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Nine sneaky tube shortcuts that only Londoners know

Written by
Sonya Barber

Sure, the tube is pretty well sign-posted, but you'll often see Londoners go against the arrows and forge their own path. Yes, they do know something you don't. Here are a few sneaky tube tips from the Time Out team. Just don't tell everyone, okay?

The swift switcheroo at Euston

If you want to get on the Victoria line from the Northern line (or vice versa) – get the Bank branch and change at Euston and you can just walk straight off the tube and through to the Vic line platform, unlike the Charing Cross branch, which involves going up and down hundreds of escalators to change lines at Euston. 

The old lift trick at Earls Court

If you’re ever taking the lift from the Piccadilly line at Earls Court station, immediately tuck yourself into the right or left corner closest to the first lift doors as you enter. People will look at you a little crazy as there's another set of doors on the other side that look like a more natural exit – but it's not. Do this and not only will you be the first person out, but the ticket barriers will be right in front of you. Win-win. Same goes for Tufnell Park station. 

The great door swindle

Look for where the paint is worn on the yellow lines on the platform – that's where the doors open. 

The naughty nip at Holborn

Forget queuing to go out the platform exit with everyone else, instead nip up the entrance passage instead. It will say no exit, but give it a try and see if it's clear. Most lead you to the same point, just be mindful that this isn't your right of way so watch out for incoming commuters. The same works for getting down to platforms. A good example is at Holborn – turn right instead of following directions left for Central line at the bottom of escalators. The no entry signs send you straight to the platform and can be quieter. NB. don't do this in rush hour or when it's busy, obvs.  

The shortcut at King's Cross

Go against all the signs to the Northern line when you're on the Piccadilly line at King's Cross – you can still get down to the Northern line the old way instead of trekking all the way down that new crazily long route – you just have go down the non-signposted stairs instead of the now-closed escalator. 

The climber at Green Park

When changing lines at Green Park, it's quicker to go up the escalator to the ticket hall and then back down the next escalator to your desired line instead of schlepping down the corridor. (There's no scientific evidence for this one, it just feels shorter.)

The Bank/Monument hack

When changing from DLR or the District line to the Central line, it's much quicker (even at rush hour) to follow signs to the Northern line platforms and walk along them, then head straight ahead along the curved tunnel and up the spiral stairs, rather than up and down all the escalators and steps that the signposts tell you. The most horrible tube station in London suddenly becomes very slightly less horrible.

The side tuck at Embankment

To get to the District line at Embankment, head off to the left or right as soon as you go through the barriers and go down the steps. You end up further down the platform without having to walk as far (or look at the poster of Miranda Hart that's been up since mid-2013).

The secret tunnel at Leicester Square

Go to the stairs right at the end of the platform to change lines instead of going up and over using the signposted exits at the middle. You'll go against the flow and save yourself about 300 metres rather than shuffling along the long tunnel route if you follow the signs.

Read next: 22 more timesaving tips for the Tube

We are well aware that this is very far off being a definitive list and would love to hear your tube travel hacks. Comment below and we'll try to compile the ULTIMATE tube hacking map!

Photo by © Doug on Flickr.


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