Europe Travel: How to See London on a Budget

Save Money and Time Exploring 'The Big Smoke's' Top Attractions

On the banks of the River Thames before a cruise with City Cruises in London. Photo by East Coast Contessa.
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About the London Pass

With a population of more than 8.2 million people, visiting the city of London, England, can appear to be a daunting task. While it is impossible to experience every site in one or even two visits, The London Pass has made exploring “The Big Smoke” more convenient — and easier on the wallet.

Launched in 1998, The London Pass’s team of travel experts has provided clients freedom to craft their itineraries on their own terms. Offering 1, 2, 3, 6, and 10 day pass options, sites such as Kensington Palace, Buckingham Palace, and the London Zoo are just a few of the more than 80 attractions available.

London Pass ticket options

I utilised a One Day pass to experience two of the city’s most popular attractions: The View at the Shard, and a River Thames Boat Cruise with City Cruises.

Read below to learn more about how to use and purchase The London Pass, and recommendations for a possible itinerary using a One Day Pass:

How It Works

Purchasing a pass is quick and easy:
1. Visit https://www.londonpass.com and click “Prices” under the top left-hand drop down menu.
2. Select your pass duration (1, 2, 3, 6, or 10 days) and select purchase. Viola!
3. Download The London Pass app on your mobile phone and insert your Verification Code. The pass will automatically appear in your app for you to scan at each attraction. Easy-peasy!
Tip: The app also allows you to research the details of each attraction. Learn about hours of operation, when to arrive, and if Skip-the-line access is available.

London Pass iPhone app

 

Stop 1: The View at The Shard

Standing at 1,016 feet high, The Shard is the tallest building in the United Kingdom and the sixth tallest building in the European Union. Resembling a shard of glass, it was opened in 2012 after a four year construction period.

On the 69th and 72nd floors, The View at The Shard offers unparalleled views of the city from two observation decks. With The London Pass, you can enjoy skip-the-line access and a discount on a glass of crisp Moet & Chandon champaign as you swoon over the city below.

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East Coast Contessa
The View of London Bridge from The Shard. Photo by East Coast Contessa.

Different vantage points provide views of some of London’s most renowned sites including the Houses of Parliament and Canary Wharf. For a closer-up view, The Shard’s digital telescopes allow you to zoom in on attractions of your choice to take in every last detail.

Tip: Arrive at the location 30 minutes before opening (9:30am) to get in the queue. Even with skip-the-line access, The View at The Shard is a very popular attraction. Other people with skip-the-line access will begin to line up early to get the perfect, crowd-free shot.

In between stop: Covent Garden

Known for its cluster of high end shops and Instagrammable store fronts, Covent Garden is the perfect location to take a break. From the Shard, the Jubilee and Waterloo lines are the easiest and most direct ways to access the best streets and alleyways. Here, it is recommended to visit:
Neal’s Yard: this tiny side street is one of the most beautiful in London. Here, you can eat and shop at some of London’s most colourfully decorated stores.

East Coast Contessa London
SushiSamba: There are countless restaurants and bars you can hang your hat on in Covent Garden, but one of the most renowned restaurants is SushiSamba. Located inside of the Market Building, guests can sip on sake, signature cocktails, and snack on sashimi. The interior of the restaurant is also swoon-worthy.
A Broadway show: You don’t have to be in New York City to enjoy a broadway show — Covent Garden has a wide range of theater performances that are fun for all ages. The Lion King at Lyceum Theatre and Waitress at Adelphi Theatre are just a couple of the popular options chosen by theatre-goers.

After you’ve purveyed your way through one of the city’s most romantic neighbourhoods, hop on the Piccadilly line to the Westminster tube stop. Do this before sunset to catch a glimpse of Big Ben and the London Eye at golden hour.

Stop 2: Thames River Cruise with City Cruises

Snaking its way past some of London’s most iconic sites, the River Thames is one of the most well-known rivers in the world. The longest river in England, many people explore its banks from the Cotswolds to London proper. With The London Pass, sightseers can get a glimpse of some attractions like Big Ben, The London Eye, and Tower Bridge.

East Coast Contessa
On the banks of the River Thames before a cruise with City Cruises in London. Photo by East Coast Contessa.

The opportunities to witness London on a budget are endless with the purchase of a London Pass. With travel tips for each attraction and special perks, experiencing one Europe’s most posh cities is only a click away.

Visit https://www.londonpass.com/london-attractions/ to plan your perfect trip today before prices go up in March!

**this post was created in partnership with The London Pass.

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28 Comments
  1. Nina says

    London was such a fun trip! I love convent garden! Such a cute part of London! This is a great guide!

    1. Alex Booze says

      It was one of my favorite trips! So many good experiences and the prettiest city no matter how many times I go.

  2. Cassie Bailey says

    I adore that photo you got from The Shard in the middle – absolutely brilliant photo lovely!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Thank you! It was a bit challenging to get with the lighting but it ended up working out 🙂 Thank you for stopping by my page!

  3. Sharyn says

    I bought a London Pass when I went to London. I found it so useful. Thanks for the update.

    1. Alex Booze says

      Nice to hear! It’s very popular and for good reason!

  4. Sara Essop says

    I used The London Pass when I was in London too and it was a great way to see more for less.

    1. Alex Booze says

      Yes! It can also help with planning out your trip and figuring out what times to arrive to each attraction. I love it!

  5. Odette says

    I visited London back in 2013 on a short trip but sadly only had half a a day in the city. Can’t wait to return to the city and explore all it has to offer. Will definitely have to save this post for my visit, using the London Pass sounds very convenient!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Ohh that means you will just have to go back for a longer visit next time! Yes, definitely save it. The London Pass will come in handy when you do!

  6. April says

    I’ve been to London so many times and have yet to go up the Shard or take a cruise of the Thames. When I finally can do them, the London Pass seems like a great way to save some money.

    1. Alex Booze says

      They are both great attractions! And saving money is always a good idea especially in an expensive city 🙂

  7. Elena Pappalardo says

    Wow, love your photos as always! Will definitely be referring back to this when I finally make it to London! 🙂

    1. Alex Booze says

      Thank you so much Elena! That means a lot. I hope you finally make it to London one of these days! You would love it.

  8. Louise Allonby says

    I didn’t know that this even existed, what a great idea. Thanks for introducing me to this with this great post!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Ohhh yay glad I could introduce you to it! It’s such a useful card and helps save money on sightseeing and transportation. The best of both worlds! I hope you get to use it someday 🙂

  9. Lauryn says

    Love this guide! If I ever make it to London one day I’ll definitely check out the pass!

    1. Alex Booze says

      I hope you get to make it to London one day! If you ever do and you have any questions just let me know! 🙂

  10. Imani says

    Love London! Live in the U.K. and still haven’t been up the shard or on a river cruise, but would love to do both!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Ohh so lucky! I love the U.K. and try to visit any time I can 🙂 I would recommend doing both of these activities in London!

  11. Rachel says

    London is my favorite place on earth, and I cannot wait to go back!

    1. Alex Booze says

      It’s one of my favorite cities as well! So much to do there. I hope you get to go back again soon!

  12. Urban Wanders says

    Thanks for this post! Such a helpful guide 🙂

    1. Alex Booze says

      Glad you found it helpful! If you’re going to London feel free to ask me anything.

  13. Jackie says

    This is very timely as I plan to visit London this summer. The City Cruises sound perfect, and I especially love the view of London Bridge from the Shard! Once I know how long I’ll be in town, I’ll know which pass to get. Thanks for these useful tips!

    1. Alex Booze says

      Ohh you will absolutely love it! I recommend the Shard in the morning and City Cruises at night. You can do a couple more things in between too!

  14. Elizabeth says

    I often do city passes when I visit a new place and want to do a lot of sightseeing. The London Pass seems like a great way to explore the city.

    1. Alex Booze says

      It’s the perfect way to explore! The app even tells you the best times to visit so you can beat the crowds 🙂

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