26 sneaky Tube hacks to make your London Underground trip a breeze

26 sneaky Tube hacks to make your London Underground trip a breeze

  • Here are some handy tips that will save you plenty of hassle when using the Tube 

Travelling on the London Underground can feel like an arduous task at the best times, with busy services and stifling heat often making for a tortuous experience. 

However, there are a few ways to make your journey a little more tolerable. From sneaky shortcuts to the stations you should avoid, here are 26 useful tips on how to make travelling on the Tube that little bit easier. 

Read on below for MailOnline’s full list of Tube travel hacks. 

Anyone who regularly uses the London Underground in the summer will attest to the baking heat and sweltering conditions. Pictured: A woman uses a fan to cool down on a tube train in central London

Use Out of Station Interchanges to your advantage  

Out of station interchanges (OSIs) allow passengers to change between stations and not be charged extra, despite tapping out and then in again.

This handy hack does come with a small caveat, however, as you must tap in no later than 20 minutes after tapping out from your previous destination. 

Examples on the Elizabeth Line include Forest Gate to Wanstead Park on the Overground, Bond Street to Oxford Circus on the Tube and Canary Wharf to Poplar’s DLR station.  

Slash your interchange time at Tottenham Court Road

After entering the ticket gate for the Central Line at Tottenham Court Road, you are directed to carry straight on through a long tunnel before descending to the platform. 

However, if you take an immediate right at the bottom of the escalator, you walk straight onto the platform and save about a three-minute walk! 

At the Elizabeth Line station for Tottenham Court Road, do not follow the signage for the Elizabeth Line at the bottom of the escalators. 

Instead, take a sharp left and turn what would be a walk of about two minutes to the platforms into one that is about ten seconds.  

Beat the crowds at Embankment

To board a District Line service more quickly at Embankment, go sideways as soon as you go through the barriers and go down the steps.

This will see you end up further down the platform without having to walk as far, as pointed out by MyLondon.

Get ahead of the game at Green Park  

If you have ever had to change from the Victoria to the Piccadilly Line at Green Park, you will know it can take a tedious amount of time. 

However, you can save valuable time on your journey by simply taking the escalator to the ticket hall as if you were going to leave the station, before following the signs to take you to the Piccadilly Line in double-quick time. 

Speed up your journey with these easy interchanges

Finchley Road station (pictured) is one of a number of stations where you can make easy cross-platform interchanges. You can do so here when switching from the Metropolitan to the Jubilee Line

The following routes have easy interchanges involved, where you only need to walk straight across the platform to catch a connecting train. 

  • Oxford Circus (Victoria to Bakerloo, northbound and southbound), 
  • Stockwell (Northern to Victoria, northbound and southbound), 
  • Baker Street (Bakerloo to Jubilee, northbound and southbound),
  • Euston (Northern Bank Branch to Victoria, northbound and southbound), 
  • Finsbury Park (Piccadilly to Victoria, northbound and southbound), 
  • Barons Court (District to Piccadilly, eastbound and westbound), 
  • Finchley Road (Metropolitan to Jubilee, northbound and southbound), 
  • Kennington (Northern Bank to Northern CX, northbound and southbound), 
  • Mile End (Central to District, eastbound and westbound), 
  • Wembley Park (Metropolitan to Jubilee, northbound and southbound), 
  • Acton Town (District to Piccadilly, eastbound and westbound), 
  • Hammersmith (District to Piccadilly, eastbound and westbound). 

Beware of having to change lines at Hammersmith

Again, this is where the Tube map does not tell the full story of how easy it is (or isn’t) to change between lines. 

It may seem simple to switch between the District and Piccadilly lines at Hammersmith but the two are actually  separated by a busy section of Hammersmith Broadway. 

Use the Overground as well as the District Line if travelling between Richmond and Gunnersbury

The route between Richmond and Gunnersbury is covered by both the London Overground and the District Line

Make sure to use both routes if travelling between the two stations so you won’t have wait as long for a train. 

Use the District Line between Gloucester Road and Tower Hill

This tip is not a secret, as it is encouraged by TfL to minimise congestion, but the District and Circle lines are covered by the same section of track, serving all stations between Gloucester Road and Tower Hill. 

If you are further along the line – at High Street Kensington – you can take the first Wimbledon-bound train to change for District Line services from Earl’s Court.  

Indeed, if the Circle Line is not running from High Street Kensington and you find yourself unable to journey into central London, Earl’s Court and Gloucester Road stations are both under a 20 minute walk away. 

If going back from Emirates Stadium after a match, avoid Arsenal station

Arsenal station on the Piccadilly line can be difficult to enter after matches or events at Emirates Stadium. Using Finsbury Park, which is just around the corner, is likely to save you time on your journey

The narrow walkway at Arsenal station means you are likely to have to queue for longer to get on a Tube.

Instead, use Finsbury Park station: It’s just around the corner, much bigger and you can enter the station more quickly. 

You are also one stop further along the Piccadilly Line, so increase your chances of being able to find a seat.  

It is often quicker to walk

This is the case if you are looking to change between a number of other stations, such as Paddington and Lancaster Gate, the tourist hotspot of Leicester Square and Covent Garden, along with Embankment and Charing Cross. 

Queensway and Bayswater stations are also separated by just 0.1 miles. 

Do not change at Canary Wharf

Despite Canary Wharf DLR and Canary Wharf Tube stations appearing to be linked on TfL’s map, the two are actually in separate buildings. 

Indeed, on the DLR, Heron Quays is in fact closer to Canary Wharf Underground station than its eponymous counterpart. 

Use the correct stop along the Holloway Road

Each of Highbury & Islington, Holloway Road and Archway stations can be found on this route, but if you need to get from one end to the other, hop on a bus instead, as the walk between Highbury & Islington and Archway will take around 45 minutes. 

Avoid the Central Line in summer if you can

The Central Line is notorious for its scorching heat in the summer months, so should be avoided on warmer days if possible

While it runs at one of the fastest speeds on the Underground network, many Central Line stations in Zone 1 are very far underground, meaning they become almost unbearable in summer. 

If you are travelling from Tottenham Court Road to Liverpool Street, use the Elizabeth Line instead. It has air conditioning as well as being slightly quicker. 

Make use of the Victoria Line 

If you are travelling from south London to go northbound of the River Thames, the Victoria line is better than the Northern Line to use it is faster and has fewer stops. 

The fact that 10 of the Victoria line’s 16 stations have National Rail connections also makes it ideal if you have a longer journey to make outside of central London. 

The interchange between them at Stockwell and Euston is also fairly straightforward. 

Use Citymapper to find your nearest exit at bigger stations like Stratford 

Since the redevelopment of Stratford to incorporate Westfield, the station has become a lot trickier to navigate. 

If you are exiting here – or at other big stations, such as King’s Cross St. Pancras, use a third-party app like Citymapper to help you find your nearest exit.  

Use the stairs at Covent Garden and Russell Square at your peril 

For your own sanity, you are advised not to make the mistake of taking the stairs at Covent Garden. It is a decision you will quickly regret 

Covent Garden has a staircase with a total of 193 steps. Do not be tempted to take the stairs as it is unlikely to save you any time. 

The same applies for its fellow Piccadilly Line station of Russell Square, which has a 176-step spiral staircase.  

Do take advantage of staircases elsewhere 

This is particularly the case at stations on the Northern Line, where Chalk Farm has 63 steps. Old Street also has a relatively easy set of stairs to climb.  

Speed through the slow trail of Notting Hill Gate 

Tired of all the tourists bumbling around Notting Hill Gate, losing their minds over the fact they were in the very spot a film called Notting Hill (would you believe it?) was filmed? Avoid the surging crowds with this easy trick. 

If heading east, once you are down the second escalator and turn left towards the platform for westbound services, turn right and head down the stairs. 

A quick skip down the stairs will bring you to the front of the eastbound platform before your commuter rivals using the escalator. 

Take the Metropolitan line if travelling from Baker Street to Wembley Park

Fast trains between Baker Street and Wembley Park take just 13 minutes on the Metropolitan Line, compared to the 17-minute journey for the same route on the Jubilee Line. 

Metropolitan Line trains also have air conditioning and more seats to make your commute just that little bit more bearable.  

Do not bother with Edgware Road 

If you can avoid the labyrinth that is Edgware Road, endeavour to do so at all times. 

Your commute is probably already stressful enough without having to solve the Tube equivalent of a Diophantine equation. 

Use the York Road entrance for Elizabeth Line services at Ilford 

Regular users of the Elizabeth Line from Ilford are likely to be familiar with the entrance on the main road, as well as that on Ilford Hill. 

However, there is also a lesser-used entrance on York Road for anyone looking to avoid crowds at peak times. 

Make your trip cheaper by travelling outside of Zone 1 

Because Zone 1 encompasses central London, it is the most expensive part of the London Underground network to use. 

However, there are some stations that are in Zone 1/2, which will see you charged a cheaper Zone 2 fare if you tap out at Earl’s Court, Vauxhall, Notting Hill Gate, Kennington or Elephant & Castle.  

Take a secret lift from the Tube platforms at Barbican to get to Farringdon’s Elizabeth Line station 

There is a secret entrance to the Elizabeth Line platforms at Farringdon that TfL have not signposted, via a lift from the end of the platforms at Barbican Underground station

From the end of the Tube platforms at Barbican, there is a secret lift that takes down to the Elizabeth Line platforms at Farringdon. 

Indeed, it has been kept a secret by TfL, who do not signpost the lift itself as an interchange. 

Make your rush hour train at Waterloo

If you take the Northern Line to Waterloo and climb the stairs, you will see signs pointing both ways that read ‘Exit’ and ‘Trains’. 

To emerge near platforms 12 to 19 and the exit for the South Bank, take a left.

Turn right for the lower numbered platforms and the exit to Newington and Lambeth. 

Sneak through the crowds at Leicester Square

Generally regarded as an incovenient tourist hotspot that is a hellhole to travel from, this hack will help you whizz through the horrific crowds at Leicester Square with ease. 

If you are looking to use the Northern LIne, ignore the signs and go towards the end of the Piccadilly line platform, then simply follow a staircase to change onto the Northern line.

Save time between Liverpool Street and Stratford

If you usually travel Eastbound on the Central Line from Liverpool Street to Stratford you should take a National Rail service or Elizabeth Line train instead, which will get you to Stratford marginally more quickly. 

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