London’s top ten most disappointing Tube stations

Is there anything more iconically London than the humble Tube? I don’t think so. There’s nothing quite like that network of squeaky trains and suspicious black dust frequented by thousands of wanna-be moles every single day, that home of the best pronunciation of the word ‘Piccadilly’ that I have ever heard.

Reader, I could write all day about how much I love the tube. I even like the Bakerloo line. Call me a tourist, but I do think it’s charming.

However, there’s something the Tube just doesn’t get right. Or, about ten somethings, and I’m sure many more that I haven’t experienced yet. Disappointing stations. Here’s a list. Ten of them. A hot take from a Kiwi who would get lost if she went too far out of Zone 1 I know, but sometimes SCABs really do be having deadlines.

So, in order from least to most disappointing:

10. Oxford Circus

Not a circus in sight, so from that perspective pretty disappointing. However, there is ALWAYS weird stuff going on in this station, and that’s before you even notice the tourists. Once a man delivered a lecture to the entire platform about how the government was chasing him. No notes.

9. Edgware Road

Not quite Paddington, not quite Marylebone. Also not at all the confusingly named Edgware. Edgware Road is a liminal, mysterious space. At once bustling, at once empty. What is it at the Edg of? Perhaps time itself.

9. Claphams North, South, and Junction

All objectively fine stations, but why are there so many? What is Clapham hiding? Is it so big because it’s full of secrets? These three make the list because they leave me with a sense of deep foreboding, and they should have that effect on you too.

8. Cockfosters

Too far away to be funny.

7. Liverpool Street Elizabeth Line station

I tried to change here last week and I’m still walking. This one gets away with a lot because Bank takes the heat for being a lengthy expedition between platforms. However, there’s something about the Lizzie Line’s space-age corridors that seem to make time stand still. TARDIS vibes, am I right, British people?

6. Great Portland Street

A lot of promise here with the whole ‘great’ thing, but not as good as other Portlands or streets that I’ve encountered. I suggest renaming it Okay Portland Street to keep expectations low.

5. Regents Park


4. Swiss Cottage

In that you don’t ascend the escalator into an adorable, snowy chalet, Swiss Cottage fails to live up to its promise. However, down the road there is a Swiss cottage themed pub, so the area itself is redeemable.

3. Slough

Not only do you end up in Slough (profoundly disappointing), you also have to pay extra to get there. Brutal.

2. Cannon Street

Crucial lack of cannons here. Son’s crying now, thanks.

  1. Elephant and Castle

In top spot for being such a colossal let down, it’s the station that promised me both an elephant and a castle, and delivered neither. Can you imagine how it feels to be promised one of nature’s most incredible gentle giants, AND the coolest kind of building, and then have that promise cruelly broken? 

If you leave the station, things get steadily worse. Elephant and Castle is not only aware of its inability to provide neither a castle nor a large, herbivorous proboscidean mammal, it chooses to mock those who would seek them. Cast your weary eye upon the world’s saddest roundabout, upon which slump a half-hearted attempt at an elephant and a castle. It is somehow worse than having done nothing at all.

Honestly I have never been more disappointed in my life. Greater London? I think not.


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