My hometown of London has an unwelcome, but not undeserved, reputation for being eye-wateringly expensive. Although its superb state-funded museums are free to visit, London’s other attractions can seriously bend your credit card.
Like many major cities, London has a city pass – the Go City® London Pass – that provides free access to many of its top attractions and activities. But is the London Pass worth it?
In this London Pass review, I’ll give you my honest opinion on whether you should buy this pass for London attractions. Discover how it works, what is included, how much it costs and where to buy it.
All information and prices are taken from the London Pass official website and are correct as of March 2023.
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LONDON PASS AT A GLANCE
- The London Pass provides free access to 90+ attractions and activities. You choose how many days you want to visit these attractions.
- Types of pass: Available for 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days
- Cost: From £110 – 647. Deep discounts may be available, especially on the longer duration passes
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What are the Main Advantages of the London Pass?
The London Pass gives you free access to a vast range of top London attractions and tours. Some of these include fast-track admission, avoiding the need for queuing.
At selected attractions, there are extra perks such as audio guides and gift shop discounts.
The pass also comes with a free guidebook containing information about each attraction, maps and helpful London tips.
How the London Pass Works
The London Pass works as a digital sightseeing pass.
You choose your pass duration – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days – and then download this to the official London Pass app. For the duration of your pass’s validity, you can visit as many of the included attractions as you can manage.
London Pass vs London Explorer Pass
It’s easy to confuse these two London city passes, which are both sold by Go City.
Unlike many traditional city passes, the London Explorer Pass offers access to a predetermined number of attractions over a generous 60-day time window. The London Pass provides access to an unlimited number of included attractions over a predetermined number of days.
The London Pass lets you choose the number of consecutive days on which you would like to sightsee. With the London Explorer Pass, you choose how many attractions you would like to visit.
READ THIS NEXT: A London Explorer Pass Honest Review
What is Free with the London Pass?
As of December 2022, more than 90 attractions and activities are free with the Go City® London Pass.
You can check the full list on the official website. The vast majority of London’s most popular attractions are there, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, the View from the Shard and Windsor Castle.
In addition to tours and attractions, the London Pass also gives you free tickets to screenings at the wonderful Curzon cinemas and ten-pin bowling in Brick Lane.
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Popular London Pass attractions
Here are some of the most popular London attractions included in the pass along with the full adult ticket price at the time of writing this article.
Tower of London (£29.90)
This UNESCO-listed fortress has played a prominent role in English history for more than 1,000 years. Built by William the Conqueror, the Tower of London is famous as a place of imprisonment and execution and as the home of the Crown Jewels.
READ THIS NEXT: 15 Insider Tips for Visiting the Tower of London
St. Paul’s Cathedral (£21)
For me, St. Paul’s Cathedral is one of the most beautiful and special places in London.
Built by Sir Christopher Wren after the devastation wrought by the Great Fire of London in 1666, the cathedral has been the setting for many ceremonial events. It is also famous for its Whispering Gallery and the views over London from its Golden gallery.
Westminster Abbey (£27)
Westminster Abbey is London’s Pantheon.
Founded by Benedictine monks in 960 AD, this Gothic masterpiece is the final resting place of 17 English monarchs, plus writers, artists, scientists and political leaders. It is also where you will find the Coronation Chair, on which monarchs have been crowned for the past thousand years.
View from the Shard (£32)
For the best views in London, visit the View from the Shard. Designed by the architect Renzo Piano, this is the tallest building in the UK and the sixth tallest in Europe.
READ THIS NEXT: Visiting The Shard, London: Tips from a Local
Tower Bridge Experience (£11.40)
In this fun and educational visit to Tower Bridge, the most famous of London’s bridges, a lift whisks you up to the walkways, 30 meters above the street level. From here, you can look through the glass floor to the bridge below and learn about the construction of the bridge.
Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (£17)
This detailed reproduction of an Elizabethan theatre is located a few hundred meters from the original Globe, where many of Shakespeare’s plays were first performed. If you can’t make it to one of the productions here, the next best thing is to take a tour of the Globe Theatre.
Kensington Palace (£16)
Designed by Christopher Wren, Kensington Palace is best known as the childhood home of Queen Victoria and the official residence of the Prince and Princess of Wales.
Kew Gardens (£13.50)
Displaying over 50,000 plant species, the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew is another UNESCO World Heritage Site in London. The Temperate House and the Palm House are gems of Victorian engineering and kids will love the Treetop Walkway,
London Zoo (£38)
Set in Leafy Regent’s Park and home to over 700 species, London Zoo is a fun family day out.
Hampton Court Palace (£25.30)
This royal palace is one for all fans of Wolf Hall. Hampton Court is famously the former home of the Tudor king Henry VIII.
Windsor Castle (£30)
Windsor is one of the easiest day trips from London by train. In just 30 minutes you can be exploring one of Europe’s historic palaces.
Home to British kings and queens for almost 1,000 years, Windsor is the oldest occupied castle in the world.
READ THIS NEXT: 33 Easy Day Trips from London by Train
It’s also good to see many of London’s interesting smaller museums on the list of attractions included in the London Pass. These include Pollock’s Toy Museum (for kids young and old), the excellent Museum of Brands and the Mail Rail at the Postal Museum.
Transport & Tours included in the London Pass
Hop-on-hop-off Bus Tour (£34)
Choose between two operators to see the best of London from an open-top bus with an audioguide in five languages.
Uber Boat by Thames Clippers 1-day River Roamer (£21)
For a sightseeing tour by water, jump on a Thames Uber Boat, stopping at 24 piers that include Greenwich, the Tower of London and Westminster.
London Bicycle Tour (£38.95)
Explore the city on two wheels on a choice of two guided bicycle tours. For a DIY option, bicycle hire is also included in the pass.
Wembley Stadium Tour (£24)
Visiting the hallowed turf of Wembley Stadium is one is for the footie fans (and their reluctant partners). The London Pass also includes tours of Chelsea FC Stadium, Emirates Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur.
Fuller’s Brewery Tour (£25)
Sample British beer on a tour of the Griffin Brewery in west London.
Do you need to Book Ahead with the London Pass?
There’s no need to pre-book many of the pass’s London attractions. However, there are some that you will need to book in advance as they cap visitor numbers.
Popular London attractions and tours that require pre-booking include the View from the Shard. You can get the full list of attractions that require reservations here.
What is Not Included in the London Pass?
Even to my critical eye, the London Pass is pretty comprehensive. However, it does not include the London Eye, tours of Buckingham Palace (summer-only), London Aquarium, London Dungeon and tours of the Palace of Westminster (Houses of Parliament).
Madame Tussauds is also a notable exclusion, but who in their right mind would want to waste precious time there?
It’s also worth mentioning that the pass may not cover admission to special exhibitions and events or audioguides at the included attractions. Government-funded museums are not included but admission to their permanent exhibitions is free regardless.
Do You Have to Use the London Pass on Consecutive Days?
The London Pass has to be used on consecutive days. For example, if you have a 3-day pass and start using it on a Wednesday, it will be valid for that day, Thursday and Friday.
London Pass Price
The cost of your London Pass will be determined by the duration that you select.
It comes in these different flavours: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 days. The longer the duration, the cheaper it is on a £ per day basis.
Adult prices apply to those aged 16 and over. Child prices are for those aged 5 to 15. Most attractions grant free entry to under-fives.
The London Pass prices quoted refer to full face value as of March 2023 but deep discounts may be available at the time of purchase. Check the current prices here.
1-Day Pass – Adult £119 | Child £61
2-Day Pass – Adult £109 | Child £91
3-Day Pass – Adult £245 | Child £129
4-Day Pass – Adult £275| Child £146
5-Day Pass – Adult £310 | Child £154
6-Day Pass – Adult £395 | Child £212
7-Day Pass – Adult £466 | Child £260
10-Day Pass – Adult £647 | Child £363
Buying a London Pass with Oyster Card
When you purchase your London Pass, you have the option of adding an Oyster Card to your order. This is shipped as a physical card.
Oyster cards are prepayment tap-and-go smart cards you can use across London’s transport network.
Due to the inflexibility of purchase options, I do not recommend adding an Oyster card to your London Pass order.
For example; if you choose a 3-day pass, you will need to select a £25 travel credit. Central London is surprisingly walkable and you may not need all of this credit.
Although you can claim back any unused credit, you are better off buying your own Oyster card with a small amount of credit when you reach London and topping this up as needed. Alternatively, simply use your contactless bankcard on London’s buses, trains and trams. Just make sure that your bank won’t sting you with currency transaction fees.
Is the London Pass Worth it?
As with any city pass, the only way to work out if the London Pass is worth it is to cost a sample itinerary with and without the pass. To give you a head start, I’ve priced one and two-day itineraries.
These are based on a first-time visitor’s solo trip to London.
READ THIS NEXT: 35+ Epic Things To Do Alone In London
These key London attractions are clustered within walking distance of one another along the Thames.
- St. Paul’s Cathedral (£21)
- Tower of London (£29.90)
- Tower Bridge Experience (£11.40)
- View from the Shard (£32)
- Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (£17)
- Evening boat ride on the Thames (21)
Cost of individual tickets: £132.30
1-Day London Pass: £110
In the evening, you could max out the pass further by taking a boat ride along the Thames or seeing a movie at one of the Curzon cinemas.
Day two of this sample itinerary starts by visiting Westminster Abbey before taking a short train ride to Windsor.
- Westminster Abbey (£27)
- Windsor Castle (£30)
Cost of individual tickets: £189.30
2-Day London Pass: £184
Note that these itineraries do not include the use of a hop-on-hop-off bus (£41) or one of the excellent tours on offer.
As these examples illustrate, the London Pass is likely to save you money. With just a little advance planning, you can visit enough attractions in two days to be easily quids in. AS there are usually considerable discounts on the face values of these London sightseeing passes, expect savings to be greater.
Add to that the convenience of not having to queue to buy tickets at each place, and fast-track admission where available, and it’s a no-brainer.
Heck. I’m tempted to buy a pass as Londoner.
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Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your London Pass
1. Plan your itinerary
A little research can go a long way. Identify which attractions you would like to visit and whether they are included in the pass. This will help you decide if the London Pass is worth it for you.
2. Consider transit times
Don’t just look at a list of London attractions in isolation. Whilst, many of its landmarks are located in central London, others are in outer boroughs (e.g. Kew Gardens, Hampton Court Palace).
Therefore, consider about how long it will take to travel between the places on your draft London itinerary, clustering them by locality if possible.
3. Don’t try to squeeze too much in
This is the biggest danger of city cards. By trying to visit as many of the included attractions as possible, you run the risk of becoming completely frazzled.
It’s far better to pick a smaller number of high-value activities and enjoy them. If relaxed sightseeing is more your thing, take a look at the Go City® London Explorer Pass here.
4. Prioritise high-value attractions
You get the most bang for your buck by using your London Pass for entry into the more expensive London attractions. By using the pass to get you into places like the Tower of London, the Shard, Westminster Abbey and Windsor Castle, you maximise its benefits.
5. Consider what is not covered by the London Pass
Think about attractions that are not covered by the London Pass, such as its excellent museums and the London Eye. If these are on your itinerary, visit these on a “non-London Pass day.”
6. Start using your London Pass on the morning of the first day of validity
As the pass’s validity is for consecutive days, not 24-hour periods, make an early start to your sightseeing to get the best value from it. If you start using your London Pass late in the day, that will count as your first day.
7. Check opening hours in advance
Some London attractions are closed on certain days of the week (Westminster Abbey is closed on Sundays, for example) and many admit their last visitors at 4.30 pm.
8. Make sure that you make reservations where these are required.
9. Appoint the London Pass guidebook as your best friend
The complimentary guidebook is a mine of useful information, including travel information and those attractions offering skip-the-line access to pass holders.
Should I Buy the Go City® London Pass?
There are some types of travellers for whom the London Pass will be better than others.
Who is the pass good for?
If you want to see as much of London as possible – Then the Go City® London Pass is for you. The more you use it, the more money you will save.
If you are spending longer in London – Although you are likely to save money using a London Pass if you are in town for a day or two, these savings will be amplified if you stay longer,
If you want to set your budget in advance – No one likes a nasty shock when they check their credit card statement at the end of a holiday. With the London Pass, you can take control over a chunk of your vacation budget.
If you are looking for convenience – There’s a lot to be said for not having to purchase individual tickets and fast-track entry. Who doesn’t want to be treated like a VIP at times?
Who should skip the pass?
If you do not have a smartphone – Although those who do not have a smartphone are in the minority, there are still some out there (including a few of my friends). As the London Pass is no longer available as a paper ticket, you will not be able to use it if you do not have a smartphone.
As you can show a London Explorer Pass as a paper copy, consider this as an alternative.
If you are on a budget – In an expensive city like London, it can be challenging to stretch the travel budget to the paid-for attractions. Fortunately, London has a clutch of excellent free museums, parks and gardens.
If you have already visited the big-ticket items – Perhaps you have already visited places like the Tower of London and View from The Shard. These more expensive London Pass attractions generate the biggest savings.
If you are looking for a relaxed itinerary – Another key to maximising the benefits of the London Pass is to squeeze as much into your sightseeing day as possible.
If you only plan to visit a few paid attractions during your stay, the London Pass is unlikely to be a good buy. Instead, consider the London Explorer Pass as an alternative.
How to Buy the London Pass
The London Pass can only be purchased online as a mobile ticket. Buy it from the official site or from GetYourGuide here.
It’s worth comparing the prices and cancellation terms offered by the two sites.
Wherever you decide, I hope that this Go City® London Pass review has been helpful and have a fabulous time in my home city.