There is no doubt that London is an expensive city and for a first-time visitor, things can get a little daunting. There is plenty to see and do in the city but once you factor in the price of admission tickets, add in the cost of accommodation, meals and transport, and set aside money for incidentals (read: shopping), your jaw might drop in shock and your eyes may be bulging out.
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What is the London Pass?
You may have heard about the London Pass, which allows you to enjoy discounts on admission to numerous London attractions. With over 60 attractions, museums and guided tours on the list, the London Pass is a popular choice for both first-time and repeat visitors to the city! But, the question that always comes up is “Is the London Pass Worth It?”. There’s a few factors to consider when deciding if the London Pass is for you. It depends on how many attractions you wish to visit, over how many days and if you are okay with packing in your schedule for those days.
During my recent travels to London, I chose to purchase the 2-day pass, which I felt gave us enough time to cover the attractions we wanted to visit. If you opt to get the longer passes, it will cost more but you’ll be able to spread out your itinerary a bit more and cover more places. My tip would be to plan your route and days carefully so that you can fit in the attractions which cost more in those few days.
I feel that by purchasing the London Pass, I was not restricted or held back from going to certain attractions that would have been too expensive to go to. It is a great way to immerse yourself in the history of London and save money. In addition to gaining free entry to the London attractions, the pass also provides you with Fast Track access to some of the popular attractions (including Tower of London, Kensington Palace and London Bridge Experience), where waiting times can be longer!
See the full list of attractions in London included in the London Pass here.
London Pass Options
There are several options when purchasing your London Pass. You can choose to go for the 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 consecutive days option. In my opinion, taking the 2 or 3 days passes are the most cost-effective options as you can plan a great itinerary and hit several of the more expensive attractions.
Additionally, you can get the London Oyster travelcard as an add-on (comes with extra charges). The Oyster card allows you to use the London public transportation and will only be valid during the duration that you use your pass. I felt that getting this add-on was unnecessary with the 2 or 3 day passes. With proper planning, you will be able to minimize using public transport and you will be using the Hop On, Hop Off bus (which comes with the London Pass) on one of those days. Regardless, do calculate if the savings from this add-on justifies you getting the Oyster card with your London Pass.
How Does the London Pass Work?
Buying your London Pass is easy and can be done online! I chose to go through Klook to get my passes as they regularly offer discounts on the price of the passes. However with Klook, you will need to head down to the London Pass office (located at Charing Cross) to collect your physical cards. This can be done any time before the day you choose to use the pass, thereby activating it. I felt that there wasn’t any additional hassle from getting the passes a day before we were meant to use them.
When you purchase the pass online, you can get your passes sent to your mobile device and save it to your e-wallet. To activate your passes (whether it’s the physical card or via your mobile wallet), you simply need to produce the pass at the attraction where they will scan the code and your entry guaranteed! When travelling in a group, you will need to show all the passes for each person to gain entry. For Fast Track entry, simply head to the dedicated entrance and skip the line!
The London Pass has a cap or “purse value” related to the admission prices of the attractions. This “purse value” corresponds to the duration of your pass (i.e. with the 2 day pass, you get a “purse value” of £275). This means that you can enter as many attractions as long as the total value of the admission prices does not exceed the “purse value”. However, I think it is extremely difficult to exceed the “purse values” with the shorter duration passes.
Check out the complete breakdown of purse values here.
Savings With The London Pass
I was able to take advantage of the discount on the price of my 2-day passes (without the Oyster card) through Klook. View the price comparison between the prices on Klook and on the official London Pass website:
- Price on the official London Pass website: £94 (without Oyster card)
- Price on Klook: £82 (price without Oyster card)
Save more by purchasing your London Pass with Klook!
We visited 7 attractions in the span of 2 days and saved a whopping £84 (£72 if I bought my passes from the official London Pass website). Here’s the full list of the places we visited and their admission prices.
- Tower of London: £26.80
- Tower Bridge: £9.80
- Kensington Palace: £19.50
- St Paul’s Cathedral: £18
- London Bridge Experience: £27.95
- The View from the Shard: £29.95
- Hop On, Hop Off Bus Tour: £34
- Total Cost: £166 (without London Pass)
- Total Savings: £166 – £82 = £84
(prices accurate as of October 2018)
Is the London Pass Worth It?
The key to make the London Pass worth is by using it as much as possible. What I did was to map out the attractions that are close together and plan the shortest route for the day. It’s important to note that many of the attractions close around 5pm (or 6pm during summer). You will want to get up early and visit the more popular attractions when they open to avoid the lines! I would advise getting there before the lines form, especially during high season (i.e. summer).
As a disclaimer, we typically started our day around 11am or 12pm (yes, I didn’t take my own advice!) and we still managed to hit 7 places! However, we did visit during the summer period where opening hours where extended by 1 hour for some attractions. Had we started our day earlier, we would have been able to make better use of our passes!
Starting your day early will also allow you to squeeze in more attractions if you want to do so. I made sure to calculate how much each attraction we wanted to visit costs and check which ones we had to go to in order to make our money’s worth. As a general rule of thumb, you would want to use your London Pass around 3 times a day to maximize the savings.
Another tip would be to download the app or make use of the booklet that they provide you to check which attractions you can enter with the pass and its location. I found it really handy to have the booklet on hand to look up information like location, opening times and if there was a fast-track option at the attraction.
The Final Verdict
Personally, I felt that the London Pass gives you great value for your money. If you are someone who wants to take in all of the sights, attractions and dive into the history of London, the pass gives you the freedom of mind to do so without racking up hefty admission costs.
However, with the shorter passes, you may feel that your days are too rushed and if you are not interested in visiting these places, then you might want to give the London Pass a miss and choose to pick 1 or 2 attractions to visit on your own. With our schedule, I felt that we went at a comfortable pace and got to spend enough time at each place without rushing too much.
Dive Into Grey Tips
- Planning is Key: Work out your itinerary and list down the attractions you want to visit. Map out the locations to see which attractions are close to one another and plan your route accordingly. I would advise to try not to squeeze in too many places in one day! As mentioned, using your London Pass on 3 pricier attractions will ensure you get your savings.
- Start Your Day Early: Yes, I didn’t follow this tip but at least you get to learn from my experience and not make the same mistake! Try to be at popular attractions before the line forms (often before the opening times) and be clear on the opening hours of each place.
- Be Prepared: Wear comfortable walking shoes and pick shorter routes as you will be on your feet for majority of the day! Fuel up at breakfast and take breaks for lunch and other pitstops (whilst taking in other London sights) so that you don’t tire yourself out so quickly.
Plan Your London Trip!
Purchase your London Pass now and save some money with Klook!
Where to Stay in London
Splurge: Shangri-La at The Shard – Bask in the opulence and luxury that comes with staying at the Shangri-La. Experience great service, fantastic facilities, and amazing views from the tallest building in London.
Treat: The Hoxton Holborn – Urban, happening and carefully curated. Enter this chic and trendy space that will change your perception of a typical hotel room.
Save: Point A Hotel, Shoreditch – Things are quite pricey in London and costs add up but that does not mean you have to scrimp on where you stay. The rooms here are functional and will let you have a good night’s rest before starting your adventure the next day!
Backpacker: Generator Hostel London – Save up for all the exciting things you have planned in London. Comfortable bed, clean hostel and friendly staff will set you up for a great stay in the city.
Unique: citizenM Tower of London – The place exudes a quirky vibe with a big punch of personality. The hotel delivers everything you might need and is value-for-money; all with an efficient and practical touch.
Check out other properties in London and their latest prices here!
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