Travelling Around London

It’s cheap and convenient using Oyster and contactless cards

Travelling around London is simple once you’ve got to grips with the different card systems you can use to zip across the different networks.

Oyster card

An Oyster card can be used on National Rail trains, London Overground, the Underground, buses, Docklands Light Railway and Tramlink services. It’s simple to use:

  • Buy an Oyster card for £5 deposit (which is refundable)
  • Top it up with prepaid credit – enough for a day or as long as you’re visiting
  • From then on, just touch the card on the yellow touch pads at the barriers at the start and end of each journey – the fare is deducted from your prepaid credit, up to the daily cap
  • The daily cap is the cost of three journeys – any additional journeys within a day are free

It’s quick and convenient, and you’ll pay much less than buying single tickets. Find out more about buying and using Oyster cards.

Children under 11 can travel for free on Overground, Underground and DLR, providing they’re travelling with an adult with a valid ticket or have an Oyster photocard with them. Young people aged 16 and 17 can apply for a 16+ Oyster photocard for a reduced child rate.

Contactless card

If you’ve got a contactless credit/debit card, you can use it to ride on the bus, Tube, tram, DLR, London Overground and most National Rail services in London. It’s secure and easy to use – just touch your card to the yellow pads on the barriers at the start and end of each journey. Take care to use the same card at the start and end – it’s a good idea to keep it separate from any other cards you’re carrying, to avoid confusion between cards.

Travelling with contactless is cheaper than paying cash (which you can’t use on buses anyway), and about the same as an adult-rate Oyster pay-as-you-go fare. So it’s a great alternative to Oyster and paper tickets, and you don’t need to top up in advance. Remember that if you travel with a contactless card, you must have the card available for inspection if asked by a member of staff.


Travelcards give you unlimited travel within the London Zones you choose on National Rail, London Overground, the Underground, buses, Docklands Light Railway and Tramlink services, meaning that travelling around London is a doddle. If you’re travelling from outside London Zones 1-6, you can add a Day Travelcard when you buy an Anytime, Off-peak or Super Off-peak Day Return ticket and save yourself money on buying separate DayReturn and Travelcard tickets.