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Which station to buy travelcard

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Sydney, Australia
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Which station to buy travelcard

We're a group of 3 planning to visit London for 8 days and we've booked accommodation near South Kensington station. We'll be buying a 7 day travel pass and we'll be buying the paper card version to take advantage of the 2 for 1 offers.

I was wondering from which station we should be buying the paper card. I know you can't buy it at Heathrow so where's the closest overground station to South Kensington to buy it?

I'm also interested if someone would let me know the most cost effective way to buy the paper card, ie, should I buy a 1 way ticket from Heathrow to South Kensington, drop off our luggage, and buy another 1 way ticket to the closest overground station to buy the paper card? Or should I think of buying the Oyster in lieu of the two 1 way tickets?

London
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1. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

Your most convenient National Rail stations for South Kensington would probably be the main line termini at Victoria or Paddington.

What you could do on your first day is buy one-day travelcards at Heathrow, after 09.30 these cost £8.90 each. These aren't valid for the 2FOR1 offers but will at least get you into London and take care of your travel for the first day. Whilst out and about you could pop in to any of the National Rail main line terminal stations and sort out your travelcards, just ask for them to start from the following day. Don't forget that each person needs to supply a passport-sized photo when buying the 7-day travecards.

Bingley, United...
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2. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

Victoria which is a National Rail station not an Overground station

Do ensure you buy from the train station and not the Tube station

UK
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3. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

See the blue hyperlinked "railstations" here tripadvisor.com/Travel-g186338-c195600/Londo…

Its slightly cheaper to get an oyster but its more hassle in terms of buying one, adding money, and then reclaiming the deposit when done. Not sure I'd bother especially if only one or two of you head off to buy the travelcards, just take all the photos with you.

Or why not one person goes to get the travel cards, whilst the other two deal with the luggage?

Or all go straight to a rail station, say Victoria, thus only buying one ticket, get your cards, then head back to accommodation on the railcards? Do you arrive at a time when the accommodation is open anyway? Might you need to use up some time?

London, England
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4. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

Victoria Railway Station is only two stops on the Circle or the District tube lines from South Kensington so it might be your best bet for the travel cards. Make certain you go upstairs to buy your cards from the rail station.

You will come in on the Piccadilly line but all 3 lines go through South Kensington.

The travel card you want is for zones 1 & 2 although you can buy extensions for travel beyond zone 2.

For the round trips to Heathrow it might be worth getting Oyster cards and putting some pay as you go money on them for those trips as well as travel on the 8th day and the trip to Victoria. The deposit is refundable, but leave enough time to stand in the queue to get the refund. (Or come back to London another time. The Oyster card is good indefinitely and can even be "revived" if you are away more than 2 years)

For the "odd man out" in your trio, the travel card could be put on the Oyster card for convenience.

Edited: 24 March 2014, 12:44
Sydney, Australia
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5. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

Thanks everyone for your help. I better get out the calculator to see what's the most cost-effective option! It seems from everyone's comments that we don't need 3 people present to buy 3 paper tickets - I thought we had to possibly because of security reasons.

I should add that my plane lands on a Friday morning at 5.30am. I imagine by the time we get on the tube, we'll hit the beginning of peak hour, so both from a cost and stress point of view, is it worth it to hang around the airport until after 9.30am to get off-peak fares? The earliest we can check in is 11am or midday so even if we get to South Kensington early it's simply an opportunity to offload our luggage.

Also, for those who have waited in the queue for the Oyster refund, how long is it - ie, 10 minutes, 30 minutes or an hour?

Finally, @joeintheuk, re the option of say all 3 going from Heathrow to Victoria to buy the rail tickets, would you know whether there will be many steps to negotiate? I'll be travelling with my mum who isn't great with her luggage, so I suspect I'll need to be lifting 2 heavy pieces of luggage - the less stairs the better!

Wales, United...
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6. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

If I were in your shoes I wouldn't rush to get into central London. Get a coffee and a bit of breakfast once you have got through immigration and collected your bags. Take it easy, and then buy a Travelcard from the Underground ticket hall for that day. This will get you to South Ken to drop your bags off, and can be used for the rest of that first day

So, on that first day, just don't go anywhere that you want to use the 2-4-1's. Get to know your local area, and maybe hit one or two of the free museums. Or just ride around on a few buses tog et your bearings.

One (or all) of you can go to Victoria later on and get the 7 day Travelcards to start the next day, then you are good to go for the 2-4-1's for the rest of your stay!

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7. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

Agreed given your timings I'd sit down and have a coffee and get an off peak one day ticket and head into Earls Court to drop off luggage (I missed you were here for 8 days, sorry). Then you might as well all head off for a bit of light sightseeing and pick up the 7 day paper cards on the way. (don't forget the photos you need)

On your last day you can get an extension ticket out to Heathrow to add onto your card. Or you might just think its worth the money to pay about £35 for a pre booked taxi to the airport.

Sydney, Australia
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8. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

With the photos, is it ok if they are printed on normal paper or will they need to be printed on photo quality paper?

9. Re: Which station to buy travelcard

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