Going to (and around) London by public transport. Whats the best way?

(17 Posts)
NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Mar-13 19:44:41

At some point soon we are planning on 2/3 days in London with the DC (8 &13).

We're thinking of going by train rather than driving so will presumably be better off if we buy a family rail card.

However,I was wondering if theres any type of card/ticket that would cover a return journey plus travel around London by tube and bus for a few days?

Or, if not, whats the best/cheapest way when we're there. Its been 20 years since I've been to London so I'm sure things have moved on from the one day tube pass!

FayKnights Thu 14-Mar-13 19:50:36

Have a squizz here, they do a visitors Oyster card
http://www.visitlondonoffers.com/oyster-card/index.htm?stop_mobi=yes

FayKnights Thu 14-Mar-13 19:51:26

Sorry, that link didn't work very well, I'm on my phone.

ceeveebee Thu 14-Mar-13 19:56:10

Oyster cards are the best option. You can collect them from any underground station or order in advance online. You have to pay a deposit (I think £5 but itis refundable?) and then load money onto them, and then you just swipe them to use on tubes, trains and buses. There is a daily cap on how much will be taken off your card which equates to the cost of a daily travel card. It is much much cheaper to use an oyster card then to pay by case.

The children should get free travel but need to have photo id I think (my DCs are very little so its not been an issue for us yet!) and I think there may be a fee for applying for this

https://oyster.tfl.gov.uk/oyster/entry.do

NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Mar-13 20:01:18

Thanks for the link Fay.

So we would need 2 of the £18 visitor Oyster cards and 2 of the Oyster photo cards for the DC (this would entitle the 8yo to free travel and the 13yo child fares)??

TBH I don't even know how expensive bus/tube travel is these days. It was about 80p a journey when I last used it but I expect it its shed loads a bit more expensive these days

NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Mar-13 20:22:29

Just looked at your link ceeveebee and its all quite complicated isn't it?

I guess we need to know what zone we're staying in and where/how often we are likely to be using tubes, buses etc to work out whether its worth paying for the cards and photocards

notcitrus Thu 14-Mar-13 20:25:27

If you are only travelling after 9.30am then you can still buy One Day Travelcards from a station or many newsagents. Oyster will do the same, much cheaper after 9.30, but watch out if going on trains (not Tube) as kids over 5 are half price not free.
Though Tube and bus will probably be all you need if staying near a Tube station.

Oyster also means you don't need to buy a separate ticket for the Emirates cablecar, and lgets you 1/3 off boat trips.

Definitely avoid cash fares for bus or tube. Example is 1.40 for the bus on Oyster, 2.40 if you pay cash.

Graceparkhill Thu 14-Mar-13 20:28:09

Just wanted to say that IME lots of London is surprisingly walkable ( weather permitting of course) you see more and get a better sense if where things are in relation to each other.
You can plan a day/ half day in one part and walk to each attraction.
Would also say try to avoid underground in rush hour. My 2 DSs always find it overwhelming. Other times of the day are fine.

NorbertDentressangle Thu 14-Mar-13 20:34:31

Thats what I'm hoping for I think as you get to see so much more by walking.

BeCool Fri 15-Mar-13 14:38:06

yes get Oyster Cards - I would stick to PAYG & you can get refund at the end if you have any balance left.

You will need ID perhaps for 13yo, but the 8yo will not need one as long as they are with a paying adult. HERE

Buses are so great to get around on - you see so much. But they can be confusing - it took me a long time to get used to them. But there days you can get amazing Bus Aps which might be worth investing in. I have BusMapper (<£2) and its really useful. Also there is daily price cap of £4.40 on buses (using Oyster) and the DC are free.

NorbertDentressangle Fri 15-Mar-13 19:41:19

Thanks BeCool.

notcitrus Sat 16-Mar-13 12:04:06

The TfL app "Live Bus Departures" is free and wonderful - it's almost my most used app!

I second walking, esp in central London - remember the Tube map is actually flatter north-south than it looks.

BackforGood Sat 16-Mar-13 12:13:47

When I tried to find out similar, last year, I was left with the impression that local children travel free, but if you are just there for a day or two, it costs a lot to buy the Oyster Card, so you wouldn't save with it. Information I was given was that it was better to just get a day pass. May have changed of course or maybe I was given duff information.

exexpat Sat 16-Mar-13 12:25:12

I got myself a visitor's Oyster and children's Oyster cards for my DCs last summer when we were in London for a few days for the Olympics etc.

DS was 13, so needed a ticket/Oyster card; DD was 9, so technically could travel free with me, but she looks older so they recommend getting one. Also if you want children to go free without a ticket you have to get a staff member to open the gate for you - it was much easier when she could just swipe her Oyster card and go through the automatic ticket barriers (she was still free on the underground, but we had to pay the basic upfront charge for the Oyster card).

In the past when it has only been for a day I have often ended up getting one-day travel cards. If you are buying train tickets to and from London online, there is often an option to add a travel card to the tickets (I presume at a slight discount?).

meditrina Sat 16-Mar-13 12:26:16

The 8 year old is free on buses and the Tube.

To get the 11-16 year old Zip card Oyster (free buses, child fare Tube) you need to apply in advance with proof of age and address, and there is a non-refundable £10 admin fee. It can take up to a month to receive the card, but is usually quicker.

If this is a once in a blue moon visit, you might be better off with one day travel cards (which do still exist).

exexpat Sat 16-Mar-13 12:26:57

BTW, I applied for all the Oyster cards online, had to upload home-taken digital pictures for the children, all very straightforward, and they arrived within a week. Only nuisance was that there didn't seem to be any way to add any prepaid cash to DS' card, so we had to do that at the first station we got to.

meditrina Sat 16-Mar-13 12:30:22

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