Looking for the best tube stations for London attractions? Find out which lines and stations will get you to the best spots to visit in London.
The Tube is London’s underground railway and one of the primary forms of transportation for visitors. If you’re traveling London with kids and want to save time as well as money, you will likely find yourself on the Tube daily. It’s the fastest and easiest way to get attractions in central London, and you may even use it to commute into central London if you stay at a more remote hotel.
Getting to know the transportation system in a foreign country is often confusing, so we gathered everything you need to know about the Tube in one place. We’ll give you a glimpse of the overall system and then provide some details on the most popular lines for tourists.
London’s underground rail system is divided into nine zones, and there are 11 lines in operation. Monday through Saturday, most lines run from 5 a.m. to midnight. On Friday and Saturday, many lines will operate through the night to cater to people enjoying the nightlife. The hours of operation are reduced on Sunday, so make sure to check the schedule before heading out after dark.
You can save a ton of money by securing a visitor Oyster Card when you arrive in London. The average cost of a journey on the Tube drops by up to 50% just by using this card, which operates much like a debit card. You load money onto the card and swipe it for contactless entry onto the Tube.
There is a daily cap on the Oyster Card, which means you can ride the Tube for free all day once you reach the capped amount. That saves you even more if you rely heavily on the Tube for your London transportation.
There are Tube stations throughout central London, and you can switch to other lines when you need to reach more remote areas of the city. You should never have to wait more than five minutes to catch an underground train, so this form of travel is much faster than many expect.
Some first-time London visitors get confused when talking about the stations and lines serving the Tube. Here is a quick breakdown of the difference:
When giving directions to a London attraction, it’s common to give the station and line. For instance, taking the Jubilee Line to the Westminster station will get you to Big Ben. For the London Eye, you can take the Northern Line to the Waterloo station.
To save time, you should schedule your itinerary so that you visit attractions in an orderly manner by tracking the best tube stations for London attractions. That allows you to get off at one Tube station and see multiple attractions before venturing to another area of the city. That’s always more efficient than taking the Tube between every attraction and backtracking throughout the day.
You may also find that it’s faster to walk between some stations rather than riding the train every time. Use an online map of the Tube network to quickly determine the walking times between stations.
The Tube’s zones 1 and 2 are reserved for central London. The central London line is simply called Central Line, and it will take you to all attractions in the central region of the city. You will see this line in red on the map, and there are 49 stations.
The Central line runs for more than 45 miles and is the only line many tourists will ever use. If you stay in a central London hotel and never venture beyond the core of the city, you may keep it simple by only learning the red line stations.
The best way to learn more about the Tube is to download the TfL Go mobile app. The full underground railway map is loaded onto the app, and you can explore all 11 lines to determine the best route to the attractions that you want to see. It’s available in real time from your cellphone or tablet, so you’re always a few clicks away from detailed information regarding underground travel in London.
If you aren’t sure how to get to an attraction or point of interest on the Tube, look at the attraction’s website. Many London businesses and attractions will tell visitors the closest Tube station and line on their websites or through their social media accounts.
You can also call an attraction to ask for the closest Tube station, but keep in mind that long-distance charges may apply.