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International Exhibitors Guide to the London Underground

London Underground Map for International Exhibitors

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Welcome, travellers! You’re about to embark on an adventure in one of the world’s most vibrant cities—London. Whether you’re here to take in the sights, indulge in some retail therapy, or exhibit in one of the conference centres, you’ll likely find yourself navigating the iconic London Underground.

Known to locals as ‘the Tube’, this sprawling network of trains will whisk you from the bustling streets of Covent Garden to the leafy suburbs of Richmond and everywhere in between. If you’re unfamiliar, the Tube can seem like a labyrinth. Don’t worry; we’ve got your back!

This guide will turn you from a Tube novice into a seasoned commuter, ready to tackle the Underground like a Londoner. So, grab your Oyster card, and let’s dive in!

Get an Oyster Card or Contactless Payment Card

First, you’ll need an Oyster card or a contactless payment card. We highly recommend opening a TransferWise or Revolut account. These accounts allow you to create multi-currency bank accounts without the fees charged by traditional banks.

Contactless is the easiest way to pay for travel on the Tube. You can get an Oyster card at any Tube station or order one online before you arrive in the UK  .

Plan Your Journey

Before you head out, it’s a good idea to plan your journey. Use the Transport for London (TfL) website or the Citymapper app. Just input your start and endpoints, and it’ll give you the quickest route  .

Understand the Tube Map

The London Underground map is a classic design copied by transport systems worldwide. It’s a schematic diagram that doesn’t reflect geographical distances between stations. Instead, it’s designed to show routes and connections clearly. It may seem confusing at first, but don’t worry; it’s color-coded for ease.

Main Lines:

  • Bakerloo Line (Brown): Major stations include Paddington, Oxford Circus, and Waterloo.
  • Central Line (Red): The longest and typically busiest line. Key stops: Notting Hill Gate, Oxford Circus, and St. Paul’s.
  • Circle Line (Yellow): Forms a loop around central London. Major stations: King’s Cross, St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, and Victoria.
  • Central Line (Red): The longest and typically busiest line. Key stops: Notting Hill Gate, Oxford Circus, and St. Paul’s.
  • District Line (Green): Covers Greater London with branches to Richmond, Wimbledon, and Upminster.
  • Hammersmith & City Line (Pink): Shares many stations with the Circle Line and extends to Hammersmith and Barking.
  • Jubilee Line (Silver): Key locations include Westminster, Canary Wharf, and Stratford.
  • Metropolitan Line (Purple): Reaches the outskirts, including Wembley Park and Harrow-on-the-Hill.
  • Northern Line (Black): Known for frequent delays, it serves North and South London with branches to Edgware and Morden.
  • Piccadilly Line (Dark Blue): Connects to Heathrow Airport, Covent Garden, and Leicester Square.
  • Victoria Line (Light Blue): Efficient line serving Victoria, King’s Cross St. Pancras, and Brixton.
  • Waterloo & City Line (Turquoise): Only two stops, mainly for commuters between Waterloo and the City of London.

On the Platform

Check the direction once you’re on the platform and follow the signs to ensure you’re going in the correct direction. Signs list the end station in the direction the train is going .

Tube Etiquette

  • Exit Before Enter: Let passengers exit before you board the train. It’s polite and makes boarding easier for everyone.
  • Mind the Gap: Be careful when stepping on and off the train; there can be a gap between the train and the platform.
  • Stand on the Right: When using escalators, always stand on the right to allow people hurrying to pass on the left.
  • Be Courteous: Manners cost nothing. Let people off the train before you get on and move down inside the carriages to make room for others. Be prepared to give up your seat for elderly or disabled passengers.

Efficient Travel

  • Keep Your Ticket Handy: You’ll need your Oyster card or contactless payment card to enter and exit the barriers at the station, so keep it handy.
  • Know When to Travel: The Tube can get busy during rush hour (typically 7-9 am and 5-7 pm). If possible, try to avoid travelling at these times.

Exiting the Station

  • When you’re ready to leave the Tube, follow the signs for “Way Out.” To exit the barriers, tap your Oyster or contactless payment card on the yellow card reader again.

Safety Tips

  • Emergency Procedures: In an emergency, follow the instructions of station staff and use the emergency alarms located on platforms and trains.
  • Accessibility: All stations have step-free access; many are equipped with lifts and ramps. Check the TfL website for details.

It’s Simple When You Know How

And there you have it! With these tips, you’ll navigate the Tube like a true Londoner in no time. It may seem daunting initially, but you’ll get the hang of it. Happy travelling!

Patrick Wells
Founder & CEO, Booth Exhibits™
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