Best Pass for London Attractions? Why You Need an Oyster Card

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You will want to determine the best pass for London attractions for your family once you start exploring London attractions and planning your family vacation.

Once you start exploring London attractions and planning your family vacation, you’ll learn about a variety of passes that are redeemable throughout the city. There are transportation passes, discount passes, and attraction passes. Some allow you to bundle attractions for a slight discount while others give you access to 50 or more attractions for one set price.

How do you decide on the best pass for London attractions that appeal to your family? Like most things travel related, it’s a personal decision that each traveler must make while in the trip planning phase. We’re going to make that decision a bit easier for you by revealing some of the best options, starting with the Oyster Card for affordable London transportation.

What is an Oyster Card? Is it the Best Pass for London Attractions?


The Oyster Card is a smart card that allows you to travel on the following public transportation networks in London:

  • London Underground, also known as The Tube
  • London red local buses
  • Docklands Light Railway, also known as DLR
  • Greater London railway
  • Heathrow Express
  • London to/from Gatwick Airport trains

You connect a credit or debit card to your Oyster Card and top up the funds throughout your London visit. Each time you enjoy a journey on one of those transportation networks, the appropriate fares are deducted from your balance.

You use the Oyster Card by waving it over payment stations when boarding a bus or train. It’s a touchless payment system that keeps your family safe from the transfer of germs while speeding up the transportation process.

Why You Need an Oyster Card in London

There are so many reasons to get an Oyster Card as soon as you arrive in London. For starters, it will save you a lot of money. You will pay up to 50% more for individual tickets on the Tube when you buy one-time tickets before boarding. Rates are discounted for all Oyster Card users, and you may benefit from the daily cap on fares.

The Oyster Card will also save you a lot of time. You won’t have to stop at each station of the Tube to buy tickets for each member of your family. Simply wave your card at the start of each journey and keep on moving. Topping off each card with a credit or debit card is also fast, and that allows you to control your transportation costs if you’re traveling on a budget.

You can also use this pass to access a variety of transportation methods. You don’t need separate cards for bus routes and railways. Buy one card and switch between transportation routes as needed.

What About the London Travelcard?

The London Travelcard works much like the Oyster Card, but it’s slightly more complicated. Rather than using your card whenever needed and paying as you go, you buy cards that are good for a certain number of days at specific times of the day.

The Day Anytime pass allows you to travel for one day, from starting your journey up to 4:30 a.m. the following day. The Day Off-Peak pass allows you to travel during set hours (i.e. outside designated busy periods, hence the name ‘Off-Peak’) for one day only. You can also purchase 7-day pass that gives you access to transportation for a full week.

The Oyster Card is more popular than the Travelcard because it’s simpler and more cost-effective.

Other London Passes You Need:

The Oyster Card allows you to easily use London’s public transportation systems, but what other passes will you need for a comfortable and affordable London vacation? There are many that you might consider worthwhile, but we recommend the London Pass for all families traveling London with kids.  

The London Pass is a discount card that allows you to buy one card and access more than 80 attractions and points of interest. You can also get discounts at some of the best restaurants and entertainment venues throughout the city.

This pass works much like the Oyster Card. You display the card when you arrive at an attraction that participates in the promotion and receive fast, free entry. Some attractions also allow you to receive fast track entry, which means you skip the line and go straight inside. That can save you just as much time as you will save money by the end of your trip.

Finding the Best London Passes and Discounts

The Oyster Card and London Pass will get you to most London attractions with affordable entry. If you want to visit some attractions that aren’t included in the London Pass promotion, you should check for discounts online. Many attractions allow you to book your tickets online and receive a discount. Others offer 2-for-1 deals or bundled deals that give you entry into multiple attractions.

There are a lot of discounts designed to grab the attention of tourists, but you may not need much more than an Oyster Card and London Pass. 

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