London: Oyster Card or Travelcard?

Jan 31st, 2014, 10:51 PM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
thanks! That's just what I needed to know. We are going to be staying in Bloomsbury, so should be able to go to King's Cross either the afternoon we arrive or the next morning and get the 7-day travelcards.

I have started printing out the 2 for one offers.
aronan is offline  
Jan 31st, 2014, 11:55 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 10,301
Don't forget to bring passport will need them for the 7 day pass...
jamikins is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 12:20 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 19,802
There is a photobooth at King's Cross:
PatrickLondon is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 04:47 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,384
We have just used the travel card... Daughter and I ... Only because we wanted to use the two for one deal
As soon as we arrived in London and dropped our bags we went to charging cross an above ground station and bought the orange paper tickets
We already had our passport pics with us from home which handed over
We received a little plastic navy wallet with our photos and the travel card
We used this on the tube and to get into the Tower of London St. Paul's, the foundling museum the zoo
And we would've used it to see banqueting house but it was closed on the Sunday we had free
We bought the seven day travel card and when it expired we bought an Oyster card and topped it up at a ticket booth

Whatever way you go it's expensive
The two for one deals gave us a bit of comfort but not much
When we go back to OZ in four weeks time we wail celebrate living like kings... At the moment we are on the other end of the spectrum lol

Never mind.. We have been having a lovely time !
lanejohann is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 04:49 AM
Join Date: Mar 2008
Posts: 1,384
Oh and don't bother printing vouchers
They give you a guide of all the sights and the vouchers are at the back
Just fill one in on approach and show your travel card and that's all there is to it
You could've walked all the way...Asa long as you have a a valid travel card they will let you in
lanejohann is offline  
Feb 1st, 2014, 08:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 3
thanks! I have a couple of extra passport photos, bu my companion does not, so good to know about the photobooth. And to know I don't need to bring the extra paper.
aronan is offline  
Feb 10th, 2014, 03:00 PM
Original Poster
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 110
Using the oyster card couldn't have been easier--thanks all for the great tip. I waited until I arrived and went to a ticket booth at Heathrow. Asked for an oyster card with a "travelcard" for zones 1 & 2 loaded (unlimited travel) onto the Oyster plus one RT zone 6 (for Hampton Court) and a one-way Zone 6. I reconfirmed with the ticket agent if that's what I needed based on my travel plans. I could have gotten a refund on the cost of the Oyster when I left, but I expect to be returning to London in June, so I kept it for next time.
GraceCO is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 12:21 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 47
I hope I have it right, but just in case - I'm planning to buy oyster with 7 days travel card on it plus extra. I'll be arriving to Heathrow rather late, so I'll use Heathrow express, it's much more expensive but it's very fast .
How much extra I'll need for going to Hampton Court and on the 8th day to go only to London city airport from Paddington?
tasta is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 01:10 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,022
tasta: >>I'll be arriving to Heathrow rather late, so I'll use Heathrow express, it's much more expensive but it's very fast .<<

It is ONLY fast IF you want to end up at Paddington. And I hope that is not the case. Otherwise it involves an expensive cab ride or the tube (or multiple tube rides) to get from Paddington to wherever you final destination is.

Unless you are staying AT Paddington (again - I hope not) a better/cheaper option would be a pre-booked car service like They will meet you as you exit arrivals so there is no luggage schlepping to the train station and will cost less than the HEX + a taxi. It is door-to-door service.
janisj is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 10:18 PM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 47
I am staying 5 minutes on foot from Paddington. Is it a bad district and not safe for walking late in the evening?
tasta is offline  
Feb 22nd, 2014, 10:26 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,022
it is safe -- it is just that Paddington is far from most sites and doesn't have much charm. Plus you are sort of stuck taking the train from/to LHR because there is no direct/easy tube connection.
janisj is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 03:56 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271 it safe? It's pretty safe. Lots of relatively inexpensive more or less b&B places in the area.
As far as the HEX vs. the tube, it's a perenial answer and of course everybody has their own opinion. No, it's not a direct tube ride but if you hop on a district (green on the maps) at Paddington underground station, four stops down to Earls Court and yu can either walk down a short flight, take an escalator and a short walk to the Picadilly line or just wait for the train on the adjoining track three stops to Hammersmith and an across the platform change. Not terribly inconvenient if you want to save a few pounds but that's all a personal decision. I don't have trouble with it; others do and that's their perogative. The car service as suggested by janisj is okay also but again it's a matter of convenience against saving some money and I can see both sides of the argument. All I'm trying to say is not to disagree with anybody but you have to consider the alternatives of just what is best for you.

Is Padington the greatest neighborhood? Probably not but that doesn't make it bad. On the whole, London public transport is very very good, runs fairly frequently even at night and will get you where you want to go. That's all I ask for and it works for me. But when you know all the alternatives, you can make up your own mind because in reality, it's your holiday and a few extra pounds here or there should will not ruin it!
xyz123 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 04:52 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 5,569
The HEX is very fast and convenient. It is much more expensive than the tube, but if you are staying near Paddington, I would certainly take the HEX.
Near Paddington Station is not great, it's a bit shabby, but not dangerous. Not walking distance to any major sites, but you have the Bakerloo line to Piccadilly Circus, and lots of busses.
Tulips is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 06:42 AM
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 45
"Don't forget to bring passport will need them for the 7 day pass..."

This not quite true. You can use any picture of the right size. It doesn't have to met any of the many requirements of a passport photo. Virtually anything will do. If you have an old photo of yourself in a scene, just cut out your face. Or print one on a printer. I don't think that it even has to be color. But check the size.

More generally, the 7 day travel card is much better if you are going there for a while. There is never any need to fuss with adding money and no need to ever think about whether it's worth spending the money on the tube or just walking when distance is short or worry about when to go. Also, you get to jump the queue, at least some places. On a Thames river cruise, for example, we save 45 minutes of standing in the ticket line because there was a special booth for 7 day card holders.
popov is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 07:27 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 47
Thanks everybody for your answers!
So what I wanted to ask from the beginning is that if I buy 7 days card with oyster, I want to add extra for a couple of additional trips - to Hampton and one way to London city airport - simply to do it once and forget about it. So any ideas how much is the extra?
tasta is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 08:37 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,271
When you buy the oyster card (remember it has a £5 deposit required) just ask the clerk in the booking office at Heathrow. Also the add on fares are time dependent i.e. there is a small surcharge for peak travel (basically rush hours on weekdays). There are also charts on the tfl web site. The add on fare is the oyster listed fare assuming you are buying a zone 1-2 travel card from zone 3 to zone 6 in the case of Hampton Court but no sweat either way as when you turn in the card to get your £5 deposit back, they will also refund the remaining value!
xyz123 is offline  
Feb 23rd, 2014, 09:22 AM
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 47
And the booking office will be open an 9 p.m? I really hope so...
tasta is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 02:57 PM
Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 16
We bought 2 Senior Rail Cards in Nov., 2013 for our travel on East Coast Rail from Kings Cross to Edinburgh. We are flying back to Edinburgh in June, staying there a few days, and then traveling by train to London Kings Cross, to sightsee in London for 5 days, before flying out of Heathrow late afternoon on the 5th day. Our Senior Railcards will still be good. I would appreciate advice on the following questions:

1). Are there 4 or 5- day Travelcards, and is there any advantage to buying these vs using PAYG Oyster cards (except the 2 for 1)? Will our Senior Rail Cards give us any discount on the purchase of paper Travelcards (which I assume we can buy at Kings Cross)

2) In coming into Kings Cross and leaving from Heathrow, we will each have a large suitcase and a carry-on, so we're looking to use tube stations that have elevators or escalators for any change in levels we have to make. I am looking for hotels or self-caters that are close walk to the Picadilly tube, e.g., Green Park, Knightsbridge, Gloucester, or Earls Court. Does anyone know if we can use any one of these stations without having to use a stairway? Also, are the areas around each of these 4 stations safe for walking at night, in case we go to the theatre one evening near Picadilly Circus?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can give us regarding this trip!
Doris65 is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 05:21 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,022
There areno 4 or 5 day travel cards. For more than 5 days, a 7day travel card is a money saver if you travel on the tube more than once or twice a day. For 5 days, a 7 day travel cad is usually better than PAYG.

You will have a very difficult time of it unless you can schlepp your bags up/ down a least a few stairs. The TFL website explains which stations are step free. But even the few that are, there are still often very long walks underground. My advice is to pack less so you can easily manage your bags . . . Or. . . Take a taxi.

Yes, those areas, and most every part of central London is safe to walk around ar night.
janisj is offline  
Feb 25th, 2014, 05:22 PM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 65,022
Card, not cad . . . Hard to type on an iPad mini . . .
janisj is offline  

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