15 Things You Need to Know About The London Underground

The London Underground has long been considered the eighth wonder of the world. There is something truly beautiful about being fired through a dingy subterranean tunnel in a creaky grime-encrusted tube made of tin, is there not?


They say the Londoners gain their strength from a trodden-on copy of the Metro. For nourishment they need nothing but a moist sweaty handrail. The very fibre of their being is a stranger’s armpit in their face.


In fact the Londoner loves the tube so much that it has come up with 15 handy lessons in tube travel, for those from up north or even *gasp* foreign lands. Heed the advice, strange travellers. Heed it well.



    1. It doesn’t matter whether or not you want one, you must get a copy of the Metro. Use this to shield yourself from accidental eye contact, or simply while away your time looking at the pictures of infant animals.
    2. The northern line does exist, but it’s probably closed.
    3. All London Underground carriages are hotter than the fires of hell. This is where the Londoner has its summer. Bring flip flops and a towel to take full advantage of this marvellous feat of engineering.
    4. The adventurous Metropolitan Line goes to ZONE 9. We do not advise going to Zone 9.
    5. Some Londoners are more important than other Londoners. You can spot the particularly important ones by the location of their baggage. Londoners of particularly high rank will place their bags on a seat, no matter how busy the train is. Bow to them, or at least offer your congratulations.
    6. Some tube lines have many branches. These are for expert travellers and locals only. You’re not ready. Take a cab instead.
    7. If anyone ever speaks to you about the ‘Waterloo & City Line’ disregard their information immediately. No Londoner has ever used this.
    8. It doesn’t matter how packed the carriage is, you must read a book/newspaper/stare at your phone at all times.
    9. Do not, under any circumstances, attempt to board the last tube. It’ll be filled with lunatics and nitwits, all pandering for your attention as they gnaw at deep-fried chicken skulls from within a cloud of putrid gases. You’ll emerge forever changed.
    10. The Circle Line is not a circle. Do not trust it. It is a line of lies.
    11. If you are lucky enough to encounter a station with lifts USE THEM. Those who attempt to climb the stairs are never heard from again.
    12. Sociable travellers take the District Line. It has PHONE SIGNAL (sometimes).
    13. If you are considering boarding a morning train eat breakfast first. Those who skip breakfast will almost certainly pass out, and die.
    14. There are few things better than the London Underground, but the DLR is definitely one of them. The Londoner likes this because it can sit at the front and pretend it’s driving.
    15. You must mind the gap. This is not a joke. You could fall down the gap. Haven’t you seen that film with the monster that lives down the gap? The gap is serious.

2 thoughts on “15 Things You Need to Know About The London Underground”

  1. For American tourists: If you ride the Underground enough times, at some point you WILL encounter a group of your fellow countrypersons who are the physical incarnation of every Obnoxious American Tourist Stereotype. You will be tempted to cower in your seat (if you’re fortunate enough to be sitting) and hope and pray that no one else realizes that you are also an American and draws a parallel between you and the loud-talkers who are discussing how they don’t have trains like this in Iowa. Don’t give in to temptation! This is a golden opportunity to hold your head high and smugly wallow in the fact that no one is going to put you in the same category as these morons because YOU are one of the Cool American Tourists who everyone thinks is a local. I mean, that Dutch-or-possibly-German person asked you how to get to St. Paul’s that one time. Clearly no one knows that you spend the vast majority of your life in Kansas. Don’t let this chance to let your sense of superiority reign supreme pass. The only thing that will compare to is when you have to go back to Kansas but can spend the next couple of weeks insufferably mentioning to everyone one you encounter that you just got back from LOOOONDOOOON and it was OMG so awesome!

    Or perhaps that’s just me. But nevertheless, I booked a plane ticket to Heathrow yesterday and I’m very much looking forward to my visit, Underground and all.

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