London is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Home to numerous famous landmarks and tourist attractions, such as Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, the Tower of London, and many more besides, there’s so much to do in London that one day simply isn’t enough.
Many people looking for a true London experience will book a city break in this fabulous city, giving them more time to fit everything in which they would like to do, without having to rush. Because London is so vast, travelling around the city can be time-consuming, not to mention expensive.
If you’re visiting London and wish to travel using public transport, an Oyster Card is essential. But what exactly is an Oyster Card, where can they be purchased, and what are they for? Let’s find out, shall we? Here are 5 things to know about Oyster Cards.
What Is An Oyster Card?
No, an Oyster Card isn’t a card made from shellfish, nor is it a type of currency accepted in a seafood restaurant. An Oyster Card is in fact for travel.
Oyster Cards are blue, debit card-sized smart cards used as payment methods for public transport around London.
Used for travelling on busses, the Tube, trams, London Overground, DLR, most TfL (Transport for London) rail, and more besides, these cards are perfect for anybody planning on utilizing public transport to explore the many sights and attractions of London.
Where Can I Buy An Oyster Card?
If you’re looking to purchase an Oyster Card, you can buy them online, at Oyster ticket shops, stations, or at TfL visitor centres.
How Much Is An Oyster Card?
Typical visitor Oyster Cards cost just £5 and are pre-loaded with credit which can be spent as you go, on travel around London.
You can then credit your card and top it up as much as you like, so whether it’s £5 or £100, you top up and that’s your travel sorted. Best of all is the fact that the credit never expires, so even if you don’t plan on visiting London for another year, or ten years, when you do eventually head back, the credit on your Oyster Card will still be there and ready to use.
Oyster Card Travel Prices
Unless you happen to be making just one single journey on London’s public transport, it makes sense economically, to purchase an Oyster Card to save money.
A single London Underground journey in the centre of London costs more than double the price of how much the same journey would cost if you had possession of an Oyster Card.
So, unless you enjoy spending more money than you have to, an Oyster Card will prove very cost-efficient indeed.
Why ‘Oyster Card’?
Contrary to popular belief, Oyster Cards didn’t just get their names because of the phrase ‘The World is Your Oyster’, though this was a factor.
The main reason that they are in fact called Oyster Cards, is because Oysters are protected and kept secure with a hard shell (security) with a pearl inside (travel freedom).
Some people also believe that the oyster beds of the River Thames also played a role in the naming, as these were very London-y.