London Underground Travel Guide


London Underground Travel Guide

The London underground is a public transport system built under the streets of London that carries an incredible 5 million passengers per day. It is the most convenient way of getting to most of London’s attractions. The Underground train network is the oldest subway system in the worlds and opened in 1863. It has long been nicknamed “The Tube” based on the way the tunnels were made. The city of London is well covered by a total of 11 different Tube Lines that cover an amazing 402 kilometres (249 mile) and the new Elizabeth Line, formally known as the Crossrail will add an additional 118 km.

London Underground Facts

  • Worlds oldest subway system opened in 1863
  • 11 Lines and 270 stations
  • 402 kilometres of tracks (Additional 118 km under construction)
  • 5 million passengers per day
  • Aldgate station was built over a plague pit from 1665.
  • Average speed on the Underground is 20.5 miles per hour
  • 543 Trains on the network at any one time.

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London Underground Map

The Tube map as seen below is a transport map of the lines, stations and services of the London Underground network. This map is world famous and was first designed by Harry Beck in 1931. To download your own free copy of the Tube map or other fantastic London maps then go to the official Visit London website. Once you have figured out the tube map you will be an expert in travelling on the London Underground.

The fare system uses zones with the centre of London being classified under zone 1 while there are also zones 2 to 6 providing services to the City’s outskirts. Zone 1 covers most of the main attractions are and a lot of tourists will not venture to far out into the other zones. You will notice if you look carefully the tube map is shaded white for zone 1 any then alternating between grey and white as you move into the outer zones.  Note:  The fares increase as you move further out of the city.

The next main feature of all tube maps are the colored lines that form the map, each color represents one of the 11 underground lines. The solid colors are the underground lines, mixed colors may refer to overground or Docklands light. All stations names are clearly marked on the map with some stations shown with a big white and black circle meaning they are on multiple lines.

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London Underground Fares and Tickets

For most visitors to London the undergrounds will be the quickest, cheapest and easiest way to get around town. Some stations are close to each other and can also be easily walked in some instances. The fares to use London underground are quite reasonable however there are multiple payment methods and it can get confusing for new visitors. The fare structure depends on how far you travel, the time of day and the way you pay. As a visitor you can buy an Oyster Card or a Travelcard.

Oyster Cards – Oyster Cards are electronic smart cards similar to those used on other major underground networks and comes fully charged with credit that can be used as you travel on the Tube, it can also be used on the bus network, Docklands Light Railway, London overground and the Thames river services. Oyster cards can be reused and never expire. If you run out of pay as you go credit, simply top up your credit at a Tube station ticket machine to use your card again.

Visitor Oyster Cards – Visitor Oyster cards are strangely enough designed particularly for visitors to London. The fare structure is the sames regardless of which type of Oyster card you buy. The main difference between Visitor Oyster Cards and oyster cards is that you cannot load a travel card onto a Visitor Oyster. The visitor oyster does sometimes have special offers including theatre tickets available to visitors. If you are travelling for 7 days or more then the normal Oyster Card is better value, The Visitor Oyster Card is better for shorter stays.

Contactless Payment – Contactless payment is effectively using your mobile or credit card to tap and pay similar to how similar systems operate around the world. The difference is the you can use it directly on the tube payment reader without needing to buy an oyster card. The fares are the same as using an oyster.

Travel Cards – Travelcards are paper tickets that can be used for either 1 or 7 days on for Tube, Docklands Railway,  Buses, London Overground or National Rail Stations. They can be cheaper than oyster cards depending on the amount of travel you plan to do. What you can do is buy a travel card and then load up the fares onto an oyster (not Visitor Oyster)

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London Underground Lines

The London Underground consists of a total of 11 lines, Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern, Piccadilly, Victoria, Waterloo & City with the new Elizabeth lines scheduled to open late 2018. The lines run in all directions from North to South, East to West with some lines also diagonally crossing the city. Baker Street station has a total of 5 lines intersecting through it and 10 platforms.

Underground LineColorStationsDistanceOpened
Bakerloo Line Brown 25 23.2 km 1906
Central Line Red 49 74 km 1900
Circle Line Yellow 36 27 km 1863
District Line Green 60 64 km 1868
Hammersmith & City Line Pink 29 25.5 km 1863
Jubilee Line Grey 27 36.2 km 1979
Metropolitan Line Magenta 34 67 km 1863
Northern Line Black 50 58 km 1890
Piccadilly Line Blue 53 71 km 1906
Victoria Line Light BLue 16 21 km 1968
Waterloo & City Line Turquoise 2 2.37 1898
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London Underground Stations

London Underground Travel Guide - Baker Street

Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The following is a summary of the main London Underground (Tube) Stations that you might visit while touring London. The team at London Guide have also found some of the best attractions, hotels, tours and restaurants near these stations. Tube stations can be easily identified, even from a distance, because they bear the London Underground logo, a circle with the word “Underground”.

Westminster Underground Station (Jubilee, District and Circle Lines) – Westminster is a London Underground station in the city of Westminster on the corner of Bridge Street and Victoria Embankment and close to some of London’s most popular tourist attractions including Big Ben and the Houses of Parliament. The station is served by the Jubilee, District and Circle lines.  Westminster Underground station is divided into two parts, one is the sub-surface platform which was opened in 1868 for the inner circle route.The second section is the part of Jubilee line extension opened in 1999 from Green Park to Stratford. Nearby hotels: Marriott London Country Hall, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London

London Bridge Underground Station (Jubilee, Northern Lines) – London Bridge is a London Underground Tube Station located in Southwalk, Central London near the bridge from which it gets its name. The station is large and covers 3 levels and handles around 50 million customers per year making it the forth biggest in London. The station is also connected to nearby London Bridge overground station. London Bridge Underground Tube Station is serviced by the the Jubilee line and the Northern line. Nearby Attractions include Borough Market, The Shard with the amazing Harry Potter Tour for Muggles also starting nearby.

Hyde Park Corner Underground Station (Piccadilly Line) – Hyde Park Corner London Underground Tube station is located in the south-east of Hyde Park near the area known as Hyde Park Corner. It is on the Piccadilly line between Green Park and Knightsbridge. The Hyde Park Corner station is fully underground and it is one of the few tube stations where there is no building above ground. Nearby attractions include Hyde Park Corner, the Australian War Memorial, Buckingham Palace and Wellington Arch.

Leicester Square Underground Station (Northern and Piccadilly Lines) – Leicester Square is a London Underground Station situated in the West End of London at Chinatown and Theatreland. The station is actually in Charing Cross Road which is walking distance from the east of Leicester Square. The station serves the Northern and Piccadilly Lines that connects the Charing Cross to Tottenham Court Road and Covent Garden to Piccadilly Circus respectively. The station was inaugurated on December 15, 1906, by the railway of Great Northern, Brompton, and Piccadilly.

Piccadilly Circus Underground Station (Bakerloo Line) – Piccadilly Circus is a London Underground Tube station that is located directly beneath Piccadilly Circus and offers entrances on every corner of the busy intersection. Piccadilly Circus is on the Bakerloo Line and sit between Oxford Circus and Charing Cross. It is also on the Piccadilly Line between Green Park and Leicester Square. It is one of the few tube station of London that has not any building above ground. Nearby attractions include Jermyn Street, Carnaby Street and the National Gallery.

Green Park Underground Station (Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines) – Green Park is a tube station of the London underground station situated on the north side of Green Park that has entrances on either side of Piccadilly. It serves the Jubilee, Victoria, and Piccadilly lines. The station was inaugurated by the railway of Great Northern, Brompton, and Piccadilly having the name Dover Street because of its location in 1906. The modification was made in the 1930s by replacing lifts with escalators and a further extension was made with the construction of Jubilee and Victoria lines. Green Park is one of the two stations that serve Buckingham Palace, the other one is St James’s Park on the district and Circle lines.

Knightsbridge Underground Station (Piccadilly Line) – Knightsbridge is a London Underground Tube Station located in Knightsbridge. It is a zone 1 station that is on the Piccadilly line between Hyde Park Corner and South Kensington. The station is located in a stylish and busy shopping district that is popular with tourists. Nearby Attractions includes the Knightsbridge Shopping District as well as the world famous Harrod’s department Store. It is also an easy walk into south side of Hyde Park and the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain and the Albert Memorial.

Tottenham Court Road Underground Station (Northern and Central Lines) – Tottenham Court Road is a London Underground Tube station located in the West End of London. The station is on the Northern Line and Central Line and will be serviced by the new Elizabeth Line opening late 2019. Nearby attractions include the British Museum, however Holborn is a better option. It is also near to a lot of the London West End theatres.

St. James’s Park Underground Station (District and Circle Line) – St. James’s Park is a London Underground Tube station that is located near St. James’s Park in central London. The station is in zone 1 and serviced by the District and Circle lines. Nearby attractions include Buckingham Palace and the Changing of the Guard, St James Park and Westminster Abbey.

Oxford Circus Underground Station (Victoria, Bakerloo and Central Lines) – Oxford Circus is a London Underground Tube Station located on the corner of Oxford and Regent Streets in central London. The station is serviced by the Victoria, Bakerloo, and Central lines and its 83 million passengers makes it one of the busiest stations in London. The station is close to Carnaby, Bond and Oxford Street shopping districts and is a great place to explore the busy London streets.

Holburn Underground Station (Piccadilly and Central Lines) – Holborn is a London tube station in the central London situated at the junction of Kingsway and High Holborn. The tube station serves the Piccadilly and Central lines. Holburn is the closest and most convenient underground station to the fantastic British Museum

Bond Street Underground Station (Central and Jubilee Line) – Bond Street underground is a zone 1 tube station that is part of the London underground and located in the West End of London. Bond Street station opened in 1900 and is serviced by the Central line, between the Marble Arch and Oxford Circus. It was added to the Jubilee line in 1979 and will also be a station on the new Elizabeth Line when it opens in late 2018. Nearby attractions include upmarket shopping destinations of Bond Street, nearby Oxford Street, Handel House Museum, Manchester Square and many more.

Victoria Underground Station (District, Circle & Victoria lines) – The Victoria Underground Tube Station is located in the City of Westminster south of Buckingham Palace. It is serviced by the District, Circle & Victoria lines and connected to the Victoria overground station. Nearby attractions include the Apollo Theatre, Westminster Cathedral and there are a lot of nice hotels in this area. If you have been to the USA and like Shake Shack you will be happy to know there is one close to Victoria Station.

Liverpool Street Underground Station (Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines) – The Liverpool Street tube station of London is commonly known as London Liverpool Street which is a railway station in central London that services the Central, Circle, Metropolitan and Hammersmith & City Lines. It also service the London overground and links to Liverpool Street Overground Station. The Old Spitalfields Market is close to Liverpool street.

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