Most guides on getting around London will suggest you get yourself an Oyster card. These electronic smartcards can be used on public transport services throughout London and they’re far easier and cheaper than buying paper tickets. But as a visitor, you can add an extra dimension to your London experience with a special Visitor Oyster card. These colourful versions of the standard Oyster card come with all the benefits of a regular Oyster, plus some tasty extras in the form of special offers, discount and more. Best of all, you can order one before you leave for your trip and have it delivered directly to your home, which will save you plenty of hassle once you arrive. An Oyster card is your ticket to smooth sailing from airport to hotel to wherever you want to go.
A Visitor Oyster card is like a London Pass – it lets you explore the city and skip hefty bills as you do so. The cards will get you significant discounts at major attractions and shops like M&M World in Leicester Square, Planet Hollywood restaurants and the V&A Museum. Theatre buffs will be delighted with 2-for-1 offers on West End Theatre tickets for “Stomp” and “The 39 Steps” – seats at these popular shows can be hard to come by and pack a hefty punch to the wallet. Several restaurants around the city offer a free cocktail or glass of bubbly per Visitor Oyster card presented, including Roast and Hix Selfridges, while younger diners will love the offer of a free sundae for every entrée ordered at the famous Hard Rock Café. At the end of your night out, skip back to your chic Shoreditch hotel with your Visitor Oyster card.
The card’s main function is to get you around London smoothly and cheaply – in fact, Visitor Oyster fares are more than 50% lower than buying paper travelcards or individual tickets. Top it up with a fixed amount and simply “touch in” on Oyster gates or touchpads. The daily fare cap system means you won’t pay any more for your travel once you hit the limit. If you run out, you can easily top up your Oyster at any London Underground station, or at any off-licence (convenience store) with an Oyster sign in the window. At Tube stations, you can either use the ticket machines – which can deliver instructions in multiple languages and take cash, credit or debit cards – or go to the ticket office.
You can also buy a Visitor Oyster card from Gatwick Express ticket offices at Gatwick Airport, but don’t get caught out – just because they can issue them at Gatwick doesn’t mean you can use your card just yet! Gatwick is outside the London system of transit zones, numbered from 1 to 9 from the centre outwards. Outside London zones, you must buy paper tickets or travelcards – there will be nowhere to touch in or out with your Oyster at train stations or on buses. The montcalm luxury hotel are very near to tube stations to make your trip delightful.
An Oyster or contactless credit card is essential for every trip to London. Taking taxis costs far more, especially in the evenings, on weekends and during peak times. If you prefer to use your legs, much of central London is very close together and easily walkable, but when the cold and rain set in you might just prefer the comfort of a bus or train. You will absolutely need either contactless or Oyster to catch one of those iconic red London buses, since they no longer take cash payments at all.
By far the best way to visit this world-class city is to get to know London the way the locals do – so pick up your Visitor Oyster card from the Transport for London site today.