* Prices may differ from that shown
I live in Yorkshire which is quite a way north of London. In fact when we visit our capital we usually treat it as a holiday, a city break, much as we would if we were to visit New York or Paris. Now London is most definitely one of the great cities of the world with much to see and do to rival anything that other countries can offer. There are plenty of London museums and art galleries that are free to visit but we've been to these quite a few times in the past and there are many other attractions that we'd like to try out. The trouble is that many of them are expensive, typically around fifteen or twenty pounds per adult ticket. On our most recent trip we decided to see if the London Pass would be economical for us.
The idea is simple. You pay one big fee up front for a card and then can enter any of the attractions with which the London Pass has an agreement for free. At the time of writing (July 2013) there are over sixty attractions covered. If you are considering using this though I'd strongly advise checking their website ( www.londonpass.com ) first as the list of attractions changes occasionally, as does the price.
But when I used it the attractions included (take a deep breath...) London zoo, the Globe theatre, HMS Belfast, St Paul's Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Royal Albert Hall, Hampton Court Palace, Eton college, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Windsor Castle, Kew Gardens, tours of Lord's cricket ground, Wimbledon tennis, Wembley stadium, Arsenal and Chelsea football stadiums. And, as they say, many, many more. The website also has a regularly-changing list of West End theatre shows for which the London Pass will provide significant discounts. And for an extra charge the pass can be upgraded to include bus and underground travel as well.
And that's not all. Even when you get into these places it gets better. In many of them you can get a discount on any merchandise you might buy or sometimes on food and drinks as well. Maybe there's a fast queuing area to bypass most of the people waiting in line too. I'd love to give more details on that but it does depend very much on the deal that's been struck between London pass and the individual attraction.
When they send you your London Pass cards you also get a small book that lists the attractions and what you can expect to get there as well as free entry. It also shows directions and contact points also, which is useful. There are more offers listed on their website too, so even if you can't find the place you want to visit in the book, check online. You never know, it may have been added. There's also a downloadable app so that you can check on your phone or tablet while on the move.
Here's the dull bit - the full price list as at July 2013.
London Pass without Travel
1 Day Adult Pass £47.00
1 Day Child Pass £30.00
2 Day Adult Pass £64.00
2 Day Child Pass £47.00
3 Day Adult Pass £77.00
3 Day Child Pass £53.00
6 Day Adult Pass £102.00
6 Day Child Pass £72.00
London Passes with Travel
1 Day Adult Pass with Travel £56.00
1 Day Child Pass with Travel £34.00
2 Day Adult Pass with Travel £82.00
2 Day Child Pass with Travel £53.00
3 Day Adult Pass with Travel £104.00
3 Day Child Pass with Travel £63.00
6 Day Adult Pass with Travel £156.00
6 Day Child Pass with Travel £99.00
They have their own definition of the word 'child' of course, but it's better than most companies'. A child's ticket covers those between five and fifteen years of age.
So is it worth it? Well that depends totally on the individual and how much you use it.
We bought a couple of 3 Day Adult Passes (without travel). They should have been £77 each but we got them in an online offer for £65 each. So my total spend was £130. That's a chunk up front but I figured that it had paid for three full days sightseeing in one of the world's most expensive places. Your time begins on the first day that you use it. Note: it starts on the day, not the time, that you use it so if you use your card for the first time at 9 p.m. that's an entire day's use gone. Not sensible.
We used our card to pay for the following over three days. I've listed the full adult price alongside each.
Westminster Abbey £18.00
City Cruise riverboat ride £8.55
Tower of London £21.45
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre £13.50
London Zoo £22.72
That's a total of £84.22 each. That comes to £168.44 for the pair of us that I would have spent if I'd done the same things but just paid on the door. I paid £130 for my two London Passes making a total saving of £38.44 for two adults. It's not a massive amount but the way I look at it, it paid for an evening meal for us. And we weren't deliberately trying to make the most of it, we were just going to the places that we wanted to visit. I would say that a small amount of planning would improve your chances of making real savings though. If you're the kind of person who wakes up and says "What shall we do today?" then this might not be for you.
The people behind The London Pass also do similar passes for New York, Paris, Berlin and, rather randomly, Philadelphia. I guess that, like the London one, the cost-effectiveness of these will vary dramatically depending on the individual. All I can say is that, for us, the London pass was convenient, simple to use and saved us time and money. That's what it was designed for and it worked perfectly.
When my parents visited from Australia, I decided the best value for Money, was to purchase a London Pass. This incorpated 60 possible tourist attractions and more. You walk up to the cashier, present the card, and then tickets for entry are handed back to you. You also get express entry. No long queues, which is a bonus.
Research is recommended before purchasing the card, to be sure you are going to get to see everything you want. IE: This pass covered most things, however, did not include Westminster Abbey. Therefore, we opted to see this some other time, outside of the 3 day pass.
The 3 day pass for £57. Passes can be purchased online at www.londonpass.com, or at many ticket counters. We found one at a ticket centre, near Tower Hill Tube station in London
The attractions we visited were, St Pauls Cathedral, Royal Albert Hall, Tower of London, HMS Belfast, Tower Bridge experience, Britain at war and Churchill war rooms.
If you calculate the expense for seeing these attractions we came out on top around £15. Good planning is required, and I suggest you focus on one part of the city at a time, to avoid extra travelling.
For example, Tower of London, HMS Belfast and Tower Bridge experience are all a short walk from each other. We did these all in one day. I recommend the London pass. You can also purchase the London pass with travel included.
Your London Pass is valid from the first day you use it. Your Travelcard, if selected, is valid from the start date you specify here.
1 Day Adult Pass £36.00
1 Day Child Pass £22.00
2 Day Adult Pass £46.00
2 Day Child Pass £33.00
3 Day Adult Pass £57.00
3 Day Child Pass £39.00
6 Day Adult Pass £79.00
6 Day Child Pass £55.00
London Passes with Travel - What is the London Pass with Travel?
1 Day Adult Pass with Travel £41.00
1 Day Child Pass with Travel £24.00
2 Day Adult Pass with Travel £59.00
2 Day Child Pass with Travel £37.00
3 Day Adult Pass with Travel £76.00
3 Day Child Pass with Travel £45.00
6 Day Adult Pass with Travel £117.00
6 Day Child Pass with Travel £75.00
Attractions where you get in Free!
Alexander Fleming Laboratory Museum
Benjamin Franklin House
Bramah Museum of Tea and Coffee
Britain at War Experience
Chelsea FC Stadium Tour
Chelsea Physic Garden
Churchill Museum & Cabinet War Rooms
The Courtauld Gallery
Curzon Mayfair Cinema
Curzon Soho Cinema
Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art
Firepower Royal Artillery Museum
Florence Nightingale Museum
Hampton Court Palace
Handel House Museum
Jason's Canal Boat Trip
Kensington Palace & The Orangery
Kew Bridge Steam Museum
London Bicycle Tour Company
London Canal Museum
London Wetland Centre
Museum in Docklands
Museum of Rugby
National Theatre Backstage Tours
Pollocks Toy Museum
QUEENS Ice & Bowl
Royal Albert Hall
Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
Tour & Exhibition
St Paul's Cathedral
Tower Bridge Exhibition
Tower of London
Wernher Collection at Ranger's House
Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
Wimbledon Tour Experience