5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

You will use the London Underground when you’re in London. It is incredibly efficient, and makes your trip so easy and efficient.

You can travel basically anywhere in London by using the Underground. If you’re travelling to certain far-away suburbs, you may have to use the Overground, but for the most part, the Underground will serve all of your transportation needs.

Using the London Underground is easy when you know what you are doing. These 5 London Underground tips will help you use the Underground like a local and save time and money in the process!

1. Get an Oyster Card

Getting an Oyster card is essential. This card allows you to tap in and out of the London Underground without having to purchase a ticket each time. You pre-load the card with money, and your card is deduced every time you use the Underground. The card can be re-loaded with money at any station if needed.

You can purchase an Oyster card when you land at the airport, or you can get your Oyster mailed to your home in advance. You have to purchase your Oyster card at a ticket window. But after your initial purchase, you can use the machines to top it up.

There is an option to purchase a Visitor Oyster card. The Visitor card has to be ordered before you leave with enough time for it to be mailed to you. You get a number of discounts if you purchase the visitor Oyster. So you will want to review the discounts to see if pre-buying the visitor Oyster is beneficial to you.

You have to pay a £5 deposit when you get your Oyster card. This is refundable if you return your card when you leave the city. You can get a refund for any money on your card if you return your card when you leave. If you don’t return your card, the money stays on the card, and you are able to use it next time you visit London.

Benefits of using an Oyster card:

  • You don’t need to purchase a ticket for each trip.
  • It save you money by giving you a reduced fee each time your ride. You save £2.50 per ride on average when you use the Oyster card.
  • Your daily fee is capped. After you spend a certain amount of money on the London Underground in a single day, you are not charged anymore.

2. Avoid Peak Hours

It costs more to ride the London Underground during peak hours. You save approximately 50 pence each trip when you ride during off-peak times.

Peak-hours are different depending on whether you have a visitor Oyster card or a regular Oyster card.

For people using the visitor card, peak times are between 6:30 and 9:30am and 4 and 7pm. All day on weekends and Bank holidays are considered peak as well.

Peak times are the same for a regular Oyster card; however, weekends are not considered peak times.

That means you may end up paying more if you choose to get a Visitor card rather than a regular Oyster.

Avoiding the London Underground during peak times will also make for a more comfortable journey. The Underground gets very busy during peak times, so it will be very crowded, and you will have no personal space. It can be an uncomfortable ride- especially if you are going a long distance. You can have a less crowded and more enjoyable ride when you ride the London Underground during non-peak hours.

Tower Bridge London England 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

3. Know Your Platform

When you go down to the Underground platform, there will be two different platforms to choose from. The platforms have trains going in the opposite direction of one another, so be sure you know what platform you need.

You can tell what platform you need by reading the signs at the entrance to the platforms. These signs list what stations each train stops at. You need to find your station then go to the corresponding platform.

London Underground Bonus Tip:

You will most likely enter the platform in the middle, but you should move all the way down to the end. The end of the platform is always the least busy, so you will have fewer people in your car then you would if you go onto a car in the middle of the platform. This is especially helpful during peak times.

London England United Kingdom 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

4. Stand on the Right

If you’re going to stand on the escalator, always stand on the right. People walk on the left-hand side of the escalator, and they will ask you to move to the right if you are standing on the left.

London is a fast-paced city, and people regularly walk up the escalator. So please stand on the right in a single-file line. You will make the locals so much happier because you will be one less tourist they need to ask to move.

It can be easy to forgot to stand only on the right if you come from a society where it is acceptable to stand on both sides of the escalator. You should watch what the locals are doing and follow their lead. You may not thing this is a great tip, but it is. Trust me.

St. Paul's Cathedral London England 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground

5. Consider Walking

You should consider walking if you are going from one place in central London to another. The London Underground is great, but it is sometimes quicker to walk than to take the Underground.

I suggest walking if you’re in central London, and the place you are going is less than 3-4 stations away. The distance between stations is often short, so walking the equivalent can mean only having to walk 5 or so blocks.

Westminster station and Leicester Square station look like they are far apart on the London Underground map. However, they are only a 10 minute walk away from one another. You can easily walk from one station to the other in less time than it would take to use the Underground.

You get to see more of London and save money when you walk rather than take the Underground. If you plan your days strategically, you can walk to most places rather than take the Underground from sight to sight.

London England United Kingdom 5 Tips to Survive the London Underground


You will use the London Underground when you are in London. There is no way around using it, so you should know how to ride the Underground efficiently and like a local.

Getting an Oyster card is the most important thing you need to do when riding the London Underground. You also need to know how to save money by walking and not riding at peak times.

If you know where you are going and what platform you need, you have a stress-free experience on the Underground and seamlessly blend in with the locals.

It is easy to ride the London Underground even if you have never used public transportation before. Each station has clearly marked signs, and employees can help you if you have questions.

You should pick up a free paper London Underground map, so you can easily plan your journey before you go down into the station. This will help you easily navigate where you need to go without getting in anybody’s way.

The London Underground is great, and I know you will have no troubles figuring it out!

Westminster Abbey vs St. Paul’s Cathedral

If you’re going to London for the first time, you’re probably considering visit one a London cathedral. The two most popular choices are Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

This post will hopefully help you choose which London cathedral you want to visit if you only have the time (and money) to visit one. It can be a difficult choice, so I hope lying out the pros and cons of each will help you make your choice.

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey London England  London Cathedral

Westminster Abbey is filled with centuries of British history. Kings, Queens, poets, scientists, and many other historical figures are buried in the Abbey. It is also a popular venue for royal weddings- it has hosted 17!

Getting There

Westminster Abbey is the most conveniently located London cathedral. It is right in the heart of the City.

If you take the Underground, get off at either Westminster station or St. Jame’s Park station. Westminster is the most convenient stop and can be accessed from the Jubilee, District, and Circle lines. St. Jame’s Park station can be accessed from the District and Circle lines. And don’t forget to use your Oyster card to save money on public transportation in London.

Follow the signs for Westminster Abbey when you get off the Underground, and you will be able to see the cathedral as soon as you get to street level. All you will have to do is walk across the street, and you will be at the Abbey.

Westminster Abbey is centrally located, so you are able to walk to it if you’re in Piccadilly Circus, the West End, or at Buckingham Palace.

It’s location is extremely convenient, and there are lots of tourist sights nearby.


No matter what London cathedral you go to, entry is expensive. That is one reason people only visit one of the two main London cathedrals while on holiday.

Entry to Westminster Abbey is £20 if you buy tickets in advance. It costs £22 if you buy tickets at the door.

The Abbey is always busy, so buying tickets online is a good idea assuming you know when you want to visit. It will save you money and time standing in line.

What You Get to See

Westminster Abbey has lots of unique things for you to see.

You are able to see the tombs of Charles Darwin, Charles Dickens, Sir Issac Newton, and Queen Elizabeth I. There are over 3,300 people buried or commemorated in the Abbey, so everybody is guaranteed to find someone they are interested in.

You also have the opportunity to view the Coronation Chair that monarchs sit in when being coronated. It is near the exit and definitely a must-see!

You also get to wander through the gardens. They are filled with beautiful flowers and are extremely peaceful. When it isn’t too busy that is.

St. Paul’s Cathedral

St. Paul's Cathedral London England London Cathedrals

St. Paul’s Cathedral is also steeped in history. Martin Luther King once spoke at the cathedral. The Suffragettes even had a plan to blow the cathedral up.

Getting There

You can get off the Underground at the following stops for easy access to St. Paul’s Cathedral: St. Paul’s, Mansion, Blackfriars, and Bank. The most convenient is to take the Central line to St. Paul’s and walk from there.

You will not be able to see the cathedral when you exit the Underground station, so be sure to check a map at street level to make sure you are going the right way. You will not need to walk more than 3 blocks to get to St. Paul’s. If you feel like you’re walking a long ways, you are probably heading in the wrong direction.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is not as centrally-located as Westminster Abbey, but there are still other tourist sights in the area. It is close to The Globe, Monument, and the Tate museum. So there is definitely a day’s worth of sights to see close to St. Paul’s.


Just like Westminster, it is expensive to visit St. Paul’s Cathedral.

If you buy tickets online in advance, the entrance fee is £17. Same-day tickets purchased at the door are £20.

Entrance to the dome is included in the price of admission.

St. Paul’s Cathedral is normally not as busy as Westminster Abbey, so you are more likely to not have to wait in line if you’re buying your ticket on the day you are visiting the cathedral.

What You Get to See

You get to climb the dome when you go to St. Paul’s. The views from the dome are my favourite in all of London. You will get a unique view of London from the sky from the top of St. Paul’s.

You also get to see the High Alter. It is a particularly stunning piece of architecture. My favourite part of any cathedral or church is the organ, and St. Paul’s has a huge one! Sometimes they are even played while people are wandering through the nave.

Similarities and Differences

St. Paul's Cathedral London England London Cathedral

This is an extremely difficult question to answer because they are both historic sights that deserve to be seen. They do, however, offer two very different experiences.


  • Both cathedrals cost basically the same
  • They both have historical significance
  • An audioguide is included in the price of admission at both cathedrals
  • They are both convenient to get to


  • Westminster Abbey has more royal history
  • You get a bird’s-eye view of London at St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • Westminster Abbey is home to the tombs of some of the most influential people in British history
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral is arguably a better piece of architecture

Trying to decide where to stay in London? Check out this article!

Which London Cathedral Should You Visit?

West Minster Abbey London England London Cathedral

The London Cathedral you choose to visit on your trip is ultimately your choice. I can’t tell you which one you will enjoy more.

If you enjoy royal history and historical figures, you would probably prefer Westminster Abbey.

If you enjoy architecture and seeing London from above, you would probably prefer St. Paul’s Cathedral.

I feel one visit to Westminster Abbey was enough for me. However, I would go back to St. Paul’s Cathedral multiple times. This is due to the viewing area from the dome. You will always be able to see something new from the top of the cathedral. The London skyline is always changing, so every time you went up, you get to see something you didn’t see before.

I enjoyed visiting both cathedrals. They both have something unique and worthwhile to offer.