London Tube for First Timers

Traveling to a new place can be a scary experience, especially when you’re not sure how you’re going to get around.

I was lucky in New York since I could walk to most places from my Airbnb rental, and when my feet became too exhausted I was able to take a taxi the rest of the way without spending an arm and a leg.
I had originally thought I could implement this method when I ventured to London alone, but things are very spread out in London, and the price of staying central was too much for me at the time. I realized then I would have to learn to use the London Tube!
The thought of having to learn this gave me a lot of anxiety, but it was all for nothing! I had a wonderful experience using the Tube and it was one thousand times easier than I had anticipated.
One thing that I found SO HELPFUL was purchasing an Oyster Card ahead of time. You can choose the amount you would like and they will send it straight to your house. Be sure you have enough time to do this before your trip, otherwise you can buy one from Heathrow Airport. (Note: Prices are higher during higher traffic times, so try to travel during off peak hours to try and save a bit of money).

Visitor's Oyster Card

Visitor’s Oyster Card

Another thing I did to make life easier, is I chose an Airbnb rental within a two minute walk of a stop on the Picadilly line. This way I only had to worry about was getting on the Tube on one end, and hopping off at my stop. No switching. Now that I know how the Tube works I wouldn’t hesitate to step outside of the Picadilly line, but it was comforting the first time around (also was helpful as I ended up with a stomach bug on the plane so I wasn’t feeling my best).
No need to worry about getting lost when you first arrive. There are helpful signs everywhere directing you to the Tube in Heathrow.IMG_8090When exploring through London, don’t worry about keeping track of what station you’re getting off at. Unlike cities such as Toronto, London is covered in Tube stops! You can get off at one station, then when you’ve finished your exploring, you can head to the nearest station to where you’ve ended up. Just check to see what station connects with the line you need to get where you need to go next. Easy peasy!

Victoria Station

Victoria Station

It’s easy to check how to get where you need to go. Large maps are in every station and on the train cars themselves.
They also have free handy maps to bring along with you.

Accidentally grabbed a few too many

Accidentally grabbed a few too many


Hopefully this has been helpful in calming any nerves you may have about how to get around London. If you have any questions, please feel free to leave them in the comment section and I’ll do my best to answer!

My Travel Monkey

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  • Reply
    September 6, 2015 at 6:42 am

    Haha, just remembered my first time on the tube 😀

  • Reply
    September 4, 2015 at 4:08 pm

    I’ve used the tube in London, the subway in NYC, and the metro in Paris. Out of those 3 the tube was the easiest to use for me. Very clear signs though out and easy ways to determine which way the tube is heading. I would definitely recommend travelers to try using the tube!

  • Reply
    Packing my Suitcase
    September 4, 2015 at 4:46 am

    Soooo helpful!! I will be in London in November and I plan to buy the Oyster Card at the airport. 😀
    I think it’s going to be the best option!


    • Reply
      Amber Primdahl
      September 12, 2015 at 4:17 pm

      It’s such a good idea! Have an amazing trip! I look forward to reading about it!

  • Reply
    September 2, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    I love the tube! Such a great system. Nothing like here in Melbourne! What I love is how all the lines interconnect so easily, and if you do get lost and get off at the wrong station, it’s so easy to get back on. I would also recommend finding accommodation in zone 1 as we stayed just outside zone 1 and it cost us more to travel. I also love how the tube is free for children 10 years and under.

    • Reply
      Amber Primdahl
      September 12, 2015 at 4:15 pm

      It’s super handy! I stayed in zone 2, so it wasn’t too expensive, but yes zone 1 would be so ideal!
      Too bad it’s not so easy everywhere in the world!

  • Reply
    July 30, 2015 at 9:02 am

    Good for you for putting yourself ‘out there’ on the Tube! I agree that it is much more common sense than other cities (have you ever tried to figure out Boston? Crazy!). Each station is also fully staffed with TfL workers (Transport for London) so they are great if you happen to end up somewhere you didn’t mean!

    • Reply
      Amber Primdahl
      August 14, 2015 at 8:57 pm

      Thanks!I haven’t tried Boston’s before! I think a road trip is being planned for the near future, so luckily we won’t have to use transit! 🙂 The TFL worker I encountered was so friendly and helped me with my big suitcase! It makes the whole experience feel much less daunting!

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