London Underground Tickets & Travelcards
The Travelcard is a cheap way to pay for travel in London.
Single tickets on the London underground and trains are expensive if you pay cash at a tube station ticket machine or ticket office – £4.50 per single journey for travel within zones 1–3 or £5.50 for zones 1–4/5/6. If you make several trips per day, a Travelcard, a pass that gives you unlimited travel on all types of transport in London for 1 day, 1 week or 1 month, is a much better deal.
If you’re not familiar with the different types of tickets and passes in London please read our guide to London tickets & passes. It will help you decide if the Travelcard is the right pass to buy for your visit.
The Travelcard is a travel pass that gives you unlimited travel in London within certain zones. The price varies according to number of zones you travel through. Central London is in zone 1.
Travelcards are valid for travel on all types of transport in London including:
- the Underground (the Tube)
- the local suburban trains within London (including the Overground)
- the Docklands Light Railway (DLR)
- the buses all over London. Any Travelcard allows you to use the buses in all zones (zones 1-6)
Travelcards are valid for 1 day, 7 days or 1 month. The price varies for a One Day Travelcard according to whether you need to travel during peak or off-peak times. Weekly and Monthly Travelcards are valid for travel at any time of the day.
The 3 Day Travelcard, Weekend Travelcard, Zone 2-6 One Day Travelcard and the Carnet are no longer available to buy.
The One Day Travelcard is a paper ticket. There are two types:
The Anytime Travelcard
For travel starting between 4.30am–9.30am Monday-Friday (Peak travel times).
The Off-Peak Travelcard
For travel after 9.30am Monday–Friday and all day Saturday, Sunday and public holidays.
|One Day Travelcards|
|Transport Zones||Off Peak||Anytime|
Until the start of 2013, the One Day Travelcard was the same price as the daily ‘cap’ for the Pay as you go Oyster card. The Travelcard now costs 30-40p more.
You might save more money with a Pay As You Go Oyster card, especially if you only make two or three tube or train journeys per day or only use buses. But if you don’t want to get an Oyster card (you have to pay a £5 deposit), the One Day Travelcard is the next best money-saving pass to buy if you’re in London for 1–4 days.
The Weekly Travelcard is the most cost-effective travel pass to buy if you stay in London between 5 and 7 days.
The one-week pass that includes central London costs £30.40. It can start on any day of the week and is valid for travel at anytime; there’s no peak or off-peak rate.
Most places sell a weekly Travelcard loaded onto a plastic Oyster card. There’s a £5 deposit if you don’t already have an Oyster but this deposit is refundable if you don’t want to keep it.
If you buy a weekly Travelcard from a train station, you’ll be given a paper version of the Travelcard. You must give them a passport-sized photo so they can make you a free photocard.
See our guide to Weekly Travelcards for all other zones (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Top Tip: There’s a big money-saving benefit if you buy a ‘paper’ Travelcard from a train station. Paper Travelcards entitle you to 2 for the price of 1 discounts at major tourist attractions.
Monthly Travelcards: 2013 Prices
For a longer stay in London, monthly Travelcards are available. You won’t save that much money compared to buying 4 x weekly Travelcards – but you’ll save a bit of time renewing your pass. Like the Weekly Travelcard, it can start on any day of the week and is valid for travel at any time.
See our guide to Monthly Travelcards for all other zones (2, 3, 4, 5 and 6)
Where to buy a Travelcard
One Day, Weekly and Monthly Travelcards can be purchased from a variety of places.
Any underground station ticket office or ticket machine
Oyster ticket stops
Oyster ticket stops are newsagents and local shops licensed to sell London transport tickets and Oyster cards (One Day Travelcards are not available from Oyster ticket stops). They’re useful places to buy Weekly or Monthly Travelcards, especially if you’re not near an underground/train station.
London train stations
One Day, Weekly or Monthly Travelcards are available from all London train stations. For Weekly and Monthly Travelcards, you need a passport-sized photo so they can make a photocard.
London Travel Information Centres
Travelcards can also be purchased at Transport for London’s Travel Information Centres at Liverpool St tube station, Piccadilly Circus tube station, Euston train station, Victoria train station and Heathrow Terminals 1,2,3 tube station.
How to use a Travelcard
On the Underground
If you have a paper Travelcard, insert the card into the slot on the front of the ticket barrier. The barrier will open when you take the ticket from behind the yellow reader, on the top.
On the Bus
If you have a paper Travelcard, just show it to the driver when boarding the bus.
See How to Use an Oyster Card if you have a weekly Travelcard on an Oyster card.
- London Transport tickets and passes – a quick guide to buying the best ticket for your stay
- Weekly & Monthly Travelcards for zones 2, 3, 4, 5 & 6
- Child tickets and passes
- London Transport zones
- London tube map
- Getting around London – How to use the underground
- Getting around London – How to use the buses
Last updated: 11 June 2013