1st time in London. Taking luggage on the tube?

I'm a student studying abroad in London this summer, and a lot of us are curious on how SAFE the Underground tube is. When we land in Heathrow, we were talking about taking the tube to our student housing (it's going to be a hour tube ride). Some of us were wanting to save some money to avoid expensive cab fares, etc. So,the question is: How safe is it to bring big luggage on the tube when it is your first time? Is there a lot of pick-pocketing etc to worry about? Thanks!
Julia

Posted by Brian
Los Angeles, California
1986 posts

The Tubes are relatively safe- just dont be stupid. Do what any prudent person would do. Sit where you can watch your luggage (or stand nearby), dont put something easy like a purse or camera on top of your luggage. Going into London you will be among the first on the Tube (starts at Heathrow) and there seems to be a little extra space at the door of the Piccadilly line for luggage. Dont take a taxi. If you are concerned about Tube use the Heathrow Connect.

Posted by Gail
Downingtown, USA
1562 posts

I have used the tube many times by myself and am grandmother who travels alone a lot and never felt unsafe. Not sure how big your luggage is but I seem to remember a lot of stairs up and out of the tube. That said, look at previous poster, do not put purse anywhere other than your lap have shoulder strap across your chest, not hanging down from shoulder. Also if have back pack, be sure it is locked or also across your chest. My granddaughter's boy friend had money (unfortunately a lot) stolen from his back pack in Spain as he foolishly had it unlocked across his back on the metro. Just be prudent and you will have no trouble.

Posted by Kathy
Cary, NC
685 posts

I (60+ solo female) always take the tube in from Heathrow. Travel light so you only have one bigger bag plus your carry on, and sit next to the big bag (i.e. by the doors). Actually, if you're in a group you're more vulnerable than a solo traveler, as you're more likely to get involved in a conversation and forget to keep an eye on your belongings. If your bag has a strap put your foot through it.

Posted by Frank
Tresana, Highlands Ranch, CO, USA
10884 posts

Probably more locals on the Tube with luggage than tourists. Afterall they need to get to and from the airport and other places also.

Posted by Robin Z
Troy, Oh, USA
1634 posts

Tube stations has a lot of steps, so if you have a big piece of luggage it might be a little hard to get it up and down the steps.
I have traveled the tube from early in the morning to late at night (11pm) and have never felt unsafe and have never seen any trouble. Like any place you go, you have to use your common sense.

Posted by Roe
Reston, Virginia
398 posts

Totally agree with what has been said. I would only add that if you arrive at Heathrow early, and your tube train is entering central London during morning rush hour, the car may be packed full. Under those circumstances, if you have a lot of luggage you may get some sour looks, but otherwise I think the stairs will be your biggest problem.

Posted by Julia
PULLMAN, WA, United States
2 posts

Thanks for all the feedback! It's been really helpful. I know London is one of the safer European towns, but I think I'm still going to buy luggage locks and a money belt just in case. To clarify, I am landing in Heathrow around 9am. Thanks again!

Posted by Mary
Leesburg, VA, USA
161 posts

Julia, since you're arriving at Heathrow about 9AM, by the time you get through Customs the morning rush hour should be over. I can't tell from your original post if there are a number of you traveling together. If there will be 4 or 5 in your group, you might want to look into a car service (justairports.com). Splitting the fare by 4 or 5 might be the same as the tube per person. Have a wonderful Summer.

Posted by Ken
Vernon, Canada
17783 posts

Julia, One question that occurred to me is what time you're arriving in London? Some lines on the Tube become VERY crowded during rush hour, with passengers packed-in like Sardines. That wouldn't be an ideal time to be riding with luggage.

Posted by Karen
Santa Rosa, CA
611 posts

If you are traveling light, the tube is fine. I made the mistake of thinking it would be easy to take the train from Heathrow with two tube rides, we'd be within 2 blocks of our hotel near marble arch. Since we had a larger suitecase, a carryon roller, and two small daypacks, I wasn't counting on the stars up and down to transfer between train and subway trains. My husband had run the Dublin Marathon the day before, and he was ready to strangle me. So if you are traveling heavy, consider a cab from the train station where the Heathrow train stops.

Posted by Claudette
huntington beach, ca, usa
471 posts

Agree with Karen, if you're traveling light as in a backpack and 1 carry on type suitcase, the tube will be fine. You've indicated however that you will have big luggage. With 1 or 2 big suitcases, you may be better off splitting the cost of a door to door shuttle. The tube is very safe and very easy to take otherwise.