If you’re on the London Underground with loads of luggage, you are in the wrong. Never forget that.
Not the selfish people who won’t move out the way for your bags so you can stand near them, or the people who look at you in total disgust for trying to travel with a suitcase at peak time.
According to the unofficial rules of the London tube no matter what your reason may be – whether you’re protecting the holy grail or your grandmothers urn – come on the tube with luggage and you’ve committed the ultimate commuting crime.
Don’t let your fellow passengers get to you though, stay strong.
Dream case scenario: you get an end of the row flip seat and can put your luggage underneath and hold it next to you.
Worst case scenario: every other scenario.
6 tips for taking luggage on the tube
More advice on taking suitcases on the tube at the end.
1. Do not put your luggage on a seat or in the aisle
Oh my Buddha do NOT put your excess luggage on a seat on the London Underground. Or in the middle blocking the aisle – the looks will kill you in mere seconds.
There are no luggage racks on the tube, no space for your luggage, so you’ll technically be taking up the space of an actual person with your luggage. And this is why you’ll be super unpopular if you travel on the tube with your luggage at peak time.
If you have a layover, or a couple of hours before check-in or after check-out at your Airbnb or hotel, consider using luggage storage in London instead.
If you can, avoid the stress of peak time travel and find luggage storage in London until the coast is clear!
2. Pile your stuff up on your lap rather than the floor
You need to take up as little space as possible if you have luggage on the tube. No matter how high to the ceiling it reaches, never take up more floor space than you need. To successfully take your luggage on the tube, you need to pile it up on your lap. If you can’t do that, then keep your bag in as close to you as possible.
Storing your luggage in London
If you’d rather look for luggage storage London has many options. I’ve used LuggageHero in the past – they have over 120 places to store your luggage all over the city. From hostels, to hotels, to shops, to stations, you can simply search their website to find a luggage hero to take your stuff, to suit you.
You’ll pay by the hour, and it’s currently capped at £8 a day. Bargain!
3. Do not attempt to get on the tube as the doors are closing
It’s bad enough when people do it when they’re carefree with a simple handbag, but backpack and suitcase owners are a clear mistake. I’ve seen people get caught in the doors, deserving no pity but disgust. Us tubers, we’re not mad, we’re just disappointed.
The worst thing that will happen is that the doors shut on the shoulder straps of your bag, with your bag outside of the doors, and you in. This is VERY embarrassing.
If you try to take big backpacks or suitcases on the London Underground take it slow, never, ever, attempt to get on the train with seconds to spare till the doors close. There are tube trains every few minutes, so there’s no need to rush!
If you try to take big backpacks or suitcases on the London Underground take it slow. Never, ever, attempt to get on the train with seconds to spare till the doors close. There are tube trains every few minutes, so there’s no need to rush! Your luxurious London vacation rentals will still be waiting for you!
4. Be ready for your stop
If you wait till the last minute and then panic grab your bags accidentally, pulling the lead on someone’s headphones and knocking that lady’s acceptably sized bag, you will not be invited back to our fair city my friend.
Pay attention, know your nearest exits and how to get there when the time comes. Always be ready for your stop, especially if your have bulky suitcases and bags.
It’s easy to follow your route on the tube as every carriage has the tube map printed above the door. Take a note of the stop before yours, and get your luggage ready then.
5. If anyone is mean to you on the tube, ignore
Hear me? Ignore. Do not engage.
The London Underground is fine as long as we all avoid eye contact pre 11pm. Post that and it’s a different ball game, but for now, not a friend will be made.
If you’re taking your luggage on the tube people might be a bit shitty to you about all the space you’re taking up, but just ignore. They’re grumpy because they’re on their way to work, or from. At least you’ve been doing something fun – I hope!
6. Stay on the right of the escalators
Veer to the left, you’re in BIG trouble.
The left of the escalators in London is for anyone in a rush, absolutely definitely not for anyone with their suitcases.
Beware: the force
Keep in mind that when an Underground train takes off, the force will knock you forward, and more importantly your stuff. Luggage falls over, bags slide down the carriage, and your fellow tube travellers hate you even more. Be ready. Keep your feet firmly on the ground and hold a pole if you need the extra security.
If you or your luggage does fall over on the Tube, apologise as profusely as possible, even if it didn’t touch anyone. The people around you will still hate you though.
Massive Tube travellers generalisation
London Underground travellers are dram-atic.
“Oh my god, I have to wait three minutes for the next train – why do I even pay for my Oyster?!”
They’ve never had to stand waiting for the hourly bus in a Midlands village for it to never turn up. Yes, voice of experience.
If you knock someone on the tube a normal reaction is for them to look like you’ve broken into their house on Christmas Eve and tinkled on the tree, and the Disney princess presents under there. Do not be alarmed.
Just apologise to everyone, it’s easier.
“Sorry you bashed into my bag, sorry you knocked it over, sorry you decided to stand in that clearly awkward space between my bag and the door causing it to topple.”
Remember, you had the audacity to need to bring the bags on the tube, you deal with the consequences.
Brace yourself for hatred if you need to travel the London Underground with luggage. Children, kind grannies, English gent types – you’re not safe from any of their death stares when you take up more space than your allocated feet allow.
Just look down at your phone, maybe write an article about how everyone hates you, or play Bejewelled, Angry Birds, or Pokemon Go, just don’t make eye contact. They’ll just make you feel bad.
And enjoy your trip when you get there, and the money you saved for your endurance!
Questions about taking luggage on the tube
London Underground travel advice
Can you take suitcases on the tube?
Yes, you can take as much as you can comfortably carry on the tube, as long as it’s under two metres.
Direct from TFL Travel (who are responsible for public transport in London)…
9.1 For safety reasons, and for the comfort of other passengers, we have to control what you can bring with you onto our buses, Underground trains and property, although we do not charge you for the things we allow.
Our buses and Tube trains can be busy so you must ensure that what you bring with you does not get in the way of others.
If you have luggage, shopping, a folded buggy/pushchair, a shopping trolley or a folded bicycle you must not put it on the seats or allow it to block the aisles, stairs, lifts or passages.
9.2 You may bring with you:
• personal luggage that you are able to carry yourself (including on stairs)
• folding buggies/pushchairs and folded bicycles that you are able to carry yourself (including on stairs)
• any other item, provided it is not dangerous or likely to injure anyone.
9.3 You must not bring with you anything that:
• is more than 2 metres long
• you are unable to carry yourself (including on stairs)
• is hazardous or inflammable
• is likely to cause injury or obstruct other customers or staff
• is likely to cause damage to buses, Underground trains or stations.
9.4 Staff can refuse permission for you to take any item onto our services.
9.5 Please keep your luggage and possessions with you at all times. Unattended property is a security risk and can cause unnecessary delays to services. It may be removed by our staff, and may be destroyed by the Police. We have the right to prevent you from bringing anything onto buses, Underground trains and property if we believe it may create a security risk.
How hard is it to do the London tube with luggage?
It depends how strong you are, and how much you have! If you just have a wheeley suitcase, you’ll be fine. There are lifts and escalators at every station. Don’t take more than you can comfortably carry and you’ll be fine.
What are the London Underground luggage restrictions?
TFL luggage restrictions state that you can bring what you like, as long as you can carry it. And it needs to be less than two metres.
What to do in London with luggage?
There are lots of things to do in London with luggage, although you will be restricted. I’d suggest finding a nice bar and chilling out until it’s time to leave. Some of the main London attractions have cloakrooms, but they may not accept big bags or suitcases.
Instead of carrying your luggage around London on the tube, you could instead store it.
Where can I store luggage in London?
You could use Stasher.com. It lists the newsagents and independent shops around London that let you leave bags and suitcases for an allotted amount of time. I’ve used them before, and paid to leave my bag for a day for a fiver. No complaints!
Can I take the tube from Heathrow to London with luggage?
Yes, you can. All the advice and rules above will help you to take luggage on the Piccadilly Line, it’s easy. Taking your luggage on London tube is accepted, you’ll just need to be strong emotionally and physically!
Can you take luggage on London buses?
Yes, same rules apply. Whatever luggage you can carry, you can take onto a London bus.
Thursday 1st of March 2018
O my goodness - I now have a fair idea what I'm in for, when I take the tube from Heathrow in a few days time with my luggage in tow. Hope they'll take pity on a l'il old lady.
Friday 2nd of March 2018
Good luck! Hope you make it across town ok :)
Tuesday 6th of September 2016
Haha loved this, so so true!
Wednesday 7th of September 2016
I hate doing the Underground when you have so much stuff. Makes everything so much more complicated and more difficult to get around. Especially when people are mean!
Monday 5th of September 2016
haha all pretty true unfortunately. However, the bliss that comes when you're on your way to Heathrow and you get past Earls Court and can finally get a seat/breathe/have WIFI, and hey, it's cheaper then a cab.
Wednesday 7th of September 2016
Definitely! So much cheaper, and yeah, as soon as you get a seat, it's pretty breezy. Just difficult when it's so busy – much cheaper than the Heathrow Express too. Needs must!
Friday 2nd of September 2016
Oh yeah, totally. I used to spend a lot of time on the tube with suitcases when I travelled to Brussels and it was far from fun. The best time was when I was standing over my bag, daydreaming, while inadvertently staring at a man in a seat with my resting bitch face - managed to scare the poor guy into offering me a seat. Most of the time it was just awful though. Awful. It's bad enough when you don't have a bag.
Wednesday 7th of September 2016
Ha, oh that's a good tip – I should've included that one! Anything you can do to get a seat, hey?
Thursday 1st of September 2016
You had me laughing at my desk, and I'm neither a Londoner not have I ever carried heavy bags on the tube. But I can still relate, this is awesome.
Wednesday 7th of September 2016
Ha, thanks Rebecca! Glad you enjoyed it :)