When visiting a city as expensive as London, it’s important to budget how much you spend on tourist attractions. For first-timers, places like the Tower of London, Kensington Palace, and The View from The Shard can’t be missed. Nonetheless, these stops tend to add up (many entry prices are between £20-30!). As a solution to this problem, the London Pass comes into play. Our question today is: is the London Pass worth the money? To answer this, I’ll be breaking down the attractions I visited during my time in London town and their prices. Then, I’ll talk about the money I was able to save as well as whether or not I think you should invest in the London Pass for your trip.
How much does the London Pass cost?
The price of the London Pass varies depending on a few factors. These include the number of days, whether or not you choose to add travel, and if you use a discount. I recommend signing up for the London Pass newsletter a few weeks before you plan to make your purchase. To do this, scroll to the bottom of the page and enter your email to “sign up for updates”. In my case, I saved 10% after the newsletter alerted me about a sale. Thus, I paid £98.10 total for a 3-day London Pass instead of the original £109.00. Technically, you can purchase your pass up to one year in advance, but I’d recommend buying as soon as you come across a discount. London Pass also offers a 30-day money-back guarantee. So, if your travel plans happen to change, the refund process is quick and straightforward.
Now, let’s break down the specific sites that I visited as well as their standard prices. From there, we’ll be able to decide if the London Pass is worth the money.
Standard entry: £19.50
Touring Kensington Palace was by far my favorite activity that I did in London. Once Queen Victoria’s childhood home, this palace currently houses some of the most recognizable members of the Royal Family. For example, Kensington Palace is the official residence of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (William and Kate) and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (Harry and Meghan). Although you won’t be able to see their residences, the State Rooms are open to the public.
The exhibitions at Kensington change throughout the year, but you can check online to see what’s currently being shown. I was lucky enough to visit during the Diana: Her Fashion Story exhibition, where I saw some of Diana, Princess of Wales‘ most notable outfits. Even if this particular exhibition isn’t available when you go to the palace, I highly recommend stopping by. You’ll still be able to learn more about the famous past residents of Kensington, such as William III and Mary II, Queen Anne, George I, George II, and Queen Victoria.
TOWER OF LONDON
Standard entry: £26.80
If you’re a fan of British history, the Tower of London is a great way to spend a day out in London. I think most of us know this as the site of Anne Boleyn‘s imprisonment and eventual execution. However, the Tower of London is also a fortress and palace. In fact, when visiting, you’ll have the opportunity to see the Crown Jewels, protected by Yeoman Warders or “Beefeaters”. Nowadays, the tower serves as a remarkable World Heritage Site and home to these Yeomen, who still carry out the tradition of locking and unlocking the tower each day.
Before visiting, check out the Tower of London website to see all of the different activities you can do. For example, you can watch the previously mentioned Ceremony of the Keys, take a tour with a Beefeater, or even see live theatrical performances.
VIEW FROM THE SHARD
Standard entry: £29.95
For the best view of London, head to the Shard. You’ll take a high-speed elevator up approximately 70 floors to reach the Skydeck. What I loved about this experience is that there are tables and a bar at the top! So, it’s easy to sit back and relax while taking in the 360-degree view. Try to identify as many famous London landmarks as you can; you can see quite a few with this perspective!
HOP-ON HOP-OFF BUS TOUR
Standard entry: £34.00
The best way to cover as much ground as possible is to join a bus tour. Plus, this is one of the most expensive attractions. So, I’d for sure do a bus tour to make my London Pass worth the money. The Hop-on hop-off bus tour system in London is highly intricate, and each of the routes covers key attractions you won’t want to miss. You’ll mainly want to do the bus tour if you want to learn about the background of the best-known historical buildings in the city. It’s crucial the note that your London Pass will allow you to travel with one tour operator. So, you’ll have to make a choice between Big Bus Tours or Golden Tours.
In order the utilize your time, hop on a bus tour at a stop close to one of your London Pass attractions. Also, make sure to research the bus routes that you find the most interesting. There are so many options that it can become overwhelming if you need to make a snap decision. Although I loved having a guide, I will say that you might not want to do the bus tour on hot days. There were no seats left in the bottom section when we hopped on the double-decker bus. So, we sat on the open-air second deck, where the sun shone down on us the entire tour. If you want to do the tour on a sunny day, grab some water and sunscreen!
THE ROYAL MEWS
Standard entry: £11.00
Visiting the Royal Mews wasn’t in my original plan. Nonetheless, when we noticed that we’d be passing close by to this attraction, we decided to check it out. I’m glad we did because I honestly learned a lot about the details of Royal transport. The Royal Mews is in charge of providing both horse-drawn carriage and motor car transport for the Royal Family. When you walk up, you’ll immediately notice the stables and horses. However, Her Majesty’s £10 million car collection is also kept at the Royal Mews.
CHURCHILL WAR ROOMS
Standard entry: £21.00
Whether you’re interested in Winston Churchill himself or just World War II in general, make time for the Churchill War Rooms. These rooms are the actual underground bunker where Churchill and his war cabinet both took shelter and discussed war strategies. You’ll be able to see the Map Room, the Telephone Room, and other rooms that formed part of life in the bunker. The museum is divided into five chapters, covering the entire life of Winston Churchill. It includes personal items and information on Churchill as well as interactive activities. Be aware that this attraction is bustling in the summertime, so try to visit early in the morning to skip the lines.
Total I would’ve spent without London Pass: £142.25, Savings: £44.15
So, is the London Pass worth the money?
Making the most of your London Pass and getting your money’s worth all depend on how much you’re able to use the pass. The best idea is to plan your days by choosing London Pass attractions that are close together. Even though I was able to save with the pass, I would’ve saved even more with a little planning in advance. If you’re not exactly sure about which sites accept the London Pass, make sure to download the app for your phone. By doing this, you’ll be able to see each place that accepts the pass as well as its location. Furthermore, you can even explore attractions by area in London.
Another factor to take into account is whether or not you’re visiting during high season. If so, you may want to plan to go to the more popular attractions first thing in the morning. Even if you aren’t usually an early riser, I’d urge you to make an exception, especially as many of the top London Pass attractions close around 5. For example, to make the London Pass worth the money, I would try to use my pass entrance at least 2-3 times a day.
How can I get my money’s worth?
- Sign up for the London Pass newsletter for possible discounts.
- Make your “plan of attack” to visit as many attractions as possible after purchasing your pass.
- When on your trip, wake up early to get to the most popular attractions before the lines form (if visiting during high season).
- Try to use your London Pass at least 2-3 times per day.