We arrive at LHR at 7 AM (Sat, 3/31). We have a couple sights we want to see that day that we'd like to use the 2 for 1 price vouchers on. I can purchase all my 1-day travelcards (I want to buy these for 3 days I think) and they will ship them to me in the US for a little over 4 pounds (total not per ticket). If I do this, does anyone know if they ship a paper ticket that is valid with the 2 for 1 offers? This is the site where I was going to purchase them: http://visitorshop.tfl.gov.uk/travelcards/off-peak-day/product/day-off-peak-travelcard.html How do I use my travelcard from Heathrow to London? I know I need an extension ticket, how much is that and where do I buy it? I know I can buy an Oyster card for my travel to and from London, but it seems like the extension ticket must be a few pounds cheaper. Plus I'd like to eliminate the step of getting to a train station as soon as we arrive in London and needing to turn in the Oystercard when we fly out of Heathrow. Am I making this too complicated and I should just get the Oystercard at Heathrow and get the paper ticket that I'm sure is correct? Our hotel is relatively near Victoria Coach station (which I think is the right kind of station to buy the paper ticket). We just have a short time in London and many of the sights close early. I hate to waste time tracking down the right ticket window, etc.
TFL (Transport for London) travelcards are NOT good for the 2-for-1 offers. You must buy paper travelcards with the National Rail logo on them at a National Rail station. You cannot buy them at Victoria coach station, but you can buy them at Victoria rail station. Take the Piccadilly Line from Heathrow to Hammersmith. Walk a few feet to the other side of the platform and take the District Line to Victoria. Go up to street level and you'll be in Victoria rail station. The cheapest way to to get from Heathrow to London and back again is to buy Oyster cards and load some pay-as-you-go pounds on them. I'm afraid that means you will have to allow time to turn them in when you return to Heathrow.
Whether you decide on using an Oyster travelcard or a paper one, you will need to buy separate tickets from Heathrow to the edge of your Travelcard validity, or, if you are using the Piccadilly Line, use an Oyster card and charge it with money as well as the Travelcard (you can't use Oyster in any way on the Heathrow Express or Connect trains to Paddington). Using Oyster should be cheaper than buying a specific separate ticket. I don't know if you mean anything special by "extension ticket" - it sounds like a reference to the old ludicrously complicated system for paying to travel beyond your Travelcard zone on suburban rail which does not exist any more.
I agree with the above. Do not buy your Travelcards online because they will not be valid for the 2for 1 offers. The paper Travelcard you need is available only at National Rail stations. You cannot buy it at Heathrow. You can, however, get an Oyster card at Heathrow or online, and load pay-as-you-go (PAYG) money on it. Do not load a Travelcard onto your Oyster card because it is not the Travelcard that can be used for 2 for 1 discounts. The TfL (Transport for London) website uses the term "extension fare" when talking about National Rail journeys. This doesn't pertain to your situation. Since you are buying your cards daily, simply buy a Travelcard that covers the zones you will be traveling to that day. For example, most days you will only need a Zone 1-2 Travelcard because most London tourist attractions are in Zone 1. If you go to Hampton Court Palace, buy a Zone 1-6 Travelcard. Here's a link to a map that shows where to buy National Rail Travelcards. Click on the station name for additional info: http://goo.gl/9vghc Victoria has tube and rail ticket offices. Make sure you go to the right one to get a ticket with the National Rail "crow's foot" logo. Since you don't want to hassle with Oyster cards, you could simply buy single fare tickets to and from the airport and use your 1-day National Rail Travelcards the rest of the time for rail, tube, and buses. Single fare tickets from Heathrow to London are only a half-pound more than peak time fares using an Oyster PAYG, so you're only spending an extra 80 cents. http://goo.gl/YHrkT Scroll down to see the fare comparisons. If however, you plan to use the tube or buses on days you are not using Travelcards, an Oyster PAYG will definitely save you money.
Thank you so much for all the advice. We will just get an Oyster card at Heathrow. Thanks Tim for the tip on how to get to Victoria Rail station. I think our hotel is within walking distance, so that should actually work out well without needing to go out of the way.
Jennifer have you used Google Maps? If you know the address of your hotel you can find out just how close your hotel is from Victoria station. Use the satellite image option AND if given the street view option use it and get an POV of your neighborhood. Public transportation in London is a breeze. It's also a very walkable city. Have a great trip.
I have. I actually made myself a custom map with our hotel and all the sights we want to visit, restaurants, etc. But I think I was getting confused between the different stations with "Victoria" in the name. Victoria tube station, Victoria Coach Station, etc. I know I can walk to both of those, but I wasn't sure if there was a third rail station in addition since I know (I think) that not all tube stations are National Rail Stations. I'm sure this will make more since when we're there. We do easily navigate the subways in NYC.
We will just get an Oyster card at Heathrow If you are "we" you will need one Oyster card for each person. You can't put both or more journeys at a time onto one card. If you use a paper Travelcard you feed it into the gate on the front and collect it as you go through when it spits it up towards you on the top. Its been so many years now that I've not used a paper ticket in the Underground I had to think back how they work. It is so last century. If using the Oyster just tap it on the big yellow reader as you go through the gate. You don't need to take it out of its holder, or whatever you store it in. You then tap on the one to get out when you leave the system. If using the card or the old fashioned paper ticket or travelcard you MUST complete the journey by using the gate. Make sure you collect the Travelcard each time or somebody else will have your travel. Most causes of lost tickets or Travelcards is failing to take them from the gate.
Thanks Nigel. We are old-fashioned then I guess. :)