I have lived in London for nearly 9 years, so I rarely experience the city as a tourist anymore. I hurry around the city like a true Londoner, I know the street names, shops, restaurants and remember how different London looked when I moved here back in 2006. When my parents or friends come to visit, I want to show them “the real London” so I usually avoid the most touristic spots. But in March I had the chance to spend a day in London “playing the part” of a tourist and it was great!
I set off early morning with my parents, equipped with comfortable shoes, travel cards, a detailed route plan, our London Pass cards and guide books. By the end of the day we had managed to visit a whopping 5 attractions.
The London Pass is a city card which gives you entry to a choice of over 60 tourist attractions in London. It is available for 1 or more days, depending of how much sightseeing you’ve got planned during your visit. We had the passes for one day, so obviously we tried to see as many attractions as possible.
Once you have a London Pass you don’t need to pay to get into the attractions it covers, just show your card at the entrance or ticket office and you will be allowed entry. You are also granted Fast Track Entry into some of London’s most popular attractions, so overall you save a lot of time. Most importantly, The London Pass saves you money. We visited 5 attractions that have free entry with the London Pass (others may just be discounted) and saved around £60 per person!
We spent around 2 hours in each place, so we didn’t rush, though admittedly we didn’t take too many breaks either. Just s quick coffee at London Grind, a doughnut from Bread Ahead eaten on the go, a sandwich sitting down at the Westminster Abbey bistro and a tea with scones at Kensington Palace.
Top 5 London Attractions to Visit with The London Pass
Tower of London
We started our day tour at the Tower of London around 10:00, just after it opened so it was still fairly quiet. Although I had already been a few times, I always find it exciting to walk inside the walls of this historic castle, which played a prominent role in English history.
Make sure to visit this attraction early, because later in the day the queue to see the Crown Jewels gets really long!
Even before moving to London I admired the beautiful Tower Bridge, a unique and beautiful structure built in 1894 that continues to be a working bridge still today. It’s of course one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world and one of London’s most visited attractions.
The London Pass gives free entry to the exhibition where you can learn about the history of the bridge, the fascinating engine rooms and the glass floor walkway. I don’t think the glass floor is particularly impressive, since you only see the cars crossing the bridge underneath you. But I do love the spectacular panoramic view over the river that you can get from up there: just look in front of you rather than under your feet! ;)
HMS Belfast is a ship that was commissioned for the Royal Navy in 1939 and served with distinction in both the Second World War and the Korean War. It is the only surviving example of the Royal Navy fleet from that time and it is a popular attraction, moored on the River Thames and accessible from the south bank, near City Hall and London Bridge.
I probably would have never visited the HMS Belfast if I didn’t have free entry with The London Pass and what a mistake that would have been! It was the highlight of our tour, my parents and I were so impressed by our visit that my husband decided to so too a few weeks later.
A quick visit to Borough Market to buy doughnuts from Bread Ahead Bakery was due at that point!
The quickest and prettiest way to travel from Tower Bridge to Westminster is by boat, so we hopped on a River Thames Cruise (also free with The London Pass!) and twenty minutes later we were looking at the Big Ben!
Our next stop was Westminster Abbey, a beautiful gothic church and a must-see for any London visitor. The abbey is one of the most important Gothic buildings in UK and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The stained glasses, the stonework, the wooden choir and the fine paintings are absolutely stunning!
It is been the nation’s Coronation church since 1066 and many renowned figures of the British history (including seventeen monarchs) are buried in the church’s grounds. And of course it’s where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, got married in 2011.
Our last visit was to Kensington Palace and it required a short tube journey and walk to Hyde Park, where we arrived around 16:00. We had plenty of time to visit the palace and have a break at the cafe before they closed at 18:00.
Unfortunately The Orangery was closed for a private event, but I’ve been told it’s one of the most beautiful tea rooms in London.
There is so much to see and do in London that is hard to keep up, but I had a fantastic day exploring some of the city’s most popular attractions with The London Pass!
Disclaimer: I received free passes from The London Pass. All opinions are my own.