London: Oyster Card for Visitors


We highlighted London’s love affair with the Oyster card.

To simplify things for short-term visitors, there are also two Oyster cards specifically intended for tourists—a one-day card and a three-day card. The Oyster card for Visitors gives cardholders nearly 50% off all cash fares around London on tube, tram, bus, and Docklands Light Railway. Although you have to register your details to get an Oyster card—this part is too Big Brother for us; we suggest you register as “John Doe” if you don’t want Transport for London knowing your every move—it’s worth it for the savings.

With an Oyster card, you’ll pay £1 for bus fares and between £2 and £2.20 for Tube rides, a fraction of what you’d otherwise spend. The beauty of it is you can now snag an Oyster card for Visitors before you even get into London. A new partnership with Gatwick Express allows visitors to buy cards on the train from Gatwick on your way into town. For more information, poke around the Transport for London site.

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7 thoughts on “London: Oyster Card for Visitors”

  1. Can I buy an Oyster card on arrival at Heathrow Terminal 1/2 and is it valid to use straight away or is there a need to purchase beforehand? Thank you Nick

    1. Yes you can. It can be purchased at the Underground station. It costs £5 + however much credit you want on it, and you can get the £5 back when you surrender it at the end of your trip.

      You do NOT need to register it (though registering it means that it will be returned to you if lost), but they require ID when you surrender it (which manes sense).

      Hope this helps!

  2. One each.

    Milady and I bought a pair when we headed to London last month. It’s cheaper through TFL’s site; since we were being picked up from the airport, we had them sent to the address in London where we were staying.

    Hope this helps.


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