London Visitor Oyster Cards

Oyster Cards are BACK IN STOCK!

Headed to London? Don’t forget your London Visitor Oyster Card! This nifty little pay-as-you-go smartcard can be used on London Underground (Tube), bus, tram, Docklands Light Rail, London Overground, TfL Rail, Emirates Air Line cable car, Thames Clippers River Bus and most National Rail services in London.

To buy your Oyster Card, email us at or call 021 975 2047.

London Visitor Oyster Cards come preloaded and include the card itself. They do not expire, are not date specific, and can be topped up in London as needed.

***Additional fees & courier***

Please note that there will be a British TIPS service fee (varies according to the entire booking).

In addition, these are actual cards and require courier. You can arrange a courier to collect (Durbanville) or we can arrange this for you. Our service fee for Oyster Cards only is R 180 and we usually use Postnet-to-Postnet courier for those with a Postnet nearby, which is speedy and affordable at R 109 per parcel. Alternatively, Postnet-to-Door is a little faster and you do not need to collect at your local Postnet and costs R 185. Remember to order your card timeously, allowing at least 1 working week to city centres and longer for outlying areas.

For use on: London Underground, bus, tram, Docklands Light Rail, London Overground, TfL Rail, Thames Clippers River Bus and most National Rail services in London.

Rates per person*

  • Preloaded with £15: R 560
  • Preloaded with £25: R 825
  • Preloaded with £35: R 1 095

*While stocks last

Please note that the activation fee of £5 per card charged by TfL is included in the card price. So, for example, a £15 Oyster card carries £15 of credit PLUS the £5 activation fee, meaning the card is actually valued at £20. In addition, we cover the import duties on these pre-loaded cards, which we import in batches. Thus, the price will not exactly equal the current exchange rate; however, you will still have £15 credit and the £5 activation fee on your card.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are there children’s cards?

There is no specific children’s Oyster card but children are eligible for special rates if you are staying in London for under 14 days.

  • Children aged 11 – 15 years: Travel half price. You will need to go to a staffed ticket office in London with the card and the child’s passport. The staff member will add a Young Visitor discount to the card so that journeys are only charged at half-price.
  • Children aged 0 – 10 years: Travel free of charge with the parents/guardians. They do not need a card but they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

How much credit/what ‘size’ Oyster card do I need?

Working out fares can be complex and which card you choose varies greatly, depending on how many journeys you make, in which zones, and at what times but these are our general recommendations:

  • One day of frequent travel around zones 1 and 2 will usually add up to around £15 – £20.
  • A £25 card should cover 3 days of unlimited central zone travel. 
  • If you’re travelling to and from an airport, this trip can cost anything from £6 to over £30 (depending if you use the Underground or Express trains), so take this into account. 

What if I run out of credit?

It’s very easy to top it up – no need for internet banking. In stations, you will see what look like ATM machines with a yellow Oyster Card symbol on them. Tap the card to the yellow panel and follow the machine’s prompts to top it up.
You can do this at:

  • Tube, DLR, London Overground, TfL rail, and most National Rail stations.
  • Over 4000 local shops in London called Oyster Ticket Stops.
  • Transport for London (TfL) Visitor Centres.

Can’t I just get a paper Travelcard, like in the old days?

Paper Travelcards were once available in many validities but the only ones left are 1-day cards, purchasable in London. 7-day travelcards are only available to load onto Oyster cards and, unless you are using it a lot every single day, it isn’t as cost effective as the Oyster cards. Eventually, the one-day cards will also be phased out.

Is there a group card?

No, there is no group card. Each adult (16+) in a group must have their own card and will need to pass through the card readers as individuals.

Is there a senior’s discount?

Unfortunately, there is no senior’s discount on the London Visitor Oyster Card. Only senior citizens living in London and using the local Oyster photocard are eligible.

Which London transport systems accept London Visitor Oyster Cards?

London Visitor Oyster Cards can be used on London public transport in zones 1 to 9 of London. If your journey goes beyond that, you will need to purchase a separate ticket from the last station to your end destination. Use it on:

  • Tube (Underground), Docklands Light Rail (DLR), London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail services in London. You must touch your card in and out on the yellow card readers, which you will find at the entrance and exits of the stations.
  • London buses & trams: Remember to touch your card to the yellow card reader but DO NOT touch out again when you alight or you’ll be charged a penalty fare.
  • Thames Clippers River Bus services. Remember to touch in and out. Note that you cannot top up your card at the pier so be sure to have sufficient credit when you want to travel.
  • In addition, LVOC users receive a 25% discount on Emirates Air Line cable car. Note that this is not included in your daily capping (i.e. even if you have reached your daily cap, you will still pay for the “flight”).

Can I use it from/to the airport?

  • Heathrow: You can use London Visitor Oyster Cards on the Heathrow Express, which travels direct (no stops) between Heathrow and Paddington station. This will cost you up to around £35, depending on time of day. Alternatively, you can purchase your Heathrow Express e-ticket to/from Paddington Station from British TIPS.
    For a budget option, you can take the Underground’s Piccadilly line service or the Elizabeth Line with your Oyster Card. This goes into the city and stops at multiple stations on the way as it is a commuter train. Although this is a cheaper option, bear in mind that it does take longer and the trains are usually more crowded, without specific spaces for luggage.
  • Gatwick: You can use your London Visitor Oyster Card on the Gatwick Express between Gatwick and London Victoria Station. This will cost around £20 (peak and off-peak). You can also use your London Visitor Oyster Card on Southern Trains services between Gatwick and London, which are cheaper but tend to be more crowded and may take longer as these are commuter trains.
  • Stansted: You can use the cards on the normal buses and Underground/Overground trains from Stansted into London, which will take around 90 minutes with a few changes. However, they cannot be used on the direct, high speed Stansted Express to/from Liverpool Street Station.
  • Luton: You cannot use the cards to get to and from Luton as it is outside the fare zones; this includes the Luton Express.
  • London City Airport: You can use your Oyster Card on the Docklands Light Rail to London City Airport.

Using a London Visitor Oyster Card

What do I have to do to use it?

The cards sold by British TIPS are already activated and preloaded so you can use the card immediately. You will notice card readers at the entrance and exits of stations, and on buses and trams. On top of the reader is a yellow area – you touch the card to this yellow area (like tapping your credit card at a supermarket) when you enter the ticket barriers or get onto the bus/tram/etc. This is called ‘touching in’. When you get to your destination, touch your card to the yellow reader again* (‘touch out’).

The system automatically works out the fare based on where you started and where you left – if you don’t touch out, it will not know your journey has ended and you will end up being charged a lot more.

*Note: DO NOT touch out when using buses, trams or Thames Clippers or you will be charged a penalty fee.

But how do the fares actually work?

This is actually pretty complex and even Londoners find it challenging to understand! Charges depend on time of travel and zones through which you pass. All the different transports are run by different operators and there is no standard charge across the board.

Most visitors only really travel within zones 1 and 2 (aka the central zone) because this is where the majority of the attractions are. However, these zones are charged at higher rates. You can save money by not travelling in peak times. Visit TfL’s website to check fare zones and the costs of single journeys.

Capping is a feature which allows you to make a number of journeys in a single day but limits the amount you pay for your travel. Each time you make a journey, you are charged a fare. Once the total cost of all your fares reaches a certain amount you won’t have to pay for any more journeys for the rest of the day. This is called a cap. To benefit, you must touch in and out* on journeys using the same Oyster card.

What if I have credit left over when I leave London?

Your London Visitor Oyster Card never expires so you can keep it and use it for travel in a few years’ time or lend it to a friend or family member. We recommend keeping an eye on the credit on your card and don’t add too much so that you end up with loads left at the end of your stay. It’s better to hang onto the card but, if you prefer, you can get the remaining credit refunded through Transport for London, which effectively cancels the card (i.e. you cannot use it again). You will need to do this yourself through TfL. If there is less than £10 left on the card, you can get the refund at a London Underground ticket machine; if it is more than £10, you will need to visit a TfL visitor centre (not available at all airports).

If you choose to cancel your card for a refund, do so before you leave London as, once you are home, you will need to post the card back to them. Note that the card itself has a cost and this will not be refunded; only the extra credit is refundable. 

Note that British TIPS is not able to refund Oyster cards.

  • Cost effective: It is the cheapest way to pay for single journeys (50% less than buying paper Travelcards or single tickets with cash). Special pink card readers can make your journeys even cheaper.
  • Covers London public transport: London Underground, bus, tram, Docklands Light Rail, London Overground, TfL Rail, Thames Clippers River Bus and most National Rail services in London. It is valid in all travel zones and automatically calculates the cheapest total fare for all the journeys you make in a single day. It even gives you a discount on the Emirates Air Line cable car that crosses the river between the Royal Dock and Greenwich.
  • Ready-to-use: Your card is activated and preloaded so it is ready to use when you arrive – no need to queue up at the station.
  • Easy: Touch it to the yellow card reader at the gates (just like tap-and-go credit cards) when you start and end your journey.
  • Pay-as-you-go: If you decide on doing more travel, you can easily top up the card in London at most Underground, DLR, London Overground, TfL Rail and most National Rail stations, Transport for London visitor centres, as well as over 4000 local shops in London called Oyster Ticket Stops (clearly signposted).
  • Price capping: You can travel as much as you like in a single day and the amount you pay for your travel is limited (or capped). The cap depends on which zones in which you travel.
  • Never expires: You can stash your Oyster card for your next trip and, even if it is many years later, it will still work. All you need to do is top up when you’re there and you’re ready to go!
  • No photo ID required. There is no need for any photo ID, proof of address, passport, etc. Just buy it and go!

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