As one of the biggest and busiest cities in the world, it can be a bit daunting to get around London. if you are visiting for touristic reasons, public transport is probably your best option. You‘ve probably been to a couple or more major cities before but London is like no other. Imagine being lash-out on by a speeding Londoner on the escalator during rush hour. And to the best of your understanding, you haven’t done anything wrong to deserve this kind of treatment. The thing is there is an unwritten code of behaviour for travelling on the transport system. Londoners have a way of doing things on the Underground and get annoyed with tourists who don’t understand the etiquette.

Know the unwritten rules that will guarantee your peaceful navigation of London before you go.

To avoid unpleasant situations as such that, read-on and get yourself ap to travel alongside other passengers amicably.

Let passengers off the train before trying to get on

If you’ve ever tried to get off a train through a crowd of incoming people, you’ll know that it’s practically impossible. It’s highly frowned upon in London to climb onto the train before everyone who is trying to get off has done so, and if you do this you might even get a few tuts from people around you. If the train is super crowded, it’s often easier to wait for the next train, which is often as little as 1 minute behind.

Stand to the right on escalators

Stand to the right, walk on the left. Don’t be the one who holds everyone up because you are standing on the left of the escalator.  Don’t stop and stand at the bottom of the escalator to check your map or look for the correct platform. Remember hundreds of people are being propelled towards you and they can not stop


Give up your seat for those who need it

Pregnant ladies, elderly people, disabled people: whenever someone more in need of a seat than others gets on the tube, you’ll usually see a bunch of people jump up and offer them their seat. It’s the polite, honourable thing to do, and because it’s British culture, they will usually ensue a to and fro of polite refusals and polite insistence.

It’s ok to be quiet

People on the train or bus generally keep themselves to themselves. There’s not a lot of conversation between strangers, and people don’t generally greet you when you board the train. Remember though, this is not out of unfriendliness, but just polite respect for people’s right to peace and quiet. If you ask someone for directions, they’ll be more than happy to help you. If you’re trying to strike up conversations with everyone you see, you might struggle! It should be noted that this changes somewhat at the weekends and during football matches. People talk a lot more when they’re going out for the night, and you will occasionally get groups of football supporters loudly singing songs. Londoners politely endure this while mentally teleporting themselves elsewhere.

Don’t crowd around the doors

Move to the centre of a crowded train or bus if possible.

Don’t put your bag on the seat

If you want to draw the righteous ire of passengers, try putting your bag on a seat. This is particularly true when the tube is busy, as taking up a seat with your bag is interpreted as a flagrant disregard for your fellow passengers’ wellbeing. Be kind and considerate, and you’ll do fine.


You will note the number of passengers engaged in heads-down focus on the latest issue of Metro.

Some, though not those who have to clear up the mess, consider it OK to leave your newspaper on the train and it is fine to pick up an abandoned one that has been left behind.

 Have your ticket ready

Have your ticket ready on entrance and exit, so you don’t have to stop and fumble in your bag or purse looking for it, creating a traffic jam behind you!

Quick tip – if you touch your Oyster card and the gate doesn’t open, you’ll need to step back, right out of the gate, before you try again. The little light should turn orange before you try – if it’s red, step back further! If it still won’t open, ask an attendant, you might need to top up your card with more money.

Move down the platform

Move down the platform as best you can during peak travel times.

Try not to eat anything offensive on the transit vessel

You can eat, but if you decide to eat your triple garlic kebab, or a whole octopus (as two extreme examples of strongly smelling food) you’re going to upset people. Try and avoid eating food that smells on the tube just to show consideration.

Don’t rush yourself into an overcrowded train

Being squashed into an overcrowded train is seen in London as something to be avoided. Some of the carriages do get very full at certain times, but if you try to add yourself into the mix through brute force, you’re going to get a negative reaction. Remember the next train is usually just a minute away!

Keep on moving. Don’t stop

When walking around underground stations, make sure you consider the people behind you. Don’t stop at the top of escalators or after ticket barriers as this stops the flow of traffic behind you.

Please be aware that during peak hours most people are only interested in getting from A to B and usually travel at great speed with their heads down. Don’t take it too personally if someone is rude after they have just run into you, just accept that their pace of life isn’t as peaceful as yours.

Now you know what to avoid, what to do and what’s normal. Was this article helpful? , Are you in London, what was your experience using these unwritten rules? ,  know other unwritten rules  I didn’t mention above?  pop your thoughts in the comment section below we’ll be glad to hear from you.