Is the London Pass worth getting?
June 22, 2009 9:38 PM   Subscribe

Is the London Pass worth the price, for tourists who will be in London for six days?

Two of my family members are going to London, and they tell me it's approximately $212 per person for a six-day pass. In addition to full access to the Tube, it covers the access fee to a list of ~50 attractions (and you get to bypass the lines at those attractions). The main attractions they are interested in are St Paul's, Tower of London, Tower Bridge, Globe Theater, and Kew Gardens. They don't know whether they will visit enough attractions, or use the Tube enough to make it worthwhile --- the Tube is £4.00 for a single fare.

Do any of you have any advice, from your own experience, for whether the London Pass is worth getting? Any thoughts?
posted by jayder to Travel & Transportation around London, England (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: It's not really accurate to say that the Tube costs £4.00 for a single fare. Yes, this the price they charge you if you pay cash, but only to encourage you to use the Oyster card (or a Travelcard) which is going to be significantly cheaper, not to mention less cumbersome than buying individual fares. It's probably best not to factor that amount into your calculations.

I would suggest that, unless you're going to do some seriously hardcore museum/exhibit-going (like double what you mentioned), this is definitely not worth the expense. Aside from the Tower of London, the lines at the things they want to do aren't really going to be that bad.
posted by dhammond at 10:02 PM on June 22, 2009

Best answer: the Tube is £4.00 for a single fare.

Only for people who don't know to pick up an Oyster card for a small refundable deposit, or buy other daily or weekly passes.

As for the attractions, the Tower of London is the only one that is really a must-see. Kew Gardens is amazing, St. Paul's is okay. I would skip the Tower Bridge Experience and the Globe Theatre tour (although seeing a performance there is fun). There is so much great stuff to see for free (such most of the better museums) that this should be carefully considered.

On the other hand, I see that other attractions included are the Cabinet War Rooms, which I would probably include on a six-day tour. Also Windsor Castle and Hampton Court Palace which are pretty good, but quite far away, as is Kew.

The travel part alone would cost you £42.40 in the form of two off-peak three-day Travelcards. Tower of London is £14, Kew is £13, Cabinet War Rooms is £13. The London Pass is £129. I wouldn't do it.
posted by grouse at 10:11 PM on June 22, 2009

Best answer: On my first trip to London I was there six days and did get a London pass. I considered it well worth it, but I visited a lot more attractions than the ones your family members are planning on. The nice thing was that there were a few things we hadn't planned on doing but went to on impulse they were included in the Pass (like the Jewel Tower). Bypassing the lines was nice but they didn't seem that long to us anyway (nothing compared to the lines everywhere in Paris). The second time, last year, I got an Oyster card, which turned out an excellent and cheap transport option.

If your people aren't planning on doing at least another three or four London-Pass-included activities, I'd say they'd be better off with an Oyster card and pay as they go to visit the attractions. Like grouse I'd also recommend Hampton Court Palace (Wonderful gardens! Awesome Tudor kitchens! Royal apartments!) and the Cabinet War Rooms. I enjoyed the Globe tour but then I was an English major. And of course, so many of London's museums and art galleries are wonderfully, wonderfully free.
posted by andraste at 11:37 PM on June 22, 2009

Best answer: Tube trips are something like 1.50 GBP with an Oyster card... and the card is good on all city buses. I agree with posters above: they are probably marginally better without the card. For heaven's sake, tell them not to miss the British Museum (free, donations requested) if they are at all interested in history. I mean, if we don't enjoy the fruits of all that savage imperialism, was it really worth it?

You can "see" the "Globe theater" from the Millennium Bridge between St. Pauls and the Tate Modern... and that's good enough, I think. Walking around the Globe theater neighborhood is more worthwhile, especially if you can find the remains of a wall they think belonged to the actual theater.
posted by fatllama at 12:39 AM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: No - not worth getting. Apart form being a poor deal for all but the most committed touristic box-ticker paying out for the card also limits your ability to plan what you want to do at short notice: if it is raining and you are foot-sore you might want to stay in one place, alternatively you might want to visit somewhere which is not on the "free" list.

In terms of transport my advice to London visitors would be to buy an appropriate off-peak one day travel card each day, to take busses rather than tubes, and to walk where possible.

Finally bear in mind that many of the best attractions (the river, the parks, most museums, the markets, etc) are free.
posted by rongorongo at 3:27 AM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: Tower of London is quite expensive I think Adult Fare is about £17 now.
Tower Bridge ? - can you go in that? you can walk across it for free.

the Tube on an Oyster card has a Maximimum Cost per Day per Person I think of around £3-4 (ie after you have logged 3-4 tube jounreys the rest in that day are free.) similar for Buses (but indepenent Maximum).

Doesn't sound like its worth it.

Also My parents were recently in London and they seemed to get a lot out of taking the Bus everywhere. (sit up the fron on the double deckers and you can see a lot of London rather than being in a dark tunnel on the Tube).
posted by mary8nne at 5:55 AM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: go on the bus tours, do it day 1 or 2 to get a feel for the place, some include river boats which is good fun in nice weather. pick up an oyster card day 1(small refundable deposit), or get travelcards.

avoid the tube at rush hour ( 8-9:30, 5-6:30)if you can tho, while it works, it is my least favourite thing about london, especially in summer.
posted by fistynuts at 6:39 AM on June 23, 2009

Best answer: The London Pass can be a great deal if you want to go to enough of the attractions -- I certainly didn't regret getting them for the time I took the little ones to see the sights in the town where I grew up, but we did hit a quite a lot of the non-free attractions that it covered.

Think of what you want to see, try to plan a sane itinerary (don't plan Hampton Court and Greenwich on the same afternoon) and check to see if it makes financial sense on the basis of what you will actually go to see. There are plenty of things that are free or not covered, but there are many great things that are on the list that you may well want to go to anyway.

As for Tower Bridge, you can walk across it at street level for free -- the Experience takes you to the upper level and also shows you the steam engines that used to power it. Interesting enough if you like that sort of thing, maybe not worth what they charge unless you have some special reason to care. For us it worked well we did it between the Tower and HMS Belfast. Honestly, that's why the pass is good: if you are going to cover its cost on the main attractions you can squeeze in other things on the list which might amuse but you wouldn't bother to pay full price for.

The travelcard part is, as pointed out above, not really an issue because you can just get an Oyster Card when you arrive, though there is the convenience factor of having it taken care of in advance.
posted by Quinbus Flestrin at 10:02 AM on June 23, 2009

Response by poster: Thanks for all the advice, everyone. This is exactly the sort of info we were looking for. My family members thank you for your input.
posted by jayder at 5:08 PM on June 25, 2009

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