With an average entry fee of between 15 and 20 Pounds for all of London’s top attractions, visiting this cosmopolitan city can put quite a strain on the bank account. And a visit to London isn’t really complete with out a stop in at St Paul’s, a wander through Westminster and a tour of the Tower of the London.
For the budget-conscious, there are a number of ways to get more bang for your buck with savings available if you pre-book online or take certain trains, however the most popular and easy to use system is without a doubt the London Pass. Available as a 1, 2, 3, 6 or even 10 day card, the pass allows complimentary access to most of London’s major attractions, as well as a selection of other offers and even some free transport included. But there are definitely some tips and tricks you need to know in order to get the most bang for your buck.
Understand how it works
Key to using the London Pass is understanding how it works. You can pre purchase the pass in advance before you travel and it will only activate on first use. While you can pick it up or have the pass mailed to you, the mobile/app version works amazingly and means you have all you need on your smartphone. This is a much more convenient solution, just be sure to charge your phone each night if you plan to take photos and navigate with it too, or even better yet, travel with a power bank! The more days you buy, the cheaper the London Pass gets but each day must be consecutive and is counted as per its calendar date, not 24 hours, so make sure you have a full day available if you really want to maximise on your savings. You can also book luggage storage and discounted theatre tickets using your pass (these don’t activate the pass so you don’t need to be booked for the same day you plan to use the pass).
Plan your route
The real key to making the most of your London Pass is to plan your route. London’s main attractions are clustered together in areas and if you want to get the most out of the pass then stick to one area per day. Once you have your plan down, try not to get sidetracked. There are so many cool attractions and hidden gems included on the London Pass that when you see them you may be tempted to pop in for a visit. Rather stick to your plan and leave some time at the end of the day to visit something that wasn’t necessarily on your list. Most of London’s major attractions need at least two hours if you want to visit them properly, plus you need to leave enough time for getting there and standing in queues so be savvy with your schedule.
Make use of the transport
For a little bit extra you can add a TravelCard to your London Pass so that you can make use of the cities elaborate connection of trains and busses. However, the pass comes with a free hop on hop off bus which is a must do on the first day. Although slow, thanks to London traffic, the bus gives you a lay of the land and a great history of the city while passing by all the major sites. This will help you plan what you want to come back to. The Golden Tours bus even gives you the option to upgrade your ticket for two days at a nominal fee onboard if you wanted to use it the next day.
Another great option is to explore the city is by way of the Thames on one of the river cruises offered on the pass. Thames City Cruises actually provides you with a 24 hour hop on-hop off ticket for their boats which travel between Westminster/London Eye, Tower Bridge and Greenwich. The boats take a fair amount of time (2hours from Westminster to Greenwich) so be sure to factor that in but you could pick up the ticket on the day you activated the pass and even use it the next day if you wanted to. The streets of Greenwich with their quaint shops and quirky pubs, as well as the Observatory, Maritime Museum and Cutty Sark are all well worth a visit.
Janine Avery is the brains behind 5 Star Stories, a digital marketing company offering bespoke content and social media services to the luxury and travel trade. Janine is first to confess that she has been bitten by the travel bug… badly. Raised by a menagerie of Artists, Creatives, Scientists, Researchers, Biologists and Botanists she is a lover of all things travel from basic tenting with creepy crawlies to lazing in luxury lodges. Among her other passions, dabbling in digital marketing, spreading messages on social media, and taking audiences on a journey through her travel stories rank high on her list of priorities.