Using the Underground is one of the fastest ways to get around London -- provided you know how to navigate it correctly. Finding your way through the Underground is not necessarily difficult, but the crowds can make stations loud and disorienting places, especially at peak times. Keep calm and take a few moments to get your bearings before you start moving to ensure you don't accidentally head in the wrong direction and end up taking the wrong train, wasting time and money.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Things you need
- London map with Underground stations marked
Get an up-to-date map of the London Underground. Free pocket-sized maps are readily available at most Underground stations; you can also download and print various types of maps from the official Transport for London website (see Resources), including large-print and black and white maps as well as ones that list stations with step-free access to platforms.
Ensure you are aware of the Underground operating hours. The official TFL website has a list of the first and last train for each station on each line (see Resources).
Keep informed about current delays and planned closures. Being able to figure out an alternate route in advance is far better than having to do so at the station, when you're already in a rush. The official TFL website offers both a list of planned engineering works that will lead to partial line closures and regularly-updated information on delays, station closures and other issues (see Resources).
Determine which Underground stations are closest to your current location and intended destination. Using the Underground map, plan out your journey and note down every detail about it, including which line you need to take and in which direction and, if applicable, at which station or stations you need to change to a different line.
Get to your departure station and make your way to the correct platform. Underground stations are usually well-signed and you can determine which way to go without too much trouble; if you have issues, ask TFL personnel for directions.
Wait for people to exit the train before boarding. Once on the train, stand clear of the doors to allow them to close; if the train is very crowded, move deeper into the carriage to avoid being in other people's way.
Pay attention to the station announcements and, if necessary, count the stops to ensure you don't miss your station. Make sure you take all your belongings and you are ready to exit the train when it stops at your station.
Exit the train and follow the signs to either the station's exit or the platform for the line you need to change to.
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