The Tube

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The tube, the subway, the underground… London wouldn’t be London without it, no matter how you call it.

I usually have a love/ hate relationship with subways: while they are often the most efficient way to get around in large cities, they also receive their fair share of bad press. Dangerous, crowded, dirty, expensive, claustrophobic… not all subways are nice to ride. I love Rio de Janeiro’s subway, as well as Mexico city’s, Beijing’s and Buenos Aires’, but I hate Paris’ subway because it has most of the inconveniences mentioned above.

I had heard people complaining of London’s “Victorian” subway system and its price. Not sure whether we are just lucky or easy to please, but I found myself enjoying the tube. Instead of paying £4 per trip (!) we went for an unlimited zone 1 and 2 subway pass — at £25.80 it’s quite a good deal.

The tube is aptly named: the train really looks like a long colorful tube, and the ceiling is quite low. Seats are comfortable though and overall, quite clean. I absolutely love the fun use of U.K’s colors, blue, red and white — it makes subways look less creepy in my opinion. The logo is also a classic gem of British culture, and I couldn’t get enough of funny stations names, such as “Swiss Cottage” and “West Ham” (obsessed with food, anyone?).

You can follow our trip to the U.K here on Flickr: United Kingdom.

Piccadilly Circus


In Motion

Last Kiss?

English Colors

Going Underground

In the Tube

Swiss Cottage

No Logo

Er... I'll Take the Lift

Train Arriving



About Author

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


  1. I also thought the London underground was cleaner and newer-looking than the Paris metro. And one of the things I like about London is the silly, silly names for places and train lines. Elephant and Castle! Piccadilly Circus! It makes every other city seem sort of boring.

  2. I still remember the words “mind the gap” being repeated over and over. I loved riding the “tube” when I was living in London. It was quite expensive for a poor student like I used to be, though. This posting brought me good memories and the pictures are amazing. We were a bunch of loud Latin American students laughing all the time, I remember most of the people looking at us as if we should not be having fun while riding the subway 🙂
    Thanks for reminding me of a great time in my life!

  3. They don’t look terribly different from the subways in downtown Manhattan. Well, the subways themselves don’t; the trains look more like the ones in DC, though more colorful. Either way, another thing I have to do eventually.

  4. Agreed, the tube is much better than the metro. Clean, efficient, and I like the little signs on the opposite wall. It’s a scary ride down though! It’s really buried deep underground!

  5. Aww, this brings back memories of London. You’ve sparked nostalgia.I enjoyed the tube as well. Before that I wasn’t really into trains but London changed that as that was my mode of transport. Enjoy your stay there.

  6. You know Zhu looking at your photos, it looks clean but when I was there…it’s quite filty. Still, there is a kind of ‘flavour’ to it that I really enjoyed…just have to be careful likewise when one is in NYC or Paris too 😀

  7. @Eileen – I know, I just love the names of the stations! It sounds like they were made up just to amuse travelers. And yes, it’s definitely cleaner than in Paris!

    @Jorge Mora – I think the price is about right if you buy a pass, it’s still cheaper than in Paris. The Pound is undervalued right now.

    @Agnes – Do you have a subway where you live?

    @Linguist-in-Waiting – That’s a lot, no? I don’t think anybody pay 4 pounds, people have the Oyster card or buy weekly passes, it’s much cheaper.

    @Ghosty Kips – Really? I have heard the NY subway can be pretty bad.

    @micki – Yes, the ceiling is low and it can feel a bit like you are “trapped” in there. But the feeling goes away pretty quickly.

    @khengsiong – Asians subways are often efficient and quite good, probably because they must handle so many passengers!

    @Soleil – Yes, it seems very deep underground, I noticed it too.

    @Fran – I think it’s the best way to get around, buses are a bit more chaotic. And I kept on thinking there was something wrong because of the driving on the left!

    @shionge – Really? Compared to Paris’ subway, it’s really really clean. Although I still washed my hands a lot!

    @Cynthia – No air-con but it wasn’t as stuffy as in Paris.

  8. i rather enjoy the ‘creepiness’ of subways. but then, i don’t have to use them every day. not at night. not alone. creepiness is more fun when there are others around.

  9. You know Prague was the first place that I really experienced daily life in a tube system. I had visited Paris the year before, but to do it daily for a while was something else. I think going underground part sort of freaks me out if something goes wrong if you need to walk up the escalator of 1 million stairs..

    Those are really cool shots you took! For being on vacation, you sure are great for reporting what you did! Me, I’m too tired and worn out from work to even blog at all these days… Oh well, it’s great to see blogging from your eyes in Europe right now! 🙂

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