An unlimited pass for all your public transport journeys in London. Choose your zones and the duration, and travel as much as you want.

A Travelcard is a transport pass that gives you unlimited journeys on all London public transport. That includes the Tube, buses, DLR, London Overground, trams, and National Rail Services in the city.

London Travelcard
1-day Travelcards are printed on paper, while multi-day Travelcards need to be loaded on Oyster cards.

What is a Travelcard?

Travelcards are all-inclusive transport passes for London Transport, and they come in different duration options (1 day, 7 days, 1 month, 1 year, or even a custom period of any length between 1½ and 10½ months).

Travelcards also have several zone validities, but the one you are most likely to use is the zone 1-2 Travelcard, since this is where you’ll be spending the overwhelming majority of your time as a tourist. If you have a zone 1-2 Travelcard you can also use buses anywhere in London, regardless of the zone in which you are.

Many visitors get confused between Travelcards and Oyster cards, but the difference is quite simple. The Travelcard is a transport subscription, an unlimited pass, while the Oyster card is simply a physical support for travel credit. You can load any credit on an Oyster card and decide to use it for pay-as-you-go travel in the city, or you can also load a Travelcard on the Oyster.

In fact, you will need an Oyster card to load your weekly (or monthly or annual) Travelcard onto. On the other hand, if you get a daily Travelcard, it will be printed on a paper ticket.

If you want to know more about the Oyster card, its prices, and its benefits, you will find everything you need in our dedicated article.

How to use a Travelcard

Using a Travelcard on public transport in London is very easy. All you have to do it is have one Travelcard per person and make sure that it is valid before approaching the gates at an Underground station or when getting on the bus.

All you have to do is tap your card at the start of your journey and tap it again when exiting at your arrival station. Tapping upon exit is not necessary on bus or tram journeys. At Underground stations, the entrance gates have yellow card readers, while the readers on buses are usually by the driver’s cabin.

For the purposes of ticket validity, each day is considered to start at 4:30 am and end at 4:29 am the following day. This means that a weekly Travelcard activated on Monday will be valid until the following Monday at 4:29 am (the night going from Sunday to Monday).

Prices and fares are calculated on the basis of the zone system.

Zone system in London

For the purpose of public transport pricing, London is divided into 9 concentric zones. The first important thing to know about these zones is that the most central zones, where the majority of the attractions and monuments can be found, are zones 1 and 2. These are the areas of the inner city where you will likely spend the majority of your time as a tourist. Here are some important sites you can find outside zone 1 and 2.

Another important thing to note about these zones is that while the London Rails and Underground system (which includes the Tube, the DLR, and Overground) respond to this zone system in terms of pricing, London buses do not.

This means that even though London buses operate throughout the 9 zones, bus journeys always cost the same, no matter how many zones you travel through. It also means you can take a bus anywhere in London if you have a zone 1-2 Travelcard.

How much is a Travelcard?

The cost of a Travelcard is determined by its duration and zone validity. You also need to take into consideration that different Travelcards need to be loaded on different supports.

While a day-Travelcard is printed on a paper ticket, all other Travelcards (weekly, monthly, and annual) need to be loaded on an Oyster card which costs £7.00 (non-refundable).

There is no real 1-day Travelcard for zones 1-2 (or 1-3, for that matter). To cover those areas with a daily Travelcard you need to buy a zone 1-4 Travelcard, which costs £15.20. We do not recommend it, instead, you could use the pay-as-you-go service on Oyster or contactless.

7-day Travelcards, on the other hand, are much more convenient, costing £40.70 for zones 1-2, where you are most likely to spend your time as a visitor. In the following table, you can find the cost of all Travelcard subscriptions.

Zones 1-2
Zones 1-3
Zones 1-4
Zones 1-5
Zones 1-6
Zones 1-7
Zones 1-8
Zones 1-9
Duration 1 day 7-day 1 month 1 year
Zones 1-2 n/a £40.70 £156.30 £1,628.00
Zones 1-3 n/a £47.90 £184.00 £1,916.00
Zones 1-4 £15.20 £58.50 £224.70 £2,340
Zones 1-5 n/a £69.60 £267.30 £2,784.00
Zones 1-6 £21.50(£15.20 if off-peak*) £74.40 £285.70 £2,976.00
Zones 1-7 n/a £76.50 £293.80 £3,060.00
Zones 1-8 n/a £90.30 £346.80 £3,612.00
Zones 1-9 £25.70(£16.20 if off-peak*) £100.20 £384.80 £4,008.00

*Off-peak Travelcards are only valid for travel on Saturdays, Sundays, and Monday to Friday between 09:31 am and 3:59 pm, and from 7:01 pm to 06:29 am when using the Underground.

Paper Travelcards (only 1-day Travelcards) can be bought from any London Underground ticket machine or office (this includes all Tube, DLR, Overground, and National Rail stations) or at Visitor Centres .

As for all other Travelcards (weekly, monthly, and annual), you can reload them at any Underground station (they have automatic ticket machines), at Visitor Centres , at some DLR stations, at Oyster Ticket Stops in London newsagents, or through the TfL Oyster app. If you have a UK bank account, you can simply reload your Travelcard online by logging into your Oyster account.

If you need to get an Oyster card onto which you can load your Travelcard, you can get one in all Tube and London Overground stations, at an Oyster Ticket Stop at a London newsagent, at Visitor Centres , and in some DLR stations.

Our recommendations

There is also a second type of Oyster card, called a Visitor Oyster card, which can be bought in advance online or outside of London at select selling points. Do not buy the Visitor Oyster card, as it cannot be loaded with a Travelcard. The Visitor Oyster can only be used for pay-as-you services.

If you want to know more about the Oyster card and pay-as-you-go options, read our dedicated article.

Is buying a Travelcard in London worth it?

This depends on how long you will stay in London. Essentially, if you are in London for around a week, the Travelcard is absolutely worth it and much cheaper than all other transport options. If, on the other hand, you are in London for 5 days or less, it is better to use a pay-as-you-go system with a contactless payment method or an Oyster card.

In the table below, you can find a comparison of daily and weekly Travelcard prices and corresponding caps on pay-as-you-go fares. As you can see, there is no real 1-day Travelcard for zones 1-2 (or 1-3). To cover those areas with a daily Travelcard you would need to buy a zone 1-4 Travelcard, which costs £15.20. We do not recommend this, since the pay-as-you-go daily cap Oyster and contactless for zones 1-2 is only £8.10.

The weekly Travelcard instead, has the same price as the weekly cap on pay-as-you-go, which is £40.70 for zones 1-2 (only valid for contactless payment methods, not for Oyster cards). The advantage of the weekly Travelcard is that it applies to a natural week rather than a calendar week (Wednesday through the following Tuesday, for example).

On the other hand, the pay-as-you-go weekly cap on contactless payment methods can only be applied from Monday to Sunday. Therefore, if you are in London in between weeks (Thursday to the following Wednesday, for example), getting a Travelcard can save you quite a bit of money.

CardDuration Travelcard1 day Travelcard7-day Cap1-day Cap1-week
1-2 n/a £40.70 £8.10 £40.70
1-3 n/a £47.90 £9.60 £47.90
1-4 £15.20 £58.50 £11.70 £58.50
1-5 n/a £69.60 £13.90 £69.60
1-6 £21.50 £74.40 £14.90 £74.40
1-7 n/a £76.50 £15.30 £76.50
1-8 n/a £90.30 £18.10 £90.30
1-9 £25.70 £100.20 £20.00 £100.20

TfL Oyster and contactless app

The TfL Oyster and contactless app is a free app that helps you manage your London transport cards.

With it, you can renew your Travelcard and load it on your Oyster, check your journey history, and even top up your pay-as-you-go credit on your Oyster card or load Bus & Tram passes on it.

Download the TfL Oyster and contactless app for iOS

Download the TfL Oyster and contactless app for Android

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