The London Underground is one of the oldest railway lines in the world, a constantly evolving network connecting London terminals to one another and from there, to the rest of the country. The Underground’s history has been nothing if not eventful.
Whatever your reason for visiting London, we highly recommend you take at least one trip on the Tube during your stay. It’s a true testament to engineering and ingenuity and is a cheap, convenient and quick way to make your way around the city.
So, before you book one of our London West End hotel deals, buy your Oyster card and set off on your trip, why not take a few minutes to read all about some of the highlights of this unique transport system and its very impressive heritage?
History of the London Underground
The construction of the London Underground can be traced way back to the early days of the Metropolitan Railway, which opened in 1863. Using steam locomotion, the combination of the Metropolitan Railway and the District Railway joined forces to complete London’s circle line in 1884.
The railway system was subsequently expanded with the City & South Railway and the Waterloo & City Railway throughout the 1890s. A number of additional lines including the Central London Railway and the Great Northern & City Railway were then incorporated in the early 1900s.
The Underground we know and love began to take shape in its current form with the establishment of the Underground Electric Railways Company of London (UERL). This was formed in 1902 with the aim of constructing yet more Tube lines with electrified sections.
Underground signs began to be used throughout the early years of the 20th century and the stations were subsequently used as air raid shelters throughout both World War I and World War II.
Concessionary schemes for Underground travel tickets began to be introduced in the early 1980s, and the Oyster card went on sale in 2003, digitizing travel payment for regular users. Today this is a great way of taking advantage of travel deals as well as London West End Hotel deals whilst visiting the capital.
Some of the best London Underground stations to look out for during your trip include:
- Westminster: A remarkable, striking tube station combining grey steel and concrete installation, Westminster Underground Station keeps its aesthetic simple and distinctly modernist in aesthetic.
- Baker Street: With some of the oldest platforms still in operation, this station provides a hugely atmospheric, colourful experience to commuters, harking back to the golden age of train travel.
- Piccadilly Circus: This tube station is one of the busiest in the capital. Sleek and modern whilst retaining a certain old-timey grandeur, is it one of the most widely recognized tube stations in the capital.
- Southgate: With tremendous art-deco architecture, Southgate station was designed by Charles Holden with a distinctive 1930s exterior, giving an instantly retro, classic feel to your train travel experience.