Which London Pass is the best – A Comparison of All London City Passes For Tourists

Which London Pass is the best – A Comparison of All London City Passes For Tourists

Thinking about saving money on London attractions but not sure what’s the best London city pass to buy? This London attraction comparison shows you the difference among all the popular London travel passes to see which is the best.

When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” This is the first quote I saw when I landed in London. But having lived in London for a couple of years, I can understand why this quote is spot on.

London is an amazing city with a lot of history, culture, and heritage. It is also the perfect bland between the ancient and the modern. One second you are visiting a historical church and the next second you are getting the best view of London from the Shard.

With so much to see and so much to do, any London visitor would wonder “how do I see everything in London” and “how do I save money when I visit London”.

If this is your first time in London, be sure to check out my London first time visitor guide.

A London attraction pass is one of the ways that allows you to see famous attractions in London while saving money! But there are actually a number of popular London tourist passes, how do you decide?

This blog will provide you with a comprehensive overview and comparison of each of the London tourist pass so you can see what each pass includes and what are the differences to see which London city pass is the best for you.

FYI: Public museums in London are free. These are not included in the passes.

This blog contains occasional affiliate links, where I receive a small commission on sales of the products/hotels that are linked at no additional cost to you. In addition, as an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

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Quick Summary of the Best London City Pass

If you are short on time or don’t have the patience to read through this super detailed London Pass comparison, here is a short summary for you!

The best London attraction pass for those who are short on time is the Go City London Pass. You can get up early and cram in as many attractions as you can within a day or 2 and save over 50%.

The best London city pass for those who have more time in London and want to take it chill is the Explorer Pass. This Pass gives you 60 days to use up all your attractions so you don’t need to rush.

What are the popular London Tourist Pass?

There are 4 popular London attraction passes on the market. They each include different things that could appeal to different people. The most popular London attraction passes include:

Most of these London attraction passes are operated by different companies, but there are two major types of passes:

  • All Inclusive Day passes
  • Attraction based passes

All inclusive day passes are passes that cover specific number of consecutive days. You will need to pre-determine how many days you want to use the pass for, then during each day you can go to various attractions. The London Pass, London Sightseeing Pass and London City Pass are all all inclusive day passes.

Attraction based pass such as the London Explorer Pass lets you go to specific number of attractions from their list of options. You don’t need to use the pass in consecutive days.

All of these passes require you to pay upfront to purchase the pass, then download the pass to your mobile phone app (or some allows you to print it out).

After you purchase the London tourist pass you can make reservation (only at some very popular attractions) then visit the attraction for free. You may also get skip-the-line privilege with some of these attraction passes.

Are London Passes Legit?

Great you asked because I once wondered the same thing. How can companies just give you discount on all these attractions in London?

Rest assured that all the London tourist passes are legit and real. There is no hidden fee or anything, you really do get great discounts on attractions in London.

Let’s take a closer look at each of these London travel passes.

London Travel Guide Tower Bridge

The London Pass®

The London Pass® is one of the most famous attraction passes in London.

Which company runs The London Pass®?

The London Pass® is operated by an international travel company called Go City.

Go City offers city attraction passes for various destinations, including Asia, Europe, US, Australia (Sydney) and Mexico (Cancun). It is also the company behind Paris Pass and New York Pass.

How does The London Pass Work?

The London Pass is an all-inclusive pass based on the number of consecutive days. The London Pass offers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 10 consecutive day passes.

This means if you purchase a 3 day London Pass, you can visit different attractions that are covered by the pass for free for 3 straight days (not 24 hour periods).

Once you buy the London Pass online, you will receive an email with confirmation number. You can download the Go City app, enter the confirmation number you received in the email and use the London Pass on your mobile phone.

Christmas in Regent Street in London

Each London Pass is subject to a value of a maximum credit and you cannot exceed this cap. 1 credit is worth £1 and your credits are redeemed when you enter attractions, reducing by the amount of the standard gate price of the attraction you enter.

The maximum credits value depends on the pass you get. You can see the credit values here.

Some tours and attractions covered by the London Pass requires a reservation, so be sure to book ahead of time (even though it’s free).

The London Pass activates the moment you visit your first attraction. If you buy a 2 day London Pass and you visit your first attraction at 3pm on Monday, your 2 day London Pass will be valid on Monday and Tuesday only.

How much does the London Pass cost?

1 Day2 Day3 Day4 Day5 Day6 Day7 Day10 Day
Child (5-15)£54£59£74£84£89£94£99£104

The prices are subject to change and there seem to always be promotions. Sometimes it is cheaper to buy the London Pass here.

Millennium Bridge & St. Paul's Cathedral London

What attractions are included in the London Pass?

The London Pass covers over 90 attractions in and around London. You can see the full list on their official website.

Some of the most popular attractions covered by the London Pass include:

  • Tower of London
  • Tower Bridge
  • St. Paul’s Cathedral
  • The View from the Shard
  • Westminster Abbey
  • ZSL London Zoo
  • Windsor Castle (afternoon entry)
  • Uber Boat by Thames Clippers 1 day River Roamer
  • London Bridge Experience
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tour
  • Football stadium tours
  • The Murder at Trafalgar Square
  • Frameless – Immersive Art Experience <- super instagram worthy

You can also get discounts on food at some of the attractions!

Does the London Pass include public transportation?

The London Pass also covers 1 day hop-on hop-off bus tour, but it does not cover public transportation (Oyster Card). You can pay for an add-on Oyster Card when you check out.

Windsor Castle during a layover in London
Windsor Castle

Other considerations about the London Pass

The London Pass is valid for 2 years from the date of purchase (if you do not activate it within 2 years it will become invalid).

You are eligible for refunds on unused passes for up to 90 days after purchase.

They have a “savings guarantee”, meaning if you did not save money they will refund you the difference. There are some considerations attached to it, such as you need to scan your pass at least 3 times per day if you have the London Pass. You can see more details on the FAQ section of their official website.

What are the pros and cons of the London Pass?

The London Pass is very comprehensive since it covers over 80 attractions and tours. It gives you a lot of options to choose from and you can save some money using this pass.

Some of the attractions such as Windsor Castle is only available on the London Pass. The London Pass has a partnership with Stasher where you can store your bag for 15% off using the code LONDONPASS.

However London Pass does not come with an Oyster Card, so unless you are only in London for a day, you will need Oyster card to get around the city.

The London Pass is also the most expensive London attraction pass comparing to other passes (which you will read later on) but it also covers the most!

Purchase your London Pass here or here (sometimes cheaper).

View of the shard in London

London Explorer Pass

The London Explorer Pass is also operated by Go City, so you can imagine both the London Pass and this London Explorer Pass cover very similar attractions and tours (although the London Pass covers more attractions than the London Explorer Pass).

How does the London Explorer Pass work?

The London Explorer Pass is an attraction-based pass and offers 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions. You need to pre-determine how many attractions you’d like on your pass. Then once you activate the London Explorer Pass you have 60 days to go to the attractions.

For example, if you buy a 4 attraction London Explorer Pass, you go to your first attraction on July 1st. Then you have 90 days including July 1st to go to the other 3 attractions before the pass expires. The London Explorer Pass gives you a lot of flexibility and is perfect for someone who is staying in London for a while.

How much does the London Explorer Pass cost?

2 attractions3 attractions4 attractions5 attractions6 attractions7 attractions
Children (5-15)£39£49£54£69£79£89

The prices are subject to change and there are seasonal discounts and promotions.

O2 London where you can climb up the O2 with a London attraction pass
The O2 in London

What attractions are included in the London Explorer Pass?

The London Explorer Pass covers over 80 attractions and tours in London. You can find the complete list on their official website.

It offers similar attractions as the London Pass mentioned above with a few exceptions.

What is the difference between the London Pass vs. Explorer Pass?

The London Explorer Pass is an attraction based pass versus the London Pass, which is a time based pass. Instead of worrying about how many consecutive days you have you can now take things slower and take longer at each attraction.

The London Explorer Pass covers similar attractions and tours as the London Pass mentioned above, but there are a few differences:

  • It includes Up at the O2, which allows you to climb the roof of the O2 which is really cool
  • Instead of the Uber Boat, you get a City Cruises Thames River Pass
  • It does not include Windsor Castle, instead it offers a hop-on hop-off open top bus tour of Windsor (the town)
  • It does not include The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
  • It includes a 2 course meal and a non-alcoholic drink at the Hard Rock Cafe at the Old Park Lane.

What are the pros and cons of London Explorer Pass?

If you know exactly what attractions you want to visit and if you have a lot of time in London, then London Explorer Pass is a great pass for you!

You don’t need to feel rushed and can really take your time to enjoy the attractions since you have 60 days to use the pass.

It has fewer attractions than the London Pass, especially Windsor Castle which is pretty nice in my opinion but the O2 is pretty nice too (yup I’ve done all of these during my years in London).

Climb up to the top of the O2 arena in London

You should always check the regular attraction prices and do some calculation to see if your combination of attractions is worth the pass price that you are paying (especially for children).

Purchase your London Explorer Pass here or here.

London Sightseeing Day Pass

What company operates the London Sightseeing Day Pass?

The Sightseeing Pass is a travel company that sells attraction passes in London, Malaga (Spain) and the US. It is a smaller company than Go Travel but it covers many destinations within the US such as New York.

How does the London Sightseeing DAY Pass work?

The London Sightseeing Day Pass is an all-inclusive pass based on the number of consecutive days; it works the same way as the London Pass but they cover different things.

London Sightseeing Pass offers 1, 2, 3, 4 or 5 day pass. The Pass is valid for 12 months from the date of purchase.

You can use the Sightseeing Pass app or print out your London Sightseeing Pass from your confirmation email. Your pass is activated when you enter your first attraction. Once activated, you have x number of days (based on what you purchased).

What is the refund policy of London Sightseeing Pass?

Unused London Sightseeing passes that were purchased with insurance can be fully refunded within a year for any reason. If you do not purchase insurance, then you will not be able to get a refund.

How much does the London Sightseeing DAY pass cost?

1 Day2 Days3 Days4 Days5 Days
Children (3-12)£54£69£79£94£99

The prices are subject to change and there are seasonal discounts and promotions.

London travel guide Thames River with view of the Shard and boats on the river

What attractions are included in the London Sightseeing DAY Pass?

The London Sightseeing DAY Pass includes 21 attractions and tours and 3 audio tours in London. You can see the full list of attractions on their official website.

Some of the most famous ones include:

  • Tower of London (temporarily unavailable)
  • Kensington Palace (temporarily unavailable)
  • Hampton Court Palace (temporarily unavailable)
  • Harry Potter London Bus Tour (this does not go to the studio)
  • James Bond Bus Tour
  • Thames River Cruise
  • Football Stadium tour
  • Jack the Ripper Tour (I’ve done this and it’s pretty fun)

The pass also includes a one day hop-on hop-off bus tour. It does not come with an Oyster card.

East London Street Art - Banksy

What are the pros and cons of London Sightseeing DAY Pass?

London Sightseeing Day Pass is a lot cheaper than the other day-based attraction passes in London.

It offers fewer attractions and tours than the London Pass but instead it does offer many interesting tours that are not offered by the other passes like Jack the Ripper Tour which I really liked when I did it.

So it really depends on what you want to do in London. If you want to do many of the movie tours and other interesting tours, then the London Sightseeing Pass is great.

Purchase your London Sightseeing Pass here.

Tower Bridge aerial image during sunrise

London City Pass (by Turbopass)

What company operates London City Pass?

London City Pass (not to be confused with the London Pass) is operated by Turbopass, a Germany based travel company that offers tourist attraction passes in many cities in Europe.

How does the London City Pass work?

The London City Pass is another all-inclusive pass that let you visit a variety of attractions based on the number of consecutive days you purchase.

The London City Pass offers 1 – 7 day passes.

How much does the London City Pass cost?

1 day2 days3 days4 days5 days6 days7 days
Adult (16+)£101£124£140£156£179£195£218
Child (5-15)£70£78£94£109£125£140£156

The prices are subject to change and there are seasonal discounts and promotions

What attractions are included in the London City Pass?

The London City Pass covers a variety of attractions and tour. You can find the complete list on their official website.

The most noteworthy attractions that are covered by the London City Pass include:

  • Tower of London
  • Kensington Palace
  • Hampton Court Palace
  • Royal Mews
  • Up at the O2
  • London Zoo
  • London Aquarium
  • Thames River Boat Cruise

In addition, London City Pass now includes all Merlin Entertainment Products, such as

  • British Royalty Tour
  • JK Rowling & Wizard Walking Tour
  • Shrek Adventure
  • Madame Tussauds
  • London Dungeons
  • and many more

If you like musicals and performances, the London City Pass also offers a 10% discount on a wide range of West End experiences.

It includes one day hop-on hop-off bus tour and 24 hour Thames River cruise.

National Gallery London on a sunny day
National Gallery

Pros and Cons of the London City Pass

The London City Pass has a range of unique tours that you will not find in any other attraction passes. The new inclusion of the Merlin Attractions mentioned above is super fun for the entire family and they are exclusive to London City Pass.

In addition, you get access to Harry Potter Tour and National Gallery Guided Tour (so you know what you are looking at). You can also add London Eye for additional fees when you purchase the London City Pass.

It may not have as many attractions as some of the other passes but it certainly has many unique ones!

Purchase your London City Pass here.

Big-Ben London long exposure photo

Summary of Key Differences of London Attraction Passes

Here is the summary to show you some of the key differences of all the London tourist passes.

London PassLondon Explorer PassLondon Sightseeing PassLondon City Pass
What it offers1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10 day pass2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions1 – 5 day pass1 – 7 day pass
Days valid from purchase2 Years 2 Years 12 MonthsNot Sure
Child Pass5-15 yrs old5-15 yrs old3-12 yrs old5-15 yrs old
Prices (adult)£79 – £179£54 – £139£89 – £164£101 – £218
Number of Attractions90+812114
Exclusive Attractions– Windsor Castle– Harry Potter London Bus Tour
– Jack the Ripper Tour
10% off West End (theatre) tickets
Includes Oyster Card?NoNoNoNo
Includes hop on hop off bus?YesYesYesYes
Refund PolicyRefunds up to 90 days after purchaseRefunds up to 90 days after purchaseIf you purchased insurance, you can refund for free. If not, no free refundAll Passes can be cancelled up to 1 day prior to your departure date.
A cancellation fee of €30 is applied to each Pass

Which London Attraction Pass is the Best?

Even though there are many choices for the London attraction passes, they are actually all quite different. So what is the best London tourist pass depends on your need and how long you are planning to stay in London.

But let’s start with some of the most obvious observations.

None of the London attraction passes include London Eye. If you want to go up London Eye (£32.5 from here), you will need to purchase a ticket yourself. The London City Pass does offer an add-on ticket to the London Eye if you pay more.

Museums in London are free. If museum is your thing (London does have world class museums and galleries), then you should evaluate what other attractions you want to see to see if it’s worth it to get a London tourist pass.

Shard is only included with the Go City Passes.

Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour is awesome. If you are short on time or just like going from point A to point B without needing to figure out route, then hop on hop-off bus tour is great. The good news is all the London attraction passes mentioned above offer this.

Now that we addressed some of those points, let’s see which London tourist pass is the best.

the british museum
The British Museum

If you want the best value for one day….

The London Pass has the most number of attractions so you can really maximize your day and see as much as you can (to get your money’s worth).

If you have a lot of time in London….

If you are spending a lot of time in London and don’t want to feel rushed, then the attraction based London Explorer Pass is probably the best option for you instead.

London Explorer Pass is the only attraction based pass and you have 60 days to visit all the attractions after you activate the pass. It also has some pretty cool attractions like up the O2 (I enjoyed it at least), as well as Shard, Westminster Abbey, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, etc.

December London Outdoor Iceskating at the Museum of Natural History

If you want the most attractions in London…

If you are limited on time, but want the most options, then London Pass might be the best pass.

The London Pass covers 80+ attractions and tours and you can see some of the most famous places in London such as Tower of London, The Shard, Tower Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Windsor Castle, etc.

You really can’t go wrong with the London Pass but there is a cap on what you can see based on “value of a maximum credit”.

If you want interesting tours in London…

The London Sightseeing Pass covers very interesting tours in London that are not covered by other passes. If you have already seen the most popular attractions in London then you may be interested in some other tours!

I have done the street art tour and Jack the Ripper tour and they are pretty awesome. If you want to do something different, then the London Sightseeing Pass is the best London attraction pass.

Ultimately you need to decide what you want to do in London, calculate the regular ticket cost to figure out what is the best London tourist pass for you.

Pro Tip: I recommend combining passes like London Pass and Sightseeing Pass to do different things!

Sky Garden in London the best free thing to do in London

Who should not buy a London attraction pass?

A London attraction pass is not for everyone though! If you are one of the following types of travelers, then you should not buy a London tourist past:

  • If you are only interested in museums. Public Museums in London are free and they are awesome (think British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, V&A Museum, etc)
  • If you are in London to shop and are not interested in attractions
  • If you simply do not want to spend any money

But for most first time or second time travelers, these London attraction passes are well worth it.

If you are traveling to New York or Paris, be sure to check out my New York travel pass review and Paris attraction pass review articles!

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