Whether your visiting London for the first or hundredth time, using an Oyster Card Smart travelcard is the easiest way to travel around London’s public transport. This is an electronic travelcard which you come fully charged with credit and you can use as you use the various forms of London Transport. This is your ticket to explore the whole of London at a cheap affordable price.
Make sure you check out these London Maps before using the travelling to London.
An Oyster Card allows you to have access to:
- London Underground (Tube)
- Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
- TfL Rail
- London Overground Trains
- Emirates Air Line
- River Buses
You can also travel on most National Rail Services in London and some outside London.
Why should you buy an Visitor Oyster Card:
A Visitor Oyster Card is one of the cheapest ways to get around London on the bus, tube, DLR, tram, MBNA Thames Clippers river bus service, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. More reasons to buy a Visitor Oyster Card before travelling to London are:
- Avoid foreign charges; if using a foreign card for contactless payments, you may still recieve foreign card charges. Using a Visitor Oyster Card will remove all chances of that when hopping on and off the public transport.
- Save time; your card is ready to use before you arrive in London.
- Cost effective; in some cases, using a Visitor Oyster Card can be almost 50% cheaper than buying paper tickets!
- Special Offers and Promotions; enjoy special offers and promotions at some top London shops, restaurants and entertainment venues!
Oyster Card FAQs
Using your Oyster Card is very simple. All you have to do is touch your card on the yellow card readers available.
- To pay the correct fare, you must touch your card at the start and the end of your journey when you use the Tube, London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line cable car and National Rail services. If you do not touch in and out of every journey, you may recieve a fine/charge!
- When travelling on a bus or tram you only will need to touch in at the start of your journey.
A Visitor Oyster Card costs £5 (plus postage) and is pre-loaded with pay as you go credit for you to spend on travel. You can choose how much credit to add onto your Visitor Oyster Card: £10, £15, £20, £25, £30, £35, £40 or £50.
The credit on your card never expires and will stay on your card until you use it. If you run out of credit it is very easy to top it up at one of the machines available or online.
How much credit will you need?
If you’re visiting London for two days, start with £15 credit
If you’re visiting London for four days, start with £30 credit
Visitor Oyster Cards are available for adults.
Children aged 11-15 can also use a Visitor Oyster Card and will benefit of the Young Visitor discount, which can be added by a member of the staff at most Tube stations and can offer 11-15 year old children pay as you go rate for up to 14 days.
Children under the age of 11 can travel for free on Tube, DLR, TfL Rail and London Overground services when accompanied with a fare-paying adult.
There are three ways in which you can use to obtain the money left on your Visitor Oyster card:
Refunds at London Underground station ticket machines
– You can get up to £10 refunded from your Visitor Oyster card at the Tube station ticket machines
– Touch your card on the yellow card reader on the ticket machines available at the Tube stations. Select ‘Oyster Refund’ and follow the on-screen instructions, which are available in different languages. You will see your balance available for a refund and will be paid back in cash dispensed from the ticket machine.
– Your Visitor Oyster Card will be cancelled. This means you will not be able to use it for future use, however, you can still use your card to take advantage of special offers and discounts that come with the card!
Refunds at Visitor Centres
You can take your Visitor Oyster Card to all Visitor Centres (apart from Gatwick) to recieve a refund of your remaining credit. This will be paid either in cash or refunded to your debit/credit card. Your Visitor Oyster Card will be returned to you, however, will be cancelled. This means you can still use the card for promotions and offers, however, will not be able to use that card for future use.
Refunds by post
To recieve your refund via post, you will have to send your Visitor Oyster Card accompanied with a letter explaining why you’re returning it to:TfL Customer Services
14 Pier Walk
London SE10 0ES
If you leave your phone number or email address, Tfl will contact you and arrange a bank transfer of your refund, otherwise you will recieve a cheque in GBP. Your card will NOT be returned to you.