London Pass

To explore all of London's attractions without going broke trying, the London Pass and other passes can help you. Here's how!

Vicky Del Moral

Vicky Del Moral

9 min read

London Pass

London Bridge | ©Ralph Spegel

London is a high-priced city, with 35 million tourists a year and plenty to see and do. Sightseeing passes save you time by avoiding queues and money by not having to pay for each ticket separately.

How many London Sightseeing Passes are there?

Westminster Abbey inside
Westminster Abbey inside

With so many attractions and sightseeing itineraries available, London has a number of different sightseeing passes and choosing the right one for your trip can be tricky. Here are the pros and cons, what's included and how they work:

  • London Pass - from CAD 179: Paid per day and gives you access to over 80 attractions (recommended for those who want to see as many attractions as possible during their trip).
  • London Explorer Pass - from CAD 119: Pay only for the number of attractions you want to see (recommended for those who only want access to certain attractions).
  • Royal Palaces Pass (recommended for short trips and for lovers of the Royal Houses)
  • Magic London Pass (Recommended for family trips)

London Pass

St. Paul's Cathedral| ©Catalin Bot
St. Paul's Cathedral| ©Catalin Bot

The price of the London Pass is based on the number of days of use. The maximum duration is 10 days, but if your trip is shorter you can customise it and pay for a smaller number of days (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 or 6 days).

  • Pay per day (1 to 10) and get access to more than 80 tourist attractions.
  • Includes access to the sightseeing bus and Thames river cruises.
  • Recommended for those who want to visit as much as possible.

You're going to experience London. For real. You have up to ten days ahead of you and you are a tireless tourist, one of those who ends up exhausted every day, and who is interested in knowing the most historical and cultural part of a place with an immense range of options so as not to lose detail of everything that a destination can offer you.

Everything you can visit in London in terms of cultural tourism is included in the London Pass, with access to more than 80 attractions and a day on a tourist bus with nine routes and more than 110 stops (which we recommend you use towards the end of your trip, when fatigue will surely start to set in).

Why do I like this card?

With this card you save a lot: time, because it gets you fast-track entry to the capital's most popular attractions, and money, because you're not paying for each ticket individually. Plus, it gives you access to special offers at a lot of restaurants, shops, theatres and other entertainment venues.

To give you an idea, with a 6-day adult London Pass, for example, priced at £171, you can visit a number of attractions that if you paid separately would come to a total of around £625. It pays off, doesn't it?

What's included in the London Pass?

As mentioned above, the London Pass gives you access to the sightseeing bus and the Thames river cruise, but also to many of the capital's most popular attractions. Here is a list of what I think are the most important ones.

  • Sightseeing bus
  • Thames River Cruise
  • Tower of London
  • National Gallery
  • The View from The Shard
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Houses of Parliament
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • National Maritime Museum
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Kensington Palace
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • London Zoo (in Regent's Park)
  • Movie tours of Harry Potter, James Bond, Sherlock Homes, Bridget Jones and others

What is not included in the London Pass?

  • London Eye
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Dungeon
  • Shrek Adventure
  • Food and beverages unless specified
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers to attractions

Book the London Pass

London Explorer Pass

HMS Belfast and London Bridge| ©Roman Fox
HMS Belfast and London Bridge| ©Roman Fox

Spending four days in London and want to get to the must-sees? The London Explorer Pass is the quickest and most convenient way to see the must-see London, because it gives you a choice of the city's best attractions. Unlike the London Pass, which is organised by days, with this pass you choose by number of attractions to visit.

  • You pay only for the number of attractions you want to visit (up to 7).
  • Includes access to the sightseeing bus and Thames river cruises.
  • Ideal for those who want to visit the essentials at the best price.

With the London Pass Explorer you will have access to places that are a must-see and others that, although not considered a "must-see", can give a different touch to your trip, especially if you are travelling with children.

You can choose between 3, 4, 5 or 7 attractions from their list of 31 attractions in total. This can save you up to 35% on the standard ticket price, with no long queues and a useful digital guide.

Some of the attractions included with the London Explorer Pass

  • London Big Bus sightseeing bus
  • Thames River Cruise
  • Westminster Abbey
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Paul's Cathedral
  • The London Dungeon
  • Big Bus Tours
  • Kensington Palace
  • Thames River
  • City Cruises Westminster Pier
  • City Cruises Tower Pier
  • City Cruises Greenwich Pier
  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Emirates Stadium Tour and Museum
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Royal Albert Hall
  • Wembley Stadium
  • Royal Botanic Gardens
  • Royal Observatory Greenwich
  • Chelsea FC Stadium Tour & Museum
  • Bridget Jones and Harry Potter film tours
  • Florence Nightingale Museum
  • The Kia Oval

What is not included in the London Explorer Pass?

  • Food and beverages, unless specified.
  • Gratuities
  • Transfers to attractions

Book the London Explorer Pass

Royal Palaces Pass: Kensington Palace, Hampton Court and the Tower of London

Tower of London
Tower of London

If you're only spending a few days in the English capital or it's the history of the Crown that most appeals to you, this Royal Palaces Pass is a great option for you.

  • Recommended for short trips and for lovers of the Royal Houses.
  • You have virtually unlimited time (the pass lasts two years) to visit the three most spectacular palaces in London.

Britain's history is deeply rooted in its monarchical tradition and London is proof of that. The capital has dozens of incredible palaces to visit and just walking around the city and finding hundreds of souvenir shops with images of the royals is a testament to their importance in society.

With the Royal Palaces Pass you can immerse yourself in the stories and intrigues of some of the buildings that witnessed the daily life, the black chronicle and the art collections of some of the country's most powerful families. Feel like a king or queen for a day.

What does the Royal Palaces Pass include?

  • London Tower: I recommend you start this palatial day exploring one of the most famous fortresses on the globe, the Tower of London. Located in the financial and historical centre of the city, its famous 'City', this Tower was a symbol of horror for almost ten centuries, serving as a prison in subhuman conditions for those accused of treason against the king.
  • Kensington Palace: towards South Kensington, one of the most elegant and expensive areas of the city, we find the majestic 'Kensington Palace'. This palace attracts a lot of attention because, in addition to its beautiful gardens and its 18th century halls, it has been a royal residence since the 17th century. Nowadays, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge themselves (William and Kate) live here.
  • Hampton Court Palace: we finish our journey by relaxing on the outskirts of London and getting lost in the incredible hedge maze of Hampton Court Palace. This fortress-like building is the finest example of Tudor art in England and, although it's on the outskirts of London, it's very easy to get to on a direct train that leaves every half hour from London Waterloo and takes 40 minutes.

What's not included in the Royal Palaces pass?

  • Gratuities
  • Food and beverages unless specified
  • Transfers to attractions

Magic London Pass

Madame Tussauds
Madame Tussauds

London is not just about history, architecture and museums. As a great city it also offers countless experiences for all ages to enjoy in a different way, especially if you are travelling with children. If you are travelling to the British capital for up to 4 days and want to experience London as a family, the Magic Pass is for you.

  • Recommended for family trips
  • Includes access to 5 of London's best attractions, including the London Eye.

Visits to museums, monuments, churches... are exhausting and we know they are not the best place for the little ones to spend their holidays. For them there is a different London, a very fun one, with 5 dream places to discover. Buying it will save you a lot, considering the high price of these attractions, especially to pay for each member of a family, and more importantly, it will save you time in endless queues.

What's included in the Magical London Pass?

  • Madame Tussauds London
  • The London Eye
  • The London Dungeon
  • SEA LIFE London
  • Shrek's Adventure London

What is not included in the Magical London Pass?

  • Transport to and from the attractions
  • Souvenir photos (to be purchased at each attraction on request)

Is it worth buying a London Sightseeing Pass?

Shakespeare's Globe Thaetre Interior| ©David Stanley
Shakespeare's Globe Thaetre Interior| ©David Stanley

That's a personal answer that will depend, as you've seen, on the type of traveller you are, your budget and your time in the city. But I can give you some very simple advice. Make a list of the attractions you're most interested in visiting and organise them according to the number of days you have ahead of you and how much they cost separately. That way you'll know if it's cost-effective to take a pass and which one includes all of them.

Remember that with tourist passes you can either have much cheaper access to more than 80 attractions if you want to get the most out of London, or you can choose and pay only for a limited number of places because you have fewer days of travel and there are some must-see attractions that you can't miss.

Vicky's Traveller Tip

Make a list of the attractions you want to see and how much it would cost to buy their tickets separately to compare their prices with the passes.

Tourist Pass Comparison

  • London Pass
  • From £96
  • Pay per number of days
  • Sightseeing Bus: YES
  • Book now
  • London Explorer Pass
  • From £58
  • Pay per number of attractions
  • Sightseeing Bus: YES
  • Book now
  • Royal Palaces Pass
  • From £80
  • Pay fixed price for 3 palaces
  • Sightseeing bus: NO
  • Magic London Pass
  • From £95
  • Pay fixed price for 5 attractions
  • Sightseeing Bus: NO

How does it work?

London Eye| ©David Henderson
London Eye| ©David Henderson

Each Pass is very simple to use. When you buy it online, you choose between the different options available, and when you receive it, you can download it onto your mobile phone and scan it at the entrance to each attraction.

You can buy it at any time: a month or a day before you start your trip, because your card will only be activated once you use it on your first visit. You'll also receive a comprehensive digital guide in your own language, with facts about each place you explore, maps and super-useful information.

Book the London Pass

Other tips for saving money in London

It's always been said that London is an expensive city. And although the pound has been losing value in recent years, the prices of restaurants, hotels and attractions are quite high compared to other cities. But if you organise your trip ahead of time and know a few tips, budget need not be a problem.

Use the sightseeing bus

Whether or not you decide to get a tourist card, the option of taking the tourist bus will save you time and money on transport, as it takes you directly from one attraction to another without having to pay metro or city bus fares each way. You can read more about how it works in my article on London Sightseeing Buses.

Take a Thames cruise

The same goes for the Thames cruise: you have several options, from the cheapest to the most premium. Best of all? On the non-stop cruise you can hop on and off as many times as you like to get around the city at your leisure. Read more here: 7 Best Thames River Cruises in London.

To visit the surrounding area, a closed tour is best

If at some point you are thinking of leaving the big city to visit the English countryside, the most charming villages of the island or the well-known universities of Oxford or Cambridge, your pocket won't be a problem if you do it with an organised excursion with a fixed price. I'll tell you about the best excursions in this guide: 9 Best Day Trips from London.

Book the London Explorer Pass