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Frugal London sightseeing

Thanks to help from this forum, I used advanced purchase plus Two Together discounts to get great prices on train tickets for travel all over Scotland, England and Wales. Now I'm trying to understand the possible discounts in London. I kmow that many attractions are free and that, in general, an Oyster card is a thrifty way to get around London. I'm exploring ways to get discounts for several more expensive attractions.

When we travel from Cardiff to Paddington Station, am I correct that we can use our rail tickets, along with printed Days Out 2 for 1 vouchers, only on the day of arrival? Does it matter where in the London area the sightseeing destination is located?

Is it correct that I can also purchase a 1 day travel card from a rail station which will give me unlimited transportation and will work with the Days Out 2 for 1 vouchers? What are the time limits for that card? For example, can I purchase it on the day of arrival at Paddington, but have it dated for another day?

Thanks in advance to those of you who have figured out thrifty travel.


Posted by
31498 posts

The rules for the Days Out promotion - specifically which tickets are valid and what happens if you come by train on a Single or a Return - are at

Yes you can get tickets printed for a day in the future.

It does not matter where in London the attraction if you arrive from a different place; if you use a Travelcard issued by a train company - read the rules above - it will probably be a Zone 1-4. Your attraction must be with the area covered by the Zone.

If you were more specific with the question, the answer could more closely be tailored to meet your needs.

Posted by
4684 posts

Note that many of the big museums and art galleries in central London are free entry anyway except for temporary exhibitions.

Posted by
650 posts

Another way of using the Days Out program is buy a day long London transportation pass from, and this is important, a train station ticket office. Do not buy the pass from tube station machine or window. It will cost you more than using Oyster Card would, but if you use it for a couple of the more expensive sights, you will save money. Buying an off peak pass will help keep the price down. The irritating part is that you'll end up lumping several major sights into a single day.

We did this and saw The Churchill War Rooms and Westminster Abbey, as well as St. Paul's.

But, The National Gallery, The British War Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, The British Museum, The Tate Modern, The Tate British, The V And A, and many other museums are free, though there are modest suggested donations. Sticking to free sights is cheaper yet.

When not using a day pass, we found that walking is more enjoyable than riding the tube, and often just as fast unless you are going some distance. Just grouping sights within walking distance is a cost and time saver.

Posted by
4355 posts

Many people stay between Heathrow and central London (paddington area, Kensington, etc) so have to tube everywhere and then yes the Oyster card is indispensable. If you choose lodging more central and walk to sites most days then the oyster is less important. I like the previous comment about using a day travel card for the 2 4 1 offers.

Posted by
4077 posts

Anita, be sure to go to the Welsh Museum near Cardiff. Except for the bus ride, it's free.