An Oyster card is absolutely essential for getting around London. These blue smartcards are about the size of a credit card and they allow you to use the Underground, bus, tram, ferry and some National Rail services without stopping to buy a ticket for every journey. Simply top your Oyster card up at the machines inside every station and tap it on the card reader to start your journey. Your fare will be automatically deducted from the balance on the card – too easy! Not only is an Oyster card efficient and fast, it’s also cheap – you’ll save a whopping 50% on fares compared to buying individual tickets.
London locals are already familiar with the system, but for a visitor it can take a little while to understand. If you’re visiting London for a week or longer, a Visitor Oyster Card is your best bet for smooth travel between your favourite attractions and the best hotels in the West End of London.The cards can be ordered online and delivered to you at home before you leave for your London holiday. You can choose how much to pre-load onto your pay-as-you-go card when you order it,and it will be ready to use immediately.
The cost of each journey will depend on the method of transport, where you’re going and what time you travel. Travelling during peak times costs more than off-peak, and travelling through multiple “zones” will cost more too. London’s zone system is a series of rough concentric circles, with central London as Zone 1 and stretching all the way out to zone 9 on the outskirts of the city. Most of the big tourist attractions, such as Big Ben, the London Eye and the Tower of London, are all within zones 1 and 2. Heathrow Airport is in Zone 6, and you can use your Visitor Oyster card to travel into central London on the Piccadilly line of the London Underground directly from Heathrow. You cannot use your Oyster to get into London from Gatwick airport since it is located outside of the London zones – the best thing to do is to take a Thames link or mainline train service to central London, which will cost you around £10.
If your Visitor Oyster card runs out of money, you can top it up at any Underground station or in corner shops displaying the Oyster symbol in the window. Usually top-ups are in multiples of £5. Oyster fares are capped after you travel a certain amount on the same day, so you might not run out of Oyster credit as fast as you think. If you plan to travel a lot in certain zones over a week or several weeks, consider investing in an Oyster travel card: this one-payment setup gives you unlimited travel within your selected zones for a period of either one week or one month.
You can also buy a paper Travel card ticket once you arrive in London, which will work the same way. They’re easy to buy from ticket machines or the ticket window at any train station. Don’t hesitate to ask the Transport for London employees stationed in the ticket hall if you have any questions about your ticket! The machines can provide instructions in multiple languages and there are facilities for paying with cash, debit or credit cards.
An Oyster card is an individual ticket only. If you’re travelling in a group, each person will need their own card. Children under 11 years old can travel for free; if they are over 11 years old, they can use a children’s card which will let them travel at a discount. Student discounts are also available, but be sure to have your student card with you at all times while you travel.
Is it cheaper to get a Travelcard or Oyster card?
The cost of 1 day travelcard, it is cheaper. On using over a longer period , this can work cheaper depending on your traveling distance
Where do I buy an Oyster card?
You can get an Oyster card:
For residents of London, create oyster account. Or get oyster card from oyster Ticket shops. You can locate them at all tube stations overground.