Our normal Top 5 posts often revolve around the more leisurely activities on offer in London: restaurants, parks, beer gardens and so on.
Today, we’re going deeper underground (surfacing occasionally) to delve into the twisting network of train lines that snake through London’s underbelly and after much debate and deliberation; we’ve come up with our Top five London stations.
Rarely given the credit they deserve, and mostly associated with the stress and strain of the average Londoner’s daily commute, we think these hidden subterranean labyrinths deserve the odd spot in the limelight. So here goes…
Angel station warrants a cherished place in our top five for several reasons. Angel boasts the longest escalator on London’s Tube circuit (the third longest escalator in Western Europe) which is a noteworthy achievement in itself, right? You can even watch this daring (and rather infamous) adrenaline junkie travelling down it on a pair of skis – no mean feat!
The TFL crew at Angel have been making a conscious effort to lift the mood of weary commuters in the morning too; as many of you probably know, they produce a unique thought for the day, which they put on a white board by the entrance to the station, putting a cheery smile on commuters’ faces – a nice touch. More recently, the story about Bob the cat, and his owner James, not only tugs at the heartstrings, but shows Angel really is where it’s all happening these days.
Hoxton takes us to the Overground, an integral part of London’s train map. Hoxton really is a lovely station. Like most London Overground stations (think Canada Water, Shoreditch High Street), it is clean, slick and nice to be around. We like Hoxton because of its traditional London brick structure which resembles a sort of aqueduct; lovely sweeping arches combine to create a pleasing exterior and the brickwork continues inside, with some cavernous ceilings and a spacious concourse. However, it is up on the platform where stuff gets real good. As you wait for your train, you can gawk all the way down the platform at a really quite impressive view of the city that looms in the distance. On a clear day, we think that’s pretty cool.
Although the Jubilee line gets a lot of stick from Londoners, this wouldn’t be a proper list if we didn’t include one of its stations.
We like Westminster station. Like some huge alien mothership with its domineering architectural brilliance, its huge metallic pipes which weave between vast concourses and seemingly infinite escalators sinking down into the darkness, it is a sight to behold.
But Canary Wharf takes our number three spot. It’s spacious, impressive and massive, and it needs to be when it has to cater for around 40 million passengers a year. It feels so big sometimes that you feel you could be running to catch a flight instead! The huge canopy-like windows above the escalator are particularly impressive too. Futuristic and majestic, Canary Wharf is a gargantuan station!
We’re going central and rather more traditional with our Baker Street selection here.
Baker Street breathes a sense of real London; perhaps it’s the history embedded between the bricks and mortar of its walls, or its beautifully tiled platform walls, hallmarked with that iconic Sherlock Holmes silhouette. There’s something rather cosy about the place too, with its fetching park benches and detailed illustrations of years gone by that line both platforms. Magical.
We head to the cricketing mecca of Oval Station (aptly named after the cricket ground which it serves) on the Northern line, for our final stop. Not only is Oval Station closely associated with the pomp and verve of England’s national game (even the walls are adorned with tiled cricketer figures), but passengers can expect to hear soothing classical music filtering through the station’s PA system while they pass through the concourse – that’s a commuter remedy right there. What’s more, like Angel, the working folk at Oval also have a ‘thought of the day’ board to cheer up commuters at the station entrance. Do let us know what your favourite London station is! May we also take the opportunity to remind you that our special East Village pods have been installed in stations across London, so make sure you look out for us, and be sure to drop in for a chat and a test run on our special interactive East Village bike!