The fastest and cheapest way to get around London is by Underground. Londoners refer to the Underground as "the Tube," and they love to complain about it. While it's true that track work, delays and slow trains are chronic issues, most visitors fall in love with the energy of the Tube and the sheer volume of people it transfers from place to place.
Additionally, platforms have handy electronic signs indicating the arrival time of the next train. There are the oh-so-delightfully cushioned seats. And lastly, who can fail to be moved by that booming voice famously urging you to "mind the gap?"
The way Londoners pack into the Tube, it's almost too popular! Photo: oxfordian.world.
Trains operate Monday through Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. and on Sunday from 7:30 a.m. until 11:30 p.m. Trains run every 3-10 minutes.
Note station closing times! Running to catch the last train is something of a tradition, especially on weekends. The alternative is to board a night-bus filled with drunks or take an expensive and hard-to-find taxi.
Tickets or Oyster Cards must be bought in advance from the booth or machines around the station. Hold on to your ticket, as you can be charged up to £80 penalty for failure to produce a valid ticket (or failure to touch your Oyster card).
A one-way trip costs £4.50 for an adult and £2.20 for a child (under 15). Children ten and under travel free when accompanied by an adult.
The Tube is divided into zones that radiate out from central London, with fares increasing the further you travel. Most tourists will only very rarely need to venture beyond the borders of Zone Two.
Important: Remember that these fares are much cheaper if you use an Oyster Card!
For more on the Tube, check out the official Transport for London website or browse through the following articles on getting around London.
• The Oyster card
• London city buses
• London taxis
• Walking and biking in London