How to get from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau is a great day trip from Paris. It is only 55km outside of Paris, and it is extremely easy to get from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau. It is one of the largest royal palaces in all of France and is filled with beautiful decor and lots of history.

History of Château de Fontainebleau

Château de Fontainebleau is an interesting piece of French architecture. It was a royal Château then became a palace and one of the many residences for the French monarchs. It was used as a palace from the reign of Louis VII to Napoleon III.

The monarchs would go from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau in order to relax and get away from the capital city. The location was favourable because the monarch could easily go from Paris to Fontainebleau for a short retreat and not have to worry about extensive travel.

The palace is now a UNESCO World Heritage sight and is visited by hoards of tourists every year.

It truly is one of the best places in France to learn about French history!

How to Get From Paris to Château de Fontainebleau

The Most Common Way: By Train

The most common (and easiest) way to get from Paris to Fontainebleau is by train. The train rides takes approximately 40 minutes, and it is faster than taking a private car!

Step One

The first step to getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau is to get to Gare de Lyon station in Paris because that is where the trains to Fontainebleau leave from. Gare de Lyon is the sixth largest train station in Paris, and it is very busy.

You have to take the local Paris metro to Gare to Lyon and then transfer to another train to get to Château de Fontainebleau .

The metro lines that stop at Gare de Lyon are:

  • M
  • 1
  • 14

The RER lines that stop at Gare to Lyon are:

  • A
  • D

To figure out to get from where you are staying to Gare de Lyon, click here. This is an interactive map that will help you plan the best route for you to take!

Paris Metro

Step Two

Now that you’re at Gare de Lyon, you will have to exit the Paris metro portion of the station and follow the signs to the actual train station portion of Gare de Lyon. There will be lots of signs, so you shouldn’t get lost.

You are now in the train station portion of Gare de Lyon. You’ll need to take a Transition train (that’s the fancy name for the type of train you will be taking to Château de Fontainebleau). You will want to take a train in the direction of Migennes, Montargis or Montereau. All three of these trains will take you to Château de Fontainebleau.

You need to get off the train at Fontainebleau-Avon. This will be either the second, third, or forth stop depending on what train you take.

How to Buy tickets

You will need to purchase a ticket before you board the train to Fontainebleau. Tickets can either be purchased at a ticket machine or at a ticket booth. You cannot purchase a ticket to Fontainebleau-Avon at the metro stations, so you will have to purchase it once you walk to the train station.

The ticket machines will be purple on the side and have SNCF written on the side. The ticket machines accept both cash and card.

You are also able to purchase your ticket online and collect it at a ticket machine. Simply input your reservation number and the credit card used to purchase the ticket, and you’ll easily be able to collect your ticket!

You can also purchase a ticket at a manned ticket booth if you feel more comfortable with that. Make sure to leave a little bit of extra time if you plan on purchasing your ticket at a ticket booth because there is often a queue.

Château de Fontainebleau Paris France
how to validate your tickets

You have to validate your ticket before you board the train! There will be a square metal box as you enter the platform. You have to stick the end of your ticket in the box in order for it to validated.

Step Three

Once you get off the train, you will have to take a local bus to Château de Fontainebleau. The bus departs across the street from the train station exit, and you will be able to see the bus stop as soon as you walk out of the station.

It is impossible to get lost on your way to the bus. You will be able to see the station, and you can simply follow the other tourists who are heading to Château de Fontainebleau as well.

You need to take the Ligne 1 (line 1) bus in the direction of Les Lilas. Ride the bus until you hear the stop called Château is announced, and you will get off there.

There is a map inside the bus, so you can track where you are on the route and be prepared to get off when your stop is coming up. You can also get off when the rest of the tourists get off.

After you get off the bus, you have to walk about a block and a half before you get to the palace. There will be signs showing you what direction to walk when you get off the bus.

Château de Fontainebleau is right in the heart of the city. The bus stop you get off at is in a residential area, and it can seem a bit odd getting off there, but you are in the right place!

Tips for riding the bus
  • You need change to ride the bus so make sure you have some with you!
  • Make sure you check the bus schedule, so you know what time to be back at the bus stop after touring Château de Fontainebleau
  • It is polite to give up your seat for elders, people living with disabilities, and pregnant women (but that’s common knowledge everywhere).
Chateau de Fontainebleau Paris France

Getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau by Car

You can drive yourself from Paris to Fontainebleau. It will take approximately an hour and fifteen minutes, but that is subject to traffic, of course.

You take the A6 from Paris (Porte d’Orléans or Porte d’Italia) and take the exit for Fontainebleau. After you exit, you will follow signs that say Château until you get to the palace.

To find nearby parking, visit this link.

Getting from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau by Coach

You can take an organized tour from Paris to Fontainebleau, but I wouldn’t recommend it. The tours are normally overpriced, and they don’t give you the freedom to do what you want when you want.

That being said, there are instances where it is better for people to take a coach tour rather than travelling to Château de Fontainebleau on their own. People who are living with disabilities and cannot easily take public transportation or people with mobility issues who want to walk as little as possible.

Paris City Vision offers a guided tour that comes highly recommend (although I have never personally gone on it).

Chateau de Fontainebleau Paris France

Conclusion

It is easy to get from Paris to Château de Fontainebleau, and it is an amazing day trip. Château de Fontainebleau is so close to Paris that it makes for the perfect day trip.

The most efficient and stress-free way to get from Paris to Fontainebleau is by train. I promise that having to take the train then a bus isn’t as difficult as it can seem to an inexperienced traveller.

The journey is extremely easy, and it is nearly impossible to get lost along the way. The only thing you need to worry about is getting on the right train and getting off at the right stop. Even if you get off on the wrong bus stop, you will be able to walk to the palace because it is a small town.

Château de Fontainebleau is a great piece of French history. I actually enjoy it more than Versailles. It is less busy, just as beautiful, and has some amazing history attached to it.

You won’t regret your trip to Château de Fontainebleau!

10 Tips for Using Public Transportation in Paris

Paris is one of the most visited countries in the world. It is a huge city with lots to see and do, so you will be using the public transportation system when you’re in Paris. The Paris transportation system is extremely easy to use even if you’re not used to using public transportation.

The most common form of Paris transportation is their underground subway system. It is an extensive system that can get you anywhere in Paris you want to go and even has lines that take you outside of Paris.

The Paris transportation system is incredibly well built and efficient. Did you know that the Paris metro system is the fourth largest metro system in the world?!

With such a large metro system, you’ll need some help to get around the city! These 10 tips will help you use the Paris transportation system like a local.

1. Consider Purchasing a Carnet

A Carnet is a book of 10 single ride transportation tickets. You save you a little bit of money buying a carnet, but they save you a lot of time because you don’t have to purchase a ticket every time you ride public transportation.

A book of 10 tickets costs €14.90. You are able to purchase a carnet at the vending machines or from the ticket windows. A carnet is a great option for people that plan on using the Paris transportation system quite a bit while in Paris or for people that will be in Paris for more than a couple of days.

2. Inside versus Outside of Paris

If you choose to purchase a carnet, you need to understand how the ticketing works. There is a difference between inside and outside of Paris. The carnet tickets are single use tickets that you are only able to use in areas that are designated to be inside Paris.

This means that you will not be able to use a ticket from your carnet booklet if you are using the public transportation system to go to Disneyland Paris or Versailles. You will also not be able to use a ticket from the carnet book if you are going to and from CDG airport.

A basic rule of thumb is that if you are using the RER and going outside the central part of Paris, you will need to buy an individual ticket rather than using a ticket from the carnet booklet.

You can use a ticket from the carnet booklet if you are only using the metro and not transferring to the RER. All metro stations are considered to be inside Paris.

You are able to transfer from one subway line to another with a single-use ticket as long as the stop you get off from is inside the Paris zone.

If you need more information about whether your stop is considered inside or outside Paris, you can ask a Paris transportation employee at the station you are departing from.

Paris France 10 Tips for using public transportation in Paris

My Experience Using the Wrong Paris Transportation Ticket

I have had an instance where I used a ticket from the carnet and got off at a stop that was considered outside Paris because I was unfamiliar with the rules. The gate did not open for me when I put my ticket in to leave the station, and I had to wait for an employee to come over.

The employee was incredibly kind and explained to me why my ticket didn’t work then took me over to the ticket counter to purchase the proper ticket for my return journey. You shouldn’t get in too much trouble if you explain to the Paris transportation employee that it was a mistake. You may be required to purchase a proper ticket, but you shouldn’t get fined as long as it was a genuine mistake.

3. Consider Getting the Paris Visite Pass

The Paris Visite Pass is a card that allows you to use the public transportation system as much as you want for 1-5 consecutive days. The prices vary depending on how many days you want and your age. A list of prices can be found here.

The Paris Visite Pass includes transportation to and from CDG and Versailles, so it can be a good deal. It can also be a waste of money if you don’t use it enough. You have to use public transportation quite a bit in order for this pass to be worth it. A single-day ticket for an adult costs €13.20.

You should figure out how much you’re planning on using public transportation in Paris and calculate how much it would cost you to purchase individual tickets, a carnet, and the Paris Visite Pass. You should purchase whatever ticket is the most cost effective for you.

I have never used public transportation enough in Paris to make the Paris Visite Pass worth it. It may be beneficial to you if you have a short amount of time in Paris and will be rushing from sight to sight and using Paris transportation a lot. I like to take my time and walk a lot, so the pass isn’t worth it for me.

4. Buy Tickets in Advance

This tip is for people that have decided that purchasing individual tickets is the most cost effective thing for them. You are able to purchase tickets in advance and use them later in the day or the next day.

This means that if you know you’re going to be using the subway to get from central Paris back to where you are staying, you can purchase your return ticket at the same time you purchase your ticket when you take the subway in the morning.

You will have to know what stop you will be departing from in order to purchase tickets in advance. This is a great tip for people who are taking a day trip to Versailles or Disneyland Paris and know exactly what stop they will be departing from.

You will save a lot of time if you purchase your return ticket in advance- especially if you are leaving a busy station during a busy time of day. You won’t have to wait in a long queue just to purchase a ticket. Pre-purchasing your return ticket means you can just get onto the train and get home earlier and with fewer crowds.

This is one of my favourite hacks when I use the Paris transportation system.

Sacre Coeur Paris France

5. Keep Your Ticket Until You Leave the Station

You should hold onto your ticket until you are out of the station. Paris transportation employees often ask to see your valid ticket even once you’re outside the turnstile.

It is safest to always have your ticket ready to show an employee. This is especially true if you’re departing at a station where you don’t need to insert your ticket to open a gate when you leave. These are the stations where you are most likely to be asked for your ticket.

6. Avoid Transferring at Large Stations

It is best to avoid transferring lines at large stations if at all possible. You will have to walk a long ways to get from one line to another, and it can be quite time consuming.

You should try to transfer lines at smaller stations if at all possible. It will save you a lot of time if you don’t have to spend 5 or more minutes walking from one line to another. You are also more likely to get a seat if you don’t get on at the most popular stations.

Louvre Museum Paris France

7. Avoid Paris Transportation Rush Hour if Possible

The subway in Paris gets incredibly busy during rush hour. You should try to avoid using Paris transportation during rush hour in order to have a better experience.

Rush hour on Paris transportation is from 8-10am and 5-8pm.

The trains will be extremely crowded during this time, and you may even have to wait for a train or two for there to be enough room for you to get on. You will be crammed onto a train with basically no room to move during rush hour. It is an overall unpleasant situation that can easily be avoided.

8. Be Aware of Pickpockets

There are a lot of pickpockets all around Paris at the popular tourist attractions. There are also a lot pickpockets in the subway stations and on the trains.

You should be sure to keep your valuables in your eyesight and hang onto your bags and purses. You won’t get pickpocketed if you are being cautious of your personal belongings.

9. You Have to Ask for a Map

You have to ask for a map of the Paris transportation system at a ticket window. They are not freely displayed for you to grab a map as you’re walking through a station.

You can download a map to your phone or look at the maps on the station walls, but it is always nice to have a paper copy for when you’re planning your journey without access to wifi.

Eiffel Tower Paris France

10. Stand on the Right

You should stand on the right-hand side of the escalators. The left-hand side is used by people who want to walk up or down the escalator rather than standings.

You will frustrate people if you are standing on the left-hand side. People are often in a rush to get to their next train to make it to work on time, so they don’t have time to stand on escalators. You should watch the people around you and do as they do.

Conclusion

You should have no problem using the Paris transportation system. It is extremely user-friendly and easy for tourists to understand.

There are signs and announcements in English, so you don’t have to worry about a language barrier, which makes it even easier to use.

The most difficult part of using the Paris transportation system is figuring out what type of ticket is best for you. I prefer to purchase a carnet because it is more convenient than buying individual tickets. I never use the Paris transportation system enough to purchase the Paris Visite Pass, but it is a good option for people who plan on using the train a lot.

Once you decide what ticket option is best for you, the rest of the Paris transportation journey is a breeze and super easy!

Everything You Need to Know About the Oyster Card

You will undoubtably be taking the Underground and other forms of public transportation when you’re in London. The Oyster card is a pre-paid card you can use to make travelling on London’s public transportation extremely simple.

There are a lot of advantages to getting an Oyster card and not really any disadvantages, so you should pick one up when you’re in London!

I’m going to give you all the information you need to make the most out of your Oyster card while in London. You’ll be using the Oyster card like a pro by the time you’re done reading this post!

Types of Oyster Cards and Where to Get Them

There are two different types of Oyster cards:

  • Standard Card
  • Visitor Card

Standard Oyster Card

The standard card is what locals in London use when travelling on public transportation. You can get the standard Oyster card at any Underground station, at the airport, and at some newsstands throughout the city.

Visitor Oyster Card

The visitor card is specifically designed for tourists. You have to order the card online in advance, and it will be delivered to you home, so you don’t have to worry about getting a card when you get to London.

The visitor Oyster card also has a few added perks like small discounts at tourist shops and restaurants. You can view a list of the perks here.

You should not choose to get the visitor card just because you get special offers because the offers aren’t that great. If you choose to get the visitor card, make sure you get it because it is convenient for you.

London England United Kingdom Everything You Need to Know About the Oyster Card

The Deposit

A £5 deposit is required whether you choose to get a standard card or a visitor card. You will pay the deposit online when ordering your card or at the booth when you purchase your card in London.

You get your deposit back when you return a standard Oyster card, but you do not get the deposit back with a visitor card. This is one of the major differences between the two types of Oyster cards.

You can return your standard Oyster card at any place where you can purchase a card. This includes Heathrow and Gatwick, so you can take the Underground to the airport and return your card there. It is a great system!

It isn’t a lot of money, but if you’re never planning on going back to London and using your Oyster card again, you are probably going to want to get your £5 back.

Getting a Refund

You can get any money you have left on your card back before you leave London. You can get your refund at any automated ticket machines or at any manned ticket booth.

The refund will only be in small bills and coins if you get your refund at a ticket machine. You should go to a ticket booth if you have a lot of money remaining on your card, so you don’t have a lot of pence that you can’t convert back to your home currency when you get back from London.

How to Use Your Oyster Card

It is very simple to use your Oyster card. You simply tap it on the yellow card reader when you enter the metro station and tap it on the same yellow card reader when you leave.

You have to tap it both times so be sure to remember to tap out when you leave!

Your Oyster card automatically deducted the appropriate amount from your card based on how how far you have travelled.

Topping Up

You can easily top up your Oyster card at any station by using the ticket machine. The ticket machines accept cash, credit cards, and debit, so you can top it up with whatever method best suits you.

You choose how much you want to add to your card. You can choose between adding £5, £10, £15, £20, and £50.

I recommend topping up with a smaller amount, so you don’t have to worry about trying to get a refund when you leave. It is easy to top up multiple times if you need to. The process is very quick and takes less than five minutes.

Tower Bridge London England

The Oyster Card Gives You Cheaper Fares

The biggest advantage to the Oyster card is that you pay less per trip than you would if you purchased single tickets. A trip in zone one with a single ticket costs £4.90. The same trip costs just £2.40 with your Oyster.

That adds up to significant savings over the course of your trip. You will likely use the Underground at least twice a day, but you could easily use it more often depending where in London you are staying. If you’re in London for five days, you will save £25 per person! Most people use the Underground more than twice a day, so you can potentially save even more money!

It doesn’t make sense to spend extra money if you don’t have to so make sure you get an Oyster card!

Capped Fares

The maximum fare you can pay per day with the Oyster card is capped at £7! This can lead to a lot of savings for people who use the Underground a lot in one day.

You don’t get to cap your fare if you purchase single tickets, so this is another great advantage of the Oyster card.

The card will automatically stop taking money from your card when you tap out when you have reached the cap. You still need to tap in and out of the station like normal even if you are capped for the day though!

St. James' Park London England

Conclusion

The Oyster card is an essential accessory when you visit London. It saves you both time and money, so it is a no brainer!

You save time because you don’t have to stand in the queue to purchase a single ticket each time you take the Underground. There isn’t normally a line in the smaller stations, but there can be long queues at main statins like Victoria- especially during peak times.

The true advantage of the Oyster is how much money it saves you on your vacation. The savings add up quickly, and it is well worth it to get a card.

The biggest decision you will have to make is whether you want to get the standard Oyster or the visitor Oyster. They both have their advantages, so you will have to decide which one fits your needs.

I personally prefer the standard Oyster card because it gives me the ability to get a refund on my deposit if I ever choose to. I frequent London, so I always keep my Oyster rather than returning it for a refund.

You can’t go wrong with either version of the Oyster card. They will both save you time and money, which is the most important part!

How to Get From Heathrow to Central London

Most international flights that land in London either land at Heathrow or Gatwick. Heathrow is the most popular airport in London, but it also the largest, so it is easy to be overwhelmed. You need to know how to get from Heathrow to Central London before you arrive in London to avoid stressing about figuring it out when you land.

There are some airports where you can wait to figure out how to get to your hotel until you land, but Heathrow is not one of them.

There are 4 ways to get from Heathrow to Central London. This post will only discuss 3 of them because the fourth option is not practical. All 3 methods of getting from Heathrow to Central London have their pros and cons. You may find that one option will fit your travel style more than the other 2, so you should choose whichever option makes you feel most comfortable.

The fourth option that won’t be discussed in depth is to take a taxi. This option isn’t advisable because it is extremely expensive and not very quick. It takes almost as much time as options 1 and 3 and is slower and more expensive than option 2.

You should choose one of the 3 options below to get to Central London and not even look into taking a taxi. It simply isn’t practical.

1. The Underground

The London Underground is a great option depending on where you stay in London. If you are staying along the Piccadilly line, the Underground is the best way to get from Heathrow to Central London. You won’t have to transfer, so it is very convenient. You will have to transfer if you aren’t staying along the Piccadilly line, but transferring is very easy even if you have bags to haul around.

The Underground is the most cost effective way to get to Central London from Heathrow airport. It only costs £6 if you purchase a standard ticket or £3-£5 if you use your Oyster card.

The downside to taking the Underground from Heathrow to Central London is that it takes a long time. It can take over an hour, and this may not be what you want to be doing right after a flight- especially if it is a long-haul international flight.

The Underground is very busy during peak hours, so you may want to consider what time you will be travelling into London when choosing if the Underground is right for you.

You May Want to Take the Underground to Central London If:

  • You are on a tight budget
  • The hotel you are staying at is along the Piccadilly line
  • You don’t have a time constraint
  • It is not during peak time

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Method If:

  • You have to transfer multiple different times to get to where you are staying
  • It is during peak time and the Underground will be extremely busy
  • You have a tight schedule and need to get into the City quickly
  • There is a person is your group that has mobility that won’t be able to stand on the Underground if necessary or can’t walk through the the stations or climb stairs if necessary
London England United Kingdom How to get from Heathrow to Central London

2. Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express is a fast-paced train that goes directly from central Heathrow to Paddington station. Central Heathrow is considered terminals 2 and 3, so if you land at a different terminal, you will have to first go to central Heathrow then board the train.

The Heathrow Express only takes 15 minutes and is by far the fastest way to get to central London! It is quick, efficient, and comfortable.

This transportation method is great for people who are in a rush or are staying near Paddington station or along the Underground lines that services Paddington.

You are able to get on the Circle & District, Bakerloo, and Hammersmith and City lines at Paddington. If you are staying along any of those lines, you should consider taking the Heathrow Express.

The downside to the Heathrow Express is the price. It can cost up to £25 if you don’t purchase tickets in advance! That is a serious cost and is something you should consider before choosing this option. The price does decrease if you purchase your tickets in advance.

The lowest standard ticket price is £12, so you are only spending double what the Underground would cost. That is an easier price tag to handle than £25 so be sure to purchase your tickets online 90 days in advance if you know you want to take the Heathrow Express. It will save you a lot of money!

You May Want to Take the Heathrow Express to Paddington If:

  • It is important you get from Heathrow to Central London quickly
  • You don’t have a ticket budget and can spend the extra money
  • You are staying near Paddington or along an Underground line that services it
  • Someone in your party has mobility issues. There is ample space to store your luggage of the Heathrow Express and enough seats that you won’t have to stand

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Option If:

  • You don’t have a time constraint
  • The Heathrow Express is not worth the extra expense
  • You would have to transfer multiple times on the Underground to get to where you are staying
London England United Kingdom Queen Victoria

3. National Express Bus

The third option is to take the National Express bus to Victoria Station. This is the least popular option, but it is still a great option. It costs £6-£10 depending on whether you purchase your tickets in advance or not. The price is comparable to taking the Underground, so it is another great option for travellers on a budget.

The bus drops you off at Victoria station, which is along the Piccadilly line. It is a great alternative for people staying along the Piccadilly line close to Victoria. The bus is a stress-free option. Your bags are under the bus, so you don’t have to worry about them, and you know you will have a seat and not have to stand.

The National Express, on average, takes approximately 10 minutes less than the Underground to get from Heathrow to Central London. This, of course, depends on the traffic. The bus can take much longer if there is a traffic jam or accident.

One of the downsides of the bus is that it leaves as designated times, so you may have to wait around a while until the next bus departs.

If you are purchasing tickets online, you should build time into your schedule to account for getting through immigration, picking up your luggage, and walking to where the buses depart. You should book your bus time for 45-60 after your plane lands to allow for this.

You May Want to Take the Bus to Central London If:

  • Your hotel is located near Victoria station or along the Piccadilly line
  • You enjoy the ease of not having to worry about your luggage and relaxing on the bus
  • Seeing the scenery is appealing to you
  • It is okay if you are delayed due to an unforeseeable delay on the roads

You May Want to Take a Different Transportation Option If:

  • You need to get from Heathrow to Central London quickly and can’t risk a traffic jam delaying your arrival
  • Your hotel is not along the Piccadilly line, and you would have to transfer multiple times on the Underground
  • Someone in your party gets sick on buses
Tower Bridge London England 10 Best European Countries for Solo Female Travellers

How to Get the Best Ticket Price

Once you have decided how you are going to get from Heathrow to Central London, you should figure out how to get the best deal on your transportation.

You should get an Oyster card if you are taking the Underground. The Oyster card can be purchased at Heathrow before you get on the Underground. You get a discounted rate when you use the Underground, and it can be used throughout your entire stay in London. Even if you aren’t taking the Underground from Heathrow to Central London, you should still get an Oyster card for your time in London. It will save you a lot of money!

You should purchase tickets in advance and purchase roundtrip tickets if you take the National Express bus or the Heathrow Express. There is always a reduced fare when you purchase a round-trip ticket, and tickets are normally cheaper the further in advance you purchase them.

It is worth spending a few minutes to figure out the most cost effective option for whatever mode of transportation you choose. It can save you a lot of money- especially if you have multiple people in your group. As stated earlier, you can save £13 on Heathrow Express tickets just by purchasing them 90 days in advance. That’s a huge savings!

St. Paul's Cathedral London England

Conclusion

All 3 methods of getting from Heathrow to Central London have their pros and cons. The Heathrow Express is the quickest and most expensive method. The Underground and bus are comparable in both time and expense and come down to your preference.

You should take into consideration what type of travel experience you want to have and what your priorities are. You can’t go wrong with any of the options, but there will be one that is more suited to you.

The location of your hotel should be a factor in what transportation method you take. You won’t save much time if you take the Heathrow Express to Paddington then have to spend 30 minutes on the Underground to get to your hotel.

Alternatively, it may be worth the extra money to take the Heathrow Express rather than the Underground or bus if you are staying near Paddington. You will save a lot of time, and it will be a lot more convenient than having to transfer on the Underground.

There is a lot to consider when choosing what transportation method is best for you. You should take the time to figure out what method is best for you, so you have a good experience and don’t have to haul your luggage around too many Underground stations.

It is really easy to get from Heathrow to Central London, but it is something you will want to figured out before you land in London. It will save you a lot of stress to have everything sorted before you land and tickets purchased in advance if need be.

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

Conclusion

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!