City of London - Activity Planning Tips

How to buy Sightseeing Tickets for London's Top Tourist Attractions

In this article, we look at the best ways to Plan and Buy tickets to London's top tourist attractions. We also include tips on how to enjoy and save when visiting this Great European capital of culture.

London City Skyline

How to plan & visit Top Attractions in London?

Research your destination and the types of activities that interest you most. Start by visiting official tourist board websites and major 'Attraction Ticket Providers' - as they often provide good tips and 'Insider Planning recommendations'.

For in-depth information on London's tourist activities, check out the "Insider Tips & Planning" sections at GetYourGuide. Next, make a list of the sights you 'most want to visit'. Remember, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy each attraction and to travel between venues (try not to cram too much in) - careful planning achieves more.

Top Tips:
(1). Book and buy tickets in advance - ticket availability to London's main sights and experiences can often sell out early (especially during peak holiday seasons).
(2). When planning what to visit, try to avoid daily zig-zagging across the city between venues. Plot all the attractions you want to visit on a tourist map and book the venues closest to each other for same-day visits. Remember - "plan well, save time, fit more in".

How to book & buy tickets for London's top attractions?

You've made your 'must visit list' - you now have 4 ticket buying options:

  • (1). Book and pay for individual tickets directly with the attraction or venue - (good if you're just visiting a few sights).
  • (2). Book individual or combination tickets with an online ticketing agency - (a convenient and cost-effective way to book and keep your entry tickets listed electronically on one device).
  • (3). Buy The London Pass®. Check if the attractions you want to visit are listed and included within the London Pass® - if they are, and you plan on doing lots of sightseeing, it's usually a convenient and cost-effective way of visiting many sights (the pass includes 'skip-the-ticket-line' entry when supported by the venue).
  • (4). Check which attractions have free entry - lots of London's main museums and art galleries don't charge an entry fee (see list below). However, you'll still need to book a timed entry slot at most main venues.

To find out more about major guided tours and attraction ticket providers, check out our Top 4 websites for Attraction Tickets.

What are combined tour & attraction ticket deals?

During our research, we found some ticket providers and travel agents are bundling (or combining) two or more activities to provide one 'combined package' - often at reduced prices. As well as the convenience aspect, the bundled activities and tours often complement each other to provide unique visitor experiences.

Top Tip: For more information, check out the 'Combined Tours and Activities' at - simply enter "London" into the search and select the "Bundles" filter for a full list of available combined tours.

We found the following combined attractions by GetYourGuide worth considering:
  • Big Bus Hop-on Hop-off, River Cruise and London Eye.
  • London Dungeon, London Eye, & Madame Tussauds Combo.
  • Tower of London Tour & Thames River Cruise.
  • Top 30 Sights Walking Tour and St Pauls Cathedral.

What are London's best free attractions?

You can visit many interesting attractions in London for free, from museums and art galleries to monuments, parks and gardens - London has some of the world's most interesting and important (free to enter) museums and art galleries.

Our favourite top London attractions with free admission:

  • The British Museum - view ancient artefacts, including the Rosetta Stone and Easter Island moai at the world’s oldest national public museum - conveniently located in Bloomsbury, open late on Fridays.
  • The Natural History Museum - Home to T-Rex and the earthquake experience at the Volcanoes and Earthquakes gallery, plus there are more than 75 million objects spanning more than 4 billion years.
  • The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) - A world leader in art, design and performance, with a constantly-changing collection of fashion, dance, photography exhibits and cultural trends - a truly inspirational and must-visit experience.
  • Covent Garden - Enjoy the outdoors - watch street entertainers perform on Covent Garden's famous cobbled streets.
  • The South Bank - stroll along the South Bank for some of the city's best skyline views.
  • Tate Modern - Always changing modern art, dating only as far back as 1900.

One of my favourite city pastimes is to walk the river paths. My favourite is the 40-minute walk along the South Bank (known as the Queen's Walk), you can start the walk at Westminster Bridge with views over to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben. The route takes you past the London Eye, Millennium Bridge, Tate Modern and Shakespeare’s Globe - with the Shard standing tall in the distance.

End your walk at London's most famous food market 'Borough Market' - an ideal stop-off for late breakfast or early lunch. Next, cross the river from London Bridge City Pier to the Tower Millennium Pier (Tower of London) and take the 1-mile river path/road route to St Paul's Cathedral (for a slightly quieter and alternative view of the city).

London Skyline Image

Is there a London City Pass for attraction tickets and tours?

One of the most popular (and widely accepted) is "The London Pass" by Go City. There are two types of Go City passes available:

(1). The London Pass: The 1 to 10-Day London Pass offers access to 90+ Attractions (subject to sufficient credits remaining on your pass), the pass is valid for a set number of days - you choose between one and ten-day validity.

(2). The Go City Explorer Pass: The Go City Explorer Pass has access to multiple Tours and Attractions, it's more flexible with a 60-day validity period - but is restricted by the number of attractions you can visit - choose to visit from two, three, five, six, or seven of London's top 20 attractions over 60 days.

The London Pass is ideal if you're planning a short trip to London and you want to visit as many attractions as possible (whilst potentially saving you money). If your time in London is limited, choose a pass duration that fits your itinerary. The London Pass offers convenience, choice and easy access to many top attractions, tours and experiences - it also includes fast-track entry to some venues.

The London Pass Summary:

  • (1). Enjoy access to more than 90 of London’s top attractions, tours and museums, including the Tower of London, London Zoo, The View from the Shard, Windsor Castle and many more.
  • (2). Enjoy Access to a 1 day hop-on hop-off bus tour of London's top landmarks and main sights, with over 60 stops across London. The tour includes sights such as St. Paul’s Cathedral, Buckingham Palace, the Tower of London, Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus.
  • (3). You can Download your London Pass to your mobile for easy access. A digital attractions guide is included to help plan your itinerary, you also get a handy map and suggested itineraries.
  • (4). You can choose which duration is right for you with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 10-day pass.
  • (5). Each pass is subject to a value of a maximum credit and you are unable to exceed this. 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.
  • (6). There's a reduction in pass price for children aged between five and 15 years. Children under five years old are free.

Popular attractions and places of interest covered by the London Pass:

  • The Tower of London - Windsor Castle (afternoon entry only).
  • Westminster Abbey - London Bridge Experience - The View from the Shard.
  • Tower Bridge - ZSL London Zoo - St Paul's Cathedral - Hampton Court Palace.
  • Kensington Palace - 1-Day Hop-on Hop-off Bus Tour - Royal Albert Hall - Cutty Sark.
  • Shakespeare's Globe Theatre - Royal Observatory Greenwich - Old Royal Naval College.

The Go City London Explorer Pass:

The London Explorer Pass is aimed at those who visit regularly or wish to plan a longer stay or prefer to explore over a longer 60-day period. It also allows savings when buying individual tickets – with up to 55% discount on the cost of attractions and tours, subject to T&Cs and availability.

London Explorer Pass Summary:

  • (1). Choose how many attractions you want to see - Each Pass includes from 2 up to 7 admissions to top attractions.
  • (2). Download and use your pass from your mobile phone.
  • (3). Includes skip-the-ticket-line privileges at designated ticketing areas.
  • (4). Save up to 50%* compared to buying individual attraction tickets.
  • (5). Choose attractions as you go - there's no need to pick before you purchase. The Pass is valid for 60 days from your first visit.

The London Explorer Pass works on a digital credits package basis. Each attraction is worth 1 credit and you redeem your credits against 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions from a selection list of over 75 attractions, tours, dining experiences and more.

Attractions and venues include the Tower of London, St. Paul's Cathedral, Shakespeare's Globe, The Shard and many more. Tips & suggestions on how to book entry times and how to plan your itinerary are included with the pass. You can choose any 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, or 7 attractions from the following list:

Popular attractions covered by the Explorer Pass:

  • Tower of London - Kensington Palace - Tower Bridge.
  • One Hop-On-Hop-Off London Bus tour - Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre Tour.
  • St Paul’s Cathedral - City Cruises Thames River Pass - The View from the Shard.
  • Westminster Abbey - The London Bridge Experience - ZSL London Zoo.
  • Up at the O2 - Chelsea FC Stadium Tour & Museum.
  • Emirates Arsenal Stadium Tour - Tottenham Hotspur FC Stadium Tour.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew - Royal Observatory Greenwich - Cutty Sark.
  • London Transport Museum - Hampton Court Palace - London Bicycle Tour.

Please note: Attractions and tours are subject to change - please check the pass suitability before you buy. Read the digital guide included with your confirmation voucher for the full list of inclusions, opening times and reservation instructions - including advice on how to book timed entry for those venues that require pre-booking. Check the digital guide for the full list of attractions including instructions on how to redeem credits on each activity, T&Cs apply.

London City Skyline

Enjoy London's famous landmarks aboard the London Eye, time your ride to start at dusk to experience nightfall, and watch as the city lights transform the skyline. Visit The Churchill War Rooms and discover the subterranean Westminster bunker where Churchill and his government directed WWII.

What is the best way to get around London as a tourist?

The Best way to travel around the city is to use London's public transport system - both the underground (Tube) and local bus services are safe and convenient.

The best way to pay for and travel on London's public transport system is to use an Oyster Card or London Travelcard. You can also use your contactless credit or debit payment card. You can purchase tickets or travel cards online or directly from the official Transport for London website.

How to Buy and Use the Visitor Oyster Card: Consider purchasing a Visitor Oyster Card in advance - The Oyster card can be preloaded with credit, saving you time when you arrive. You can use it to pay for any journeys within the Transport for London (TfL) network, including the Underground, London Bus, DLR, River Boat/Bus services and most National Rail services in London. The card works across all travel zones and automatically calculates the cheapest fare for all journeys made in a single day.

Topping up your Oyster Card: You can top up your Oyster card with 'pay as you go credit' in the following ways: At Tube stations, DLR and most National Rail stations, you can also top-up at over 4,000 local shops in London called Oyster Ticket Stops.

How to use the Oyster Card: On entering the Tube station, 'touch your card in' at the start of your journey and touch out at the end (using the yellow card readers), the correct fare will be charged to your card. When using the Bus, only touch in - don't touch out when leaving the bus!

Using London's Red Bus service: Travelling around on London's iconic Red Bus may seem daunting at first, but fear not! There are plenty of online journey planners available to help plan your journey. The Bus network covers the entire city with a 24-hour service and is a cost-effective way of travelling between attractions, you also get to see interesting sights along the way. Remember - London buses operate a cashless ticket system, which means you'll need to buy an Oyster Card, Travelcard or use your contactless payment card to use the service.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents of this article. The use of this site and third-party links is subject to our T&Cs.