Getting the Tube in London: Top six Zone 1 travel tips

PUBLISHED: 15:23 23 July 2015 | UPDATED: 17:10 23 July 2015

Knowing the shortcuts can save huge amounts of time getting around central London (Picture: PA Images)

Knowing the shortcuts can save huge amounts of time getting around central London (Picture: PA Images)


Using the Tube in central London can be confusing, cramped and expensive. Here are six tips for getting around the capital’s heart quickly and with minimal stress.

The majestic Bank of England (Picture: PA Images)The majestic Bank of England (Picture: PA Images)

Pay As You Go Oyster? Don’t travel at peak times

From 6.30-9.29am and between 4pm and 6.59pm single-fare tube journeys generally cost an extra £1 per journey. Unless you have a travelcard or have bought a day pass, wait until 9.30am to take that trip to the Tate or set off for the theatre at 3.30pm and have a wander. You will also avoid the sardine can, grimace-at-the-person-sniffing-your-armpit rush hour experience.

Never change at Bank

Bank Station intersects the Central, Northern and Circle and District Lines. In most instances a station with several lines is useful for navigating the city quickly. However, changing at Bank feels like an interminable road to purgatory and is best avoided. It takes almost seven minutes to walk from the Central Line to the Northern Line and over 10 to walk to Monument, where Bank meets the Circle and District Line. If you want to travel on the green and yellow line, alighting at Bank will lead to a twelve minute walk through the City and a look at the Bank of England. The interest rate of the day just rose.

People 'swarm like flies' on Waterloo Station concourse (Picture: PA Images)People 'swarm like flies' on Waterloo Station concourse (Picture: PA Images)

Try to avoid Waterloo Station concourse

“Millions of people, swarming like flies round Waterloo Underground...” Ray Davies was right back in the 60s when there were under a fifth of the number of London commuters today, so perhaps people now swarm into Waterloo like ants? Or termites? The concourse is crammed with people at rush hour, so if you are changing from the Jubilee Line to the Bakerloo or Northern Lines - located at opposite ends of the station concourse - wait until the next station to change or walk. You will be thankful, trust us.

How to get to Covent Garden:

Leicester Square to Covent Garden

Bustling with busy shoppers, Covent Garden is a must-see for tourists and a workplace for thousands of Londoners. One important thing to remember when travelling there from other hotspot Leicester Square (therefore also from anywhere on the Northern Line) is to walk. Taking the Tube between the stations takes 45 seconds from platform to platform - it is a 274 metre/0.17 mile long tunnel - and costs £2.30 on an Oyster card. Walking only takes six minutes via St Martin’s Lane, avoids a sweaty lift journey and is free. Winning.

Covent Garden piazza is a tourist and unusual event hotspot (Picture: PA Images)Covent Garden piazza is a tourist and unusual event hotspot (Picture: PA Images)

Holborn to Covent Garden

Holborn is home to the British Museum and tons of office workers. Transport for London kindly put up signs every few metres directing the 0.6 mile walk between Holborn Station and Covent Garden piazza, which leads you past iconic Shaftesbury Avenue and Drury Lane and takes the average person a mere eight minutes.

Should I walk from Euston to King’s Cross St Pancras?

Although these two important rail terminals are only one stop apart, unlike the above journeys, this time it makes sense to take the tube. A ten minute walk along a narrow pavement separates the two stations and it is often filled with tourists and their ginormous suitcases. The Tube journey is only four minutes with short interchanges, so in this case avoiding stressful suitcase arguments and saving time is worth the fare.

Holborn is home to the British Museum, one of the oldest in the world (Picture: PA Images)Holborn is home to the British Museum, one of the oldest in the world (Picture: PA Images)

Or just chuck it all in and take a Boris bike...

The Boris bike, or as they are now officially known ‘Santander Cycles’, are snazzy but heavy blue-and-now-red bicycles. Available to ride around central London for a small fee, they make travelling quicker, more scenic and healthier. We would advise everyone to bring their own helmets, or buy one, as London drivers are not always careful.

Boris poses with his original signature blue bike (Picture: PA Images)Boris poses with his original signature blue bike (Picture: PA Images)

Got more central London travel tips? Let us know @London24


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