NERVOUS GETTING ABOUT IN LONDON/USING UNDERGROUND

(27 Posts)
monkeytree Sat 01-Feb-14 19:14:37

I want to take my older dc to the theatre (Novello) in Aldwych in May this year. Trying to work out the best way of getting there. I live in Gloucestershire and there is a direct train route to London Paddington which would be the most comfortable way of getting there. The only problem is I feel nervous about using the underground unaccompanied (usually travel with husband but he will be at home looking after young dc) and can really see myself getting lost (I rely on SATNAV all the time as my map reading skills are not up to much) and my daughter is quite use to mum going on a 'mystery tour' when I drive somewhere I don't know.

I wanted to treat my dc as she has been really good with our new baby and I know there is a show that she would really like to see.

I have tried to find coach trips for this show that drop at the door but I am struggling to find one that is not on a school day etc. I was tempted to go for an overnight stay but this would cost over £300.00 with upgraded tickets etc.

Anyone got any suggestions? I think a taxi from Paddington would cost more than our rail fare....

Rooble Sat 01-Feb-14 19:19:10

A bus would be cheap, plus you'd get to see London. I'm not a Londoner so don't know which number bus you'd need but you'll find all the info on the TFL website.
There is an app, too, called Busmapper London which tells you which bus is arriving at the stop you're at/which stop to stand at for which bus. The buses always announce the next stop in plenty of time.

Procrastreation Sat 01-Feb-14 19:20:57

How old is the DC? Could you turn it into a game? (eg plan the route together, write a list of instructions with colour coding, print out maps with landmarks etc).

ItsATIARA Sat 01-Feb-14 19:22:25

The number 23 bus will take you all the way there - it won't be quick, but it will get you there without Tube Fear.

Three major tips:
A) download a bus tracker app onto your smartphone. It functions like a sat nab and will let you know exactly when to get off
B) use Google street view to check out the street level route from the bus stop to the theatre
C) don't be afraid to ask for help - we don't bite

happyyonisleepyyoni Sat 01-Feb-14 19:24:34

Just get a cab if u are that worried. It will be cheaper than an overnight stay. Personally I prefer the tube over buses as you know the names of the stops but there u go.

Rooble Sat 01-Feb-14 19:24:59

Ignore my post. Just checked the TfL site and their recommended routes all involve the underground.
Would agree with Procrastreation - use your DD to help find the way. You can plan it all in advance from the maps....

MollyBerry Sat 01-Feb-14 19:25:44

I've just looked at the route for you and it's actually only one tube line and a c15 minute walk down a straight road

I'd be happy to talk(type) you through it if you'd feel ok doing that?

mermaidbutmytailfelloff Sat 01-Feb-14 19:26:58

On the tube it's all one line to charing cross, take the bakerloo line from paddington then sit there for about 6 stops, a helpful map will be right in front of you. So much easier than buses

AuntieStella Sat 01-Feb-14 19:27:08

Save up between now and May. Then take black cabs.

If you're lucky, you'll get a chatty child-friendly driver. Even if not, you get the stress-free trip across Londin.

Thumbcat Sat 01-Feb-14 19:27:21

Have you looked at the tube journey? It's quite straightforward - Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus, then Piccadilly line either to Leicester Square or Covent Garden.

pancakesfortea Sat 01-Feb-14 19:28:36

Tfl journey planner will tell you which bus to get. I think the 15 would do it but the website will tell you and will also offer you print out maps to get you to the door of the theatre.

To avoid stress, allow loads of time. Don't hesitate to ask station staff (or anyone else) for directions. And sort yourself out with an oyster card in advance - or in Paddington station. You can't pay with cash on the bus any more.

Oh, and if you're coming from Gloucester, make sure you grab a seat in coach D on the great western for the at seat telly! (Take your own headphones).

nuppet Sat 01-Feb-14 19:28:59

Hi monkey.
The route is really simple. Get the train to paddington. Then from paddington take the Bakerloo line (the brown one) south/eastbound for 7 stops to charing cross.
Once you arrive at charing cross, walk east along the strand for 0.4 miles which should take about 8 minutes. Then turn left onto Aldwych and you are there!
I know it can be daunting getting around London but it is a very straightforward journey. If you are unsure the staff in the underground are always happy to point you in the right direction. smile
Enjoy the show!

Blu Sat 01-Feb-14 19:38:57

As others say, the one tube line from Paddingtin to Charing Cross will be a doddle, and then a short walk. You don't need to work yourself into a state of anxiety about it! And contrary to some rumours, Londoners are actually friendly and very happy to help with directions etc.

Reincarnatedpig Sat 01-Feb-14 19:42:41

What I sometimes do if i am going to a strange city is track the route on google street view so I can recognize land marks and it seems more familiar.

BackforGood Sat 01-Feb-14 19:45:14

I was a bit nervous of using the underground / finding my way around before I did it, but, having tried, I found it the easiest, most stress free way of travelling around somewhere you don't know, imaginable.

-You have the 'map' of the route right in front of you, wherever you look (stations and on the trains themselves)
- If you were to make a mistake, you could just get off at the next station and get yourself back
-the trains come every few minutes so you don't have that stress of 'making sure you are there in time / don't miss the train'

You'll be fine - just accept help from posters on here who will tell you which line / which stops you need, and you'll have a great time (although the tube fair probably will be as much as your rail ticket)

Starch1e Sat 01-Feb-14 19:46:52

Buses are good fun for sightseeing & no more crowded than tube. On the tfl website under advanced options you can specify what forms of transport so unstick everything except buses & walking. Check the distances on google maps as tfl can be bizarrely under/over optimistic on how long walking takes! Enjoy the show!

ContinentalKat Sat 01-Feb-14 19:51:00

I take my dc into London on my own and feel like a country bumpkin all the way. They love it!
I look up the journey beforehand and we have a few "London rules":
Older dc know our home address and my mobile number and to approach police, tube staff or mums with children if we get separated.
Younger dc have my mobile number written on their arm and know who to approach, too.
Dc first on escalators up. Me first on escalators down. Stand on the right!
Hand holding when I tell them to, no matter how uncool.
Journey will take approx. twice the time commuting dh suggests. Take your time to get your bearings, but don't get into people's ways.

You'll be fine, and even though I get how daunting things can seem, Londoners can be nice and helpful if you get lost.

monkeytree Sat 01-Feb-14 21:31:34

Thanks mums netters you have given me confidence to have a go! As my dc will testify I am really good at asking people for directions! I live in a quiet place and not use to hustle and bustle but really enjoy visiting London from time to time. I will sit down and plot the route with dh re the underground

I think the secret is allow plenty of time. Anyone know if there are any child friendly places to eat near the theatre?

MmeLindor Sat 01-Feb-14 21:36:50

I've found that the staff on the Tube were absolutely fabulous at giving advice. Don't bother going to the info point if it is busy, just ask one of the members of staff who are around the turnstile things.

You might be able to get a train + day tube ticket. Not sure if that is available everywhere, but saved us the hassle of getting tickets when we arrived.

Get the kids organised before you go up to the turnstile, give each the ticket to go through and take the ticket back on the other side.

I also made arrangements with the kids that if we were to be separated, that they were to get off at the next stop and find a member of staff (or stay at the station if I had got on Tube without them). The risk is really low, but I found it made me less nervous, if I knew that they had a plan.

Bloodyteenagers Sat 01-Feb-14 21:49:41

Download an app called Bus Times... I use this all the time.

Make sure you have Google maps.

Recce you can download for London. It is really awesome if you have an iPhone. Not sure if it's on android.

TFL journey planner. You can search just for buses, just untick the boxes. You can download the route, but do it before going on underground as not all providers work.

Honestly there is nothing to be nervous about. Lots of us live in London and can help. Staff are really friendly and helpful, regardless of which way you travel... I would suggest bus, simply because as others have pointed out, you get to see more.

Don't pay cash for the transport, get an oyster. A lot cheaper Think its a fiver deposit, but really worth it, and you can get this back if you decide you never want to come back.. Also depending on the age of child, they travel free.

NotCitrus Sat 01-Feb-14 21:54:24

Get the Bakerloo line southbound to Charing Cross. Allow at least the time in TfL's Journey Planner site and just take your time.
Covent Garden is just north of the Strand. Lots of restaurants in the area - Wagamamas, Smollenskys, Joe Allen's, Thai Square...

For the train, can usually get a ticket to London that is either a Return to Zone 1, so get a tube trip there and back, or with a Travelcard for as many bus/Tube trips as you like.

Blu Sat 01-Feb-14 22:52:05

Byron burgers, Carluccios, lots of nice places which are good to take kids. Make sure you leave plenty of time for strolling round Covent Garden.

LittleBearPad Sat 01-Feb-14 23:03:47

Heaps of places near Aldwych for children. There are lots of chains. Wagamama's, zizzi, cafe rouge, pizza express etc.

You will be absolutely fine. And most people in London will point you in the right direction. We're not as mean as people think.

JodieGarberJacob Sat 01-Feb-14 23:16:03

If you get the Circle line from Paddington round to Temple then you avoid all the deep tube lines with endless tunnels and escalators because the Circle line is only just below the road surface and usually only involves a short flight of steps down to get to the platforms. It's the way I travel around London as I get a bit claustrophobic underground!

monkeytree Sat 01-Feb-14 23:24:25

Hi Jodie - Do you know if you stay on the circle line all the way to Temple or do you have to change as you go?

JodieGarberJacob Sat 01-Feb-14 23:30:32

Yes, just stay on the Circle line, no changes, takes about 20 minutes.

JassyRadlett Sun 02-Feb-14 08:52:25

If you're not changing, it's pretty straightforward to do the deep lines - just follow the big 'way out' signs. No chance to go wrong!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now