London can be confusing – and so can its public transport. The easiest way to get to most places is to get the underground. Here are some tips on how to make best use of it.
- Never say “subway.” It’s “the underground” or, more commonly, “the tube.” Asking for a subway in London, you’re likely to be directed to a sandwich shop.
- If you take the tube a lot, use Travelcards. You can add them to your Oyster and travel without limits for a fixed price. If you prefer walking, cycling or busses, pay-as-you-go might be the cheaper option for you. However, most people who use the underground every day find that buying weekly or monthly travel cards saves them money and stress.
- If you don’t have one yet, get a student Oyster card. You can order it online for free, and you’ll get 30% off your Travelcards.
- Do you have Citymapper? If not, get out your phone and download it. Do it now. I’m waiting.
- Keep right on the escalator. Unless you’re walking, in which case go left.
- Avoid rush hour. Taking a train from popular stations like Oxford Circus or High Holborn between 5 and 6pm rarely ends well. Walk to a quieter station or stay in the area for longer to avoid the crowds.
- Grab a newspaper. Metro and Evening Standard (both available daily) will quickly give you all the news of the day and TimeOut (out every Tuesday) is the best source of information about cultural events and cool new places in London. Stylist and Shortlist are full of fun lifestyle and entertainment tips. Best off all – they’re all completely free!
- Try walking. A walk from, say, Covent Garden to Leicester Square will probably take less than a train, and is infinitely more pleasant. When the weather is good, avoid public transport for a day, and you might be surprised by all the pretty places you discover.