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When to purchase summer tour tickets for major London attractions?

Hello,

In the middle of the tour and activity planning stage of my family trip to London in late June. I was curious if there is an optimum time to book (or a TOO LATE time as well to be wary of) tickets for various places. We're hoping to see Hampton Court, Parliament, Westminster Abbey, and possibly the Churchill War Rooms. Any suggestions or ideas welcome!

Posted by
30 posts

When we went in 2018 we booked tickets as soon as they were available. Most attractions have timed entry so you want to be able to get the times you want.

Posted by
1159 posts

I agree with the other poster. Since you know when you are going and I assume you have your hotel and airline tkts booked, I would make a plan as to what days you want to see the things you listed. London is a very busy city all year round, so if want and need to book tkts I would say do it now. I would go on each website and see if they are open for the days you want to go and buy your tickets. Then you will not be disappointed in not being able to go and not be able to get the timed tickets you want.

Planning and buying tkts is half the battle in having things go smoothly and being able to see the things you want to see.

I am going to london in May and I have booked all my tkts for everything. I started planning this trip last July. The only thing I have left to buy is my train tkt to the Cotswolds and the tickets are not on sale yet.

I loved Hampton Court, remember you take a train there so make sure you get your train tickets for that too. The Churchill War Rooms are wonderful, I went twice ( years apart) and there are long lines for that. Westminster Abbey, was amazing. I did buy a ticket to see St Paul's Cathedral too.

Have a great time.

Posted by
859 posts

I think as long as you book at least two months in advance you’ll be fine. I’m a super planner and even I have not yet bought tickets for anything for my July trip except for the blue lagoon in Iceland because there was only one time we could go so I was determined to get that timeslot.

Posted by
5229 posts

Personally I’d buy tickets now so I’d not have fret over day of purchase. I always dedicated one debit card to my London travels. Yes I take a back up AND get pounds from a bank ATM as well but for tax purposes I find it easier to have a dedicated travel card.

If you choose you can get train tickets for Hampton Court Palace but you can also use your Oyster Card(s) to reach HCP. Merely make certain you’ve topped up your card in order to cover the cost.

You should also check the London Days Out Guide to see if any of your “ must sees” are included in the 2 for 1 deal. Maybe that’s why Ann suggested buying train tickets to reach Hampton Court Palace.

Buy entry tickets from each website not a third party vendor.

Enjoy your trip but expect hordes of people in June. That’s a travel reality there especially in the Summer months!

Picnic in the parks, enjoy pub grub, walk along the Thames path. Experience Borough, Spitafields and Portobello Road Markets. Check out the Mercado Mayfair. Cruise the Thames. Experience an Evensong.

Consider taking one or 2 London Walks. Always informative and enjoyable. Highly recommend.
www.walks.com

Great city. Been many times. Never tire of it.

Posted by
16746 posts

To take advantage of the 2-for-1 deals, you must buy your tickets at the sight. That will not work well for the most popular attractions, because the ticket lines are long. I definitely don't recommend trying that for the Churchill War Rooms.

Posted by
1064 posts

Not too far in advance is necessary. Harry Potter does need to be booked well in advance. Theatre tickets for some shows, particularly if you’re picky about where you sit as well.

For Parliament, I might do a week in advance. You’re not going to get shut out, but certain entrance times may sell out.

Churchill War Rooms maybe a day or two in advance. It’s been a couple years since all the Churchill films came out, so I don’t think it’s as crazy as it was.
Westminster Abbey is huge, a day or so before is fine. It’ll be crowded regardless.

Posted by
5817 posts

Personally I wouldn't buy tickets particularly far in advance.
There isn't any real need for "most" places. The only ones I can think of are tickets for the Harry Potter Warner Brothers Studio tour which sell out very quickly and tickets for particularly popular theatre shows and specific events.

Also things happen, trips get cancelled. I wouldn't want money tied up in tickets that I can't refund if I can't travel.

Finally I like a bit of flexibility. How do I know what I might want to do 6months in advance? Research might show something else interesting to do and I wouldn't want to be tied into tickets meaning I couldn't do something else.

But everyone travels differently. Of the places you have listed you definitely won't need to book in advance for Hampton Court although I would check that the day you plan to visit doesn't clash with one of the outdoor concerts if only to avoid crowds. That said I see Lionel Richie is playing and he is brilliant live!:-)

For the other places maybe book a month or so ahead, unless you wish to do something very specific eg tea in the House of Parliament.

Posted by
90 posts

The only one I'd definitely pre book on that list Is the Churchill/Cabinet War Rooms, they introduced timed entrance slots, its become very popular, this is the best way of managing the queues.

If you start paying out now unnecessarily and your plans or flight changes, or your jet lagged on the day, you've likely lost your money.

Parliament for myself was no charge, I arranged this through my Member of Parliament, but this is a popular tour so monitor this.

For HCP there is no advantage buying train tickets ahead, this is a 35 minute commuter run from Waterloo station, about 2 direct trains per hour, buy on the day, check out 241. See how you're days are looking and how you feel, check the weather forecast for HCP and as mentioned any other events on site. I'm over 2 hours by train from HCP, I'll decide my visit the night before and won't pre purchase anything.

Warner Bros studio, if that is in your mind, definitely Pre book your slot, go DIY, don't use a tour company.