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Fall travel in London

Hello all,
My wife and I and our two boys are visiting London this fall, and we have two questions for frequent visitors to London or other experts on this forum.
Q1. We are scheduled to arrive early afternoon on a Sunday, and are staying at a hotel a short walk from King's Cross/St. Pancras. From a comfort and convenience standpoint, would it make more sense to take the Piccadilly line from Heathrow to King's Cross or use the Blackberry car service? We will have just checked through customs after a 11-hour overnight flight and each of us will have a small, carry-on suitcase and backpack.
Q2. We will be in London for 7 days and plan to utilize the tube and bus routes to get around. I was leaning towards the Oyster Card but cannot ascertain the benefit of this vs. going contactless with a credit card and having the caps in place. On that latter point, is it fair to assume that I can use the same credit card for all four of us each time we access the public transit network?
Thanks in advance!

Posted by
15717 posts

Q1--it's your choice. The tube is a direct shot with no changes. Very easy to use.

Q2--the daily cap is in place for all types of payment

Q2a--each person must have their own form of contactless payment. However. If you use Apple Pay/Google Pay, while each must have their own device, they can be tied to the same credit card.

Posted by
5688 posts

Q1: I think taking the tube is easy, but I don’t travel with kids. Your post sounds as though you think the car service will be preferable for your group. Go with your preference.

Q2. You cannot use the same physical card. Each individual must have their own. If your kids are 10 or under, they travel free when accompanied by an adult and don’t need a card.

The disadvantage of an Oyster card is the 7 GBP fee which is not refundable. You also have to load funds on it at a machine. A potential advantage of the Oyster card is that you can load a weekly travel card that starts on the day of your choice which can make a difference depending on your arrival date. The weekly cap for contactless is based on Monday to Sunday. It probably doesn’t matter in your case, particularly when you factor in the 7 GBP fee. I also like the Oyster because I don’t have to pull my credit card out every time I get on or off the tube.

Posted by
11 posts

Yes, I would have definitely taken the tube if it were just me traveling, but I’m leaning towards the car service since this is the first overnight flight of that length for the family. And regarding Q2, both boys are just above 10, so it sounds like they will need their individual forms of payment for transit. Many thanks.

Posted by
1196 posts

Google children on the tube for all the information you need.

You can get a young visitors Oyster card for your children that will give them 50% off fares. You’ll be able to get this at Kings Cross.

Just use a tap card or your phone for the adults. There is no benefit to using Oyster.

Posted by
11 posts

Thank you Helen. For some reason, I missed that section of the TFL site. Yes, that is probably the best approach - the discounted Young Visitors card for the boys, while my wife and I can use our individual contactless cards. Thanks again.

Posted by
8883 posts

For comfort and convenience I’d use a car service.

It’s immigration you will go through not customs. Can take a long time.

Will all depend on how many flights deplane at the same time and the number of staff on hand. I’ve done it at a 2pm arrival in 20 minutes and an hour and a half.

Check in, refresh, then head to the nearest tube station to obtain Oyster cards for the boys.

Off you go.

EDIT: Isabella Gardens at Kew Gardens is lovely in the Fall.

Posted by
11 posts

Thanks, and yes, immigration and not customs. Thanks for the Kew Gardens suggestion. We will see if we can fit that into our itinerary. Seven days already seems too short!