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Traveling with children in London can be challenging, it also opens doors that you might never pass through if you did not bring them along; one of those is the joy of traveling London's subway, The Underground.
To plan ahead and avoid stairs on the London Underground a new iPhone app is available: Mumderground
Public Transport is one of the best ways to get around London. Stop by the ticket window of the nearest tube stop to buy tickets. It is best to buy "Oyster" cards, they can be purchased for up to 7 days of use. Children under 5 can travel free at any time with a paid adult. Children under 10 and over 5 can travel free at any time on buses, Tube, trams, DLR and London Overground services.
Children aged 11 to 15 years can get an 11-15 Oyster photocard to travel free on buses and trams and at child-rate on Tube, DLR and London Overground services.
Remember that the Oyster card can also be used for buses. Best to ask at the underground ticket agent for a bus map as well, since this will come in handy. While the underground is exceedingly easy to navigate (find where you are, find the stop you want to exit and see what line will take you there), the bus system is a little harder. You will need a good map to find where you want to go, and an eagle eye to see when you get there. Read the bus stop information carefully to know which direction it is going and how many stops until you need to get off. Remember that some stops are "request only" and the bus will only stop if you signal. Just raise your hand as he approaches. These are marked on the upper sign with "Request Stop Only".
A note on traveling with pushchairs - you can take them on the buses without folding them up, if there is room. The driver has the final say on whether he will let you on or not. It is best to have a folding pushchair that is not too laden down with packages in case you need to do this. There is a space for the pushchair to go about mid-way down on the left that is supposed to be made available to anyone in a wheelchair or with a pushchair. Note that wheelchairs have priority and the driver can ask you to get off if a wheelchair user wishes to use the space even it you got on first.
Folding a pushchair on the tube is the best bet or have the baby in a carrier for a tube ride. Keep the younger child on your lap if you get a seat or hold next to you if you cannot.
When you enter the admission gates with a young child, pick them up and carry them. This gets you through in plenty of time without the gates closing while you wait for a dawdling youngster. Otherwise, go to the attendant (usually to one side or the middle) and they will let you through with an older child.
Overall, a safe way to travel! And if you have a television in London, be sure to let your little ones watch Underground Ernie, a new animated program where all the underground trains have personalities to match their names!. A great way to make underground train travel friendly for the youngest riders!