London tube purchase here vs. there?

Old Dec 6th, 2001, 06:53 PM
sandy c
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London tube purchase here vs. there?

hi everyone,

I just wanted to explain something I said during the cost of london post. I recommended buying the london VISITOR travelcard before you left the states. why, because:

if you wait you can't get it in london and having that voucher would have made our trip completely hassel free.

the one you have to buy in london is a 7 day pass and you have to have a photo. i was told by the bus people that the 7 day card you buy in london DOES NOT cover the buses, whereas the VISITOR TRAVELCARD does.

you can purchase the 7 day visitor travelcard for about $30 or 20 1bs and you are mailed a voucher. you exchange that voucher at a main station or tourist office. the convienence of already having the voucher and just having to exchange it makes up for the pd difference.

our experience: we kept flip floping on this one and ended up deciding to purchase the card when we got there. however, when we got there we ended up taking the bus the first day to harrods (paid for it) and then when we went to the underground the 1st time on the 2nd day and none of us had a photo. we were in a rush and bought a day fare so we still hadn't bought it by the 2nd day. at that point we said well we really don't need a 7 day card, because we had 2 of our days on day trips outside the city. but this was a mistake, because we were forever having to stop and buy a ticket or find money for the bus. several times we got caught without having the right change etc.

getting the photo and regular 7 day pass the 1st day you get there...i was exhausted the 1st day and didn't really feel like going thru it all. so you see, i think buying that voucher ahead of time is well worth it. completely hassel free.

i think alot of people get hung up on the $30 and see the 19 pds for the london 7 day card, thinking it is much cheaper. with conversion it really isn't.

lolol,,do i have a question in all this. yes, because i am not entirely sure if i am comparing apples and oranges here. does anyone know where the details of about the card you purchase in london (not the visitor), the 7 day pass can be found? the site for the tube does not specify, it talks about a monthly pass or an annual pass. I would like to reverify what i was told in london about the card you purchase in london. does it or doesn't it cover the bus system?

also is that price 19 pds for all zones or just the central zone? if it is for all zones and does cover buses, then i might really consider it worthwhile to wait. a london visitors travelcard for 7 days for all zones is about $58 or 38 pds. so that would be double the cost. if this is the case, i would suggest bringing the extra photo with you and making sure to purchase it the 1st day so that you don't have to worry about it the rest of the trip.

Old Dec 7th, 2001, 12:56 AM
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I, too, went back and forth on this issue before my trip last April. Unlike Sandy, decided to do it "there." Before I left I located a copy of my passport picture and brought it with me, although other posters have indicated that they will accept just about anything, even pictures cut from snapshots.

"Going through it all" at Heathrow was actually quite simple. Got cash from an ATM, found the correct booth, presented the photo and the cash. Got the pass. Even with about 20 people in front of me, it took only about ten minutes. I did use it on a bus, once, although I was really lost at the time and perhaps the driver took pity.

I understand I can use the same photo card for pass on my trip this year.
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 02:13 AM
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I am a regular visitor to London and always buy a 7 day pass. You need a passport sized photo and can get it from any tube station. Once you have your photocard you can use it as often as you like and just have to buy the ticket. It covers all London transport including buses. I have often used it on buses so I think that Sandy has been misled, by somebody wanting to sell her a Visitor travelcard perhaps?
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 02:25 AM
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The 7 day travelcard you would buy in London, for which a passport-size photo is required, gives access to all underground, bus, tram, DLR (Docklands Light Railway) and National Rail services( except Heatrow express) in the zones for which you have paid.

Unless you are planning to visit sites in the suburbs (or using the tube to travel to/from Heathrow) then a travelcard covering just Zones 1 & 2 should cover nearly all visitor travel needs. This card will cost £19.30 if bought in London during 2002.

Complete information on all fares, travelcards etc is available at
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 02:27 AM
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Have a look at
for details of fares, zones, information for visitors etc.
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 07:12 AM
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If you only be in London for a couple of days, the one-day LT card sounds like the best bet (taken from the website):

One Day LT Card

For travel on:

Buses in Greater London displaying the London Bus Service sign
Docklands Light Railway
Points to note

Valid from 0001 on the day of validity and for any journey that starts before 0430 on the following day.
You can make as many journeys as you want within your selected zones;
To work out the zones you require please refer to our zonal map.
LT Cards are not valid National Rail or between Kenton and Harrow & Wealdstone.
LT Cards are now valid on N-prefixed Night Buses

The cost is 5 Pounds for a one-day ticket in zones 1-2. Note that rates will go up effective January 6, 2002.
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 07:27 AM
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I always buy a 7 day pass even if I am only going to be there 5 days,it's cheaper than 5 - 1 day passes. There's no hassle, just have a pic, if you don;t have one there are booths or some staions , S Ken. I know, even have a photo store where you get them in 5 minutes. Just buy it the first time you get into ANY tube station to get the train.That's the same as having to exchange a voucher at a main station or tourist office, in fact a lot more convenient!
Old Dec 7th, 2001, 07:36 AM
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We always buy tube passes when we get to London (and they are good for the buses too). We've used the same pictures and ID cards for several years now too, we just get a new pass. We go buy it on our first day but always ask to have it dated to start the next day since we have jet lag the first day and don't go anyplace major anyway. Who ever told the first poster it did not cover buses was not being truthful, as some one said perhaps they just wanted to sell the visitor card. Incidentally, even if you are in London for one day it is cheaper to buy the one day pass then to pay for each tube trip, even if you are only taking a couple.
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 02:19 AM
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We will be in London for a long weekend between Christmas and New Year's, so I ran the numbers--it looks cheaper to buy the tube pass for zones 1-6 in London:

3 day London museum pass including transportation (bought in advance from 44 pounds

weekend travel card + 1 day LT card bought in London: 12.40 pounds ($17.78 according to Note, this covers buses in Greater London displaying the London Bus Service sign, has no time restrictions, and the weekend travel card covers both Saturday and Sunday. The 1 day Travel card has time restrictions.

3 day London (transportation only) pass bought in advance from $29

Original London walks informed me that the cost of the boat ride and entrance into the Tower of London for their all day London walk is 14 pounds; transportation to Hampton Court requires an all zone (1-6) pass.

From what I can tell it doesn't make sense to get the museum pass for a long weekend--many of the museums we want to see are now free and the offer with the pass for Hampton Court is only a 10% discount.
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 04:16 AM
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The LondonPass is not primarily a museum pass -- most of the attractions and other benefits on it aren't museums. As you pointed out, most of the most popular museums are free now; but they were never on the London Pass in the first place, so the basic decision process hasn't been affected.

But the London Pass does include the Tower of London and the Catamaran Cruisers, which go from Westminster to the Tower. Not sure what London Walks has to do with the Tower; the Beefeaters inside the Tower give excellent tours, included with the admssion price.

You can buy the London Pass after you arrive in London, for much cheaper, without the travel card. Its cost-effectiveness obviously depends on whether it covers attractions you want to see, and whether you'll use the other benefits (e.g., restaurant discounts, nice free teddy bear if you spend five pounds at Hamleys!).

Old Dec 8th, 2001, 05:40 AM
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Original London walks does an all day walking tour of the major sites, with a stop at the Tower of London.
Old Dec 8th, 2001, 06:04 AM
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Thanks for the explanation, Olivia!

When we went to the Tower, we went to the head of the line (with our London passes), which was already long 15 minutes before opening (in July). We went straight to the jewels, so had the place to ourselves and could ignore the moving walkway. As I recall, we spent most of the day there, so for us a tour might have felt rushed.
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 06:55 AM
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to the top
Old Dec 9th, 2001, 09:03 AM
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Thanks sandy for asking this question, I needed the answers too. Please excuse me for jumping in with a supplementary question.

If I want to take the free Beefeater tour of the Tower, do I need to pay admission to see the jewels? I'm not nearly as interested in the latter as the former. Thanks to anyone who can help.

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