Like many other cities in the world, London has tourist cards that can save you money on attractions. But which one is better? the London Pass or the London Explorer Pass? In this post I will analyze the pros and cons of each card so you can decide which one is convenient for you.
In this post you will find:
- Should you buy a London tourist card?
- London pass
- London Explorer Pass
- London Pass vs London Explorer Pass comparison
- Savings with the London Pass
- Savings with the London Explorer Pass
- Conclusion: the London Pass or London Explorer Pass
Are tourist passes worth it?
The first thing to evaluate is whether you should buy a London tourist pass or not. Everything will depend on the type of trip you want to do.
If you want to visit many tourist attractions, these passes will save you time and money. They will save you time because you won’t have to queue at each attraction to buy a ticket. With one pass you will have access to all the attractions included. You will also save money because for a single price you will have access to a lot of activities that would be more expensive if you bought each ticket individually.
London is an expensive city, but it offers many free activities, especially its free museums. So if you want to take advantage of your pass, whichever you choose, I recommend that you plan your itinerary and use the pass exclusively for paid attractions in the city.
If you need help for planning your itinerary read: Complete 4 day London itinerary
If you want to visit many paid tourist attractions, then the tourist passes are totally worth it. But if you only want to 1 or 2 paid attractions, you may want to buy the tickets separately.
Information about the London Pass
The London Pass is a tourist card that allows you to access more than 80 London attractions including tours, museums, viewpoints and more. Click here to see all the attractions included in the pass.
The price of the pass varies according to the number of days you want to use it, it is available with durations of 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 days. You can visit each attraction just once and the pass must be used on consecutive days.
Depending on the pass you choose, you will have a maximum amount that you can spend on attractions called “credits value”:
– 1 Day pass: £175 credits value
– 2 Day pass: £297 credits value
– 3 Day pass: £385 credits value
– 6 Day pass: £625 credits value
– 10 Day pass: £925 credits value
So for example, if you buy a 3-day pass, you have a credit of up to £385 to spend on attractions. If you visit Windsor Castle using the pass, the entrance fee of £23.50 will be discounted from your credit. The values are really high so it’s difficult for you to reach the maximum value but it is still something to keep in mind when buying the London Pass.
A great advantage of the London Pass is that it also has benefits at some free London attractions. It includes a free audio tour at some attractions such as the British Museum, the National Gallery or the Victoria & Albert Museum.
LONDON PASS PRICES (updated October 2020)
– 1 day pass: £79 (regular adult price)
– 2 day pass: £100 (regular adult price)
– 3 day pass: £127 (regular adult price)
– 6 day pass: £171 (regular adult price)
– 10 day pass: £201 (regular adult price)
They regularly offer big discounts on The London Pass website so I recommend to buy the pass online:
How to buy the London Pass?
You can buy the London Pass once you are in London or online at the London Pass website. The best thing is to buy it online since you can get great online discounts.
Online payment can be made with debit, credit cards and via PayPal. Once you buy the pass, you will receive a confirmation email and the instructions to pick up your pass at the London Pass office.
You can also download the mobile version of the pass and enter to the attractions by showing the pass on your phone.
The London Pass is convenient for you if …
✓ You plan to visit many paid attractions
✓ It is your first time in London and you want to see everything
✓ You have energy to visit several places in one day. This is needed to take advantage this card. It is best to plan your itinerary so you can see the most number of attractions while your pass is available.
Information about the London Explorer Pass
The London Explorer Pass, on the other hand, is a pass sold by the number of attractions you want to visit.
You can choose between visiting 3, 5 or 7 attractions. The pass will be valid for 30 consecutive days. You don’t have to choose which attractions to go to when buying the pass, just the number. There are 20 attractions available with this pass, including museums, tours, and more.
The good thing about this type of pass is that it allows you to visit the city at your own pace. It is a good alternative for those who have previously visited London and only want to see 3 of the main attractions.
LONDON EXPLORER PASS PRICES (updated October 2020)
– 3 Attraction Pass: £64 (regular adult price)
– 5 Attraction Pass: £94 (regular adult price)
– 7 Attraction Pass: £114 (regular adult price)
How to buy the London Explorer Pass?
You can buy the pass both at the London Explorer Pass offices in London or online. You can choose to have it shipped to an address or pick it up from the London offices. You can also receive the mobile version of the London Explorer Pass on your phone.
The London Explorer Pass is convenient for you if …
✓ You don’t want to visit SO MANY paid attractions.
✓ You want to visit the attractions at your own pace, having more days to use the pass.
London passes comparison: London Pass vs London Explorer Pass
In the following table you will be able to see the comparison between the attractions included in the London Pass and the London Explorer Pass. I’ve also included a column with the full price of the attractions if you buy them individually.
The idea is that you can choose which attractions you want to visit and us this table to add the total price to compare it with the price of the pass.
*prices updated in October 2020.
|Attractions||LONDON PASS||LONDON EXPLORER PASS||Full price|
|Tower of London||✓||✓||£28.90|
|St Paul’s cathedral||✓ fast track entry||✓||£20|
|Tower Bridge||✓ fast track entry||✓||£9.8|
|Thames River Cruise||✓||✓||£20.5|
|Hop-on Hop-off bus tour||✓||✓||£34|
|Churchill War Rooms||✓||✓||£23|
|Royal Albert Hall||✓||✓||£14.5|
These are just some of the attractions included in the passes. You can see the full list of tours and attractions for each card here: complete list of attractions included in the London Pass and complete list of attractions included in the London Explorer Pass.
Savings with the London Pass:
On average you will be able to visit 3 or 4 attractions per day. So let’s suppose you choose to buy the 3-day London Pass and visit the following attractions:
DAY 1: Tower of London, Tower Bridge and The Shard.
DAY 2: Hop-on Hop-off bus tour, St. Paul’s Cathedral and Shakespeare’s Globe.
DAY 3: Westminster Abbey, Churchill War Rooms, Kensington Palace and Thames River cruise.
3-day London Pass price: £127
Total price of individual tickets: £227.2
As you can see in this case, the London Pass allows you to save £100! This is just an example but the idea is that you can do the same by selecting the attractions you want to visit. The most important thing is to plan an itinerary that allows you to see the most attractions in a day.
Savings with the London Explorer Pass:
With the London Explorer Pass the number of days doesn’t really matter, but you need to know the number of attractions you want to visit. Let’s suppose you want to visit the Tower of London, The Shard, take a bus tour, a Thames River cruise, visit Tower Bridge, St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey. We have 7 attractions in total.
London Explorer Pass price for 7 attractions: £124
Total price of individual tickets: £170.2
As you can see the London Explorer Pass also saves you money. The savings are smaller because I’ve included less activities and I didn’t selected the most expensive ones. My recommendation is that if you decide to buy the London Explorer Pass, you use it for the most expensive attractions. This is the best way to make the London Explorer Pass worth it.
Should you buy the London Pass or London Explorer Pass?
After all this analysis we can say that each pass is worth it according to the type of trip you want to do.
The London Pass includes many attractions and is convenient if you want to visit many places in a few days. However, this card leaves out an important attraction of the city: the London Eye.
On the other hand, the London Explorer Pass includes fewer attractions, but it allows you to visit them with a more flexible itinerary. The London Explorer Pass also leaves out two important attractions: Windsor Castle and the Tower of London.
My recommendation is to make a list of the attractions you want to visit on your trip to London before choosing a pass and with the help of the comparative table, decide which is the right pass for you.
Either card will allow you to tour London’s main attractions saving time and money. I hope this post helps you decide between the London Pass and the London Explorer Pass. If you have any questions, leave your comment below 🙂
Other London posts that you might like:
- Complete 4 day London itinerary
- Best Budget places to stay in London
- Best free museums in London
- Visiting the Tower of London: is it worth it?
- Stonehenge day trip from London
- How to get to Oxford from London
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