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London Underground and Baby - Help Please!!

(40 Posts)
mrspinkrat Wed 22-Aug-07 09:04:34

This coming weekend we are off to London - we have a 14 month old and a buggy. Can anyone advise on the best way of using the tube - does the buggy have to folded and the baby carried down the escalator or are there lifts available? Also, is there a space for the buggy on the train? I am starting to really panic as on one leg of the tube journey we will have our luggage as well as baby, pushchair and older child. Can anyone help please? Mrspinkrat xx

ImBarryScott Wed 22-Aug-07 09:06:17

The best way of using the tube is to walk past it to the bus stop .

Carmenere Wed 22-Aug-07 09:08:59

Really, I know lots of people happily use the tube with babies but I found it absolutely unbearable. Not only are people rude and unhelpful, hardly any of the stations have lifts and the air is revolting and black. Get a taxi. Or if that is too expensive get the bus.

CristinaTheAstonishing Wed 22-Aug-07 09:09:35

You'll be fine. There's plenty of space on the tube for buggy & luggage, esp. if you don't try and get on at Leicester Square or some of the very touristy stations. ASK for help. I was in Paris a couple of weekends ago, just me, DS (7) and dd(2), with one suitcase and buggy. I had no trouble at all navigating the RER & metro but must say the people there offered help easily, I never had to look around and ask someone.

I think there's a map somewhere on the London Underground website showing the stations that are good for wheelchair users, so they have functioning lifts, I imagine, but I don't think it's worth too much planning, you'll manage.

ImBarryScott Wed 22-Aug-07 09:09:37

Seriously though - what journeys do you need to make? London buses are much better than they used to be. Bus lanes everywhere, increased frequency of service, and loads of room to have your buggy unfolded and plenty of luggage. If you want some advice, I'd be happy to help

Tube is variable. You can take your buggy on if there's room, but some popular routes are busy all day. in addition, there are few lifts, and even where there are lifts, there often small flights of steps to negotiate as well. the escalators are only really suitable for lighter narrower buggies. Commuters will cut you no slack, I'm afraid.

lisad123 Wed 22-Aug-07 09:09:39

Do you have to take the buggy, is s/he light enough for a back carrier or something? Buggys and underground are terrible. The people push past on the stairs and there is very few lifts.


Millarkie Wed 22-Aug-07 09:10:59

Depends on the stations you need to use - a few have lifts...most have escalators or steps.
There is generally space for a pushchair near the doors on most tube trains as long as you aren't travelling in rush hour.

KTeePee Wed 22-Aug-07 09:12:45

A few of the underground stations have lifts but not many (I know Westminster does). You can find out which ones by looking on their website and checking which stations have disabled access. There is no problem leaving the baby in the buggy on the trains ime (though the trains are obviously less crowded if you avoid rush hour). If the station is not too deep you can also leave the baby in the buggy on the escalator (I know you are not supposed to but....) and to carry down any short flights of stairs. I find other people will generally offer to help if they see you struggling. If you have luggage as well I would suggest taking backpacks rather than suitcases so your hands are free - or would it be possible to spash out on a taxi for that leg of the journey?

mustrunmore Wed 22-Aug-07 09:14:14

Travel at off peak times. Make sure its just a small buggy so you can leave it up on the escalators with baby in situ. Can the older shild do escalators ok? Thats the only problem I have; ds1 just cant get the hang of them, so we always have to accost someone to hold his hand while I do the buggy with ds2 in. If you've got 2 adults, I cant see a problem TBH.

Buses are much better really, esp if you'd be changing tubes lines alot (all those stairs asre a pain!)

What are you actually doing? Just going A to B, or sightseeing etc?

WanderingTrolley Wed 22-Aug-07 09:14:50

lol Barry Scott...but true.

You are meant to fold the buggy and carry the toddler. I have never done this, but am v sure of myself on escalators.

You could try to route your journey through the stations which have lifts.

Some lines have a space for the buggy, but otherwise it's a case of keeping out of rush hour traffic if you can. If you are in a packed tube, you could put the rainhood down so that nobody's bag is swinging in your dc's face.

Have a look here - journey planner, bus routes, etc:

Transport for London site

Pennies Wed 22-Aug-07 09:18:31

Tell us the route and we'll tell you if it's feasible!

Cloudhopper Wed 22-Aug-07 09:20:51

I have braved the tube with luggage and pushchair. It can be done, although I agree that people are downright rude and unpleasant.

First find out whether the stations you are using have lifts - many do now.

Most importantly, desperately try to avoid the rush hours and busy times. I would not try to do it in the daily commute, where people are crammed in- it would be hell.

mustrunmore Wed 22-Aug-07 09:22:00

BTW, a rucksack is much better than a suitcase when travelling with a buggy and kids etc. Gives you free hands.

mrspinkrat Wed 22-Aug-07 09:28:44

Thanks everyone!
We're actually arriving by train at St Pancras at 2.45pm on Friday and need to get to our accommodation in Hammersmith. The rest of the weekend is just sightseeing - hoping to go to NHM especially tho. I don't mind using the bus as long as there is room but I just imagined it would take longer and I think that after what is not going to be a particularly relaxing journey from Derby we will just want to get to our accommodation and crash out as fast as poss! Does anyone know roughly the price of a Cab from St Pancras to Hammersmith. I imagined it would be an arm and a leg!

mustrunmore Wed 22-Aug-07 09:31:07

You can get the pic line straight from Kings X to Hammersmith, so that should be fairly easy, no changes.

mustrunmore Wed 22-Aug-07 09:32:23

And a straight line from Hammersmith to South Ken for NHM.

suzycreamcheese Wed 22-Aug-07 09:34:24

mrs pink rat..there is lift to underground at kings cross easy to get to piccadilly line...main thing is travel when others are not..late morning, early afternoon etc...

enjoy your is hideous here at the moment though, sorry....

tribpot Wed 22-Aug-07 09:37:39

Well, I've braved the Tube with a buggy and my dh in a wheelchair and I have to say it was so unbelievably awful that 'just' a child in a buggy, luggage and an older child would seem like a walk in the park in comparison (Not really - and we had an extra pair of hands to help as well, thank god).

First off, I would second the bus recommendation. I think there's a direct one from Kings X/St Pancras.

By tube, both Kings X and Hammersmith are 'wheelchair friendly' (i.e. lifts to platform level) but not on all lines. I did a quick search on the TFL site and it looks as if you could get on the Hammersmith and City line and go straight through, which would be relatively simple.

The main hassle is you have to wait for someone to let you through the ticket barrier and then go hunting for the lift. One of them, potentially at Kings X, I can't remember now, is bloody miles away and in a really weird location.

As the others have said, if you're not traveling at rush hour, you should be fine. Expect it to take some time but at least you don't have the problem that the allegedly wheelchair accessible stations still expect you (somehow) to be able to push a wheelchair up a step on to the train itself. They're not level with the platform or anything as advanced as that.

ImBarryScott Wed 22-Aug-07 09:45:36

Number 10 bus does go from king's x to hammersmith. If you have lots of stuff this might be easier, but it would take longer than the tube, as it's a reasonable hike.

For the rest of the weekend there is a bus station on hammersmith broadway - I reckon you'd be able to get one bus straight through to most places in the west end. If you let us know what journeys you might make, we could suggest which are most feasible by bus.

Buses do take a little longer, but the journey is so much more civilised. I chose to commute by bus rather than tube before I had dd, as the extra 10 mins it took was cancelled out by the view, fresh air, lack of crowds, ease of getting a seat, room for luggage.....i could go on all day!

mrspinkrat Wed 22-Aug-07 10:01:42

I'm defo going to look into the bus option.
We would like to go to NHM, my oldest would like to see Buckingham Palace, Big Ben etc and my other half wants to see a guitar exhibition on the South Bank. I would like to go to Hamleys. Any other typical touristy things along the way! Don't mind what order we do it all in but if anyone could make any recommendations I'd be very grateful.

WanderingTrolley Wed 22-Aug-07 10:07:38

Hammersmith has two stations: the Hammersmith & City, and the main broadway station. They are more or less opposite each other - you'll be coming into the main station.

Both are buggy friendly - Hammersmith station is new and tarted up. The no 10 bus will take you into the bus garage above the tube station. The no 10 also goes to the Albert Hall. Get off there and walk down Exbibition Road to the museums.

Get an Oyster card, or a travel card. Children travel free.

How long will you be in London for?

mustrunmore Wed 22-Aug-07 10:24:11

Its expensive, but if you want ease, and you're not familiar with london bus routes, it'd be so easy to get a sightseeing bus That'd cover the main things.
The south bank is lovely. Look out for the 30 men statues all around the roof tops etc; advertising for the Anthony Gormley exhibition (is that him? Whats his name?)
Hamleys is waaay too expensive!
Might aswell pop into V&A and Sci mus, as they're right by NHM and free.
River trips are lovely. Get off a Greenwich for a look in the market. The boats go right past parliamnet, so thats Big Ben covered!
OO, I love touristy things...

mrspinkrat Wed 22-Aug-07 10:24:59

We are in London from Friday to Monday. I've just had a look at the bus info and all I can find is a service where we change at Marble Arch and it takes nearly an hour and a half - I think I'd rather brave the tube

tribpot Wed 22-Aug-07 10:26:10

What about the number 10, mrspinkrat?

mrspinkrat Wed 22-Aug-07 10:38:14

I've had a look at the No.10 Tribot but I'm afraid the 15.15 doesn't arrive in Hammersmith til 16.30!

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