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.
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.
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.
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.
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!