Seeing London Sights and Saving Some Pounds

The Tower Bridge has a glass floor - which is really cool and really terrifying...

Sarah on the Tower Bridge’s Glass Floor

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 constantly wonder if any one place’s entry price was really 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 makes sense to use this card if you’re going 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)

Greenwich Observatory and the Queen's House

Day 2

  • Cutty Sark
  • Greenwich Observatory
  • Queen’s House (free entry)
  • Tower of London
Looking out over the Thames from the observation deck of the Tower Bridge

The Thames from Tower Bridge

One side of the Tower Bridge observation deck has a glass floor and a mirror ceiling, so you can get a great selfie of yourself floating over the vehicle and pedestrian bridge.

Tower Bridge Observation Deck Selfie

Tower Bridge from the top deck of a city bus.

Tower Bridge on Approach

Day 3

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

Chislehurst Caverns

The map of Chislehurst Caverns that you can use to get yourself un-lost if you get lost down there. Of course, you won't find your way out and you'll die down there like the other folks who haunt this place.

Chislehurst Caverns Map

Our tour guide down here was awesome. This was our tour group at the end of the tour. We really loved visiting these mines, and highly recommend the short trip out to them, and a pint in the local pub.

Chislehurst Caverns Tour Guide

These mines served as bomb-shelter for Londonners. They needed a place to have entertainment, and this was it. The Beatles played on this tiny, multicolored stage, among many other famous bands.

Chislehurst Caverns Rock’n’Roll Stage

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 (one per person).

Shakespeare's Theater - this is looking into the famous theater. You can totally get a tour, and we would have if we had more time.

Globe Theater

This view is from the Millennium Bridge, looking past Southwark Bridge, London Bridge, and towards Tower Bridge. Millennium Bridge is the cool metal pedestrian bridge...

Looking Upriver on the Thames

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 of the city so tightly, even the outlying suburbs.  And with the Oyster card it’s crazy easy to use.  It’s pre-paid, but there’s 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 more than worth it if you’re here for a few days.

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