Why You Need An Oyster Card In London

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London is a huge city, with many sights and places of interest spread out over a huge area, but size aside there are a couple of other good reasons to get your hands on an Oyster card if you’re visiting the UK capital. One of the top ones is convenience, coupled with the fact that taxis can be extremely expensive, and worse in rush hour, especially with the current exchange rate. Fortunately, London has a top quality public transport system with a myriad of options for getting around including buses, the underground, trams, trains and river boats. Depending on how long you are visiting the city, a visitor’s Oyster Card is by far the best way to go. A pay-as-you-go smart card, it is accepted virtually everywhere, and discounts public transport trips by up to 50 per cent including riverboats. It’s also price capped, so you can travel as much as you need to, but never use more than certain amount of credit per day in central London. Other perks of this handy card are that you can top it up when you need to at any underground station, and at thousands of shops across the city, avoiding the need to queue for tickets which can be a huge time saver especially during peak travel times. The card also comes with a lineup of exclusive offers and discounts at leading London restaurants and shops. To use an Oyster card, all you need to do is place it on the yellow button at the ticket gates of tube and rail stations, and at the entrance of buses. As for what value of card you should buy, this depends on how many days you are in London, including whether or not you will be using the card to travel to and from the airport. If you’re travelling with kids, children aged 11 and under travel free, but older children need their own travel tickets including Oyster cards. Oyster cards can be used on the London Underground, overground and National Rail trains in London, London buses, South London trams, the Docklands Light Railway, the Thames cable car, and you can get a 10 per cent discount on Thames Clipper river boats. You can buy a visitor’s Oyster card you can buy on arrival at the airport, or pre-purchase at VisitBritain’s online shop.



Joanna Hall


  • 5
    oyster with family

    Posted by petria on 14th Mar 2020

    This is surely a number one recommendation for London travel. I’d just add that while some underground tube travel is fun and time efficient- I’d really recommend catching a double decker red bus for the quintessential London experience. The Victoria line bus goes past Hyde Park and Buckingham palace- an amazing tourist experience all for the price of an Oyster card! Of course walking is best in peak hour too - you’ll beat the traffic and get your sense of direction. Lots of the central stations are less than a km apart!

  • 4
    Good tip

    Posted by Esther Warner on 9th Mar 2020

    it's great that it covers so many forms of public transport unlike the ones in Sydney

  • 4

    Posted by Kris K on 9th Mar 2020

    Oyster cards are great also only use a black cab in the centre of London if you don't know where you're going, the distance isn't far and it's not rush hour. Otherwise get the name of a good mini cab firm or use Uber, at least you get a quote and not a shock!

  • 5

    Posted by Cass Michaels on 9th Mar 2020

    Love the tips you share on your website Ultimate Travel, this is a good one, I know London is very expensive and this would save time and money as well as being super convenient.