Getting around London

May 20th, 2003, 06:06 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 10
Getting around London

I will be in London for 10 days and was wondering what the difference was between the Travelcards and the London Visitor travelcards. What are the advatages and disadvantages of each are, Is there a better way to tour the city?
Dpt6103 is offline  
May 20th, 2003, 07:15 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Your first day of a first trip in London should be an all day, hop-on, hop-off bus. That will be a great orientation to the sites you'll want to see and also give you a good feel for the city. After that, one day travelcards will often be the best bet unless you want to start traveling before 9:30. I used to buy weekly travel cards, but never got my money's worth. I end up walking most places, and take two underground trips on the average a day. You can do those individually for less than any travel card. But if you stay way out somewhere that you have to take the underground anywhere you want to go, then it might be a different story.
Patrick is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 03:29 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You can find travelcard details at: You can purchase the Visitor's Travelcard online through this site.

Unless you are doing something unusual, you should only need Zone 1. This covers central London and almost all of the tourist areas.

A 7-day, Central London (Zones 1&2) Visitor Travelcard is 19.80GBP

A 7-day, Zone 1 Travelcard (regular, not visitor) is 16.50GBP.

The Regular Travelcard requires a (free) photo id card. There are instant photo booths in Victoria Station and elsewhere, so you don't really need to take a photo with you. I don't think the Visitor's Travelcard requires the photocard.

For me the advantage to the Visitors Travelcard is that I can purchase it before I leave. A little less time standing in line and wasting my precious vacation time. On the other hand, that's one more thing to remember to pack, and it is more expensive. (The fact that it is also valid in Zone 2 isn't really much of an advantage.)

If you do buy a pass, consider taking regular buses to explore Central London. (Both regular and visitors travelcards are valid on the tube in the relevant zones, and on buses in ALL zones.) Don't neglect using buses for short trips. Can be faster than the tube, and definitely more interesting.

Here's a bus route map:
Number 11 is a good one - going from Victoria past Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Trafalgar Square, along Fleet Street to St Paul's.

If you have a pass, even a regular bus is essentially "hop-on/hop-off".
drsawyers is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 04:08 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,785
Buy a weekly travelcard, as drsaywers suggests. One day travel cards end up being more expensive if you purchase them everyday. I used the tube extensively when I was there.

I brought a photograph with me and they just cut out my head to make a photo ID card. It took all of 2 minutes.

The buses in London are good too if you figure out the system - we either used the tube or walked.

Have fun!
kaudrey is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 05:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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There is not one iota of a difference between the regular zone 1 & 2 travelcards and the visitor's zone 1 & 2 travelcard in terms of what they are good on. The advantage of waiting till London is you can get a zone 1 only for about £3 less....

Visitor's no picture needed but once you have a picture card the first time, you don't need another one.

If you are tubing in from Heathrow you will have to wait on queues anyway to get an extension ticket.

Regular no need to remember to bring it what with everything else you have to pack

Incidentally the 2 attractions in zone 2 which might interest tourists are Greenwich and the zoo....if you intend to see both of them then it is cheaper to get a zone 1 & 2 card, if you are seeing one of them, the zone 1 is a better buy and the day you go, you buy an extension ticket to cover your sojourn in zone 2 that day.
xyz123 is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 06:19 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The above summaries are spot-on (as the Brits would say).

IMHO, it's much simpler to bring a photo of yourself, and certainly more saving of time and money, rather than using thte photo booths, if you're buying a 7-day card and need a cardholder (i.e., do't have one left over from an earlier trip). Any passport-sized snapshot will do.

I can only add that one of the passes available only in London is the weekend travelcard, good all day Sat. and Sunday, so this might be a consideration for the beginning or end of your 10 days. It costs 6 pounds tenpence for Zones 1 and 2 (no zone-1-only card available).
Anonymous is offline  
May 21st, 2003, 06:49 AM
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My wife and I were in London for the first time a year ago. Here's what worked well for us. We ordered a free street map of central London from the British Tourist Authority Web site: We bought a good guidebook which listed the major attractions and their closest tube stops and bus routes. We downloaded a tube map and bus maps from the Transport for London Web site ( We visited the Web sites for the Original Bus Tour and the Big Bus Tour to get an idea of good routes to take. Then we bought travel cards and did our own version of a hop-on/hop-off tour the day we arrived which gave us a good "above ground" orientation to the city. This way we could jump off whenever a block or neighborhood looked interesting, whether or not a "main attraction" was close by. The rest of our time we walked whenever possible. It was fun to turn a corner and enter a whole new world. When we were in a hurry we took the tube.
TimS is offline  

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