London Pass or Travel Pass or Oyster Card?

Hi, I'm having a tough time deciding the most convenient method of getting around London for 3 days (including a day trip to Windsor Castle). If convenient can be combined with cost-effectiveness, that would be a plus. My partner is mostly interested in "as little work as possible" convenience. I've looked into all three options in the topic title and the London Pass with Travel seems to be the most convenient since it includes visits to many of the places we want to see (except for tickets to a show in the West End) and access to the river cruise and admission to Windsor Castle. A travel pass for zones 1-6 would get us where we want to go around London but not much more and we'd prefer not to have to stand in line for tickets to sites with our limited time there. The Oyster card is a good option too, but we're still waiting for tickets. Any thoughts out there? Is the London Pass with travel a good option (as far as I can figure out it wouldn't be much more cost-wise than buying a travel pass and paying for the sites individually (again, the time issue). Thanks for any ideas!
Chris

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

I'll start off by telling you I've never had a London Pass with travel option but there have been many negative comments about that combo here. I have had a 2 day London Pass that had me spend 2 full days hitting sites covered by the pass. I saved a few pounds. When in London, I had a 7 day Oyster but that was because I was there for 7 days. I think the cost break is at four days so you might be better off with 1 day passes. You could get a pay as you go Oyster and load it with the daily maximum. If you are taking several tube rides and a bus or two each day, you'll easily hit the maximum. I can't remember the daily maximum (please look it up) but I think it was about 7 GBP. Another option is to buy 2 for 1 paper tickets at the rail terminals and print out vouchers before you leave for the various attractions. The trip to Windsor is about 8 GBP each way out of Piccadilly by train. The Oyster or London transit pass will not help with that. You'll make a quick change in Slough. Whatever you do, you need to do the math. You'll need to plan out the sites you'll visit and the cost for each. Add in your transportation. The savings between the different options will not be all that much so don't overwork the problem.

Posted by Chris
Eugene, OR, USA
26 posts

Thanks Ken. Do you have any opinion on if I should purchase the passes (London, Travel or Oyster) in advance (from the US) or when we get there?

Posted by Ken
Spring, Texas
599 posts

I believe you would have to purchase the London Pass in advance but I'm not completely sure. They do have an office in London but I don't think you'd want to spend time hunting it down if you can buy in advance. Before you buy a pass, carefully plan your schedule to see if you get your money's worth. Be careful when you look at the sites on their web site. They claim that the pass works at a number of sites that are already free. The London Pass is not easy to justify in my opinion. Don't buy an Oyster card in advance. You can pick them up at the larger tube stations quickly and easily. If you come in from Heathrow, Paddington is a great place to pick them up. I suspect you will only need the pass for zones 1-2. Check where you will want to go. There isn't much for a tourist outside zones 1-2. Windsor and Hampton Court are outside all of the zones and you'll need separate train tickets to get there. If you decide to try for the 2 for 1 passes, you'll need to get paper tickets and not the plastic Oyster. You will have to print the 2 for 1 vouchers off before your trip.

Posted by Chani
Tel Aviv
3505 posts

If you opt for the Oyster, you can buy them at the underground station at Heathrow and use them to take the Piccadilly line into town. If you have less than £10 left on each when you leave, you can get an immediate refund at just about any tube station, plus the £5 deposit. If you paid cash, the refund is in cash; if you used plastic, the refund is applied to your credit card.

Posted by Frank
Los Angeles, CA, USA
171 posts

Step 1: List the sites you want to see and total cost of visiting them. Step 2: Find out which zone most of your sites will be in. Most likely you will only need Zone 1-2. Step 3: Compare prices and convenience. That being said, we were in London for 5 days 4 nights. We compared prices and went with London Pass without transportation. Then each bought an unlimited 7 day Zone 1-2 travelcard loaded on an Oyster card. At the end of the day we saved tons of money and time with fast track. While many told us to get the paper travelcard that comes with a bogo offer. We were glad we didn't, and saved 30+ minutes each site, by avoiding the box office and avoiding lines. But we are young, fit, and energetic (28-33), I can't imagine doing this with my grandparents. So, not sure what type of physical condition you are in. What we used in 3 days from our London pass: - Tower of London - St. Paul's Cathedral - Tower Bridge Exhibition - The Monument - Benjamin Franklin House (total waste of time) - Jewel Tower - Westminster Abbey - Wellington Arch - Windsor Castle - Shakespeare's Globe Theatre Tour - HMS Belfast - Churchill War Rooms - The Guards Museum - Thames River Boat Cruise (included! what a deal~) - Jason's Original Canal Boat Trip
- Free audio guides at Museums For us buying the London Pass + seperate oyster card zone 1-2 unlimited 7 days cost us less money than London pass + travelcard or Individule visits or Paper boho Travelcard. But it took about half a day of research to get to that conclusion. Happy Travels.

Posted by Frank
Los Angeles, CA, USA
171 posts

ah! forgot to add the London Bridge experience it's kinda like knotts scary farm. that only took about 30 minutes which we stumble upon.

Posted by Chris
Eugene, OR, USA
26 posts

Thanks much for the detailed advice. I'll be parsing out the details for London this weekend. We won't want to be running from site to site without taking some time to enjoy just being there. Our attitude is that we will return someday. Thanks again!
Chris

Posted by Anita
Long Beach, California, USA
554 posts

- You can buy an Oyster at any tube station from the ticket window or a machine. You can load it up/top it up again at any window or online. - I am glad that we opted to not by a London Pass - you have to rush around to at least 2 or 3 sites per day to make it worthwhile. I hate to rush and it doesn't save all that much money. The "cut to the front of the line" feature isn't very helpful in my opinion...ie. Tower of London. You get in line with everyone else who has a ticket. If you get to sites before 10AM the lines are really not that long with just a couple of exceptions such as Westminster Abbey - horrible lines!
- There aren't many things past Zone 3 that tourists typically want to see so, again, it might not be worth it to get an all-inclusive pass. Figure out what you want to see and load up your Oyster accordingly.

Posted by John
Tampa, FL, USA
67 posts

You have to do the math and it isn't simple. We did Oysters for our under 15 boys since that was the best way to get a rate for them. A few days we did Oysters and a couple others a Rail branded 1-Day Travel card for the 2-for-1 offer.