For months I’ve been wish-planning a trip to the UK and putting together my “London List” — things I want to do and places I want to see in the English capital. London is not the cheapest city in the world, so while many of my personal must-dos are free — taking walks through Hampstead Heath and Hyde Park, for example, or listening to a free lunchtime concert in St Martin-in-the-Fields in Trafalgar Square — I knew I’d have to choose among the attractions that aren’t free.
The Tower of London was a shoo-in for me, as I wanted to join a Yeoman Warder tour and later witness the Ceremony of the Keys; Westminster Abbey has witnessed too many fascinating moments in history to pass up; however, the Tower Bridge probably wasn’t going to make the cut, and I pretty much resigned myself to the fact that I probably can’t afford a Thames River Cruise even if I really want to go on one.
But THEN! I recently found out that all four — and a whole lot more — are included in the London Pass, a sightseeing card that offers free entry to over 60 attractions in London plus discount vouchers for London attractions and London tours. The price of a one-day pass (£49) can sound a bit steep but it seems to actually be a pretty good deal. Here’s a moderately ambitious one-day itinerary:
- 10:00h – See Westminster Abbey (£18).
- 11:30h – Use the Thames River Cruise’s hop on-hop off River Red Rover ticket (£18) to take the boat from Westminster Pier to Tower Pier (and maybe eat takeaway lunch during the boat ride).
- 12:30h – See the Tower of London (£20).
- 15:20h – Take the cruise boat (to see the riverside sights and rest surely tired feet) from Tower Pier to Greenwich Pier and back to Tower Pier.
- 17:30h – See the Tower Bridge Exhibition (£9), have dinner, and go back to the Tower of London to witness the Ceremony of the Keys.
(Note: I haven’t actually tried this yet and — even the best laid plans… — the amount of time I’ve allotted for each attraction may not be enough, or I may not be able to catch the boat I want, etc. I’m planning on doing this when I get to London and I will definitely write about the experience.)
The 6-day pass (£108) is probably the best value of all, as it gives you 6x more days to explore the free sights at only a little over 2x the price of a one-day pass. Here are the London Pass attractions I would really love to visit if I get a 6-day pass:
3. Tower Bridge
5. Hampton Court Palace
6. Windsor Castle — though not, technically, in London — is also included in the London Pass and, together with neighboring Eton College, would make a wonderful day trip.
- Kew Gardens
London Wetland Centre
Chelsea Physic Garden
- Best LDN Walks: Royal London
National Theatre Backstage Tours
Music fans can also go on the Rock n Roll Walk, while sports buffs will want to tour the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Club, the Arsenal Stadium, the Chelsea FC Stadium, and the Wembley Stadium.
Thames River Boat Cruise
Jason’s Original Canal Boat Trip