Knowing how much cost is involved when travelling to London with children


Often navigating through the various means of public transportation and the tickets and rates you are entitled to is a difficult and demanding procedure, especially in a busy city like London.

However, by knowing a little more information than your average traveller, you can easily understand child entitlements and how much fares should set you back so that you can enjoy travelling around the city. Make advance bookings for your comfortable stay at Luxury Hotels for Families in the city to enjoy your vacations at it’s best.

Children aged 5 years and under

It is simplest explained in age bands, so if you are travelling with a child who is under 5, then you won’t need to concern yourself with purchasing child tickets, as upto four children can travel free providing you have purchased one full price accompanying adult ticket. Although on the London underground and DLR lines, the stations have automatic ticket barriers where a ticket needs to be inserted to allow you to pass through. Since your children won’t have a ticket, you’ll need to alert a member of staff at the barriers who will then allow your children and yourself through.

Children aged between 5 and 10 years old

The same rules also apply for children aged between 5 and 10 years old. However, a child in this age bracket travelling alone, must possess an oyster photo card in able to obtain free travel. The oyster photo card is available online and if you are a Londoner will take up to 2 weeks to arrive. If you live outside of London, the photo card can take up to four weeks to arrive, so please make sure you plan ahead and order them in plenty of time should you think your child may need one. You’ll also need to factor in when making travel plans, that the oyster photo card must be collected from one of the visitor information centres in London. It’s worth knowing that Oyster photo cards are not sent to your home address so remember to collect yours if ordered, once you arrive and before travelling around the city to avoid having to pay full price fares.

Children under the age of 11 can also travel free of charge on London buses and trams. London’s urban railways have slightly different rules, where children under 5 years old can travel free and children under 11 can get a child fare at half the price of a full adult’s rate.

Travelling with an 11-15 year old

If you are travelling with a child between the ages of 11 and 15, then there is a scheme that has been set up especially for you to avoid the hassle of ordering oyster photo cards which are costly (£10 per child) and a bit of a pain to set up. It’s called the young visitors discount and it can be available for up to four children travelling with you.

The only snag is that you have to be present together to register it for the first time, but there is no set up cost and the scheme works on a standard pay as you go oyster card.

Another thing to remember with this scheme is that child fares, which are currently capped at half the adult price, are only available for up to fourteen days, after which the card will automatically adjust to charge adult rates. The young visitors discount can only be set up at tube stations in zone 1 or travel information centres, so note that they are not available at just any tube or rail station.

The best way to get around having to use a young visitors discount or oyster photo card is simply to purchase a one day child travel card which doesn’t require an oyster photo card, however purchasing a seven day travel card will.

Limited discounts available to those 16+

At 16, you are classed as an adult in the UK so to get any form of discounted ticket, you should apply for the oyster 16+ card, which is similar to the 11-15 cards, but you won’t be able to purchase a one day travel card with it.

If you are aged 18 or over and in full time education at a London establishment that is registered under it, it is possible that you could get a 30% discount on full priced tickets and fares. However, this is only available for students who are both studying and residing in London. Check with your education provider for more details and to see if they are registered with the scheme, as not all universities are.