Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee

London Pass: Was It Worth It?

I finally did the math to figure out whether the money we spent on the London Pass (£81 less 10% promotional discount = £73) was worth it.

It turns out that it was, if you consider only the London Pass itself and not the London Transport Travelcard, which was a Zone 1-6 unlimited-ride pass purchased separately and optionally. Here's the whole list of places we visited using the London Pass with their normal adult admission charges:

  • Wednesday, August 20:

    • Churchill War Rooms: £17.50

    • London Transport Museum: £15

    • Westminster Abbey: £18 (Only possible because it's open late on Wednesday)

  • Thursday, August 21:

    • Guards Museum: £5

    • HMS Belfast: £15.50

  • Friday, August 22:

    • Jason's Trip Canal Boat Ride: £9

    • London Canal Museum: £4

    • Old Operating Theatre: £6.50

    • Tower Bridge Experience: £9

    • City Tours Boat Red Rover 24-hour pass: £16.20 (Although we only actually rode for one segment; if we'd worked a bit harder, we could have used it the following day until the 24 hours expired, but we went out to the Epping-Ongar Railway instead on Saturday.)

So the total cost of all the things we visited had we purchased them separately was £115.70, versus the £72.90 cost of the London Pass. That's a 37% savings, which is pretty impressive. In addition, a side-effect of the Pass is that it gives you an incentive to go into smaller, oddball places that you might ordinarily skip, but since they're along the way and included in the Pass, you might as well. That's how we ended up seeing the Guards Museum, Jason's Trip, the Canal Museum, and the Old Operating Theatre, and those were nice experiences.

As I mentioned above, while the London Pass makes sense, the Travelcard is a waste of money. Nearly everything we wanted to see was within Zones 1-2. You're much better off getting an Oystercard, which charges you until you've run up the cost of a Travelcard within that zone and then stops charging for the rest of the day. Furthermore, you need to do some significant planning and schedule your day carefully. Most of these places are open 1000-1800 at best, with last admissions about an hour before closing. That's less time than you think, and you need to consider travel between locations and time for meals. (Check schedules for places like Westminster Abbey that are open late on specific days of the week.) You want to have breakfast and be on the move to be at your first stop by 10, and you should read the London Pass guide well in advance and map things out so that you're not wasting a lot of time going back and forth. Furthermore, if you are thinking of going to some of the farther-afield sites like Windsor Castle, you should consider carefully that you're using your entire day's allocation toward a single attraction, and you might be better off doing it separately off-the-card.

I'm glad we bought those Passes, but we definitely walked our legs off going from place to place and we were very tired at the end. It's probably harder work being a serious London tourist than my Day Jobbe.
Tags: london, tourism

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