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London Pass

To explore all of London's attractions without breaking the bank trying, the London Pass tourist card can help you. Here's how!

Ana Caballero

Ana Caballero

9 min read

London Pass

London Bridge | ©Ralph Spegel

London is an immensely popular city, with 35 million tourists visiting it every year and a lot to see and do. Tourist passes are the best thing you can get for your trip as they save you time, by avoiding queues, and money, by not having to pay for each ticket separately.

1. How many London Sightseeing Passes are there?

Westminster Abbey inside
Westminster Abbey inside

With so many attractions and sightseeing itineraries available, London has different tourist passes, and choosing which one is the most suitable for your trip can be complex. I tell you their pros and cons, what they include and how they work:

  • London Pass: It is paid per day and gives you access to more than 80 attractions (recommended for those who want to see the maximum number of attractions during their trip).
  • London Explorer Pass: You pay only for the number of attractions you want to see (recommended for those who only want access to certain attractions).

2. London Pass

St. Paul's Cathedral | ©Catalin Bot
St. Paul's Cathedral | ©Catalin Bot

The price of the London Pass is based on the number of days of use. The maximum duration is 10 days, but if your trip is shorter you can customize it and pay for a smaller number of days (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 days).

  • Pay per day (from 1 to 10) and access to more than 80 tourist attractions.
  • Includes access to the sightseeing bus and Thames cruises.
  • Recommended for those who want to see as much as possible.

You're going to experience London. Really. You have up to ten days ahead of you and you are a tireless tourist, one of those who ends up exhausted every day, and who is interested in knowing the most historical and cultural part of a place with an immense range of options to not lose detail of everything a destination can offer you.

Everything you can visit in London in terms of cultural tourism is within the London Pass, with access to more than 80 attractions and a day tour bus with nine routes and more than 110 stops (which, we recommend you use towards the end of your trip, when fatigue will begin, for sure, to make an appearance).

Why do I like this card?

With this card you save, a lot: time, because it puts you at the fast track entrance to the most popular attractions in the capital, and money because you are not paying for each ticket individually. Plus, it gives you access to special offers at a lot of restaurants, stores, theaters, and other entertainment venues.

To give you an idea, with a 6-day adult London Pass, for example, priced at $ 235, you can visit a number of attractions that if you paid separately would total around $ 860. It pays off, doesn't it?

What does the London Pass include?

As we have already mentioned, the London Pass gives you access to the sightseeing bus and the cruise on the Thames, but also to many of the most popular attractions in the capital. I list you the ones that for me are the most relevant.

  • Sightseeing bus
  • Thames River Cruise
  • Tower of London
  • National Gallery
  • The View from The Shard
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Kensington Palace
  • The London Bridge Experience
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • The Cartoon Museum
  • London Zoo (in Regent's Park)
  • Tours of movies such as Harry Potter, James Bond, Sherlock Homes or Bridget Jones

What is not included in the London Pass?

  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Dungeon
  • Shrek Adventure
  • Food and beverages, unless specified
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers to the attractions

Vicky's Traveller Tip

Activate your London Pass first thing in the morning so you can enjoy the full day.

3. London Explorer Pass

HMS Belfast and London Bridge ©Roman Fox
HMS Belfast and London Bridge ©Roman Fox

Spending four days in London and want to go to the must-sees? The London Explorer Pass is the fastest and most practical way to see the must-see London, because it gives you a choice of the city's best attractions. Unlike the London Pass, which is organized by days, this pass chooses by number of attractions to visit.

  • You pay only for the number of attractions you want to visit (up to 7).
  • Includes access to the tourist bus and Thames cruises.
  • Ideal for those who want to visit the essentials at the best price.

With the London Pass Explorer you will have access to places that you must know yes or yes and others that, although they are not understood as "must see", can give a different touch to your trip, especially if you go with children.

You can choose between 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions from its list of the 31 attractions it offers in total. This can save you up to 35% on the standard ticket price, without queuing and with a useful digital guide.

What is included in the London Explorer Pass?

  • London Big Bus sightseeing bus
  • Thames River Cruise
  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds London
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Tower Bridge
  • Banqueting House
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • The London Dungeon
  • SEA LIFE London Aquarium
  • Big Bus Tours
  • Kensington Palace
  • Thames River
  • City Cruises Westminster Pier
  • City Cruises Tower Pier
  • City Cruises Greenwich Pier
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Emirates Stadium Tour and Museum
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • HMS Belfast
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Wembley Stadium
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Planet Hollywood
  • Chelsea FC Stadium Tour & Museum
  • Cutty Sark
  • Bridget Jones and Harry Potter Movie Tours
  • Shrek's Adventure
  • London Dungeon
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • Museum of Brands
  • The Kia Oval

What is not included in the London Explorer Pass?

  • Food and beverages, unless specified
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers to attractions

4. Royal Palaces Pass: Kensington Palace, Hampton Court, and Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

If you're spending just a few days in the English capital or it's the history of its Crown that most catch your attention, this Royal Palaces Pass is a great option for you.

  • Recommended for short trips and for lovers of Royal Houses.
  • You have virtually unlimited time (the pass lasts two years) to visit the three most spectacular palaces in London.

Britain's history is deeply rooted in its monarchical tradition and London is proof of that. The capital has dozens of incredible palaces to visit and just walking around the city and finding hundreds of souvenir stores with images of royalty is an example of its importance in society.

With the Royal Palaces Pass, you can immerse yourself in the stories and intrigues of some of the buildings that witnessed the daily life, the black chronicle, and the art collections of some of the most powerful families in the country. Feel like a king or queen, for a day.

What does the Royal Palaces Pass include?

  • London Tower: I recommend you start this palatial day exploring one of the most famous fortresses on the globe, the Tower of London. Located in the financial and historical center of the city, its famous 'City', this Tower was a symbol of horror for nearly ten centuries, serving as a prison in subhuman conditions to those accused of treason against the king.

  • Kensington Palace: towards South Kensington, one of the most elegant and expensive areas of the city, we find the majestic 'Kensington Palace'. This palace attracts much attention because, in addition to its beautiful gardens and halls of the eighteenth century, has been and is a royal residence since the seventeenth century. Currently, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) live there.

  • Hampton Court Palace: we finish our journey relaxing on the outskirts of London and getting lost in the incredible hedge maze of 'Hampton Court Palace'. With the air of a fortress, this building is the maximum exponent of Tudor art in England and, although it is on the outskirts of London, it is very easy to reach it on a direct train that leaves every half hour from London Waterloo and whose journey takes 40 minutes.

What doesn't the Royal Palaces pass include?

  • Gratuities
  • Food and beverage, unless specified
  • Transfers to the attractions

5. Magic London Pass

Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds

London is not only history, architecture, and museums. As a great city that also offers countless experiences for all ages and to enjoy in another way, especially if you travel with children. If you are traveling to the British capital for a maximum of 4 days and want to experience London as a family, the Magic Pass is for you.

  • Recommended for family travel.
  • Includes access to 5 of London's best attractions, including the London Eye.

Visits to museums, monuments, churches... are exhausting and we know they are not the best place for the little ones to spend their vacations. For them, there is a different London, a very fun one, with 5 dream places to discover. Buying this pass will save you a lot, considering the high price of these attractions, especially to pay for each member of a family, and even more important if possible, you will save time in endless queues.

What is included in the Magical London Pass?

  • Madame Tussauds London
  • The London Eye
  • The London Dungeon
  • SEA LIFE London
  • Shrek's Adventure London

What is not included in the Magical London Pass?

  • Transfer to the attractions
  • Souvenir photos (which you can purchase on request at each attraction)

6. Is it worth it to buy a tourist pass in London?

Interior of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre | ©David Stanley
Interior of the Shakespeare's Globe Theatre | ©David Stanley

That will depend, as you've seen, on the type of traveler you are, your budget, and the time you will spend in the city. But I can give you some very simple advice. Make a list of the attractions you are most interested in visiting and organize them according to the days you have ahead of you and how much they cost separately. This way you will know if it is profitable to take a pass and which one includes all of them.

Remember that with the tourist passes you can either have much cheaper access to more than 80 attractions if you want to get the most out of London, or choose and pay only for a limited number of places because you have fewer travel days and there are some must-see places that you can not miss.

Vicky's Traveller Tip

Make a list of the attractions you want to see and how much it would cost to buy their tickets separately to compare their prices with the passes.

How do they work?

London Eye | ©David Henderson
London Eye | ©David Henderson
:

The use of each Pass is very simple. When you buy it online, you choose between the different options available, and when you receive it, you can download it on your mobile and scan it at the entrance to each attraction.

You can purchase it at any time: one month or one day before your trip, because your card will only be activated once you use it on your first visit. In addition, you will receive a complete digital guide, with information about each place you explore, maps and super useful information.

8. Other tricks to save money in London

It has always been said that London is an expensive city. And, although the pound has been losing value in recent years, the prices of restaurants, hotels, and attractions are quite high compared to other cities. But organizing your trip with time and knowing some tricks, the budget does not have to be a problem.

Use the tourist bus

Whether or not you decide to get a tourist card, the option of taking the tourist bus will save you time and money on transportation, as it takes you directly from one attraction to another without having to pay metro or city bus for each ride. You can read more about how it works in my article on Hop on Hop off Bus Tours.

Take a Thames cruise

The same goes for the Thames cruise: you have several options, from the cheapest to the most premium. Best of all? On the non-stop cruise you can hop on and off as many times as you want to move around the city at your leisure. Read more here: Thames River Cruises.

To visit the surroundings, better in an organized tour

If at some point you are thinking of leaving the big city to visit the English countryside, the most charming villages of the island or the well-known universities of Oxford or Cambridge, you will be able to budget better for this kind of experience on an organized tour with a fixed price. The best excursions are listed in this guide: Best Day Trips from London.