How to get Cheap London Attraction Ticket Deals

By Stuart Bak

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that London is not a cheap place to visit. Indeed, it’s regularly cited alongside the likes of Hong Kong, New York, Singapore and Sydney as one of the most expensive cities in the world. That’s largely due to its well-deserved reputation as one of the planet's top bucket-list destinations, with household-name attractions like Westminster Abbey, The Shard, Oxford Street, Buckingham Palace, Big Ben and the Tower of London around almost every corner. And, as surely as night follows day, high demand means high prices.

But London isn't just for lottery winners, celebrities and Russian oligarchs. No! This vast playground of historical attractions, world-class museums, stellar theatrical performances, and destination dining is for everyone to enjoy. And it is possible for savvy travelers to visit on a shoestring, as detailed in our self-explanatory blog ‘How to Visit London on a Budget’ right here. Read on below as we take a deeper dive into how to get cheap ticket deals at London attractions, including all the most highly sought-after landmarks and theaters.

The London Pass

Serious sightseers who plan to hit up a lot of major attractions and tours should consider The London Pass – basically a catch-all way of ticking off the big (and little) hitters in town while saving cash in the process. It’s the only pass of its kind that gives you access to Westminster Abbey, St Paul’s Cathedral and Tower Bridge (plus some 80 or so additional attractions and tours across London), and it’s conveniently stored on your phone or mobile device for speedy scan-through access at each address. And here’s how it works. You choose a duration for your London Pass package – (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 or 10 consecutive days) – download the Go City app to your phone and you’re good to go.

Your pass activates as soon as you scan in at your first attraction and is valid for consecutive days (not 24-hour periods), so you should make sure to start early on your first day of sightseeing. The London Pass can save you up to 50% on gate prices if you make full use of it and visit several attractions each day, but its value weakens when you only visit one or two places each day. Fear not though: the pass’s savings guarantee means that, if you visit at least three attractions each day for the duration of your pass, and don’t save money, you can apply for a refund of the difference. Some of the 80+ attractions you can visit with your London Pass include:

  • The Tower of London – William the Conqueror’s notorious 1,000-year-old fortress on the Thames.
  • The View from The Shard – dizzying panoramic views from atop the UK’s tallest building.
  • London Zoo – a family favorite with over 750 species of weird, wonderful and downright cute critters.
  • Hampton Court Palace – the grand former home of gouty serial monogamist Henry VIII.
  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre – lovingly reconstructed replica of the bard’s 17th-century London playhouse.
  • Kew Gardens – kaleidoscopes of colorful wildflowers, tropical foliage, treetop walkways and more at London’s best botanical garden.

Get The London Pass here.

More Cheap London Attraction Ticket Deals

There are several other straightforward methods of making savings on tickets to London attractions. Traveling to London by train? National Rail runs a promo that gives you 2-for-1 prices on major London attractions when you buy train tickets. There’s a decent list of attractions included in the promo, such as Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon, the ArcelorMittal Orbit and the Tower of London. You’ll need to register on National Rail’s Days Out website, from where you can then download and print vouchers for your chosen attraction. Present these with your train ticket (bearing the National Rail logo) at each attraction to claim your discount. You’ll get these when you take pretty much any train into London (with the exception of the Tube and some airport trains), or you can get them by buying a London Travelcard at any London railway station (as opposed to Tube station) such as Victoria, Liverpool Street, Paddington, Charing Cross and Waterloo. Remember to check your chosen dates are available before pitching up at the attraction – some of the biggies have blackouts on the 2-for-1 offers during peak periods.

Other potentially money-saving options include the likes of the Merlin Pass, which includes access to Merlin attractions like the London Eye, London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London and Madame Tussauds, but has a lot of date restrictions during school holidays on the cheaper basic passes. Then there are cash-saving voucher sites like Groupon and Wowcher, which are great for finding bargain London attraction tickets, especially outside of peak season.

Cheap London Theater Tickets

The West End’s reputation for astronomical ticket prices is almost as famous as its world-class plays and musicals. We’re talking the likes of Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Wicked, Matilda and The Mousetrap (only the world’s longest-running play, fact fans). Incredibly, it is in fact possible to bag cheap last-minute tickets to all of these and more, as long as you’re a) savvy and b) willing to queue for several hours at the box office on a wing and a prayer.

Here’s the lowdown: very few shows are ever completely sold out and many West End venues offer day seats. Tickets for these are cheap and are generally released between 9AM and 11AM for same-day performances, so you’ll need to be flexible and yes, for the more popular shows, you’ll definitely have to queue and may still end up disappointed. Some shows also run lotteries via their website or app. This is much the same as the day-seat option, but means you can avoid schlepping to the venue and do it all from the comfort of your armchair. Winners are chosen at random.

You can also get last-minute bargains from the tkts booth on Leicester Square, again for shows that same evening. If you can afford to be really flexible about your plans, it’s also well worth taking a gamble on ultra-last-minute cheapies direct from the theaters. And by ultra-last-minute we mean, like, an hour before the performance begins. The Royal Court does 10p tickets. Yes, that’s just ten new pence. These are standing only but hey, that’s a small price to pay, right? Similarly, the hip Donmar theatre in Covent Garden has been known to release £10 tickets for same-day performances, and you can bag tickets to the pit at Shakespeare’s Globe for £5-£10 at most performances. An absolute bard-gain.

Save on things to do in London

Save on admission to London attractions with the London Pass. Check out @londonpass on Instagram for the latest top tips and attraction info.

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Cambridge Henry VIII
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Amazing Historical Facts About Henry VIII

Way back when, on the 28th June 1491, one of England's most famous monarchs was born. King Henry VIII. Known for his six wives, desperation for a male heir, and desire to separate from the Catholic church, jolly old Henry continues to fascinate us even today. That's why we've put together some of our best historical facts about this rotund royal, so you can think about him all over again. It's exactly what he would want. So, here are our favourite facts about Henry VIII! 1. He was not expected to rule Henry was the second son of Henry VII and Elizabeth of York. His elder brother, Arthur, was heir to the throne until he died from sweating sickness at 15. Yes, that's a thing. And yes, they were sorely lacking antiperspirant back in ye olden times. Then, when Henry was just 17 his father passed away. Once atop the throne, Henry VIII continued living a leisurely life for a monarch - preferring to sleep in. In fact, he only really got up to hunt, hawk, dance, gamble and play cards over his official duties.  2. He was a published author Before separating from the Catholic Church, Henry VIII wrote a 30,000-word response to Martin Luther's protestant Ninety-five Theses, praising the church in Rome. He was the first English king to publish a book and the Pope declared Henry VIII "Defender of the Faith". A declaration he would rescind in years to come when Henry VIII created the Church of England and separated from the Catholic Church, so he could get divorced.  3. Paranoia and illness Henry was obsessed with sickness and death, specifically the sweating sickness and the plague. Which is fair enough, because living in a time before medicine, proper hygiene and the discovery of bacteria and viruses would have been terrifying. That, and by the age of 30 he'd already caught smallpox and malaria. Any time there was an outbreak, he would minimize his risk of infection by leaving London and limiting the number of ambassadors he saw. Even when Anne Boleyn caught the sweating sickness in 1528, Henry stayed far away until she got better. 4. Weight issues Yes, some of the more well-known facts about Henry VIII are due to his enviable size. Despite being a tall, handsome and athletic young king (yes, really), older age was not kind to Henry VIII. When he died in 1547 after ruling for 30 years, he weighed nearly 400 pounds and had a 54-inch waist. This was partly due to some pretty severe jousting accidents and ulcers on his legs stopping him from his previous activities and partly because he loved a feast. 5. A merciless king In his later years, Henry grew more paranoid and ill-tempered. Crowds of prisoners were sent to the Tower of London at his orders. He sent more men and women to their deaths than any other English monarch. It's estimated 57,000 - 72,000 people were executed during his 37-year reign. 6. Multi-talented Not only could Henry speak Latin, French, Ancient Greek and Spanish, but he also played the lute and organ, sang, played tennis and jousted. Who knew that a life of luxury gave people time to do so much cool stuff?  7. Serial womaniser Henry VIII's womanising reputation has lasted throughout history thanks to his six infamous wives and mistresses. In spite of this reputation, we only know of three specific mistresses, one of which was Anne Boleyn's sister Mary. Not cool, King Henry. You should have kept playing tennis instead of playing the field. 8. Wife after wife There's a common belief that Henry married and discarded his six wives in quick succession, but that's not exactly true. He married his brother's widow Catherine of Aragon when he came to the throne at 17, and they remained married for nearly 24 years. That is - until he had their marriage annulled to marry Anne Boleyn. His shortest marriage was to Anne of Cleves, which lasted six months- she is buried in Westminster Abbey. 9. Belgium rule He is the only English monarch to have ruled Belgium. After capturing the significant town of Tournai in 1513, Henry eventually handed the territory to France in 1518. Truly a generous king. 10. Henry VIII's legacy In spite of his obsession with producing a male heir, Henry VIII had four children. Three were from his marriages. The other, who was named Henry Fitzroy (which means son of the king) was from his mistress Elizabeth Blount. His three "official" children went on to be kings and queens, with his youngest Elizabeth I becoming an iconic monarch in her own right. And those are our favourite facts about Henry VIII! Know any more tasty tidbits about the Tudor's best rapscallion? Let us know in the comments below. Oh, and while you're here, why not check out more of Britain's most famous figures throughout history? Or some fascinating facts about Henry's old home, Hampton Court Palace?? Experience everything London has to offer with The London Pass® Planning your London trip? With The London Pass®, you can explore big-name landmarks, local hotspots and epic tours, all on one pass, all for one price. Not only that, but you'll enjoy savings of up to 50%, compared to buying individual attraction tickets. ✈️ Buy The London Pass® ✈️
Dom Bewley
Blog

Westminster Abbey: FAQs

What is Westminster Abbey? Westminster Abbey is a largely Gothic church known as the setting for all royal coronations, several royal marriages and the funerals of many famous Britains. The abbey’s historical importance and cultural significance, along with its striking architecture, make it one of the most notable religious buildings in the country, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Grade I listed building and a popular tourist attraction. How old is it? The site has been a religious setting since around 960AD, when Benedictine monks founded Westminster Abbey. The abbey grew in importance in 1066 when it held the coronation of William the Conqueror. Since then, all coronations of British and English monarchs have taken place here. The present building was largely built between the 13th and 16th centuries, with successive monarchs making their marks on the building’s architecture. What famous events have taken place at Westminster Abbey? Well, every coronation of every king and queen since William the Conqueror. The funeral of Diana, Princess of Wales was held at the abbey. The wedding of her son, Prince William and Catherine Middleton also took place here. Oliver Cromwell was buried here until opinions on him changed and he was dug up... What will I see at Westminster Abbey? The amount of famous people buried here has led to the abbey being nicknamed ‘Britain’s Valhalla’. Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin and Stephen Hawking are all next to each other. Queen Elizabeth I has a very prominent memorial. Rudyard Kipling, Charles Dickens and Geoffrey Chaucer are among the literary giants buried in Poets’ Corner. So you’re really taking a tour of British history and some of its most significant figures as you walk through Westminster Abbey. For many, the Coronation Chair in St George’s Chapel is one of the most precious and revered objects in the country. It’s certainly had some very famous bottoms on it. The fan-vaulted ceiling and long stained glass windows of the 16th century Lady Chapel are stunning. It’s where you’ll find the Elizabeth I memorial. Pyx Chamber is the oldest section of Westminster Abbey, featuring a medieval tiled floor dating back to the 11th century. The stained glass windows through the main church are striking. David Hockney’s 2018 Queen’s Window, dedicated to Elizabeth II, particularly so. Its big bursts of color depict a bright British landscape, reflecting the Queen’s love of the British countryside. The grave of the Unknown Soldier at the west end of the Nave has become a point of pilgrimage for many. The body was brought back from France following the First World War and is interred with French soil under a slab of black Belgian marble. Is there an audio tour? Yes, well it’s actually a multimedia guide that you download onto your phone or tablet, or use one of the devices provided. It’s free for all visitors. It comes in 14 languages including English, Hungarian, Mandarin, Russian, Italian, Spanish and Arabic. The English language audio commentary is provided by Oscar-winning actor Jeremy Irons. A British Sign Language Version of the tour is also available, and there's a family tour (in all 14 languages) for visitors aged 6 - 12 years. How much does it cost to visit Westminster Abbey? For the most up-to-date information, it's best to check the Abbey's own website. But hey... entry is free with the London Pass. Can I take photos in Westminster Abbey? Yes, photos only (no videos or selfie-sticks). Photography is not permittied during services or during any visit to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Galleries. Is there a dress code? It’s a fully operational church so yes, kind of. Modest dressing and no hats is the done thing. Is Westminster Abbey accessible to those with disabilities? Some areas are not accessible for wheelchairs and those with reduced mobility. However, there is still plenty to see and tickets are free for such visitors and their carers. You’ll find accessible toilets in the cloisters and the Cellarium Cafe. The abbey is equipped with a hearing loop system throughout the main building. Audio-described and personal touch tours can be booked in advance. Please email [email protected] for more details. Is there a big queue to get in? During busier times, yes. From May to September and around significant holidays, it can take over an hour to get in. Particularly if you’re coming in the middle of the day. Wait times are generally shorter after 1pm. What are the opening times for Westminster Abbey? The abbey is open from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm Monday to Friday and 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday It is closed to visitors on Sunday (but open for worship and prayer). Can I get a guided tour? You can, guided by a verger no less. You have to book these on the day, and it costs £10 (in addition to any entry charge). Check out the timings on their website. What is the food and drink situation at Westminster Abbey? Pretty good actually. Set over two floors, the Cellarium Cafe serves a seasonal menu of British and International cuisine, with some vegetarian and vegan options and a kids menu. It’s in the rooms where 14th century monks kept their food and drink stores. Now it sells cleansing juices. What a world. The Cellarium Cafe is open from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Friday. It opens at 9am and closes at 5pm on Saturdays, and on Sundays at 10am and 4pm. Is there a Westminster Abbey shop? Yeah, of course there is. They sell a number of guide books, decorations for the home, calendars, spiritual objects and fine china. A series of prints make for particularly nice souvenirs of your visit to Westminster Abbey. They’re open Monday to Saturday 9.15am to 7pm, and Sundays 11am to 5.30pm. How do I get to Westminster Abbey? Underground is probably easiest, with Westminster (Jubilee, District & Circle Lines) and St James’s Park (District and Circle Lines) the closest stations. By National Rail, it’s London Victoria and London Waterloo that you want. They are both just shy of a mile away. For buses that stop in the vicinity, check the Transport for London website. Westminster Abbey FAQs. Done and done. Still on a landmark lookout? Take a cruise down the Thames.
Matthew Pearson
Blog

The Royal Albert Hall Tour: FAQs

What is the Royal Albert Hall? The Royal Albert Hall is perhaps the most famous concert hall in the country. It was opened by Queen Victoria in 1871 and has since played host to some of the most memorable, revered and notorious events in British cultural history. Take a look round it and learn all about its history on a Royal Albert Hall tour, which is what this article is all about. Why is it called the Royal Albert Hall? It's named in tribute to Albert, Prince Consort and husband to Queen Victoria. Following London’s successful hosting of the Great Exhibition in 1851, Prince Albert pushed proposals for permanent cultural facilities and institutions in the capital. Albert died before his vision could come to life. A memorial to him was planned, with a great hall stood across from it. The Albert Memorial still stands in Kensington Gardens, with the Royal Albert Hall facing it. Why is it so famous? Because of its design... perhaps. It is an ellipse with a distance colour to it, courtesy of its liberal use of Fareham Red brick. The great dome, constructed from glass and wrought-iron, is 41m high and the whole building is ringed by a triumphant mosaic frieze, depicting important events in the story of the arts and sciences. Also, references in songs and artworks helped it become part of the UK’s cultural fabric, particularly when John Lennon sang its name in the enigmatic ‘A Day in the Life’. It has become a byword for classiness and making it when it comes to the arts. If you’re playing the Albert Hall, you’re probably doing OK. And perhaps it’s famous because of all the events that have taken place there, and all the famous people who’ve performed or been in attendance. What events? What famous people? Camille Saint-Saëns played the Hall’s great organ, known as the Voice of Jupiter, during a performance in 1871. The genius composer and virtuosic pianist Sergei Rachmaninoff played at the Royal Albert Hall in 1911. Albert Einstein led a meeting about assisting refugee academics here in 1933; the Eurovision Song Contest was held at the Hall in 1968. Two sides of the same coin. Sporting events regularly take place at the Royal Albert Hall. Past events include UFC 38, a Sumo wrestling tournament, and boxing bouts featuring Frank Bruno, Lennox Lewis and Prince Naseem Hamed. But it’s the music that still wins out. As well as hosting the BBC Proms - an eight-week classical music festival - each year, the Royal Albert Hall has put on shows by Beyonce, the Arctic Monkeys, Adele and Eric Clapton. Clapton has played the hall over 200 times, and once said that playing it was like ‘playing in my front room.’ Pink Floyd were banned from ever playing the hall again after a 1969 concert saw them setting off cannons and nailing things to the stage. A piece by British pop artists Peter Blake, named Appearing at the Royal Albert Hall, shows more than 400 people who have performed and appeared at the hall. It’s a fun way of finding out just how many famous faces are associated with this place, having played, performed and watched shows here. What will I see on the Royal Albert Hall tour? Your guide introduces you to the history of the Hall as you take a look at the royal areas and the giant auditorium. You’ll see the famous stage and learn about the great variety of performances the hall puts on. The dome, its construction and the famous acoustical problems it presented are another interesting part of the Royal Albert Hall Tour. And the tour guides come armed with plenty of facts about the weirdest and wildest things to have occurred in the grand concert hall since it opened. Want to know about the time a church group made a river in the auditorium? The time an operatic concert called for the auditorium to be flooded? And what do the Krays have to do with this place? You’d better get yourself on a Royal Albert Hall Tour to find out. This doesn’t always apply, so don’t get your hopes too high...but some lucky tour groups get the opportunity to watch world-class orchestras as they soundcheck prior to the evening’s performance. That’s a real treat. When do the tours run? The Royal Albert Hall Tour runs from 10am to 4pm from November to March, and between 9.30am and 4.30pm April to October. They leave every 30 minutes from the Cafe Bar at Door 12. Sometimes, because of performance schedules, the tour runs less frequently or, very occasionally, not at all. How long do the Royal Albert Hall tours last? Each tour lasts about an hour. Can I take photos during the Royal Albert Hall tour? Usually, yes. However, when events are taking place that evening and rehearsals are on, it’s not possible. Is there anywhere to get food and drink? Sure. There’s a cafe and an Italian restaurant. For a particularly memorable visit, consider ordering an afternoon tea after your tour. Are the tours accessible for people with disabilities? They are. And if you wish to arrange a touch tour or a tour for the deaf, contact 020 7589 8212. Can I book a group tour? If your group is 15 people or more, contact the Hall directly. Otherwise, just use the advance booking system online, or turn up nice and early on the day. So tours can be booked on the day? Yes, particularly when you are in small groups, pairs or on your own. How much do tour tickets cost? Standard adult tickets cost £13.75 when booked online, while concessions are £11.75 and children (5-16 years old) cost just £6.75. If you’re coming with children under 5, they are free, but you still need to get them a ticket. However, tickets to the Royal Albert Hall Tour are free for London Pass holders. How do I get there? It’s best to get public transport to the Royal Albert Hall. South Kensington and High Street Kensington are the tube stations closest to the Hall, with both about 10-15 minutes walk away. The nearest step-free tube station is Green Park. Bus-wise, number 9, 23, 52, 70, 360, 452 and 702 stop close to the Hall. Not scratched your London landmark itch yet? Have a go on this.
Matthew Pearson

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