Seeing London Sights and Saving Some Pounds

One thing I questioned before we got here was the wisdom of using this thing called The London Pass.  It’s a card you purchase for 1, 2, or 3 days of entry into a ton of attractions.  On our first partial day here I realized it was probably a good deal for us, in part just so that I wouldn’t have to wonder if any one place’s entry price was worth it.  Obviously there are many things in London that aren’t covered, but there are so many common tourist attractions that are covered, and it make sense to use this card if you’re doing to do those things for three days.  In all, we saved almost £20, saw at least one thing we probably wouldn’t have otherwise, and didn’t have to wonder once whether an entry price was worth it.  Let me run you through our trip.

Day 1:

  • Churchill War Rooms
  • Westminster Abbey
  • National Portrait Gallery (free entry anyway)

Day 2

  • Cutty Sark
  • Greenwich Observatory
  • Queen’s House (free entry)
  • Tower of London

Day 3

  • Tower Bridge
  • Chislehurst Caverns (really, they’re mines)

It also worked as a discount in several gift shops, and allows you to skip many lines.

Anyway, a couple of those spots are expensive to visit, but you get right in with the pass.  If you’re going to this number of places or more, and doing a three day trip, the pass might work for you.  It was about £90 when we got them.

Another great thing was the visitor Oyster card.  This costs £5, which you don’t get back, but then it’s a pre-paid card you just tap on a pad to get on most London-area public transport.  It, plus generous use of Google Maps public transport routing, makes using transport here so ridiculously easy.  The public transport links every part so tightly, even the outlying suburbs.  And with the Oyster card it’s crazy easy to use.  It’s pre-paid, but there’s (supposed to be) a simple way to get any leftover money refunded after your last usage before leaving town.  You can’t get those first £5 back, but the convenience is worth it if you’re here for a few days.

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