The London Underground

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Even though we stayed in Central London, in Paddington, we took the subway (the famous “Tube”) on a daily basis, often several times a day to get from one place to another.

We quickly realized that the yellow Circle Line, our line, was painfully slow, and that we were often stuck between stations due to “a signal problem” (bonus for flickering lights in the cart when stuck in claustrophobia-inducing tunnels!). To get from Paddington to Westminster or Embankment, it sometimes took us as long as 40 minutes—and that was when the train would actually show up. At times, we had to wait for 20 or 30 minutes for it!

Except for that line, the Tube is pretty efficient, if a bit pricey. The best way to get around is to buy a day pass or an Oyster travel card to avoid paying a whooping £4.30 for a single trip.

The Tube is an international icon for London and its graphic elements, such as the station logo, have become easy-to-recognize pop culture symbols. There is even a popular London Transport Museum at Covent Garden, and its busy shop sells tons of Underground-branded souvenirs, such as stylish travel card wallets, prints and toys.

The announcement “mind the gap”, heard when trains stop at certain platforms, has also become a well-known catchphrase. But don’t let that distract you—you should absolutely mind the gap, which can be quite big between the platform and the cart!

When we were sick of taking the Tube, we would just use the also iconic bus system, with its bright red double-decker buses. The network is pretty extensive and the maps are very clear, even for tourists. Plus, the view from the top deck is pretty awesome, although it’s easy to get dizzy!

You can see all the pic­tures taken in Lon­don on Flickr.

Waterloo Station

Sign Encouraging Users to Behave with the Staff

The Ubiquitous “Underground” Sign

The Long Way Back Overground

Subway Stations Map

Piccadilly Circus

Tower Hill

Oxford Circus

Paddington Station

Reading the News

Subway Cart

Subway Cart

Subway Arriving

Underground

What’s the Line, Already?

In a Cart in Motion

Mind The Gap!

Businessman at Barbican

Quick Lunch on a Bench at the Station

Bus Stop in Covent Garden

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About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

9 Comments

  1. A “car” or a “carriage”, but never a “cart”!

    You know the Circle line isn’t a circle anymore…? It used to go all the way around, and we once got on “the last Circle line train” one night, and then wondered where it would stop. Long story, but it was an expensive taxi ride back.

    Love your pics.

      • Early 1990s. Late dinner near Tower Bridge, got on the Circle line to go back to our cheap tourist hotel near Paddington. Recorded announcement said “this is the last Circle Line train”. We idly wondered what that meant as we went past each station – on any normal line the last train would go to the end and stop, but when it’s an endless loop…?

        You know how slow those klunky Circle trains are… Well we suddenly realized we were speeding up, we don’t remember a tunnel this long, and then we’re zooming through unfamiliar dimly-lit stations without stopping, so fast we couldn’t even read the names, and at this point we notice we’re the only people in the car – all very Twilight Zone! First stop is Finchley Road – quick, where’s that? Not on the map inside the train. Doors close before we can get off, and then we’re outdoors, five more phantom stations rush by, and finally we stop at Wembley Park – way up north west. Our train had turned off the Circle tracks at Baker Street, and become a Metropolitan train. We got out, and the station guy was locking up for the night after us. The taxi back was about £20.

        • A true travel adventure! 😆 These kinds of anecdotes are always fun to remember, aren’t they? Even though the mistake can be pricey or a real pain when it happens.

  2. Hi Zhu,

    I hope to return to London one day. The last time, I only went through en route to Oxford. I want to rediscover what I first saw in 1995(ages ago). The Eurostar was not yet at Gare du nord the time we visited!
    Excellent tube pics :). The phrase “Mind the gap” is also one of my souvenirs from my first trip. Unforgettable!!

    Bises and see you soon.

    • You should add London to your travel list, it’s so convenient to travel there from Paris now, and it’s not a expensive as it used to be as well with a bit of planning and flexibility 😉

  3. Hi Zhu! Nice pictures! I love taking the tube though it could be slow at times (ie: it’s wayyyy faster to just walk from Piccadilly to Leicester Square to Covent Garden than to ride). I try to collect pics of us beside the various signages, we have a long way to go! haha

    • Thank you for your insights! I agree, it’s sometimes much faster to walk… but you realize that after you get stuck in the Tube a few times 😆

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