Arguably the most famous metro system in the world, the London Underground weaves its way through eleven lines under the streets of the capital. With its relative ease of use and clockwork efficiency (most of the time), The “Tube” as it is commonly known, transports Londoners and visitors along 402km of track through 270 stations. Yet despite its enormity, the London Underground is still only the 11th busiest metro system in the world.
Originally opened in 1863, the London Underground was the first underground, mass transit system on the planet. Its age can still be seen on some beautifully maintained, elegant stations which dot the network. The famous catch cry of “Mind The Gap” is heard all over the Tube. This simple phrase has become so popular that various “Mind The Gap” products are sold to tourists! Socks, t-shirts, you name it.
The London Underground For Visitors
So now, the important bit and probably the reason you are reading this article. How can a visitor effectively use the London Underground? Seems like a simple question although, without proper planning, a visitor to London can consume a big chunk of their travel budget on Tube fares alone! Believe me.
The one addition to your travel wallet that you CANNOT afford not to have, is the Oyster Card. Various incarnations of this are seen in most major cities around the world. It is a money-loadable, plastic card that can be used for travel. Failure to have this card and you are up for 4.80GBP per trip. Even if you only travel between two stations! This can quickly add up to an absurd amount of money over a couple of days sightseeing. And with London boasting plenty of cozy pubs serving the finest of English Ales, wouldn’t this money be better spent on a few pints?
How Do You Get An Oyster Card For The London Underground?
The Oyster Card or for tourists, the Visitor Oyster Card, may be pre bought and loaded before you travel and posted to you overseas or it may be purchased and loaded at major stations. As an example, 15GBP is enough to get you UNLIMITED travel for two days within the areas of London you are likely to ever need to get to.
It is 3GBP for the actual card which acts as a refundable deposit. To make it even better, Oyster Cards are valid on buses, Docklands Light Rail, and any National Rail services within the specific zone on top of its validity on the London Underground. A daily cap means you can travel non-stop all day for two days and never spend more than your initial 15GBP! So much better than one-way Tube fares don’t you think?
Hey, with all that money that you saved by purchasing an Oyster Card, you can get yourself a “Mind The Gap” beach towel……..