The best way for London visitors to save on transport is to get an Oyster card – you can pick one up at any Tube station or order one online in advance. They bring the price of a single Tube fare in Zone 1 down from £4.90 to £2.30. You can also get the same reduced fares by using a contactless payment card. The prices are capped so the most you will pay in one day is £12.30, the same as a one-day Travelcard.
For short journeys it’s worth taking the bus rather than the Tube – the price is lower (£1.50 with an Oyster/contactless card, you can’t pay in cash any more) and you get a much better view. You can even use them as a cheaper alternative to a sightseeing bus by taking one of the routes that run past some of the city’s main sites – try the 88 (past Camden, Oxford Street, Piccadilly Circus, Trafalgar Square, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and over the Thames) or the 4 (past Waterloo, Somerset House, the Royal Courts of Justice, Fleet Street, St Paul’s Cathedral and the Barbican).
There are lots of companies running boat tours along the Thames, but the budget way to see London from the water is on the Thames Clipper river boat service. It’s a commuter service but runs along the same scenic stretch of river. Fares are calculated by zone and a single from the London Eye to Greenwich cost £8.70 for a cash fare or £6.50 with an Oyster card, or there’s a third off if you have a travelcard.
And finally if you’re feeling energetic you can hire a bike from the Santander Cycles (aka a Boris bike). You can pick them up from docking stations all around central London and they cost £2 to access the bikes for 24 hours then you can make as many journeys under 30 minutes as you like for free.
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