Leicester Square to Covent Garden – time tests

Leicester Square to Covent Garden – time tests

This is the third part of the Leicester Square -Covent Garden investigation – and discusses how long it takes to use the tube/walk between the two stations.

Here’s Part One: An overview Part Two: Station sightings

Covent Garden station – start of the most expensive, useless, tube journey in London!

In November 2016 I undertook some time tests to evaluate the means of either walking or taking the tube between Covent Garden and Leicester Square tube stations. As the first part of this investigation showed, it’s considerably longer these days to take the tube especially if one has not got a ticket. Instead of a straightforward ticket purchase one is more likely to need to select the various options and scroll through station names on the ticket machine’s touch screen in order to reach the option denoting Covent Garden.

This certainly invokes a penalty of at least a minute on top of any tube journey.

In either station the nearness of the other station is quite clearly pointed out with signs about the ticket hall but not actually at the machines themselves. There are also signs out in the street however with so much street clutter they’re not so obvious. The platforms at Leicester Square have signs denoting the distance to Covent Garden in terms of walking as shown below.

Sign on Leicester Square’s platforms denoting walking times to Covent Garden.

Buying a tube ticket from one to the other again does not warn one of the other stations’ nearness as I demonstrated in the initial investigation. One can buy a ticket unaware the next station is just a few minutes walk up the road. The time taken by tube is two or three times longer than walking and considerably more in the early mornings or at night where there are fewer trains.

1) Eastbound by tube – Nine and half minutes.

Significant time penalty – three minute wait for an Arnos Grove train.

En route to Covent Garden – the actual tube journey is 9 seconds!

The amount of time by the time the Covent Garden lifts are reached.

From the lifts (a brief wait here) to street level took 1 minute 48 seconds.

Arrival in the street at Covent Garden.

From train to street level – 2 minutes 42 seconds.

2) Walk from Leicester Square tube station to Covent Garden tube station.

It didn’t take long, less than four minutes. That’s the approx time taken to say get down to/from the tube platforms at Covent Garden alone!

I could have walked faster and done each walking journey in perhaps 15 seconds less but wanted to take pictures of the timer on my mobile at each point along the route (eg Leicester Square tube, junction with St Martin’s Lane, Reiss in Long Acre, Reebok’s and Covent Garden tube.)

Note: Reiss (8-9 Long Acre) and Reebok’s (32 Long Acre) respectively mark the extremities of Leicester Square’s and Covent Garden’s platforms sited below ground.

Just past Reebok’s and within a short distance of Covent Garden tube station after 3 minutes 19 seconds.

Arrival at the Covent Garden ticket barriers – 3 minutes 52 seconds walk.

It was somewhat difficult taking pictures of the timer’s countdown whilst walking. A few seconds would have been saved by not bothering!

3) Westbound travel by tube – 7 minutes 14 seconds.

Ready for the off at Covent Garden!

One minute wait for a Heathrow 123&5 train….


The 123&5 train stops in station at 3 minutes 16 seconds.

The train stopped very briefly and the journey was again approximately 9 seconds. Just as I was about to press lap someone jumped on the train as the doors were about to close, which threw me off guard, so the actual departure time was not logged. Arrival at Leicester Square was at 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

Up the escalator at Leicester Square.

Arriving at Leicester Square ticket barriers after 6 minutes 29 seconds.

From train to street level – 2 minutes 34 seconds.

Arrival at the designated spot in Cranbourn St outside Leicester Square tube station.

4) Walking between Covent Garden and Leicester Square stations – 3 minutes 47 seconds.

Starting the walk from Covent Garden to Leicester Square.

Arrival at exact spot above Leicester Square’s westbound platform in 1 minute 58 seconds.

Clearly the actual walking distance between the end of Covent Garden’s platforms (directly below Reebok’s) and the start of Leicester Square’s (directly below Reiss) is just over a minute.

3 minutes 47 seconds walk from Covent Garden to Leicester Square tube station.

Its clear from these tests the tube takes more than twice as long as walking. Most of this time is taken going up down the escalators/lifts/passageways/stairways.

The actual train journey itself is just nine seconds. It seems to me one practically walks double, maybe even triple, the distance between Leicester Square and Covent Garden by using the tube rather than the streets!

Links to other pages detailing whether its quicker to take the tube or walk:

Around 500 people a day take London’s shortest tube journey
Time Out tackles the tiny underground journey from Covent Garden to Leicester Square
0.26km Tube trip is most expensive on earth
Tube driver’s view from Covent Garden to Leicester Square
It really IS worth walking to Covent Garden from Leicester Square!