London is a wonderful city to visit, and strewn with a great many attractions and landmarks which are accessible through many mode. The simplest one of these that lets you steer clear of the traffic is the Tube, which is the more common name for the London Underground rail network. Navigating public transportation during London private tours can be daunting if you do not know what to look for. However, the Tube has several aspects to it that make it quite different from what you would envision on hearing of it.
The first main bonus for English speakers is that there is no language barrier to get around. On top of that, you also do not have to get into neglected transportation vehicles, because the city makes regular improvements to both cars and Tube stations.
The 11 Tube Lines
At present, there are 11 Tube lines which transport tourists and locals through London: Bakerloo Line, Victoria Line, Jubilee Line, Piccadilly Line, Metropolitan Line, District Line, Central Line, Hammersmith & City Line, Northern Line, Circle Line, Waterloo & City Line. Together, these cover nine zones of the city, and have stops at over 200 different stations. Tourists mostly hang about in Zone 1 and Zone 2, mainly because these are the ones that cover Central London, where the majority of the tourist attractions as well as hotels are to be found. The running times are generally from 5 in the a.m. till midnight, every day of the week except Sunday. On Sundays, you have the Tube fleet running fewer hours. It is possible to look up the timings online, straights from the Transport for London website.
The type of ticket you need is determined by how long you are planning on being in London, and how often the Tube is going to be your means of travel. There are two options you can pick from.
Oyster Card: With one, you have the option to pay as you go. All you need to do is add money to the card when needed. The main benefit is that you do not have to carry cash around, or worry about misplacement the same way as with a paper ticket. Losing a card leaves you with the option of stopping and replacing it easily enough, and if there is money left in it, you can even get that refunded. You can also combine your Travelcard and Oyster card, making it possible for you to travel as much as you want on the Tube.
Paper Tickets: Paper tickets used by tourists to London include single tickets, return tickets, Group Day tickets, and Day Travelcards. The last let you travel on the Tube as many times as you want through the day, as already mentioned. Single tickets and return tickets don’t bear explaining. As for Group Day tickets, they let you travel as frequently as you want to inside the same zones as a TravelCard, so long as you are in a group comprising 10 people or more.
Sites to Visit along the Tube
London Tube takes you across the city, with several of the attractions inside walking distance from many of its stops. The following are a bunch of the must-see places from where you can catch a Tube car nearby.
- Covent Garden: Ask any tour guide about a place to check out the local markets and shop and eat while you are in London, and this is bound to be a place they take you. The closest Tube station is Leicester Square, and the nearest line is Piccadilly Line.
- Tower Bridge: This is a grand Victorian bridge that runs across the River Thames and gives great views when you are in the area. The closest Tube station is Tower Hill, and the nearest lines are the Circle & District Lines.
- Tower of London: This is a historic palace which has served also as fortress and prison. You get to check out 20 towers and over 1,000 years’ worth of history. The closest Tube station is Tower Hill, and the nearest lines are the Circle & District Lines.
- London Eye: This is a huge Ferris wheel which gives riders a bird’s-eye view of the city from almost 400 feet above the ground. The closest Tube station is Waterloo, and the nearest line is Northern Line.
- Big Ben: This huge clock tower stands 316 feet tall and is the city’s most iconic attraction. The closest Tube station is Westminster, and the nearest line is Jubilee Line.
- National Gallery: This is an art museum housing over 2,000 paintings that trace all the way back to the 13th century. The closest Tube station is Charing Cross, and the nearest line is Northern Line.
All in all, there are too many points in favor of taking the Tube while in London, to dismiss it before you’ve tried it. Check out the TFL website for details, and ask your Tower of London private tour guide for the best routes to travel.