Things to do in London

London City Passes Deconstructed – Sightseeing In London Made Easy!

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London is a city that draws people to its history seeped streets and leafy landscapes like a moth to flame. The city’s umpteen pubs, museums, art and culinary delights make it one of the most touristy cities in the world and very rightly so! With so much to do and see in London, the city can burn a huge hole in your pocket if not budgeted well. Lucky for you, a lot of fun things in London are free and the rest can be taken care of buy purchasing the ever so economical London City Passes. There are 4 London City Passes one can choose from depending on their itinerary and appetite for exploring the city. Learn in detail about each London City Pass, choose your pick and explore London on a budget!

London City Passes - What Are My Options ?

Like I said before, you have 4 London City Passes to choose from - The London Pass, The London Explorer Pass, The London Oyster Travel Card & The London iVenture Card. Read in detail about each of these cards, the pros & cons, who should buy it, the inclusions & exclusions, freebies available, validity and more on this blog post. Click on the one you'd like to learn more about!

London Pass

London Pass in a Nutshell

The London Pass allows a flat rate sightseeing pass to around 70 attractions around London along with a one day Hop On Hop Off bus tour access and a complimentary Thames Rivers Cruise. You can buy a London Pass for 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days depending on your duration of stay.

London Pass Prices

1 day - £69

2 day - £94

3 day - £114

5 day - £154

10 day - £184

The London Pass

The London Pass: 1, 2, 3, 6 & 10 Days Pass

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London Pass Attractions

List of Attractions Included in London Pass

List of Attractions Excluded in London Pass

Special offers With London Pass 

Top London Attractions For Free With London Pass

London Pass - Practical Information

How & Where to Buy the London Pass

The London Pass can be bought upto 12 months in advance. It must be collected on the same date selection during the time of purchase and gets activated on the first usage. You can buy the London Pass online and have it sent to your smartphone which allows you to carry the London Pass on your mobile. The mobile pass will have a unique QR code which will allow entry into the attractions included. Learn more about the Mobile London Pass here. Alternatively, you can have the London Pass shipped to your address ( will incur shipping charges) or you can bring a print your e-voucher and have it exchanged for a physical London Pass at the London Pass Redemption Desk on Trafalgar Square.

Know Before You Buy the London Pass

  • The London Pass grants entry to each attraction only once.
  • You will recieve a free colour,informative and comprehensive 160-page guidebook guidebook along with your London Pass that can help you plan your sightseeing better. This guide is available in English, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and Japanese.
  • With your London Pass, you can choose any one Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour operator - either Big Bus London or Golden Tours and use the HOHO service for 1 calendar day. Once the operator is chosen, you cannot switch between operators.
  • If you visit a minimum of 3 attractions in London per day using the London Pass, you are saving atleast £20 per day on entry prices.
  • If your itinerary involves a good amount of shuttling around London, you can opt to purchase your London Pass with Oyster Travelcard. The Oyster Travel Card is a public transport pass, which allows free travel on all London underground and bus services. Buying them as a combo works out more economical than purchasing them indiviually.

Is the London Pass Worth It?

This is the million dollar question one always asks before purchasing city passes. To be honest, we can't say for sure if the London Pass will be worth your money or not, but we can definitely show you a cost analysis that will help you decide.

If you were to visit the Tower of London (at £24.80), the View from the Shard (at £29.95), Westminster Abbey (at £22) and use a 1 day Hop-On-Hop-Off bus tour (£34) it would normally ideally cost you £110.75. If you had a London Pass however, you purchase a 1 day pass for £69 and do all of this and much more by spending way less!

However, whether the London Pass works worthy or not depends entirely on your itinerary and the number of days you are staying in London. The London Pass does consist of some offbeat attractions that are outside the normal tourist radar, however coupling these with the major attractions will only prove the pass worthy for your money. Visiting a minimum of 3 top attractions and around 2 other attractions along with availing the shopping discounts and free attractions will prove the London Pass bang for your buck!

Who should buy the London Pass & Who should Skip it?

The London Pass works out well for :

✔ Those traveling to London for the first time and looking to visit all the major attractions like the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, Shard and St. Paul’s Cathedral.

✔ Those who are interested in visiting the umpteen Museums & Galleries in London. The London Pass offers free entry to many musuems, historical buildings and galleries in London, so if you're a history buff, the London Pass works wonders.

✔ If you're in London for a short period of time and want to make the most of your time, the London Pass is great. Visiting atleast 3 prime attractions a day makes it worth your money like I said before, so if you're ticking the touristy spots off your list, the London Pass is an economical bet.

✔ If you're traveling with children and hope to beat the queues , then the London Pass with its skip the line access facility will prove a saviour.

The London Pass does not work well for :

✕ Those who are looking for a relaxed tour across London - lots of walking and soaking the culture with limited sightseeing, the London Pass will not prove worthy of the money spent.

✕ Those whose itineraries revolve around the free attractions. There are many museums and galleries that do not charge an entry fee, hence if you're not much of a museums buff and are looking to visit a select free ones, then the London Pass is not necessary

✕ Those staying in London for longer than a week will have more time on their hands to sightsee at a leisurely pace, hence buying a pass that limits you to a few days does not make sense.

Tips for using the London Pass

  • Download the London Pass App to gain access to tons of information about each attraction and other hidden extras that are updated regularly.
  • Make sure to check the timings of the attractions when planning your day. Certain attractions remain closed on certain days and most of them close around 5:00 PM, hence make it a point to start your day early so as to squeeze all that you have planned in a timely fashion.
  • Use the Hop on Hop Off Tour ticket towards the end of your trip as an escape from all the walking and climbing. If you use it as a mode of transport, you won't be able to do justice to the Hop on Hop Off experience and neither will you be able to cover much due to the travel times.

London Explorer Pass

London Explorer Pass in a Nutshell

The London Explorer Pass is a flexible multi-attraction pass which allows one free entry to 3, 5, or 7 attractions (from a list of 20) hence allowing one to craft their own itinerary and save up to 35% on regular prices . The more attractions you choose, the more discounts you avail. The London Explorer Pass remains valid for 30 days from first usage.

London Explorer Pass Prices

3 attractions - £59

5 attractions - £84

7 attractions - £109

London Explorer Pass

London Explorer Pass: 3, 5 & 7 Attractions Pass

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London Explorer Pass Attractions

20 Attractions Included in the London Explorer Pass

Top London Attractions For Free With London Pass

London Explorer Pass - Practical Information

How & Where to buy the London Explorer Pass?

The London Explorer pass can be purchase online and offline. If you buy it online, you can opt for it to be shipped to your address or you can bring a copy of the pdf pass and have it exchanged at their London office in Leicester Square. If you want to eliminate the need for a physical pass, you can download the pdf and keep it on your phone or download the London Explorer Pass app on your smartphone and flash the ticket via the app. This app has a lot of information about traveling around London, hence downloading it is a good idea. You do not have to pre-select the attractions before booking the ticket, but you have choose the number of attractions you would like to visit and pay accordingly. Once your London Explorer Pass is booked and in hand, you just have to present the pass in whichever form you deem comfortable at the entrance and enjoy free entry! The London Explorer Pass is activated upon the first scan and remains valid for the next 30 days. You can visit the chosen number of attractions ( 3, 5, 7) within these 30 days at a leisurely pace.

Know Before You Buy the London Explorer Pass

  • The London Explorer Pass allows only entry to each attraction only once.
  • The London Explorer Pass does not allow free use of the public transport.
  • You get to use the the Big Bus London Hop-On Hop-Off Tour for 1 day only with the London Explorer Pass
  • You recieve a complimentary guidebook with your ticket which offers detailed information about attractions and directions through descriptions and maps
  • The child prices are applicable for children aged 3-15. Children under 3 go free.

Is the London Explorer Pass Worth It?

Whether the London Explorer Pass is worth it or not is for you to decide, but here I am laying down the pros and cons to help you make an informed choice.

The Good

  • Save upto 35% on attraction door prices.
  • Flexibility of being able to visit your selection of attractions over 30 days
  • The London Explorer Pass is relatively new and has some great offers online, hence giving you a double deal!

The Not So Good

  • Only 20 attractions to choose from
  • Not every single attraction is worthy of a visit like the Shrek’s Adventure, Planet Hollywood, London Aquarium etc. These are not the ‘prime attractions’ of London hence cutting down your choices further
  • If you don’t create a money saving combo with your 3,5,7 attraction allowance, you won’t really be saving much. In an effort to do this, you may lose out on a few things you actually want to see!

Who should buy the London Explorer Pass & Who should Skip it?

The London Explorer Pass works our well for:

✔ Those who are staying in London for a long period of time, over 2 weeks.

✔ Slow travelers who like exploring a city slowly, at a leisurely pace.

✔ Return visitors to London who have seen most of it but are yet to tick a few attractions of the list.

✔ Those who are looking to spend their time in other cities around UK. This allows you to use the pass over a few days and still save some money

✔ If you're interested in visiting Madam Tussauds, going up the London Eye and other experiencing atleast 3 things among the 20.

✔ If you're traveling with children and want to involve fun things like the Aquarium, Shreks Adventure, Planet Hollywood to keep them entertained.

The London Explorer Pass does not work well for :

✕ Those who are staying in London for a short period as they can't make use of its flexible 30 day validity.

✕ History buffs who are looking to explore museums, galleries, castles and palaces around London do not have much to exploit in the London Explorer Pass.

✕ Those who have time constraints and are looking to skip the line in prime attractions cannot avail that benefit with the London Explorer Pass.

✕ If you're on a budget and hoping to get discounts on food, travel, shopping and discounts on attractions, you have none of those with the London Explorer Pass.

Tips for using the London Explorer Pass

  • There are 3 bus routes for the Big Bus Tour around London, providing you great flexibility to go where you like. Whether your interest is historical landmarks, major attractions or hidden buildings, the 1 Day Big Bus Tour is a definite must use on the London Explorer Pass.
  • If you're traveling with kids, this is one pass you should strongly consider as it has ample options to keep adults and kids entertained.
  • Check the website for deals on the London Explorer Pass as there are always some discounts and sales going on.

Oyster Travel Card London

London Oyster Card in a Nutshell

Oyster cards are electronic smartcards used to pay for public transport in London that can be used any time of the day, any day of the week. The Oyster Card can be used on all London Transport networks - London Underground, London Buses , DLR (Dockland Light Rail), London Overground, TFL Rail, River Bus, train services between London and Gatwick Airport and most National Rail services in London. Most people buy the economical combo of London Pass with the Oyster Travel Card which takes care of entry to attractions and traveling around London.

The London Pass with Oyster Travel Card

The London Pass with Oyster Travel Card: 1, 2, 4, 6 & 10 Days Pass

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Oyster Card Vs Visitor Oyster Card

There are 2 types of Oyster Cards - Standard Oyster card and Visitor Oyster Card. Look at the differences between each to figure out which one suits you better.

  1. Both the Standard Oyster Card and Visitor Oyster Card are plastic cards , except that the Visitor Oyster Card has artistic designs on it compared to the plain blue facade of the Standard Oyster Card.

  2. The fares, functionality, topping and caps for a standard Oyster Card and a Visitor Oyster Card is the same. The main difference is the fee for obtaining the card, ability to use travelcards with the card, offers attached to the cards, and point of purchase.

  3. While purchasing Visitor Oyster Cards, you are required to pay an activate fee of £3 which is non refundable. However, while purchasing a Oyster Card, the £5 paid during purchase is refunded while cancelling or surrendering the card. The only extra bonus to having a Visitor card is that while cancelling the card, you can request the TFL to cut you a cheque for any amount leftover on your card.

  4. While the Standard Oyster Card allows visitors to add travelcards , bus and tram passes onto their card, the Visitor Oyster card does not allow that facility.

  5. The 7 day Travel Card can be loaded only on the standard Oyster Card. If you're staying in London for over 5 days, this 7 day Travel Card bears great savings. Hence, if you're trip in London exceeded 5 days buy the standard Oyster Card and not the Visitor Oyster Card.

  6. While cancelling both the cards you will recieve the amount left in the cards in either cash or coins ( cheque facility only for Visitor Card). Note, this facility cannot be availed at the Gatwick Airport. Make sure to return the standard Oyster Card for a refund of £5.

  7. You can regsiter a standard Oyster Card but cannot register the Visitor Oyster Card. The benefits of registering is that you can disable the use of the Oyster Card if you lose it and you can request a refund of cash left on the card.

  8. The Visitor Oyster card is mainly targeted to travelers as the card offers a number of discounts throughout the city on food, shopping, attractions, theatre tickets, and other London experiences.

How to use the Oyster Card?

There are 2 ways of using the Oyster Cards.

  • Pay As You Go (PAYG) - This method allows you to top the electronic card from time to time and each journey fare is deducted from the cash on the Oyster card. Note, the fare deducted is far cheaper than if you purchased tickets individually
  • Unlimited Travel with Flat Fee - Standard Oyster cards (not Visitor Oyster cards) allows you to load a 7 day Travelcard electronically on to the Oyster and you can use both Oyster Pay As You Go and a 7 day Travelcard together. Hence you can use the Oyster Card for unlimited travel for the period you have paid for. So if you are in London for 10 days, use the Oyster Card for 3 days and the 7 day Travelcard for the other 7.

Know Before You Buy London Oyster Cards

  1. Only a single person can travel with an Oyster card at any time. If 2 people are travelling together 2 Oyster cards are required to pass through. However, your oyster card can be used by another person in your absence.

  2. The Oyster card does not hold your photo or name. However, you can register the Oyster card if you wish.

  3. If you were to pay indiviually for each journey, the fares would be higher than the rates deducted from your Oyster 'Pay As You Go' card.

  4. Oyster cards have a capping system, which helps save more money. There is a maximum amount that you can be charged on a daily basis (4.30 AM to 4.29 AM) for traveling in different zones. After you exceed that amount in one day, your travel is free for the rest of the day.

  5. Children under the age of 11, can travel for free on London’s public transport if accompanied by an adult holding a valid Oyster card.

  6. While buying the London Pass, you can add a Visitor Oyster Card which comes preloaded with credit depending on the number of days selected for the London Pass. Buying ths combo works out cheaper than buying each indiviually.

  7. Note, the Oyster card does not cover Heathrow Express, Heathrow Connect services, East Midlands Trains, Grand Central, Hull Trains, Virgin Trains, or Virgin Trains East Coast services. Basically, or rail or bus services where the journey starts or finishes outside of London, the Oyster Card cannot be used.

Is the London Oyster Card Worth It?

Using Oyster Cards are extremely convinient and bears significant savings as well. Moreover, the Oyster Card is accepted in almost all forms of public transport in London, adding to its convinience factor. Standing in ticket queues for each travel, fiddling with loose change, digging through other umpteen ticket stubs is all a hassle, especially if you're traveling in a big group.

For example, if you're traveling from Zone 1 to Zone 2 on the Undergroung Tube during off-peak hours, it will cost you £2.40 on an Oyster card versus £4.90 if you buy a single ticket. However, if you're not one to travel much around London, it does make sense to buy indiviual tickets. Whether you should purchase the Standard Oyster Card, the Visitor Oyster Card or top the Oyster Card with the Travel Card is entirely based on the amount you intend to travel, but if you're going around sightseeing in London, the Oyster Card is a definite boon!

Tips for using the London Oyster Card

  • The Oyster card can be used to shuttle back and forth the Gatwick Airport.
  • There are potential discounts on Oyster Card prices for students, seniors, children, disabled travelers, and veterans. Make sure to carry a special photocard to receive free or discounted travel prices.
  • The busiest times to travel are 08:30 AM- 09:00 AM and 17:30 PM - 18:30 PM from Monday to Friday. Try traveling outside these times for a quicker and more comfortable journey, especially if you're carrying heavy luggage/a rucksack, or travelling in a group.

London iVenture Card

London iVenture Card in a Nutshell

The London iVenture Card is an easy to use smart card that combines over 20 attractions, tours, transport and experiences into one pre-paid pass. There are 4 varieties to the London iVenture Card - Flexi 3, 5, 7 or 10, each one denoting the number of activities included in each pass variant. You can choose a combination of activities based on your interest and save up to 40% compared to buying individual tickets. The London iVenture Card holds a validity of 30 days from first usage and is available for purchase online only ( no offline purchase)

London iVenture Card Prices

3 attractions-£68

5 attractions-£98

7 attractions-£128

10 attractions-£166

iVenture London Flexi Pass

iVenture London Flexi Pass

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London iVenture Card Attractions

List of 31 Attractions Included in the London iVenture Card 

Top London Attractions For Free With London iVenture Card

London iVenture Card - Practical Information

How & Where to Buy the London iVenture Card

The London iVenture can be bought upto 6 months in advance. It must be collected on the same date selection during the time of purchase and gets activated on the first usage. You can only buy the London iVenture Card online. There is no provision of buying the London iVenture Card on ground. However, you are required to exchange your iVenture e-voucher at the iVenture Collection Office in Westminster Pier, Victoria Embankment London ( Open daily from 10 AM - 5 PM). Along with the iVenture Unlimited Attractions card you will recieve a color handy guide containing helpful maps and information on participating attractions and restaurants.

Know Before You Buy the London iVenture Card

  • The London iVenture Card grants entry to each attraction only once.
  • With your London iVenture Card, you will recieve an Oyster Card which can be used on any bus, tube, tram, DLR or London overground service. This Oyster Card comes topped with £10 credit. You can add further credit as and when you need it.
  • The Pub Passport that comes along with the London iVenture Card must be collected at the Westminster Pier redemption centre while exchanging your e-voucher for a physical card. This passport provides you a fantastic selection of tasty British dishes conveniently located at venues throughout the city in close proximity to London’s most popular attractions.
  • A child London iVenture Card is valid for kids aged 4 - 15 years.
  • If you have purchased a Card for 7 attractions and were not able to make it to them all, you will not recieve a refund. So, make sure you plan your trip out and accordingly buy the card.

Is the London iVenture Card Worth It?

The Good

  • The London iVenture Card is a great fetch for tourists who are looking to craft their own itinerary and cash in on the savings the card provides. You can pick and choose what they want and unless it is a restaurant or cruise that requires prior reservation, you can decide on the fly!
  • The convinience of having deals on attractions, transport and restaurants all squeezed into one is great too because now you just 1 card with you.
  • The 30 day validity is great too since long term visitors can tour London on a sedate pace.

The Not So Good

  • The fact that you can visit only a maximum of 10 amongst the 31 is sort of restrictive. If you wish to do more, you have to pay over and above the amount spent on the card which may run up your costs.
  • Most often than not, the London iVenture Card is inclusive of the general admission only and other experiences within the attraction is not accounted for. This is an extra cost.
  • The curation of attractions does not include museums and other historical sites. Though most museums in London are free, adding a few artists’ or writers’ homes would make the card more comprehensive.

In conclusion, the London iVenture Card is worthy if you choose to visit the more expensive attractions. However, make sure you're interested in doing these before purchasing the pass. If the attraction list includes what you intend to cover, then it is definitely worth the money.

Who should buy the London iVenture Card & Who should Skip it?

The London iVenture Card works out well for :

✔ Those who are staying in London for a long time and can exploit the 30 day validity and leverage the extra discounts of choosing 10 attractions rather than 3.

✔ Slow travelers who like exploring a city slowly, at a leisurely pace.

✔ If your preferred means of transport is the Hop-on Hop-off Tour, then the 5 day Unlimited HOHO deal is a great fetch.

✔ If your itinerary allows for a day trip from London, exploiting the Andersons Tour in the London iVenture Travel Card is good value for money.

✔ If you’re looking for a deal on National Express Airport Transfer the iVenture Card is a great choice.

✔ If you're interested in exploring authentic British cuisine on a budget, the iVenture has some pretty good deals.

The London iVenture Card does not work well for :

✕ If you’re looking to experience a multitude of activities in a short period, then this pass is not meant for you as it does not include museums, castles and galleries around London, which constitute a good part of London’s attractions.

✕ If less than 3 attractions in the roster is on your priority list.

Tips for using the London iVenture Card

  • Since the Oyster Card comes pre loaded with just £10 , we'd suggest picking it up seperately. Do not opt for it amongst your kitty of attractions as £10 won't get you too far.
  • One of the best value items in the London iVenture Card is the Anderson Tours that takes you to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. This will prove worthy of the money spent as it counts as just 1 attraction and is almost counts as a Day trip from London.
  • Since the iVenture Card is a relatively new addition to the London Passes spectre, there are many frequent additions. Check out their website to know the latest list of attractions.