What is the Visitor Oyster Card? - Good Deals London

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Peter Dragicevich

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You are probably familiar with the Visitor Oyster Card and Oyster Card transport cards by name. But do you know, what are their specificities, their common points or their differences? Which card to choose and where to buy them?

Below are all the answers to these questions to make the right choice and benefit from the discounts.


Visitor Oyster Card and Oyster card: what do they have in common?

Two transport cards for getting around London


Both are reloadable smart cards for using public transport in London, namely:
- the Subway,
– le train, (DLR, Overground, National Rail)
- the bus
- the Emirates Air Line cable car
- the tram
- the Thames Clipper catamarans
- the Tate Boat. River shuttle connecting the Tate Modern to the Tate Britain

You can also use these cards for certain transfers such as for the airports of Heathrow, Gatwick et London City.


Transfer from airports to central London

Heathrow Airport


THEheathrow airport is on the Piccadilly Line in London Zone 6. The metro every 5 to 10 minutes to the city center for a journey lasting about 50 min.
Count around £ 5 each way using an oyster card.

Heathrow Express

The Heathrow Express train runs from the airport to Paddington station in just 15 minutes. Departures are from Heathrow Central Station which is within walking distance of Terminals 1, 2, 3, and 5.
If you are arriving at Terminal 4, a free shuttle provides connection to the Heathrow Express.

You can book your trip on the website Heathrow express or use your Oystercard credited with:
- £ 25 if traveling during rush hour: 6am - 30am and 9pm to 30pm Monday to Friday, UK public holidays
- £ 22 if you travel at the other times indicated above


Gatwick Airport

For your transfer fromGatwick airport, you can use the oyster card to take the trains:
- Thameslink / Southern: £ 15,10 during peak periods and £ 8,30 excluding peak periods.
– Gatwick Express: 19,80 £

The cost will be deducted from your card credit.


London City Airport

For a transfer fromLondon City airport, take the DLR at London City Airport station (zone 3) and after a ten-minute journey you will have a connection to find the underground.

Finally, the DLR prices are the same as in the metro and you can also use theOyster Card


Stansted, Southend and Luton Airports

Airports of Stansted, Southend and Luton are not connected to the Transport for London network. Therefore, it is not possible to use the Oyster Card and Visitor Oyster Card.

The fastest way from Stansted and take the Stansted Express train. To get the best price, book your ticket online several weeks before your trip.

For thesouthend airport, the most convenient is to take the train which connects in 55 minutes Southend airport to Liverpool Street Station, located in the district of the City. Train frequencies vary from every 20 minutes Monday through Saturday to 30 minutes Sunday. Count around £ 17.40 each way.

You can book your transfer directly on the website of trainline

Finally for theluton airport, the train will be the fastest option. Located at Luton Parkway station, the train is accessible by a free shuttle that connects the airport to the station in 10 minutes.

The line runs every 20 minutes to St Pancras International, Farringdon, City Thameslink and London Blackfriars stations. To benefit from the best price, book your ticket in advance on the site Trainline.


Identical operation

  • The Visitor Oyster card and the Oyster Card are valid in all London traffic zones from zones 1 to 9.
  •  Each trip is automatically debited according to the trip made (zones crossed) and the time (peak and off peak). You have a daily cap for each zone, which is £ 7.20 for zones 1 and 2. So once this cap is reached, you will no longer pay for subsequent journeys of the day. Therefore, no matter how many trips you make during the day, you never spend more than this limit.

  • To validate your trip and pay the correct fare, swipe your card on the yellow chip reader before and especially after taking the metro, train and catamaran. Please note, if you do not bad your card at the end of your journey, you will be charged the maximum amount for the day (an additional £ 8 plus a fine of £ 80 in the event of a check).



Be careful because the yellow chip readers are not always visible - especially when you are not used to it - at the exit of the DLR and catamaran stations.

  • Once your credit has been used up, you can top up the Visitor Oyster Card or the Oyster Card at terminals in metro stations or tourist information centers.
  • Cards do not expire and the loaded balance does not have an expiration date. They are not personal, so you can lend them and reuse them during another stay in London!


Same prices

With these cards, a tube ride in central London (zones 1 and 2) costs around £ 2.40 compared to £ 4.90 with a single ticket.

Visitor Oyster Card and Oyster Card rate for an adult in 2020



Visitor Oyster Card and Oyster card: what are the differences?

How to recognize a Visitor Oyster Card from an Oyster Card?



Nothing's easier ! On the left, the Oyster Card which is always solid blue; on the right, the more colorful and colorful Visitor Oyster Card.


Refund of deposit and remaining credit

Visitor Oyster Card

The Visitor Oyster Card activation (or deposit) fee is £ 5 and is non-refundable, unlike the credit balance.

Indeed, one can be refunded up to £ 10 credit on most ticket machines in metro stations. To do this, place your card on the yellow card reader, select the 'Oyster refund' option and follow the instructions on the screen. (you can have the information in French). You will be reimbursed in cash to the distributor.



You can also request a refund in most reception centers, here is the list:

• Euston National Railway Station
• arrivals hall at the north terminal of Gatwick airport
• arrivals hall at the south terminal of Gatwick airport
• Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3 metro station
• King's Cross tube station
• Liverpool Street underground station
• Paddington National Rail Station
• Piccadilly Circus metro station
• Gare Victoria National


After reimbursement of your balance, your Visitor Oyster Card will be canceled and cannot be used for a future stay. However, you will still be able to take advantage of the special offers and discounts available with the card.


If your credit is over £ 10, reimbursement at automatic terminals is not possible. You will need to send your Visitor Oyster Card to the following address, justifying the reason for your refund request.

TfL Customer Services
14 Pier Walk – 4th Floor
London SE10 0ES
United Kingdom

This process is tedious and long. You receive a check made out in GBP (£) for the unused amount. Cashing a foreign currency check takes a long time and can incur high fees.

When you request a refund, your Visitor Oyster Card can no longer be used for transport, but you can continue to present it to benefit from certain reductions.


Oyster Card

For the Oyster Card the activation fee of £ 5 and the debit credit are fully refundable:

  • If the credit is less than £ 10, you can obtain the refund at the automatic terminals by placing your Oyster Card on the yellow reader and then selecting Oyster Card Refunds. The remaining amount will be displayed on the screen and you will be refunded in cash.
  • If the credit is over £ 10, go to a counter, provided with an identity document.


Good deals and exceptional discounts with the Visitor Oyster Card

With Visitor Oyster Card, you can take advantage of:

  • 10% discount in souvenir shops of many museums and attractions ( London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Kew Gardens, Sea Life
  • Up to 20% reduction on the bill in certain restaurants (Bubba Gump, Planet Hollywood, Medieval Banquet, Palm Court ...)
  • Welcome gifts in certain restaurants (cocktails, glass of wine, dessert, etc.)
    - Up to 26% discount on the Emirates Air Line cable car
    - Up to 19% discount on one-way trips on most river shuttle services

The complete list of discounts offered with the Visitor Oyster Card.

Show your card when making purchases to benefit from discounts.


Which card to choose for children?

First of all, be aware that public transport in London is free for children under the age of 11 accompanied by an adult. They can thus travel without a transport card in the underground, on the lines of the Docklands Light Railway (of the DLR), of the London Overground (within the limits of zones 1 to 9 where it is possible to use theOyster Card ).

For example, if you make your own way to studios Harry Potter, the train to Watford Junction will be free for children under 11 and a half fare 11 to 15 years.

How to benefit from the half price for children aged 11 to 15?

You can either buy a Travelcard child or an adult Visitor Oyster card (the child Oyster Card does not exist) and ask at the counter for a discount to benefit from a 50% reduction compared to the adult rate.
To obtain this reduction, go to the counter with your child and ask for the child rate, namely “Young Visitor discount”. This offer is valid for 14 days.

Ticket offices can be found in most metro stations, ticket offices at Victoria National Rail station or in Visitor Centers:


Where to buy the Visitor Oyster Card?

The Visitor Oyster Card is on sale on the official website of the British Tourist Board. You can also get it from the bar car on board the Eurostar.

For the Oyster card, you will only find it in London on sale at tube stations.



The Visitor Oyster Card and the Oyster Card are two rechargeable transport cards that operate on the same principle. Note that each journey is automatically debited up to a certain daily limit: £ 7.20 for zones 1 and 2. Thus, thanks to the cap, the maximum daily cost is £ 7.20 in central London, whatever the number of journeys. .

To the question which card to choose? If you come to London regularly like me, opt for the Visitor Oyster Card which will give you discounts in certain shops, restaurants and museums. It is only available online at the Great Britain Tourist Board website or on Eurostar trains.


  Commander the Visitor Oyster Card


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