It’s a well-known fact that the London Underground – more commonly known as the Tube – is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get around the city, whether you live there or are just visiting.
However, some times of the day are better than others to use it – outside morning and evening rush hour for example – and there are little hints and facts about travelling around the Underground system that can make your journey all the more enjoyable when you’re in the city.
We’ve pulled together a list of six different facts and hints about the Tube for you to learn something ahead of time and make your trip as easy and fun as possible.
1. The tunnels are actually quite blustery
This always seems to surprise visitors to the city but when the train is hurtling through the tunnels it tends to send a warm blast of air ahead of itself. Sometimes this is a little discomfiting – depending on how many layers you are wearing – but often it’s a welcome breeze on what can be a very warm Underground.
To get the best of the breeze, make sure you situate yourself by the doors of a carriage and slide down the windows that are between adjoining carriages.
2. You’ll see people leaping through the Tube doors
Despite the fact that trains come along to stations every few minutes or so – the maximum amount of time you might need to wait for one is around 15 minutes – Londoners are extremely keen to get the one that is currently at the platform.
For this reason, you’ll see people doing nothing short of a superhero leap from the platform and onto the train itself. We think you’ll find it amusing and why not give it a go yourself?
3. What to do if your seat is wet
If you sit down on a seat that is unfortunately damp, it’s best not to wonder about it too much and either calmly find a newspaper to put between you and the seat or just swap seats, if the train is empty enough.
Despite the fact that London gets millions of tourists every year, everyone still struggles with the reality that they come with luggage.
The Tube escalators work on an unspoken and polite code of organisation, to make life travelling with luggage easy for yourself and save being tutted at by the locals, make sure that you stick to the right-hand side of the escalator and move as swiftly as possible when you get on and off transport and you’ll be absolutely fine.
5. Oyster Cards
Oyster Cards are the best way to pay for using the Tube, instead of buying tickets for different zones. To use them, you can buy one and top one up at just about any station, but remember to tap out on the yellow reader otherwise you won’t have loaded your card properly.
As an extra bonus, we’re sure you’ll appreciate that you can also use Oyster Cards on the buses around the city.
6. You’re safe at all times
Although big cities all around the world can have a reputation for pick-pocketing, as long as you’re sensible and have your things with you at all times, you and your possessions will be perfectly safe on the Tube.
In terms of general safety, Tube drivers are put under rigorous training, including ‘driving’ in simulated tunnels before they are allowed to operate an Underground train themselves, so rest assured that you are always in excellent hands.