Tube life: Getting around the London Underground with kids
Updated: Apr 26, 2021
Battling around the London Underground can be a tricky kinda business at the best of times, but when you’re doing it with kids in tow, the stress ante is upped hugely for sure. Lucky for you, we’re seasoned pros in navigating the Northern Line, cracking the Central Line and conquering the Circle Line, so read on for all the things you need to know about acing public transport with little ones. Don't forget your hand sanitiser and face masks!
Stations with lifts
A buggy on an escalator with another kid under your arm? Err, no thanks. Knowing where the stations are that have lifts can make all the difference when it comes to a day out in London town with younglings. Transport for London know this too and have come up with this mega handy guide to where the lifts are at, including the stations that have only part lift access. Some stations are still closed at the mo thanks to the covid crazy, so do check the TFL website before leaving home.
All the lines
There is a LOT of colour on those London Underground maps. To make things easy (we’re parents, we’re all about easy), these are the lines you need to know about. The ones that will connect you around London and beyond...
Bakerloo Line (brown): Hop on to link between Waterloo through to Queen’s Park
Central Line (red): From Epping in Essex through to Ealing Broadway in the north-east, or West Ruislip in the west, this is one of the busiest lines of all. Probably best avoided at peak times!
Circle Line (yellow): Runs from Hammersmith in the west to Edgware Road and then loops (in a circle funnily enough) around central London back to Edgware Road.
District Line (green): This one is not so straightforward with its start and finish points! It runs from Upminster in the east through to Earl’s Court in the west, but it also splits into different branches. One branch runs to Wimbledon in the south-west, one runs north to Edgware Road, and a small branch line runs (weekend only) to Kensington (Olympia). Make sure you map your journey before you set out to make sure you don’t end up on the wrong branch line. We've been there and got the t-shirt.
Hammersmith & City Line (pink): You’ll get all the way from Hammersmith in west London to Barking in east London on this line.
Jubilee Line (silver): Running between Stratford in the east to Stanmore in the suburban northwest, you’ll also be able to get to the Docklands on this route.
Metropolitan Line (magenta): Known locally as The Met, this line runs between Aldgate in City of London to Amersham and Chesham in Buckinghamshire. There are also branches that will link you up toWatford in Hertfordshire and Uxbridge in the west.
Northern Line (black): Get from southwest to northwest London on the rather complicated Northern Line. It has two branches through central London and three in the north. Check the maps at the station before you board.
Piccadilly Line (dark blue): Another big ol’ line, this one runs between Cockfosters in the ‘burbs of the north of London to Acton Town in the west. It also divides into two branches, including one to Heathrow Airport, while the other goes to Uxbridge in northwest London.
Victoria Line (light blue): Navigate your way between Brixton in south London to Walthamstow Central in the northeast, via the dazzling lights of the West End.
Waterloo & City Line (turquoise): If you’re a user of the Waterloo & City Line, chances are you probably know it as The Drain. It’s the shortest line of all and runs from Waterloo to Bank, with no stops in between! Short and sweet.
Best buggies for acing The Tube
So we’ve already established that some routes are easier than others when it comes to travelling with little ones, but you know what else makes it wayyyy more baby-friendly? A buggy that’s not the size of a tank is what. Here are the ones we think are pretty darn perfect for parents using public transport on a regular basis:
The Bugaboo Ant (£265.30* for the base), Bugaboo's most compact and lightweight offering yet, will have you effortlessly scurrying around the city and is the perfect choice for any discerning urban parent. Weighing in at a featherweight 7.2kg, it has a handy dandy underneath basket, a reversible seat, a stylish sun canopy so bubba can have a snooze AND it folds up in seconds. Gotta love a Bugaboo.
Photography: GB Pockit + Stroller
Invest in a GB Pockit + Stroller (£159.95*) (pictured above) and you’ll also be investing in a much easier ride on the trains for sure. This compact and lightweight stroller (one of the lightest on the market) weighs in at a teeny tiny 5.6kg and only measures 32 x 20 x 38 cm when folded! Happy days.
Maclaren has been scoring big when it comes to great strollers since 1965, and the Maclaren Quest (£199*) ticks all the boxes for being lightweight (around 5kg!), easy to fold and having a reclining seat.
Photography: Silver Cross via Facebook
The gold award-winning Silver Cross Avia (£169*) (pictured above) is a snazzy little number that wins big in our book for being suitable for even teeny, tiny newborns. At just 5.5kg you’ll get a roomy seat that reclines to flat, a pop out sun shield and itsy bitsy dimensions when folded.
Looking for compact? Then take a look at the Mountain Buggy Nano V2 Stroller (£149*), which is perfect for manoeuvring the streets of London with bonus points for being simple to use whether on you’re going train, plane or automobile. Measuring a diddy 54cm when folded, this is compact stroller with the functionality of a big pram.
*All prices correct at time of publishing.
Stations with toilets and/or baby change facilities
We’re not gonna lie to you, toilets and even more so baby change facilities, are hard to come by on the London Underground. And the chances are if you find one, you’ll have to pay to pee. Take a look at the Transport for London map which has all the toilets marked so that you know exactly where to go for a baby change emergency!
Peak fares tend to correlate to peak times so unless you absolutely have to brave the crowds, avoid travelling Monday to Friday between 06:30 and 09:30, and then between 16:00 and 19:00.
Parents, you’ve got this. Good luck!
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