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In early August 2009 my partner and I decided to take a very hectic break in London taking in as many sights as possible in 3 days.
Although we took the London sightseeing tour much of our travel time was spent on the London Ungerground.
We used a number of lines - Circle, District, Northern, Central, Piccadilly, Bakerloo and Jubilee with our hotel at West Cromwell Road very near Earls Court. We used the district line predominantly to leave and return to the hotel each day.
There is no better method to move around London, but it comes at a cost, trains are often cramped and it can be extremely clostrophobic onboard despite most trains having windows open. Air circulation on board is extremely poor. In addition, whenever I visit London there are always a number of stations closed, on this occasion Blackfriars was one of them.
The other factor that no-one predicts or feels comfortable with is the unexpected - which unfortunately happened at Victoria during the Tuesday of our visit. Another unexpected event was to arrive at Earls Court to find a train being held up full of passengers and for another one to arrive (which we got on) and depart before it only to find 4 stops from our destination that it was terminating and we all had to get off - to get on the train that had been held up! (How weird is that?!).
Journey times are quite short, but apart from the stuffyness of the trains our main critism is that the entire network is not beneficial to disabled passengers and there are many stations having a number of sets of stairs to climb.
There are a number of ticket choices available and there are ticket offices and machines at all stations we visited and many machines take credit/debit cards. Many Londoners prefer to use Oyster Cards which can be topped up and mean that unless you are doing a lot of individual journeys they are the cheapest method of travel. My personal choice was the off-peak zone card (1-2) which gave us access to all the areas we were trying to visit during our stay. Another method is the single ticket.
Although both tickets can also be used on buses, we didn't attempt to use them as we were wary of the congestion, especially after using the London Sightseeing Bus.
In our opinion there is no quicker method, nor a cheaper one to travel around central London than the Underground (or tube), but it is certainly not the most comfortable.