Transport in London
There are hundreds of touristic attractions in London, but how can you go from Buckingham Palace to the Big Ben, the Tower Bridge or Piccadilly Circus? Here you’ll find three possibilities.
The London Underground
The subway is better known as The Tube because of the narrow round tunnels that characterize the deepest lines.
History of The Tube
It was inaugurated in 1863 as the first Underground Railroad, and it transported passengers in wooden wagons that were pulled by steam locomotives. In the early twentieth century an electrical system was installed. Since then, The Tube has inspired the creation of lots of promotional merchandise.
During the World Wars, the stations were used as shelters, and nowadays, Transport for London is in charge of its proper functioning along its 402 kilometers (250 miles) –it’s the fourth longest subway system in the world!
London Underground Fun facts
The first Underground escalator was installed in 1911. So many others have been installed that today they add 426! Then, in 1921 they introduced a recording that asked the passengers to stand on the right side of the steps so that people who wanted to go at a faster speed could do so by climbing up the left side. This recording is still used nowadays, so you should avoid obstructing the way for other travelers who’ll pass by you at full speed. By the way, there’s another famous recording that says: “Mind the gap”. It warns users about the gap that’s formed between the platform and the subway cars when they stop at stations with tubular tunnels.
Most Popular London Underground Stations
In Baker Street station you’ll find mosaics decorated with the silhouette of Sherlock Holmes, and if you stop at Tottenham Court Road, you’ll see mosaics designed by Eduardo Paolozzi that show semi-abstract representations of musical instruments and butterflies. Now, if you are a fan of the Harry Potter cult saga, visit King’s Cross and take a picture at Platform 9¾, and if you enjoy sculpture exhibits, plan a stop at St. Pancras, where you can also take the famous Eurostar speed train.
Double Decker London Bus
The two-story buses are British icons.
They are so popular that they’ve become touristic attractions. Actually, some of the oldest buses have been bought and remodeled with the purpose of turning them into theme restaurants.
Best of all, these buses are ideal for those who love nightlife because they offer 24-hour services. Every week they transport more passengers than the Underground!
Double Decker Bus in Harry Potter
They inspired the creation of the three-story Knight Bus that appeared in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, as well as the London Booster, a sculpture by the Czech artist David Cerny. It consisted on a double-decker with hydraulic arm-like extensions that could make pushups and was presented in the inauguration ceremony of the 2012 Olympics.
The classic black taxis were named after the homonymous town where carriages that were pulled by horses were used as transport.
Hackney Knowledge Test
Taxi drivers need a minimum required experience of three years in order to get a certification called The Knowledge. Drivers who get it must prove that they know the London geographic distribution as well as its main monuments and buildings. How’s that for “certified tourist guide”?
With these tips you won’t get lost in London and the rides from one attraction to another will be part of the fun.