How to Navigate and Ride the London Tube

Famous London neighborhoods like Notting Hill are accessible by London's Tube.
Famous London neighborhoods like Notting Hill are accessible by London's Tube. (Image: Thinkstock/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

When London's calling for business or pleasure, get comfortable with the London Tube, officially the London Underground. This subway system is the best way to travel around crowded central London areas. Each station has color-coded maps that show you the direction of the train, the line you're on and the stops you'll make. You can also find printed maps in guidebooks or print a PDF from London tourism websites. There's also a London Underground app for both Android and iPhone.

Tube Stations and Lines

There are nine Tube travel zones and the higher the zone number, the further outside of the city you'll find yourself. Tourists generally travel in Zone 1, which covers central London. Lines are color-coded. For example, the red line passes through Bond Street, and the green and yellow lines take visitors to Westminster. The Circle Line travels between the Hammersmith and Edgware Road stations, spiraling through London, and is extremely handy for tourists. The trains are well-marked with the final destination on the front of the train as it pulls into the station.

Mind the Gap: Tube Tips

"Mind the gap" is a regularly announced reminder on the trains to watch your step. Let passengers get off the train before you get on, allow people with disabilities and the elderly to take a seat before you do and move inside the Tube carriage so you don't block the doors. You can buy a one-way ticket to your destination or save money on travel with an Oyster Card or Travelcard, which you add money to as needed. Generally, the Tube operates between 5 a.m. and midnight Monday through Friday, but times vary by station. Hours are limited on Sunday and holidays.

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