The London Underground is one of the most famous transport systems in the world. However, it can be famously difficult to know how to navigate it. In this blog, we’ll take a quick look at a few top tips for surviving the Tube…
Not all Tube journeys are fast, and it helps to know the time it’ll take you to get somewhere (and how many times you’ll need to change trains) before you head out. While this won’t always be possible, it does help to invest a little time and attention in scoping out your route beforehand, especially if you have a big day planned.
Keep it moving
When you travel by Tube, you’ll notice that people rarely stop moving in one direction or another. There are so many areas on the Tube where it’s hazardous to stand still, so keep it moving as much as possible! Some of the stations were build many years ago, when expectations of space were less important than they are today. In addition, with so many people travelling through, it’s important to help prevent accidents.
We recommend guests at the Grand Royale London Hyde Park keep a steady pace – there’s no need to run, and this creates its own hazards – but be careful not to block entrances and exits or stand at the top or bottom of escalators.
Check for delays
The London Underground normally runs pretty smoothly, with new trains arriving at a speedy pace. However, there are times when an incident on the line or rail work might delay your journey, and it certainly helps to know about this in advance.
Downloading the TFL app or looking on the Transport for London website will help you keep on top of all your transport needs, and will also help you to find alternative routes when necessary.
Remember rush hour
Rush hour is very real and can end up costing you plenty of time and hassle! Rush hour isn’t really an hour at all, but can be defined as two time periods – one in the morning, and one in the afternoon.
The first rush hour takes place between 7:30am and 9:30am, when people are dashing to work. The afternoon rush hour is between 17:00pm and 19:00pm, when they’re headed home again. It’s easy to get caught up in the rush hour, but if you can avoid it, then do. You could always opt to have a more leisurely afternoon tea near Hyde Park, or find some other way to amuse yourself before you have to get on the train.
Look out for thieves
Pickpockets operate in every major city, and London is certainly no different. While this isn’t a huge problem, it is something worth thinking about when you’re staying at Hyde Park accommodation.
Common theft incidents involve key items you’ll need to really enjoy your stay – think of money, keys, travel cards, phones – so to help reduce the risks, keep these things close to you. Ideally, store them in a sealable bag which you keep beside you at all times.
Staying hydrated is a common issue on the London Underground, and not only during the summer months. The air in Tube stations is often dry and you’ll spend a lot of your time dashing from train to train. It’s true that in the summer, the Tube is almost unbearably warm – particularly on some of the older lines which did not accommodate air conditioning.
Whether you’re travelling solo or travelling with a group, it always helps to keep a fresh bottle of water (or your refreshment of choice) handy.
Stay away from the edge
Crowds are a common sight on the London Underground. Sometimes, these crowds are so large you’ll see people jostling for space, and might even see some standing perilously close to the edge…
Whatever you do, don’t be one of those people! It’s important to maintain your own personal safety, even when you’re in a rush. If you miss one Tube, you can be sure there’ll be another one along before too long – but injuring yourself or falling onto the tracks is something you definitely want to avoid. Stay as far away from the platform edge as possible, and keep alert when the train is on the way.
Observe escalator etiquette
The escalators are one of the most complex bits of travelling by Tube, simply because they get very crowded and can sometimes seem a little confusing! To stay safe, Tube etiquette should be observed at all times.
Stand to the right hand side if you don’t plan on walking up or down the escalator, allowing people who do want to walk to do so, on the left. It is vitally important that you adhere to this rule, both for your own personal safety and the safety of others. Also, be careful not to get your hair, clothes or belongings caught in the escalator mechanism, and hold on tight to any luggage you’re holding during your journey.
Keep tickets close
You’ll want to move swiftly through the turnstile, so ensure you have your ticket or Oyster card close to you at all times. It should be easily reachable to avoid blocking up the entranceway during these time periods. Some people prefer to keep their travel documents in a case, so they can always find them – for others, a wallet or purse will suffice.
Talk to the staff
If you’re in doubt about anything, then have a chat with the London Underground staff. They can point you in the direction of Tube maps, exits and routes, as well as helping put you at ease if you’re not sure how to plan your journey or buy tickets.
The staff on the London Underground form the first line of communication for many travellers using this network – so be sure to talk to them if you need a helping hand.