Mind the Gap, 6 Tips for Navigating the London Underground

Jillian Aubin is a student at Louisiana State University and an ISA Featured Blogger. Jillian is currently studying abroad with ISA in London, England.


One of the many conveniences of London is its underground transportation service, known as the Tube. Anyone who lives in London will tell you it is the easiest and fastest way to get around the city. At first, I was nervous about using the Tube, but I quickly learned how easy it is to understand. Throughout my time in London, the Tube has been a godsend, saving me from lengthy bus rides and astronomical cab fares. I’ve rounded up my top six tips for a trip on the London Underground:

  1. Download the Tube Map London app – This app is perfect for both tourists and Londoners alike. It has multiple maps of the Tube, including maps of the entire Underground as well as each specific train line. You may also view suggested routes simply from typing in where you are and where you need to go.
  2. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – Each tube stop has several assistance booths throughout the station. If you have any questions about ticket purchases, which line to take, or where to get off, these are the people to ask.
  3. If you’re not in a hurry, step aside – Everyone in London is busy. Businessmen are traveling to meetings, college students are commuting to their morning lecture, etc. Most travelers on the Tube walk very quickly, which might be intimidating at first. If you don’t find yourself keeping the same pace as the crowd, keep right so those in a hurry can walk around you.
  4. On the escalators, keep right – Elaborating on my third tip…On the escalators throughout the Tube, the people walking up or down will go on the left side. Make sure to keep right if you’re standing, otherwise you might hold up the line!
  5. Check for delays and closures before you leave for the Tube – Now the majority of the time, the Tube functions perfectly. However, there are those rare occasions where there might be delays due to weather or closures for stations undergoing construction. You may check online (or on the Tube Map app) for any notifications about the Tube service.
  6. Bring headphones or a book – For the trips that take longer than just a few minutes, it’s best to bring something to do while you’re on the train. If you want to catch up on current events, grab a free copy of The Evening Standard at the Tube entrance for your afternoon train!

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