It’s inevitable. Whether you’re interning, studying, or simply visiting London catching an underground train is an extremely likely event. Considered the oldest rapid transit system in the world, the London Underground (affectionately called the Tube) opened in 1863. It now consists of eleven different lines spanning over 250 miles and carrying nearly 1.3 billion passengers per year. It really is the best, easiest, and fastest way to get around capital of England.
There are 270 stations served by the Tube at this time, so which do you need to circle/highlight/star on that handy Tube Map of yours? Here are World Endeavors’ top suggestions:
Take the Northern Line to Chalk Farm and catch a glimpse at one of the city’s most exclusive neighborhoods. Stop for a cream tea or a pint or simply window shop along Regent’s Park Road. Pack a picnic lunch and climb Primrose Hill to catch clear, stunning views of central London. After, make your way into Regent’s Park, where you can explore London Zoo if you so desire.
Travel to Greenwich by way of Docklands Light Railway (DLR) and explore the southeast London district. Don’t miss out on the main attraction – the Royal Observatory. This is the site of the official Prime Meridian and has long served as the basis for measurements by British astronomers. Other notable sites include the sprawling Greenwich Park and the National Maritime Museum.
For a visit to the iconic Buckingham Palace, catch a train to Green Park station. Once you’ve witnessed the Changing of the Guard, ditch the crowd and take a winding, leisurely stroll through St. James’s Park. Find yourself walking along The Mall, through the Admiralty Arch, and into Trafalgar Square. Interested in seeing works from the likes of Botticelli, da Vinci, Monet, or van Gogh? Head on in to the National Gallery! Admission is free and you’ll be able to feast your eyes on some of the world’s most iconic pieces of art. (Tip: the best time of the week to visit is mid-week, and mornings are usually less crowded than afternoons.)
Stop at Leicester Square on the Northern or Piccadilly Lines and head for the pedestrian square of the same name. Often referred to as “Theatreland,” Leicester Square is a common site for world film premiers and it co-hosts the London Film Festival each year. Perhaps you’ve already purchased a ticket for a must-see West End show, but if you haven’t – head to TKTS. This booth sells tickets for the current day’s performances for nearly half the usual price.
Both a railway terminus and part of the Underground system, London Bridge is one of the oldest railway stations in the world. This is the perfect place to stop if you are hoping to explore the Southwark district. South of the River Thames, this is one of the oldest areas of London. When you’re finished exploring the home of Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market, and Tate Modern, make your way across Tower Bridge to the Tower of London and delve deep into London’s rich history.
Interested in spending a morning exploring Portobello Market? We suggest getting off at Queensway in order to avoid overwhelming hustle and bustle of the Notting Hill Gate station. This way, you can wander the serene, picturesque streets of Notting Hill before joining the masses at the open-air market. Alternatively, Queensway is the best station stop for Kensington Gardens. Within its 242 acres, you can view the stunning Kensington Palace, beautiful Italian Gardens, a Peter Pan statue, and the contemporary art of the Serpentine Galleries.
An obvious choice, but you can’t miss all that this stop has to offer. Parliament, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey – the list can go on and on. Take your obligatory “selfie” with Big Ben and the hundreds of other tourists and then head over to the Winston Churchill War Rooms. This museum houses the Cabinet War Rooms and is an absolute must-see for history buffs. It gives visitors a very real sense of what was happening in England during World War II in an interesting and fascinating fashion.
Public transportation sure is the best way to commune with a host country and culture. With 270 stations, the London Underground can get you anywhere in the city, fast! So grab your Oyster card and don’t forget: mind the gap.
We’re sure we missed a few classics… What are your favorite Underground stations? Tell us in the comments below!
Posted by World Endeavors on September 10, 2015
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.