Three Cheers for the London Pass
the iconic red phone booth is free and abundant in London; just make sure you don't step inside one that has a water bottle full of piss, it really ruins the whole experience
One of the reasons Brent and I aren’t that well-traveled (besides the fact that money and vacation days don’t grow on trees) is that it’s a lot of work. We’re both big researchers and can easily get lost on the computer for an afternoon when one of us poses the question where to have dinner that night. When we book a trip, there’s hours and hours that go into the accommodations, the itinerary, the meals; all of it. Lists and checklists and dog-eared guidebooks are just a few of the debris the house accumulates leading up to a vacation.
The alternative isn’t even an option. We don’t have infinite time off and travel funds, so a trip like London is very much a once-in-a-lifetime; I’m not going to risk missing out on anything. I don’t mind putting in the work since I’m a planner in most aspects of my life.
London is not a cheap destination. You can plan frugally and stick to your budget, but the facts are that the dollar is weaker than the pound and it’s big city living w/ big city prices. A lot of the museums are free and it doesn’t cost anything to take a picture of Buckingham Palace or walk around Trafalgar Square. But are you really spending your whole trip walking around free parks and squares, strolling tourist destinations like Portabello Market and Brick Lane w/out buying any food or goods from the zillions of vendors?
We made a list of all the sights we wanted to go to that charged admission. We added up all the fees and calculated that the three day London Pass was the way to go. Yeah, it was a bit of legwork, but it absolutely paid off. Here’s a breakdown of the attractions we saw. FO’ FREE***
Tower of London (24)
Tower Bridge Exhibition (9)
London Bridge Experience (19.95)
Monument to the Great Fire (4.50)
St. Paul’s Cathedral (18)
Shakespeare's Globe Theater (16)
Jewel Tower (5.20)
Churchill War Rooms (19)
Whitehall Palace Banquet House (6)
Westminster Abbey (20)
Double decker bus tour (26)
London Zoo (24)
Regent’s Canal Boat Tour (9.50)
Pollock's Toy Museum (6)
***not technically for free, since we had to buy the pass, but you know what I mean
If you add it all up, it’s over 200 pounds spent on these sights. We paid just under 91 pounds (each) for the three-day pass. We bought ours during a flash sale, which doesn’t seem to be all that “flashy” since I just checked to confirm the price and saw that it’s still going on (so if you’re planning a trip to London, grab yours now). I don’t know the exact amount we saved, w/ the pounds to dollars conversion rate, but it was mucho dinero.
when we realized how much money we saved w/ the three day pass
The items in italics weren’t on our original itinerary; we didn’t even know about most of them. When you pick up your pass they give you a guidebook w/ allllllll the things you get for free w/ your pass, so Brent cross referenced it w/ the areas of the city we were in and found some really cool sights. Like the toy museum? If you want giant creepy dolls haunting your dreams for a week, it’s a must see.
This wasn’t a paid sponsor for the London Pass (but if City Pass wants to throw me some free passes for the positive press, DM me, kthanksbye); just a novice traveler sharing what worked for her. I get that not everyone likes a detailed itinerary when they take a trip, that the very idea of a schedule negates the “vacation” part of it. But for the rest of us normal, rational folks, the London Pass is worth every cent. I mean pound. Wait…pence? Ugh, you know what I mean.