When it comes to travel in London, there are plenty of options. Whether you choose to travel by car, bus, train, or underground, it is a conveniently connected city. The only option that I don't recommend is walking! I walked to the British Museum on a hot summers' day, got lost, and eventually arrived with blistered feet..ouch!
Today, I would like to explain to you why I recommend the Underground as my preferred way of travel. The Underground, for me, is my preferred mode of London travel. Why?
Iconic, Yet Efficient
Few signs can be more symbolic of London travel than the Underground signs that are scattered over the UK capital. The London Underground symbol spells more than a travel option, it represents convenience, a strangely welcoming odour, and even a refuge from the cold wintry weather. The Underground sign is known the world over, in the same way that the similar US subway system is immortalized in both film and print.
So, when visiting the Capital, the journey begins with the sign, in the same way that the 'Golden Arches' fill our children's minds with enthusiasm at meal-time.
Of course, the journey doesn't end with the advertising. Underground, by nature, means...underground. So, the next stage of your journey is to enter the crowded entrance ways and corridors that lead to your platform.
Once you arrive at your trains' platform, you will be struck by several sensations. The first is sight. Facing you on the opposite side of the tracks, you will experience billboard advertising at it's best. The ads displayed are both relevant and appealing. So that is how your sense of sight is satisfied.
The next sensory delight is that of smell. The London Underground has a mechanical, yet welcoming, odour. To describe it is not simply industrial, it is strangely homely. Maybe it is the warmth of the platform area that we come to associate with the smell...however, whatever the reason, standing there on the platform can be crowded, yet it still retains it's charm.
The last, and perhaps most striking sensory delight is the last one you receive before boarding your train. What is this?
It seems obvious to say this but, squeezing a long train through a smallish tunnel usually results in a large displacement of air. That being said, when a train is approaching, you are notified by a warm, pleasant breeze flowing ahead of the train, and engulfing all of the waiting customers on the platform.
Yes, there is the rumble of the approaching train, however nothing symbolises the journey more, for me, than the onset of the air that travels ahead of it's carriage.
There is, of course, a caution. Never step too close to the edge of the platform, why? Whilst your balance may be quite good, standing on the edge is very dangerous. Remember, our host platform is usually crowded. As trains approach, people tend to shuffle to the front of the platform. The purpose of this is try to get on first, and secure one of the few seats that will likely remain. This movement can be life-threatening because it is easy to be shuffled forward, possibly losing our balance, and falling to the tracks where electrocution, or being struck by the train are a high risk.
London is full of amazing venues. Yes, there are many ways to travel there. However, my favourite means of transport is the London Underground. Now that you are familiar with how the journey will work, I hope that you will also try 'the Tube', and give London Underground a try!
For more information and fast facts on London Underground, see this article on CNN