americans. LOL!
My sister and I were warned to stay together when we went into the toilet. Apparantly theives commonly steal belongings in toilets.
Just be sure to take your time and try to get familiar with the tube map before you set out so you dont get turned around. My sister is an excellent map reader and navigator, so I was lucky to not get lost!
The tube is a great way to get around anywhere in London. But a few words of wisdom when traveling on the tube.
1)Mind the Gap between the train and the platform
2)Use priority in seating(ask an elderly person or a person with children if they want your seat)
3) NEVER RIDE THE TUBE AT NIGHT
why do I say never ride the tube at night. well even if you want to go somewhere thats only open at night or you want to take a picture of big ben lit up dont go on the tube at night. It can be dangerous if traveling alone. There have been a few murders that occur at night on the tube. For a safe trip, I suggest to stick to the busses at night.
(note: I did not take the picture inside the undergound because pictures inside the undergroud are prohibited)
I've read quite a few reviews on the London Underground saying that its quite complicated when its really not. Why should you believe me? Well, I was about 10 when I first started using the tube and I had no problems whatsoever. I was new to London, spending my holidays from boarding school there, yet I found the Underground easy to use. I stayed in Plaistow on the District Line and I had no problems getting around London. I had no problems finding the correct route or changing stations. Sure the first time might seem intimidating but you'll get adjusted to it within a day. I mean c'mon... if a 10 year old can get it.... anyone can.
The best thing to do is before you go out, try and visit the London Underground's website and use their router planner which will tell you what line to take, where to transfer or where to get off. Very useful...
London is divided into 6 zones in the tube (underground)/bus maps.
Since most tourist attractions are within Zones 1 and 2, it's advisable to buy a 'day travelcard for Zones 1 and 2' to start your day.
An off-peak (after 0930) card costs 4.10 pounds and you can use it for tubes/buses as many times as you like.
Transport for London, being realisitc about the performance of the tube, offers a real time tube map detailing what lines suffer from delays or cancellations. The use of the map is extremely simple. If a line or station is coloured, it has a problem. You can then click on it to get more information on the problem.
We used the tube only a little bit. For one thing, the day we got there the tube folks were on strike. For another, you can't see anything stuck down in there. And for a third thing it's often very crowded. But it is quick and efficient if all you want to do is get quickly from one place to another.
We came back from the theatre on Friday night on the tube, and we left London to go out to the suburbs to have our daughter pick us up by tube. This ticket - one trip all the way out to West Ruislep was about £3.50 but it meant that our daughter didn't have to come all the way into the city to get us. She didn't want to drive in the city, and it was much quicker for us to ride out to meet here. I understand there is now an extra fee for driving into London.
During our first tube ride we got a little confused. You have to pay close attention on their tube map and make sure the tube you're in would actually go to your destination. Some of their lines have "forks". Meaning, a particular line can go all the way from point A to Z but some would just go from A-D. It also helps if you know your north-east-south-west, seriously. lol
Cycling is good, just about everyone is agreed on that. It provides good exercise, it is eco friendly etc. We all know the benfits. London isn't a bad place to cycle and there are many designated cycle routes and the Mayor (Boris Johnson) has recently started a schem of public hire bikes in association with a major bank.
London is, however, a big city, and maybe your pedalling legs don't feel up to cycling from Upminster to Croydon. I know I wouldn't fancy it. This is where you run into problems. For various reasons, mainly Health and Safety regulations I believe, there are a bewildering array of regulations as to when and where you can take your bike on public transport.
The attached photo shows just one set of regulations, in this instance the Jubilee Line on the Underground. As you can see, even the London Underground signage does not make sense! The rules are so complex I do not intend to go into them all here so I am creating this tip to provide you with a very useful web page which details the whole situation for you.
I hope it assists and happy pedalling.
Nothing in London is cheap so splurge a bit and take the Heathrow express to Paddington and the tube from there. Once you get to Paddington you can exit by walking out the inclined street to the left. Pop up on the street and there is a Garfunkel's restaurant immedaietly across the street. Good breakfast reasonably priced. If you don't want breakfast you can eat there on the way back or at Yo! sushi inside the station.
When you get to the British Museum there is a big round kiosk as you come in the main hall. They have pre-progammed headsets for a self guided tour. I suggest you go see the Rosetta Stone as early as possible as it gets so crowded around it that you can hardly see it sometimes. The Elgin Marbles are in a much bigger area so that can be taken at a slower pace.
This is the fastest and easiest way to go around the city. They have 10 lines that cross London up to 12:00 am (every line has different time of stopping). In that huge city distances are very big and if you have only few days to a week, it’s better take the underground. In the website you’ll find all the information about schedule and prices. I could recommend have Oysters card, it costs 3 pounds and you have to charge it. All day crossing the underground will cost you no more than 6.30 pounds. It is also valid for trams, buses, everything.
If you are travelling from London/Heathrow Airport into the City. Look for the signs leading to the Underground which are posted at the main terminal at Heathrow.
terminals 1 and 2 also three. From Heathrow (zone 6) you will pay £4.50 to the centre of London - one way on the Piccadilly Line. Enquire about the special rates on line (www.thetube.com), especially off peak travel, also obtain a map of the Underground from the ticket booth. There are far too many options to list. However there are tickets (Oystercard) that incorporate trains/Underground along with day specials and weekly specials. Everything for everyone...Watch your luggage at all times. Also MIND THE GAP
Since January you can now use your pay as you go Oyster card on both Trains and Tubes.
So what does this mean? What it means is that you no longer have the hassle of needing to buy a train ticket if you are within zones 1 - 6, you can simply swipe in and out at each train/underground station.
How it works? Each time you swipe in and out of an underground/overground station it will charge you for a single ticket, once you have paid the amount of a travel card it will stop charging you per journey and in effect the rest of your travel for that day within those zones is free.
For example a zone 1 - 5 travel card is £7.5, if I swipe on at a zone 5 train station, travel into London jump onto the underground go around London and then go back to your zone 5 train station, you wont be charged for that final journey back on the train. Although please be aware that the charges are stepper if travelling within the rush hour.
Also, make sure you have enough money on your Oyster.
The tube is like an old institution. It's like it has been there forever.
My first tube experience was in the late seventies. I still remember the smelly platforms, the old Circle line impressions (being outside; being inside).
When I returned in 2009, I found it less smelly, but still very dated and noisy.
In fact there now are three levels of the tubes:
-The oldest, like the Circle line
-The next level down
-The newest, the all the way down Jubilee line.
I asked myself why the trains never were re-desgned. The sound they produce (making the announcements in the train inaudible) and the traction are some points to improve.
Also, the head storm, before a train arrives, could be delt with.
But, as I wrote in my opening line: It is an institution and moving people around in London with the tube is impossible.
My ticket tip: For a short 3 day visit the "3 Day Travelcard for Zones 1 & 2" (at £ 18.40) is ideal. Just buy it and use it; no other hassle. Now that the Oyster card has been introduced it might be a matter of time, before the complete ticket system will be transferred to electronic tickets. I hope there will an Oyster card that provides the same convience as the present Travelcard.
At the major train stations you also find ticket shops for the London Transport. Get your free brochures there.