London Underground Transport - Tube Map
Getting Around London on the Tube
Take a look at the map above. When you are visiting London most of the sights you'll be seeing will be within this section of the Undergroup Map. Try to get your accommodation within the confines of this map.
Check out my Where to Stay in London guide for some ideas about what neighborhoods are convenient.
London Travel Cards
- Order London Undeground TravelCard Online
Get London TravelCard for Travel on Underground and Buses. London TravelCards give Unlimited Transport on Tube, 1-6 zone Trains and Buses. Buy your Travel Card, Pass, Ticket online now and make Your London Trip much easier
- London Attractions Pass: Visit Tourist Attractions FREE with London Sightseeing Pass
Visit the top London attractions free with the London Pass. From the Tower of London to the London Zoo, there is an attraction for everyone on the London Pass.
London Travel Card
When you first arrive in London, I recommend picking up a 3 day or 7 day London Travel card at the airport. If you are at Heathrow you can pick it up if you are buying a ticket for the Heathrow Express into Paddington Station. You should also be able to buy it at Gatwick Airport when you purchase your ticket for the train into Victoria Station.
If you are mostly doing sight-seeing within London you'll only need a card for the Central Zone which covers unlimited travel for zones 1 and 2 on the Tube and zones 1 through 6 for the Buses. The All Zone card is twice as expensive and you won't use it so don't bother getting it. Along with the card, you'll also get a tiny fold-out tube map which is very handy.
Tips on Using the Underground
If you have bad knees or a bad back, do yourself a favor and try and make use of the bus system. Every time I get home from London I tell myself I'm going to use the bus system more next time and I never do, but maybe you'll have better luck remembering to do so than I usually manage.
The London Underground has no comparison to US transport systems. It is older than all of the train services in the US, truly byzantine in its structure, and far deeper below the city than what you find in America. You will spend countless hours walking between platforms. While there are many escalators there are times when you will not have one available and will have to walk up very steep staircases. There are very few elevators anywhere. After a couple of days of using the Tube heavily, you may find that your hamstrings start to hurt. I recommend doing some leg stretches before you get into bed at night. I actually find using the Tube on days where I'm doing a lot of running back and forth between locations more tiring than running around Disney World!
Also, it is important to note that unlike most American cities, London is not very accessible to the disabled. It's a very old city where modernism and antiquity exist side by side, making it difficult to get around in a wheelchair or with other assisted-movement devices.
London Street Atlas
If you are spending more than a couple of days in London, I also recommend getting a copy of a London A-Z guide. This is what Londoners themselves use to get around London. It lists every street in London and all of the nearby Tube stations.
London is a very big city and it is easy to get confused and lose your way. The London A-Z will make life much easier. If you elect not to get one though, many people will have one on them. Just ask them if you can take a look at their "A to Zed ". The British pronounce the letter "Z" as "Zed" rather than "Zee".
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