|Buy Oyster Cards from official website||Buy Visitor Oyster Cards from official website||Buy Travelcards from official website||Buy Group Travelcards from official website|
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|Trains||Cash||Oyster and Contactless||Travelcards (Trains & Buses)|
|Single||Single||Daily cap||Weekly cap||1-Day||Weekly||Monthly||Annual|
Child fares? See our child train fares page
Return fares? There are no return fares. You just pay for two single journeys
Anytime, peak and off-peak? For Oyster and contactless off-peak is outside the hours of 6.30-9.30 AM and 4-7 PM (Mon-Fri). For travelcards off-peak is any time after 9.30 AM (Mon-Fri). Weekends and public holidays are always off-peak. Fares are based on what time your journey begins (it doesn’t matter what time you finish)
Daily cap? If you make multiple journeys in one day then the computer will stop charging you once your total amount reaches the daily cap. Journeys after that will be free if you stay within those same zones
Weekly cap? If you make multiple journeys between Mon-Sun then the computer will stop charging you once your total amount reaches the weekly cap. Journeys after that will be free if you stay within those same zones.
Oyster cards look like a blue credit card. You load it up with credit and the computer will automatically deduct the correct fare every time you touch it against a yellow reader. When it starts running low you just top it up again at a ticket machine. More information about Oyster cards.
Visitor Oyster cards work in exactly the same way as blue Oyster cards. The big difference is that they are aimed primarily at tourists so they come with some credit already pre-loaded on to them. More information about Visitor Oyster cards.
Travelcards are valid for a set period of time: 1-day, one week, one month, or one year. You also have to choose which zones you want it to cover. Depending on which one you get it will either come as a paper ticket or be loaded on to a blue Oyster card. More information about travelcards.
Contactless cards are just your normal everyday bank cards. They work in exactly the same way as Oyster cards, and even have the same fares. The only difference is that you don’t need to keep topping them up because the money comes straight out of your bank account. More information about contactless cards.
London Pass The main reason to buy a London Pass is that it gives you free or discounted entry into lots of London’s best attractions, but you can also buy one with a Visitor Oyster card included – saving you the hassle of having to buy one separately. Learn about London Pass
Oyster fares and contactless fares are described as being Peak and Off-peak. Peak is between the hours of 6.30-9.30 AM and 4-7 PM (Monday to Friday). Outside of those hours is Off-peak. Weekends and public holidays are always classed as off-peak.
Travelcards described as being Anytime and Off-peak. Anytime means you can travel at any time of the day, up to 4.30 AM the following day (you always get a bonus journey home after midnight with a travelcard). Off-peak is any time after 9.30 AM (Monday to Friday). Weekends and public holidays are always classed as off-peak.
Note: fares are always based on what time your journey begins. It doesn’t matter what time your journey finishes. So an Oyster journey between 6 AM and 8 AM on a Monday is off-peak. Between 8 AM and 10 AM it’s peak. For a travelcard they’re both peak time.
Oyster cards and contactless cards have something called a daily cap. This is the maximum amount of money that the computer will take from your card each day – regardless of how many journeys you make. The daily cap is always cheaper than a 1-day travelcard.
Contactless cards also get a weekly cap, which freezes your maximum weekly spend at the same level as a weekly travelcard. The weekly cap only works between Mon-Sun. If you’re travelling between any other stretch of seven days (like Fri-Thu) then the computer won’t realise that you’re travelling over a week and will just charge you for seven individual days.
Tourists aren’t entitled to free travel on the trains, but there are two ways for UK senior citizens to get it…
Freedom Pass: If you live in a London borough and you’re old enough to receive a woman’s state pension (regardless of whether you’re a man or a woman), or you have an eligible disability, then you can apply for something called a Freedom Pass.
This entitles you to free travel on TFL (Transport for London) buses, plus many local bus services beyond the TFL network. You can also travel on the trams, London Underground, London Overground, DLR (Docklands Light Railway), TFL Rail, and some National Rail trains within London. But remember to read the small print because the rules usually bar you from travelling before 9.30 AM on weekdays.
Freedom Passes are supplied by your local council and you will need to fill out an application form and provide them with a passport-sized photo. Check their website for details: londoncouncils.gov.uk.
60+ London Oyster photocard: This entitles you to travel for free on London’s buses, tube trains, trams, DLR, London Overground, TFL Rail and some National Rail trains – but only until you qualify for a Freedom Pass. Once you qualify for a Freedom Pass you’ll have to apply for one of them instead.
In order to get one you must live in a London borough and be aged 60 or over. You can apply for a 60+ Oyster photocard online at tfl.gov.uk.
In order to work out an adult train fare you will need to know which zone (or zones) your train passes through. The more zones you pass through, the higher the adult fare will be.
Most London underground maps will show the fare zones as a series of concentric grey/white rings, with the smallest ring at the centre. That is zone 1 (the touristy bit). Most tourists will spend their entire holiday within zone 1, or possibly zone 2 as well if they want to visit Greenwich or The O2. They might also want to visit zone 6 if they’re flying in from Heathrow.
Just to confuse things, sometimes a station might be in two different zones at the same time. Earl’s Court, for example, is listed as being in zone 1 and zone 2 at the same time. The fares for these stations are based on your direction of travel. If you came from the direction of zone 1 it will count as zone 1, and if you came from the direction of zone 2 it will count as zone 2.
You can use our train journey planner to work out which zones you will pass through. For example, if you look at the journey between Heathrow airport and King’s Cross then you will see that it passes through zones 1 to 6.