The Best Tips For Using The London Underground With A Family

Visiting London with your family can be a fun adventure, and the London Underground (also known as the Tube) is one of the best ways to get around the city. With its extensive network of lines and stations, the Underground can get you nearly anywhere you want to go. Even with its convenience, navigating the Tube with a family, especially with young kids can pose a challenge. To make your trip a bit easier, consider these essential tips for using the London Underground with a family.

The Tube in London

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PLAN YOUR JOURNEY IN ADVANCE

Before you head out for a day of sightseeing, make sure that you have a plan for where you’re going. Apps such as Citymapper, the official Transport for London app, or Google Maps can help you find the best routes.

You’ll also be able to check for service disruption, and travel times and get real-time updates. Planning will help you to avoid the stress that comes with long wait times and excessive delays.

TRAVEL DURING OFF-PEAK HOURS

The Tube in London

The London Underground can get extremely busy during peak hours (7:30-9:30 AM and 5-7 PM). During our family’s trip to London, it was pretty easy to avoid those times and we never experienced any overcrowding.

We usually left our apartment sometime around the mid-morning and were always able to find seats and get around the stations without any problems.

USE FAMILY-FRIENDLY STATIONS

Not all Tube stations are the same when it comes to accessibility. Some stations have elevators or step-free access which is a lifesaver if you have a stroller or small children.

Stations like King’s Cross, St. Pancras, Green Park, and Westminster are especially accessible. You can check the TfL website for more detailed info about accessible stations.

Of course, you won’t be able to plan your entire trip around these stations, but you can incorporate them when possible.

PACK LIGHT

Making your way through the Underground with heavy luggage or multiple bags can be a real pain. If you pack light, using smaller bags such as carry-ons and of course, backpacks can make the journey so much easier.

You’ll especially appreciate the flexibility if you’re also trying to keep track of little ones. If you need to bring a stroller bring a smaller, lightweight version that’s more suitable for travel.

MIND THE GAP

Mind the Gap sign near the Tube in London

Even if you’ve never been to London, you’ve probably heard of the phrase “Mind the Gap”. This phrase is repeated on the Tube and its stations and refers to the space between the station platform and the train.

Sometimes the gap can be wide so always be aware of your children, and hold their hands especially when entering and exiting the train.

USE CONTACTLESS PAYMENTS

The easiest way to pay for your trip on the London Underground is to use a contactless payment method. You can use either a credit or debit card or a mobile payment app.

This allows you to avoid the step of buying and refilling an Oyster Card and can be cheaper than paper tickets. Kids 10 and under travel free when they’re with a paying adult.

There are also discounts for older kids with a Zip Oyster card.

BE PREPARED FOR EMERGENCIES

Having a small basic first aid kit and medications with you is always smart. It’s also good to have emergency contact numbers and a plan in place in case someone gets separated. Make sure your children know what to do and who to approach if they get lost.

TAKE BREAKS AND EXPLORE

Even though using the Underground is an easy and efficient way to see London, don’t pack so much into your itinerary that you’re constantly rushing from one spot to another.

Take time to relax. It’s great that there are several parks and playgrounds located near Tube stations.

Not being in a rush is a great way to avoid stress and mistakes.

STAY HYDRATED AND HAVE SNACKS

Traveling on the Tube in the summer can be hot and a bit uncomfortable, so be sure that you have plenty of water and snacks to keep everyone hydrated and happy.

Avoid eating on the trains if possible because that can get messy, but any time before or after your ride is good.

BE CONSIDERATE OF OTHERS

We’ve found that Londoners were quite friendly and helpful, but riding the Tube can be a hectic stressful environment at times. This is especially the case if you’re traveling during peak hours.

London near the Piccadilly Circus Station

Even though you’re on vacation many people aren’t and they’re trying to get to work or wherever they need to be. And even if you try to avoid it, it can be crowded.

So keeping noise levels down, not blocking the doors, and being considerate is always a good way to go.

ENJOY THE JOURNEY

London Underground sign

Taking the London Underground is a classic part of any London experience. With a bit of planning it can be fun and memorable for the whole family. Enjoy the station designs and the unique experience of traveling on one of the world’s oldest and busiest subway systems. Before you go, be sure to check out our guide on how long you should visit London as well as our 4-day itinerary for your family. Safe travels!

Author

  • Jeremiah Pittmon

    Jeremiah Pittmon is a published travel writer and photographer from Cleveland, Ohio. Passionate about exploring the world with his family, he finds inspiration in all types of travel. Through his blog, smilesonarrival.com, and social media channels, he shares captivating experiences and valuable tips for families who love to travel.

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The Best Tips For Using The London Underground With A Family
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