Planning a trip to London?
My family recently returned from our first trip to London, England. We wanted to experience all of the popular attractions, and become more familiar with this famous city. I was delighted when The London Pass provided my family with 2-Day London Passes, because it’s an easy way to see London’s top attractions.
We learned a lot by using The London Pass – especially what NOT to do! Read on to learn about my big mistake, and get tips for getting the most for your time and money with The London Pass.
How it works
The London Pass is basically one ticket that will get you into dozens of London’s most popular attractions, including:
- The Tower of London
- Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour
- Westminster Abbey
- St. Paul’s Cathedral
- Windsor Castle
- Churchill War Rooms
- London Zoo
- And many more
Start by selecting the number of consecutive days you want to use the pass – 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10. You can purchase the pass at www.londonpass.com or at many locations in London. We picked up physical cards and a guidebook near Leicester Square, which was handy for our family. If you buy online, you can use the mobile ticket option for free.
I made the mistake of thinking that we could use The London Pass on non-consecutive days, and didn’t realize my error until after we activated our pass. We already had matinee tickets to Wicked on the second day, and were only able to use our London Pass for a day and a half before it expired. We missed some attractions we would have enjoyed and didn’t get the full value out of our pass.
Don’t let this happen to you! Plan your itinerary around your London Pass for however long you have it. Don’t buy more consecutive days than you will use.
One of the best features of The London Pass is its convenience and flexibility. Rather than standing in line at ticket booths, or purchasing advance tickets from multiple websites, you can purchase The London Pass once for a set price and use it everywhere. Purchase early because it’s good for a year, and will not be activated until you use it at your first attraction.
How much will you save?
Whether or not you save money with The London Pass depends on how many attractions you visit in the time allowed. The official website offers suggested itineraries and ways that you can save 30-50%. The website regularly offers discounts on the pass too.
Review the list of attractions. Honestly evaluate how many you want to do, and how many you would do each day. Factor in the convenience and flexibility of The London Pass. Then do the math to see whether purchasing The London Pass or individual admissions will be the best option for your family. Use prices from the attraction’s official website rather than the price quoted on The London Pass website. Child and family rates will be lower.
Because of my mistake with the consecutive days, the cost of our London Passes was greater than the cost of the individual activities – but not by much. If we had used that half day, we would have visited another fun attraction or two. That would have covered the difference, and then some.
More Tips for using The London Pass
Download The London Pass mobile app in advance and set up your account, so you don’t lose any time. I regularly received discounted offers for other London activities through the app. I liked having my physical London Pass on a lanyard, but found the app easier to use than the paper guidebook.
Consider adding an Oyster Card for the London Underground to your London Pass for the same price as buying it separately. Public transportation will make it easy for you to get from one attraction to the next. Keep in mind that kids under age 12 can ride the Underground for free.
Skip the lines with Fast Track Entry at some attractions. You do not need to commit to any attractions in advance. You can visit any or all of them, any time the pass is valid.
Save free activities for another day. These may include the British Museum, British Library, St James’s Park and others. Plan your itinerary around The London Pass attractions for the days it will be active.
Full-day activities located outside the city, like Hampton Court Palace, aren’t usually the best choice for a 1 or 2-Day London Pass. Admission costs less than the pass. However, your cost per day for London Pass goes down as you add days, so enjoy full-day activities with a 6 or 10-day pass.
Is it a good option for kids?
Kids ages 5-15 qualify for the child price. Kids under age 5 are free. The London Pass offers a wide variety of attractions to accommodate many different interests.
I find that my kids (ages 14 and 11) have a short attention span at some attractions. They don’t always like the same places I do, so we have to compromise. The London Pass allows you to spend as much or as little time as you like at any attraction, and then move on to the next for one set price.
You can also divide and conquer. If older kids want to visit the Churchill War Rooms with one parent while younger kids visit the London Zoo with another parent, you can easily do that with The London Pass, without buying separate admissions.
Our favorite attractions
Here are the attractions my family enjoyed with The London Pass.
The Tower of London – The Tower of London was a hit with every member of my history-loving family. More so than I expected. A few high-tech exhibits have recently been introduced, and they are fun for kids. The Crown Jewels are another must-see exhibit at the Tower of London. This is one of the most popular London Pass attractions.
Big Bus Tour – You have a choice between two hop-on hop-off tour bus companies with The London Pass. We picked Big Bus. You get one full day of hop-on hop-off privileges with both options. You can hop on anywhere on the route, and activate your pass that way.
The Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is the most expensive option on The London Pass, and it can double as your transportation for one full day, so it’s a great choice. We rode without hopping off for a couple of hours, which was nice, but perhaps not the most efficient use of The London Pass.
Westminster Abbey – This gorgeous gothic cathedral was everything I hoped and more. It’s right across the street from the Churchill War Rooms, and we got right in with The London Pass. Westminster Abbey is still a place of worship. It is also the final resting place of many kings and queens, as well as other prominent historical figures.
St. Paul’s Cathedral – This cathedral is newer than Westminster Abbey, and just as grand. I really enjoyed exploring with the audio guide, which is included. Your ticket allows you to climb to the dome galleries and walk downstairs to the crypt. It’s the final resting place of Lord Wellington, Lord Nelson, Christopher Wren, and other figures from history.
Churchill War Rooms – This museum is one of the hottest tickets in London right now, and it’s included with The London Pass. Unfortunately, you can’t skip the line here, but we arrived first thing in the morning and didn’t wait too long. The actual rooms where Churchill directed Britain’s strategy in World War II have been decorated to look like they did in the 1940’s. There is also an interesting section about Churchill’s life.
Hampton Court Palace – Hampton Court was built during the reign of Henry VIII, and sections were used by other kings since. There are interesting things to do and see inside and out, and the exhibits are well done. There is a hedge maze and a large play area for kids. Hampton Court was one of my favorite London activities, but it’s a few miles outside the city and we spent a full day there. We paid for Hampton Court Palace separately. I’d use The London Pass only with the 6 or 10-day option.
The London Pass can help your family see a lot of London’s popular attractions for one set price. It’s convenient and flexible. To learn more, visit the official website at www.londonpass.com. It’s filled with helpful information.
Disclosure: The London Pass provided my family with four 2-Day passes for the purpose of review. All opinions are my own.