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Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  537 ratings  ·  69 reviews
As a lifelong fan of London, Mark Mason embarks on a mission to 'conquer' the capital once and for all. The only way to truly discover a city, they say, is on foot. Taking this to extremes, Mark sets out to walk the entire length of the London Underground - overground - passing every station on the way.

Over the course of several hundred miles, he comes to understand a spra
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published July 14th 2011 by Random House Books
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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  537 ratings  ·  69 reviews

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Nov 02, 2015 rated it liked it
Travelogue set in London (finding London’s soul?)

There isn’t exactly a dearth of books about London. You don’t have to spend hours scouring bookshops or sitting in front of the computer if you want to find out about its history, its people, its rivers or its architecture – indeed I guess you could stock a small British town library (remember them?) solely with books about, or set in, England’s capital city.

So what inspired Mark Mason to add another one to the pile? Well, he tells us in the Intro
Lizzy Baldwin
Feb 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
As the blurb suggests the book follows Mason who has lived in around London and like many Londoner’s (I assume) has become interested in the ever changing map of the Underground. Wandering around where he lives, he travels up a side-street he hasn’t before and realizes if he continues he’ll create a triangle back to his house – a realization he hasn’t made before. He decides to walk the entirety of each length of the line in a type of homage to the city. Line by line he beings to walk these tube ...more
Rachel Stevenson
May 14, 2018 rated it it was ok
Almost as difficult a slog as the actual 20 mile+ walks, and this is due to the writer, despite having many facts to hand (I like a good hard fact), not being as funny as Bill Bryson or puppyishly amiable as Stuart Maconie, or a bit eccentric like Tim Moore (all men, these, when will there be a female light-hearted traveloguer?) He's not a great companion, moaning about town planners, the “nanny state”, street signs, art deco architecture, the art supplies shop called Let’s Fill This Town With A ...more
Inspired! That's a challenge for next year.
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Love the way the authors brain is wired up, we must be related some how. This book is genius, informative, entertaining and inspiring. I’ve always thought in Personal Tube Map terms, but never had the correct phrase to explain it to myself. Only thing left now is to have a go at this myself! Although I don’t know that I would re-walk all the bits I’ve covered where lines either share track or a route if there was nothing new to see. I also don’t understand why the author insisted walking to dif ...more
Iain Hamill
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
A light but enjoyable read. Plenty of interesting trivia and observations. As someone who loves to embark on long walks, urban and otherwise, and with a real love of London there was plenty of thought-provoking material here.
James Sarek
Jun 01, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
This has inspired me to walk the lines myself (currently 5 lines done as of writing), and there are some interesting facts in this book, but Mason comes off as a bit snobby and backward at times ; it's an averagely written book about a riveting subject. Furthermore Mason's unwillingness to explore the DLR and Overground seems silly as it misses out swathes of the capital, simply because he classes himself a puritan and doesn't think they should even be on the map!

A decent enough book if you, lik
Lou Finch
Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Do you know the street in London with the most vowels in a row? After reading this book you will.
Emma Edwards
An interesting read about one man and his desire to walk the London Underground Lines, and see how it all connects. I loved it, and disliked it for three equal reasons.
1. I really enjoyed the determination and endurance of one man's quest to see it all - I mean, I could not walk the distance of a marathon in one day, or over one evening in fact! The all-nighter one was both fascinating and just crazy in my opinion.
2. I laughed so much while reading the Circle Line walk - that was thoroughl
Terry Clague
Enjoyable birthday gift from a best mate, in which the author conspires to walk the route of each of the London Underground lines, which nevertheless brought to mind a Caitlin Moran quip about George Galloway which I’ll paraphrase - “the kind of activity most commonly considered in the midlife crisis years by men who’ve hitherto got away with trying it on and, without exception, think ‘I sound dashing. Like Iain Sinclair circumnavigating the M25 for psychogeographic adventure.’ Sadly the phrase ...more
Jul 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
My favourite city to visit is London. The author decided to walk to all the stations of the underground, following each tube line. He has some great information on various places in London. I was pleased to be able to relate to some of the things he spoke about, thanks to London Walks and all the walking I've done on my own. However, I learned so much more from his book.
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a transport geek, I was keen to read this book and the first two walks delivered some interesting facts about the tube's history and quirks; however later on, I found the random trivia to be thrown in somewhat haphazardly only to take away from the otherwise boring endeavour of walking 400 miles across the capital.
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book of a man who chose to walk all the Tube was especially interesting since I have ridden so many of the lines, myself, and it was still fresh in my mind. If you've been to London, or just are curious about what IS London to Londoners, I'd definitely recommend.
Subtitled 'The London Underground, Overground', Mark Mason's book does just that, tracing the actual routes that the lines made famous by Harry Beck's iconic map actually take. Walking all the lines from station to station, the author puts a completely new perspective on London and its transport systems. Packed with information and a real sense of the the multiple personalities of the great city, 'its postal districts packed like squares of wheat' in Larkin's words, Walk the Lines shows how ther ...more
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: railways, non-fiction
A different view to the London Underground. But he seems to be a bit confused as to what air traffic controllers do, confusing them with the air marshalls.
Oct 24, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Good concept. Interesting facts. Dull to read at times and it’s really a bit same-y.
Sep 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Enjoyable but repetitive.
Josh Marks
Nov 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read it in Argentina and it evoked place and space very nicely.
Adele C Leech
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, horror, trivia
Entertaining, packed full of facts and endearing.
Nick Oxley
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Superb. Lived in London for 30 years and learned so much.
Max Baldwin
Jun 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I want to do it
Jonny Brick
Aug 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
One of the best books about London that every home should own. Circle line pub crawls, gentrified and ethnically diverse communities and one man, walking, walking, ever walking.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The one adjective which kept occurring to me as I read this book was pedestrian. I’m sorry to begin this way for two reasons: one, because it makes for a dreadful joke; and two, because I really don’t like that word. It’s a designation which belongs to an overcrowded vehicular age, and it has always seemed to me ridiculous that we should invent a category of people who are only doing what comes naturally to almost everyone on the planet. Not everyone drives a car or rides a bicycle, but everyone ...more
Dec 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: london
Walk the Lines: The London Underground, Overground is precisely what the book is about. Mark Mason decided to walk the entire length of the London Underground, overground.The author shares details about how he completed his unusual challenge and in the process, he provides a comprehensive view of London that entertains as well as informs.

Starting with the Victoria Line in the first chapter, the author shares tidbits of information such as where you can find Little Ben (a replica of Big Ben),why
Shaz Goodwin
Jul 01, 2011 rated it liked it
The synopsis is exactly what you get on this journey walking the streets that run alongside the London Underground – but above ground.

There is so much interesting information shared – I found it fascinating. It’s not just historical information (which I love) but insights into the businesses, shops, architecture and residents that populate those streets that the author walks. He can tell how affluent an area is and how much a part of the hub of London a place is. In a way, this book reminds me o
Jul 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I was contacted by Random House with the offer to review this book. As I love going to London, i thought this book sounded really interesting so I accepted. I received a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
Mark Mason decides the best way to conquer London would to be to walk the entire Tube system overground. Dividing the lines up he walks from station to station. Picking up conversations, observations and facts about his surroundings.
Each Line is a new chapter and has a map of th
Jim From YAYeahYeah
Sep 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review, by the way.

Mark Mason, lover of all things London, sets himself a mission. To walk the length of EVERY one of the capital’s eleven Underground lines – but to do so overground. Travelling 403 miles, learning more facts about London than you could ever imagine, and meeting a variety of people – including the Krays’ biographer – and find out that the legendary Circle Line pub crawl (drinks in 27 pubs, one for each stati
Anders Hanson
Feb 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every so often you read a book that feels as though it was written especially for you. That's just how I feel about Walk the Lines. Over the last few days I have been exploring London by vicariously walking the route of every London Underground line through the efforts and writing of Mark Mason, and it's been fascinating.

Sometimes when I rate a book highly I wonder if it's just because I find the subject enthralling or whether it really is a good book, but I'm fairly clear with Walk the Lines t
Daniel Villines
Aug 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
London is not a very big place, at least the parts of London that I want to see. Beyond Kensington Palace to the west and Greenwich to the east, the rest of London resembles the satellite sprawl of any big city. And that is how this book reads.

For virtually every Tube line, Mason begins his walk in some remote, end-of-the-line suburb, describes the sprawl as he approaches the heart of London, and then continues past the city into the suburbs again towards the opposite end-of-the-line. This book
Gavin Felgate
Jun 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Mark Mason's book charts his efforts at walking along the routes taken by the London Underground lines. During the book he talks about everything he sees, including notes about the geography of the areas he visits and random things that he observes on the way, as well as including fascinating historical facts (plus some very geeky ones regarding individual stations), plus he talks about various people he interviews on the way, such as the actor who voiced the "Mind the Gap" announcement heard of ...more
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Mark Mason's previous non-fiction includes The Importance of Being Trivial, Walk the Lines, The Bluffer's Guide To Football and The Bluffer's Guide To Bond. He is also the author of three novels, and has written for most British national newspapers (though never about anything too heavy), and magazines from The Spectator to Four Four Two. He lives in Sussex with his partner and son.

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