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London Pass On Sale

Through 31 May, the London Pass is on sale--up to 24% off:

I am seriously thinking about buying now (six-day pass knocked down 34 GBP from 169 GBP) for our trip next April. The pass is good for a year (meaning you can start the use time within 12 months) and, for a 2.5% fee, the purchase price is refundable prior to use. It can be downloaded to iOS or Android phones for "free", or they'll ship it to the US for 8-20 GBP, depending on whether or not you want quick or slow-boat delivery. I'm not clear on if the shipping includes the 180 page guide book.

Based on my studies to date, the London Pass is strictly a money saver, unlike the Paris Museum Pass which allows some line skipping, but it still seems to be a good deal, especially at the sale price. I am going to e-mail the London Pass folks with some questions and I'll post any useful answers here.

So, a few of questions:

1) Does the Pass go on sale "regularly"? If yes, is this a normal or excellent or poor example of sale prices?

2) Any cautions?

3) Is an iPod Touch 6 an acceptable iOS device?

I hope this post is of use to some of you and thanks in advance for any responses.

Posted by
1316 posts

It seems to always be on sale.

It may not be a good deal depending on what you want to do. Remember, most of the major museums are free. The London Pass covers a lot of second and third tier attractions and many aren’t located in central London, such as the football stadium tours.

Posted by
31116 posts

If you put it on a device do you need data active to use it?

Before you get excited about the price, it is worth actually adding up the real costs of the places you will actually visit - those on your list before you saw the hundreds of also-rans now on offer.

Bear in mind that other discounts are available, for on-line, for two-for-one, and others.

Posted by
7573 posts

You can always get it through Costco at a discount (4 day pass for the price of 3).
It is a good idea to price out your must sees and compare.

Posted by
2021 posts

We were in London 2 weeks ago for 5 full days (Monday-Friday, with Sunday and Saturday as travel). I bought the 6 day London Pass for my grandson and me. Here's my impressions.

First. I think the London Pass is "on sale" all the time. There's no need to rush to buy it. I bought the pass, installed the app on my iPhone and downloaded the two passes. I put them in my wallet so I didn't need connectivity to use them. They have a barcode that's read at the venues that reports to the London Pass, which verifies the pass is valid.

The London Pass did let us skip the line at the Churchill War Museum and at the Tower of London. At the War Museum, you are put in the pre-purchased ticket line. At the Tower of London, you go straight to the gate and are scanned in.

Now, was it worth it? Did I save any money? I think I saved money, but not nearly as much as I expected. I saved on my pass, but my grandson decided to opt out of sightseeing one day so he didn't use the card that day. I think we about broke even on his pass.

To really make it worthwhile, you need to use it for at least two venues every day of the duration of the pass. Also, you really need to carefully consider what you want to see. There's plenty of free things (British Museum, Museum of Natural History, V&A, British Library, etc.) that are also worthwhile. Also, a lot of the London Pass items are second tier attractions, many which don't cost that much anyway.

What happens if you are trying to maximize your value is that your itinerary revolves around the card. You may be tempted to skip the free attractions or even skip just exploring London itself. Think really hard on what you want to see and do the math.

There is one scenario where I think the London Pass would be worth it - if you have two full weeks in London. You could spend one day getting your feet on the ground, then start your 6 day London Pass the next day. Plan your itinerary carefully, hitting all the big attractions first thing in the morning before the crowds get big. That's what we did with the War Museum and Tower of London. By starting early, there was no line to see the crown jewels and the War Museum was not crowded. Save the afternoon for the other attractions. For instance, you could use one afternoon to go to Greenwich and use the pass to see the Cutty Sark and the observatory.

Keep up the busy pace until the pass expires. Then, spend the next week at a more relaxed pace and see all the free attractions.

If you have at least 5 full days, you may save a little money with the London Pass. Anything less than that and it is not worth it, IMO.

Posted by
177 posts

We purchased a 10 day pass at the end of April, still waiting for it to arrive. I carefully figured out that for the 9 days we'll be there (7 complete sightseeing days, plus two partial) we should about get everything we want to use it for at around half price. BUT, we are looking to use a lot of what it has to offer, and plan on using it for the free train ride to Windsor Castle as well.

One of the side benefits of using the pass is that if you happen to be near something the pass covers that you wouldn't have chosen to pay to go in you can pop in quickly to look around. There is an upper limit on how much value you can get out of it but I don't foresee getting close to that.

The shorter passes you really have to figure out if it's worth it. The longer passes are great value for people like me who are planning to hit a lot of things it offers.

Posted by
129 posts

Thanks for your comments so far. Based on my tentative schedule, I will definitely save money with a six-day pass. I’m also tickled to hear we might be able to skip the Tower and Churchill War Room ticket lines! We’ll be in London for a three-night stay, followed by three nights in the Stonehenge area, then six more nights in London. It looks like this:
Sat: Arrive St. Pancras via Eurostar from Paris at about noon. See Brit Library (within spitting distance of our hotel)
Sunday: Changing of the Guard, Harrod’s, Natural History Museum
Monday: Day trip to Cambridge--super excited to walk where Newton, Darwin, Hawking, Watson and Crick et al. walked!
Tuesday—Thursday: Away at Stonehenge/Salisbury/Bath/Caen Locks/Avebury (one day private guided tour, one day free. I'm hoping we have easy access to a regional bus system)
Friday: Arrive Paddington about noon, Brit Museum (open late)
Saturday: Initiate use of London Pass, The Shard (£32), Borough Market, Shakespeare’s Globe (£17), maybe Golden Hinde and/or HMS Belfast (£5/£16)
Sunday: HoHo bus (£34), then view (exteriors only) 10 Downing/Big Ben and Houses of Parliament/Ride Tube to who knows where. (I’m hoping Sunday AM will mean less traffic and a faster bus ride). Maybe add Kew Gardens (£17)
Monday: Westminster Abbey (£22), Churchill War Rooms (£22), maybe Imperial War Museum
Tuesday: Greenwich [Museum and and Cutty Sark (£31)] via Thames Boat Cruise (HoHo, £19)
Wednesday: Tower of London (£27) and London Eye
Thursday: Some free morning time, then depart for 16:30 Heathrow flight home
We also hope to fit in a play and lots of good eating.

Thus, a £204--£242 "value" for £135. Unless I'm missing something, the hassle of buying tickets as individual deals in advance seems not worth it. I'm thinking some, if not most, would be timed entry and/or day specific and I really don't want that leash around our necks, as in: "Honey, we can't finish our breakfasts cuz we'll miss our entry into Westminster if we delay any longer." No?

I’m thinking early April is a plus for crowd/line sizes, but a downer as regards rain. C’est la vie. Also, glad to hear the Pass is "always" on sale. I'll wait 'til the trip is closer to purchase.

Posted by
1075 posts

I was just looking at the pass, and I agree that the 6- or 10-day passes look like excellent deals, especially if it's your first time to London and you haven't hit some of the "big ones" like the Tower before. The two-day pass, which is what we would need for our itinerary, is a terrible deal for us as compared to paying a la carte. Ah, to have 10 days of free time in London to do as I please - I'd use the heck out of that card! They'd probably owe me money by the end, haha!

Posted by
1316 posts

The London Pass does start to work out financially for a longer trip if bought on sale, it’s especially good for solo travellers who can’t take advantage of the 2 for 1 discounts. Being able to spread the major expensive attractions over a longer period is also nice. If I do something like the Tower of London or Westminster Abbey in the morning, I want to do something completely different in the afternoon away from the crowds.

Of course, there are always compromises. Staying in London for a longer period of time means you’re not seeing other parts of the UK or going to Paris during that time frame. And, of course, the cost of accommodations in London can put a serious dent in the travel budget. So, I tend to plan my time in London around a 3-4 day weekend and take advantage of the substantially lower room rates on Sunday nights.

Posted by
129 posts

Nigel: I haven't the foggiest idea how phone apps for passes work. It's something on my "to learn" list fer shure.. ;«)

Posted by
31116 posts

It might be worth checking if it works off-line unless you have a phone with a data plan.

It might, in which case you - if everything else pays off - might be ok.

On the other hand, if it chews through data you might need to consider if a "pass" mailed to you is worth the postage.

Posted by
11294 posts

Just agreeing that the London Pass is often on sale, although usually only for the longer durations.

For a first time visitor, who is more likely to do things like a Thames boat ride or a HOHO bus, and for a longer stay, when you'll have time to go to places like Kew Gardens or Hampton Court Palace that are further out from central London, the Pass can be a relatively better deal than for a short time or repeat visitor. These people are more likely to be focusing on the free attractions, which are both numerous and high quality (British Museum, British Library, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Tate Britain, Victoria and Albert Museum, etc, etc, etc.).

You are right about saving time - you only get to "skip the line" at a few attractions, and most of these in turn don't usually have lines anyway. Note that while DougMac got to skip the line at the Churchill War Rooms, these are not on the official list of skip the line attractions. When I was there in April 2018, the London Pass people had to wait in the (long) regular ticket buyers line with those of us who did not have advance tickets.

Even if you don't get the pass, do look at the complete list of covered attractions. That's how I learned about the London Jewish Museum and the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising. Both were worthwhile (for my interests) and as a bonus, they got me to neighborhoods that I wouldn't have seen otherwise.

When comparing prices, be sure to look at the websites of the attractions themselves, rather than the price quoted on the London Pass website. MANY attractions now have discounts for online advance tickets. The trick I learned was that for places that do not have timed tickets, the morning of your visit is far enough "in advance" to get this discount. What I did was create an account at any website for a sight I was thinking I might visit (much easier to do on a computer with a full keyboard and large screen than on a smartphone!). Then, when I had a nice day and decided that morning to go to Greenwich, I was able to log in and get tickets easily (using hotel Wi-Fi) . I had my hotel print them out, but it turns out they could have been scanned right off my phone. However, do check, as some websites specifically say the advance ticket needs to be printed, or needs to be converted from an e-mail to a real paper ticket at a specific desk before it is valid for entry (each museum or attraction has different rules).

Posted by
129 posts

THANKS! for all your responses. I’ve got some more questions and I’ll list our rough itinerary, along with the cost of sites covered by the London Pass. It’s definitely a money saver imo.

Saturday: Arrive St. Pancras from Paris (no jet lag) via Eurostar around 12:00—13:00. Visit British Library, within spitting distance of our hotel. Maybe ride a bus or the Tube later.

Sunday: Changing of the Guard, Harrod’s, Natural History Museum, and Apsley House. At Apsley, initiate nine-day English Heritage Visitor's Pass (to be purchased before leaving USA) which allows "free" entry here, at Stonehenge, Darwin's Down House, and many other sites around England.

Monday: Day trip, train to Cambridge. THRILLED to walk and eat where Newton, Darwin, Hawking, Watson and Crick and other giants have walked and lived.

Tuesday—Thursday: Out near Stonehenge. One day with a private guide (ain’t no way I’m driving on the wrong side of the road! Someone would die. Crossing streets in London presents enough hazard for us.) and one day to explore on our own—still need to see if a convenient regional bus service exists near us in Rowde/Devises. If yes, maybe see one or more of: Bath, Avebury, Salisbury, Caen Locks, Wadworth Brewery… Heck, the Locks and Wadworth seem within walking distance.

Friday: Arrive at Paddington around noon, stay near St. Pancras again. Visit British Museum (open late).

Saturday: Activate London Pass. Visit the Shard (£32), Borough Market, maybe Golden Hinde (£5), HMS Belfast (£18), Shakespeare’s Globe (£17).

Sunday: HoHo bus (£34), Darwin's Down House. Hope for light traffic for the HoHo ride on a Sunday morning…

Monday: Westminster Abbey (£22), Churchill War Rooms (£22)

Tuesday: HoHo boat to Greenwich (£19), Museum and Cutty Sark (£31), Greenwich Market, maybe more HoHo boat

Wednesday: Tower of London (£27), London Eye

Thursday: Short day to mosey somewhere, have 16:30 departure from Heathrow to USA.

Total admission costs if purchased on site easily tops £200 and could be near £250. Six day London Pass on sale is £135 and MAYBE we can skip some lines. I don’t think I’ve packed too much into any one day and I’m hoping our early April visit will mean relatively short lines anyway.

1) It seems to me that buying individual site tickets in advance for discounts is a logistical nightmare, what with probable timed or at least day specific entry. “C’mon, Honey. We can’t finish breakfast or we’ll miss our spot at Museum X.
2) April is likely gonna be rainy, right?
3) Based on responses so far, I see no need to purchase the Pass now. Is the current sale “typical” price-wise or might there even be better sales at times?
4) Will the GBP weaken or grow stronger vs the USD by April 2020? LOL

Nigel: based on responses and a (very) little digging on my part, it appears electronic connectivity and expending data time are not issues. I think all the device needs to do is show a bar code to be scanned. Just need to be sure the battery is charged.

Posted by
2021 posts

Nigel: based on responses and a (very) little digging on my part, it appears electronic connectivity and expending data time are not issues. I think all the device needs to do is show a bar code to be scanned.

That is correct. Do you use the wallet feature of your smart phone? All you have to do is save the tickets in your wallet and no connectivity is needed.

One thing to keep in mind is that you can't go online and reserve a time for attractions like the Shard. I called them to see how it works and they informed me we just show up. I don't know how that would work during popular times, like sunset.

Maybe they changed the rules at the Churchill War Rooms. There was a line for regular ticket purchases. I showed a staff member who was managing the lines our London Pass and he waved us to the empty line for those who had pre-purchased their tickets. We went right in.

Your trip sounds great! I hope you have a wonderful time. I think the weather is hit or miss. We were in London for a week and it only sprinkled one day, and then just for an hour.

Posted by
7573 posts

I have to say that I liked the pass on my recent trip. I went and saw some things that I might have skipped otherwise. I enjoyed seeing them. I had the same experience of walking right into the Tower of London and the Churchill War Rooms.

Posted by
12719 posts

This is sort of OT but DO make sure you visit Westminster Abbey. I see you have an interest in Newton, Darwin and Hawking and they are all cozied up next to each other near the monument to Newton. I am not a scientist. All I know about physics I learned by watching Big Bang Theory. I was overcome to be near the resting places of these groundbreaking scientists. Just amazing. This struck me even more than Poet's Corner.

Do download the app for Westminster Abbey and carry your earbuds with you. It is excellent and much easier to manage than the heavy audio handsets they have. If you can manage it sign up for the Verger Tour which is an extra 5GBP.

Posted by
129 posts

DougMac and Nigel: I don't have a phone, just an iPod Touch 6, but I've learned the iPod will work, no connectivity required on site, and will do so without using a Wallet App--Hooray, one less thing for me to learn about!

Carol--Yep, fer shure it'll be neat to be "near" giants.

It looks like the Pass may indeed allow skipping the line at Churchill War Rooms (see Carol's comment, above), but even if it only did so at the Tower, that'd be gravy enough!