London Drum

London Pass, Tourist Discount Cards & Other Offers

Lots of tourists think about buying a discount pass to save some money. But there are lots of cards to choose from: the London Pass, Go City London Explorer Pass, Turbo Pass, Merlin Pass, 2-for-1 train offer, plus membership with English Heritage and Historic Royal Palaces. So we’ve compared them all to see which one offers the best value for money

London Pass

London Pass
London Pass prices
AdultChild (5-15)
1 day£90£55
2 days£125£70
3 days£138£80
4 days£151£96
5 days£166£101
6 days£171£106
7 days£181£111
10 days£201£116
Note: Prices are correct as of

If you spend any time at all planning your holiday then sooner or later you will come across something called a London Pass. It used to be a dark blue credit card but now they’ve gone digital, so it’s only available as a phone app from the London Pass website.

The pass provides you with access to more than eighty London attractions including lots of great places like the Shard, St. Paul’s, Westminster Abbey, Tower Bridge, the Tower of London and London Zoo. But if you read through their list then you’ll notice that many of the most popular attractions like the London Aquarium, London Dungeon, London Eye and Madame Tussauds are missing (because they’re all run by Merlin, which has their own discount card).

Gaining entry to 80+ attractions sounds like a good deal, but what you need to do is compare the entry costs with the price of the pass. I have been sitting here doing my sums, and at the current rate you could purchase a 1-day pass and visit St. Paul’s, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge, but you would save no money whatsoever. You would actually be £10 down. Typically it’s not until you visit a fourth attraction that you start saving each day. But do you really want to rush around four different attractions in one day? That’s something that you’ll have to decide before buying the pass.

Bear in mind that there’s also a maximum amount of attractions you can visit before the pass runs out of credit, so it’s not possible to go completely crazy and visit loads of places every day. Check out their FAQs page to see how they work it out.

Go City London Pass

Go City London Pass
Go City London Pass prices
AdultChild (3-15)
2 credits£55£45
3 credits£75£55
4 credits£91£61
5 credits£111£76
6 credits£131£91
7 credits£141£101
Note: Prices are correct as of

The Go City London Pass is similar to the London Pass (it’s actually owned by the same people), and is available to buy online at the GO City website.

The idea is that you buy a pass with either 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 or 7 credits, and then you can use each of those credits to gain free entry into one of the attractions on their list.

The current list includes places like the Cutty Sark, Globe Theatre tour, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Gardens, London Zoo, The Shard, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, plus a City Cruises sightseeing boat and Big Bus Tours sightseeing bus.

Despite having a smaller list of attractions than the London Pass it does work out cheaper most of the time. For example, if I use the same example as I used for the London Pass then buying a 3-credit pass for to visit St. Paul’s, the Tower of London and Tower Bridge would only lose you a few quid instead of £10.

Merlin Pass

Merlin Pass
Merlin Pass prices
Price per person
Discovery Pass£99
Silver Pass£169
Gold Pass£239
Platinum Pass£299
Note: Prices are correct as of

If you live in the UK and you have kids then you might be better off buying a Merlin Pass from This will give you 12 months entry to the London Dungeon, London Aquarium, London Eye, Madame Tussauds, Chessington World of Adventures and Shrek’s Adventure, plus 26 more attractions around the UK including Alton Towers and Thorpe Park.

All of the passes get you into the same place, but the Silver, Gold and Platinum Pass give you some extras like free parking, 10% or 20% off food and drink and £5 off Fastrack vouchers. The Platinum Pass also comes with ’Share the fun’ vouchers which you can give to your family and friends to get them in a bit cheaper.

Because it’s an annual pass it probably won’t be of much use to tourists, but if you’re a family who happens to visit the big themes parks once a year anyway, then you could potentially save quite a lot of money.

Important note: Make sure you read the small print because some of the attractions have date restrictions. Most of the London ones won’t let you visit during August, for example.

Turbo Pass

Turbo Pass
Turbo Pass prices
AdultChild (5-15)
1 day£111.80£76.94
2 days£136.86£85.50
3 days£153.97£102.62
4 days£171.09£119.74
5 days£196.77£136.86
6 days£213.88£153.97
7 days£239.56£171.09
Note: Prices are correct as of

The Turbo Pass isn’t so well-known in the UK as the London Pass but it works in the same way. It’s available to buy online at

The idea is that you buy a pass for between 1-7 days and then get free or discounted entry to every attraction on their list. Highlights include the Big Bus Tours sightseeing bus, City Cruises sightseeing boat, Kensington Palace, London Dungeon, The Shard and the Tower of London. Be aware that a lot of the places on their list are free to enter anyway (like the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Science Museum and V&A).

You can also get one with a pay-as-you-go Oyster card included, but this is where you have to be careful because the amount they load onto it may not cover the daily cap. For example, if you buy a 1-day pass then you get £15 which is double what you actually need. If you buy 2-3 days then you get £20, which is okay for two days, but doesn’t cover the daily cap for three days – you’ll end up having to load on some more credit if you hit the daily cap each day.

2-for-1 offer by National Rail

National Rail’s 2-for-1 offer will be less useful if you’re staying within central London because you won’t be catching any National Rail trains, but if you’re staying outside central London then check out their big list of 150+ attractions offering 2 for the price of 1 entry.

All you have to do is print out the relevant voucher from and then hand it over at the attraction, alongside a valid National Rail train ticket for the same day of travel.

But here’s the catch: the ticket has to be for a National Rail train (the overground ones). London Underground tickets are no good. And London Oyster cards are no good either, and neither are Freedom Passes for senior citizens. It has to be a paper National Rail ticket.

The list of attractions currently includes lots of popular places like the London Eye, London Dungeon, London Zoo, London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds, Churchill War Rooms, Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. There are also some popular day trips on the list like Hampton Court Palace and Chessington World of Adventures, so even if you’re staying within central London the chances are good that you’ll have to catch a National Rail train at some point.

Historic Royal Palaces membership

Historic Royal Palaces membership prices
No. of peoplePrice
Individual1 adult£65
Joint2 adults£100
Family1 adult and up to 6 children (5-15)£80
Family2 adults and up to 6 children (5-15)£120
Note: Prices are correct as of

If you’re planning on visiting London’s Royal palaces then it might be worth joining Historic Royal Palaces beforehand, allowing you to visit six palaces as many times as you like for a whole year. You can sign-up at

But here’s the catch: it doesn’t include Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or Clarence House. It only covers the Tower of London, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Kew Palace, Banqueting House and Hillsborough Castle. And you also have to pay the entrance fee into Kew Gardens if you want to see Kew Palace (which seems like a total swizz to me, because there’s no other way of getting inside!).

Cheap theatre tickets

TKTS booth in Leicester Square
The TKTS booth in Leicester Square

Cheap theatre tickets can be bought from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square. It’s open from 10 AM to 7 PM (Mon-Sat) and 11 AM to 4.30 PM (Sun). They also have a website at

If a theatre is having trouble selling their remaining seats then this is where they’ll end up – at big discounts. But you can only buy them for today, tomorrow or the day after – you can’t go any further ahead than that. And you’ll probably find that most of the good seats have already been taken.

Your comments and questions

C&P Two adults in London and I am thinking of buying the 3 day London Pass & Oyster travelcard because it seems like a good deal. Of the attractions listed a minimum of 5 or so are on our list to see including Windsor Castle, Tower of London, Royal Albert Hall, Westminster Abbey. We will also try squeezing in other famous attractions to see not on the London Pass. It seems since the London Pass has enough of our sites to see it's worth buying not to mention the Oyster travelcard to buy also in advance - appreciate your feedback. Thanks

Craig Hi C&P. You usually need to squeeze in at least three places each day to make it worth the cost (maybe even four, depending on the entry price), and that is going to be hard if one of them is Windsor Castle because that is going to fill up practically an entire day on its own. The Tower of London is another place that will probably fill up at least half a day, so you'll find it hard to do three places on either of those days. The travelcard aspect of it is no cheaper than getting a travelcard normally, so you won't save any money with that (but you won't lose money either). Personally I'm not a fan of the London Pass... but I can appreciate that it makes life a lot easier for a tourist because you can just flash it at the entrance instead of having to carry around a load of unfamiliar money. So maybe that is an advantage.

C&P Wouldn't it be better/faster/more convenient to not have to stand in lines buying tickets for attractions and transportation to the sites we want to see in 5 days? Just trying to find the best way price-wise and time-wise to see London in such a short time. Thanks

Craig That can be handy, for sure, but for most places you can buy tickets online before you arrive anyway (you can do that for all of the places you mentioned). Check out the Tower of London website, for example... their online price is already cheaper than paying at the gate. All you have to do is print off the eticket at home, or have it emailed to your phone, and you're done. If you want a travelcard in advance then you can order a 'Visitor Oyster card' which can be posted overseas before you arrive in London. That is basically the same thing as the Oyster card that the London Pass gives you. But I would definitely total up the cost of everywhere you want to go and compare it to the cost of the London Pass, because you might be surprised at how much money you're losing.

Anna We have purchased London Passes with travel attached for 2 zones. Can these be topped up once the 2 day pass has been used or do we need to buy another Visitor Oyster Card?

Craig Hi Anna. If you’ve bought a London Pass with 2-days worth of travel included, then what you’ve got is a pay-as-you-go Oyster card with two days worth of credit loaded onto it. Once the credit runs out you can top it up just like a normal Oyster card

Darryl If we buy a London Pass, is there a stop near the Tate Modern if we use the River Cruise included on the Pass? I thought we would visit the Tate Modern and then go down the river to the Tower of London. Thanks

Craig Hi Darryl. Unfortunately not, no. There is a pier near the Tate Modern (Bankside pier) but it's not used by the City Cruises tour, which is the one you get with London Pass. The only piers they stop at are Westminster Pier (for Big Ben), London Eye, Tower of London and Greenwich.

Morell Generally I have found that these city passes are not IMO good value. I don't buy them. I think to visit enough places to make it worthwhile you would have to get up v early and stay at each venue about 30mins. The companies are counting on the fact that most people will not visit enough attractions to get there money back. There is a lot you can see for free eg parks, museums, art galleries, strolling by the Thames. I'm sure everyone will have a marvelous holiday.

Brian Hi, I will be visiting London for about a week from Salt Lake City, Utah, US. I have a question about the 2 for 1 pass. Is it a good deal? I am thinking of buying a 7 day travelcard. Any thoughts? Brian

Craig Hi Brian. Well you get two for the price of one, so it's a good deal. But remember you have to get a paper travelcard to qualify for the discount (the orange ones, bought from a National Rail overground station). Oyster travelcards, and pink paper travelcards bought from a London underground station are no good. If you're coming from the USA then don't buy it online in advance from the TFL website, because that will come as a pink one.

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