How To Use London Underground
6 min

How To Use London Underground

6 min
Uploaded on
Sep 26, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
Uploaded on
Sep 26, 2022
Last updated on
Mar 10, 2023
How to use London Underground
Don't let the train drain your brain!

London is a city of dreams for many across the globe. But sometimes, many can get lost in the dream.  

The London Underground, also known as the Tube, is an extensive transit system that more than 9 million people use. This system comprises 11 lines and more than 270 stations. Because of such an extensive system, figuring out the London tube route becomes challenging. But, experiencing the London Underground is a must for tourists and a convenient source for daily commuters. This blog is a complete guide to the London Underground system so that you don't have to become Dora the Explorer at the stations of the Tube. 

What is London Underground?

London Underground is an underground railway system that runs in London. It started operating in 1863 as the metropolitan railway making it the oldest underground railway in the world. The Tube is used as a slang term for London Underground. The London tube system is divided into 11 lines, each assigned a colour. The system runs through 272 stations, of which 14 are out of London. Travelling by Tube gives the tourists a taste of local life in London.

A Fun Fact- Despite the name London Underground, a large portion of it, the network in London’s outer suburbs is above the surface. 

How to pay?

How to pay?

As mentioned above, the fare you pay depends on your distance travelled. There is a government site which will calculate the cost of the journey between any two stations for you. 

You can buy the tickets and pay for them in 4 ways. They are- 

  • Paper tickets
  • Oyster cards
  • Travelcard
  • Contactless Credit Cards

Let us see what Travelcards and Oyster cards are in detail.

Oyster card

The world is your oyster- card. It is a smart-card mode of payment to travel in public transportation in London. An Oyster card can be used for Tube, buses, London Overground and some river boat services. Indeed a smart card! This card is for pay-as-you-go transactions and is the most preferred mode of payment for most people in London. Rides with an oyster card are comparatively cheaper than a paper ticket. Reloading an oyster card is also simple. You can recharge your card online via a credit card at one of the many machines at the station. 


A travel card in London is valid for a particular zone assigned. It gives you unlimited travel at any time in tube buses. You can use a Travelcard at a flare rate for a particular period, for one day, a week, one month, or annually. 

You can also get a day travel card for unlimited rides in a day. Travelcard may seem like a nice idea for tourists, but it is only economical if you plan to travel more than three times per day or outside Zones 1 and 2.
But remember, there are daily limits set on the caps and travelcards prices.

Hours of Operation

London Underground’s opening timings vary from line to line, but usually, they start operating at 5 am till around midnight from Monday to Saturday. The operating hours on Sundays are reduced a bit. Make sure you check the detailed timings of line

How to use the London Underground?

Know your route

There’s always a first time, and if you are travelling on the Tube for the first time, it is very important to know how to use London underground and your route and the lines you want to take, as the London Underground has 12 lines as of 22, which cover 402 km across 272 stations. It is not a good idea to just show up to the station unprepared. The people, undoubtedly, will help you, but it is better to know your route in advance.

Pay for your ride

If you are not very familiar with how to use the London tube in London or London Underground ticket options, you can use many ways to pay for your ticket. But the two most recommended ways to pay are through an Oystercard or a travel card. A paper ticket is generally more expensive than rides with an oyster card.

Stick to the left while walking

London is a left laned country, and this rule also applies when strolling. You run the danger of receiving an irate shoulder barge from incoming vehicles if you don't stay to the left. Make sure you keep this and mind and follow it if you wouldn’t want to bump into people.

Avoid Peak hours

One of the primary means of transportation for residents of London is the London tube. If you are new to the city, you definitely wouldn’t want to be crushed by the people. Be aware of the peak hours and rush hours of the tube, and you should try to avoid travelling during peak hours. 

You can ask for help

Travelling through the tube for the first time or the initial days can be confusing or intimidating. There are many knowledgeable stewards and other employees that are eager to assist. Ask them for assistance if you get stranded or lost, and they will always be there to help.

London Underground Tips and Etiquettes

Travelling via the London tube is not a sport and knowing how to use London underground, but here are some tips to make your tube travel life easier. 

  1. Keep your Oyster card by the time you get near the scanner while checking-in and checking-out for a smooth process.
  2. On the escalators, keep right for standing or pass on the left.
  3. Always let the people on the train exit first and then onboard the train. 
  4. There are maps available on every platform regarding the train's arrival so that you don’t lose your way.
  5. Pay attention to the electronic display board so that you do not board the wrong train.
  6. Tube map London zones can sometimes be misleading. Make sure you read your map thoroughly. 
  7. Make sure that you always stand behind the yellow line. 
  8. Make sure to carry your books or earphones so that you don’t get bored. 
  9. Mind your luggage and wallet. Pickpocketers are always on their toes.
  10. Don’t be embarrassed to ask for help if you are ever confused or lost.

Apps you can use to make your travel easy

There are some apps which can make your life easy and save you from headaches while travelling. 

Tube Map- London Underground App: This app is designed to work offline and helps by detailing the simplest and quickest route to your destination. This app also has a night mode which you can use to find your way home if it is too late for the regular service.

CityMaps2Go: This app provides a detailed map of London with marked landmarks, restaurants, museums and much more. This app is a lifesaver if you are ever down with the network.

Travelling by the London Tube is one of the most convenient modes of commute for locals and tourists. We hope this blog will save you from feeling lost while travelling on the Tube. 

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