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How to Get A Zip Card If You Want Free London Travel For Kids

March 6, 2020

Here’s How To Get A Zip Card And Free London Travel For Kids

Here’s how to get a child’s Zip card, which means kids over five can travel for free in London

Want to know how kids over five can travel for free in London? Easy – apply for a Zipcard, or Zip Oyster card. Here’s how.

Want Free Travel For Your Kids In London?

While babies and children under five can travel for free across London transport, did you know that as soon as your child hits five you need to pay for them travel on some modes of transport in London – unless you apply for a travel card, otherwise known as a Zipcard?

Bugaboo Bee 5 buggy in London

A lot of people don’t know this! It’s worth having a London kid’s railcard / Zipcard to access free transport in London for kids if you live in or near London, or travel in an out a lot (lots of people we know would never drive into central London, for example).

And as the mum of two tall girls, I can confirm that their ages will be checked in London train stations on train services in to London. And inevitably, children will tell the truth when asked!

It seems like yesterday that I was writing a post on how to get a baby on board badge, and giving advice on how to use London’s public transport with a pram. now the babies are all grown up *sob*. Well, not quite…

So..what do you need to do?

Want Free Travel? Apply for a 5-10 ZipCard.

  • If you apply for a 5-10 ZipCard for your child, it means between the ages of 5-10 they can travel for free throughout London.
  • For older children there is also the child travel card 11-15 for those aged between 11-15
  • Having the cards means they can tap in and out of the Oyster barriers in stations, and also on busses, which a) makes travelling around a lot easier and b) is lots of fun.

Where Can Children Travel For Free In London With The Zip Oyster Card?

How to get a zip card - 5-11 oyster for kids, free London travel for children
  • On the Tube
  • The DLR
  • London Overground
  • TFL Rail Services and National Rail Services inside the London transport zones that accept touch and go payment (this is the big one for us, as we are in zone five use these trains to get in and out of central London).
  • It also gives you a discount on the Clipper boat services and the Emirates Air Line.

Where Can Children Travel For Free In London Without A Card?

  • You don’t need a travel card for buses or trams
  • You also don’t need one for when children are travelling accompanied by adults on the Tube, DLR, London Overground and TFL Rail.

How To Apply For Your Child’s Zip Travel Card: Zip Card Application

how to get a zip travel card - free London travel for children
  • Take a digital, passport-style head shot of your child (the guidelines aren’t as strict as for passport photos though, it just needs to be a reasonable likeness)
  • To process the application, parents need to set up an online account with TFL here.
  • You’ll need to pay a one-off admin fee of £15 per card.
  • Via the account, you can apply for the card. Once you’ve applied, as long as your application is approved it should arrive in about a week.

More questions you might have about applying:

How much does a Zip Card cost?

  • You pay a one-off payment of a £15 admin fee, then that’s it.

What happens if my child loses their Zip card?

  • You can apply for a replacement Zip card using your online TFL account, and they should send a new one out.

How long does a Zip card last?

  • The 5-10 Zip travel card lasts until their 11th birthday, when you’ll need to apply for a 11-15 Zip Oyster card. Once they are 16, you’ll need to apply for the 16+ card.

What happens if I forget my child’s Zip travel card when travelling in London?

  • It depends! Occasionally they will let you through the barriers. Or you might need to pay for a child’s ticket.

The best places for children to go in London with your Zipcard

Once your child has a Zipcard, go to one of these brilliant places in London:

Make sure you’re following me on Instagram for more of our London-based adventures…

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