London Explorer Pass Review 2019 – Is the London Explorer Pass Worth It?

Visiting London can be an expensive affair, prices in the Capital are significantly higher than any other part of the Country. Food, Drink, Accommodation, and attractions are all rather expensive and certainly mount up. One solution to this is with an attraction pass. These passes come loaded with attractions that can save you quite a bit on visiting the many paid attraction in London. They also come with a host of other benefits and can potentially turn your trip into something really quite memorable.

In this article, we take a look at the London Explorer Pass from the Leisure Pass Group. We explain how the pass works in practice and which attractions included are worth your time. We ask if the London Explorer Pass is worth it and explain all the Pros and Con’s of having a Pass. After all, it’s not just a simple case of money savings the Pass should help improve your trip not make it worse! So read on and let our London Explorer Pass Review help you decide if the Pass is right for YOU.

London Explorer Pass Review

This site is primarily a Guide for USA City’s so on the face of it you might ask what business do we have reviewing a London city pass? We have huge experience with passes in general and as we actually hail from the UK we also have a huge amount of experience visiting London and all it’s attractions, after all, we have family in the City and it is only a few hours down the motorway meaning we visit regularly. We are also very keen on saving money wherever possible and have such great experiences using passes in all City’s we have visited worldwide!

  • Product: London Explorer Pass
  • Price: £64-£114
  • Price Child: £52-394 (Child 3-15yrs)
  • Where to Buy: Londonexplorerpass.com
  • Number Of Attractions: choose 3, 5 or 7 attractions from 20 Top Attractions
  • Time Limit: 30 Days
  • Rating: 4.6/5

Attractions Available – 32

  • Coca Cola London Eye – £30
  • 1 Day Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour – £38
  • The London Dungeon – £30
  • Madame Tussauds – £35
  • Churchill War Rooms – £ 22
  • Hop-On Hop-Off River Cruise – £19.25
  • Westminister Abbey – £23
  • and many more…

How Much Does the London Explorer Pass Cost?

  • 3 Attractions – Adult – £64 ( £21.30 Per Attraction) Child – £52
  • 5 Attractions – Adult – £94 ( £18.80 Per Attraction) Child – £74
  • 7 Attractions – Adult – £114 ( £16.28 Per Attraction) Child – £94

The most important factor here is the Per Attraction Price. As you will see some attractions are high-value £30-38+ whereas others are quite cheap some as low as £7. Even with the best value pass, the 7 Attractions the per attraction price is £16.28 if the attractions that have caught your eye are less than this then there is little point in getting it on the pass. More on this later as we look at some sample itineraries.

What is the London Explorer Pass?

The London Explorer Pass is an attraction pass where you choose a set number of attractions and then choose, as you go, which attractions you wish to visit while in the City. There are over 20 attractions to choose from and many of them are top tier London attractions, things most people want to do when they visit the city. The pass is valid for 30 days after your first attraction which means you can plan your trip as you want and not chase a pass around the City. The pass offers the chance to save up to 40% over paying separately, meaning a load of extra cash to spend on other things! Well, that is how the pass works in Theory but how does it play out in practice?

The London Explorer Pass in Practice

Is the London Explorer Pass Worth It?

The Explorer pass is still available as a physical Pass, most passes now operate as a Digital pass with the physical forms being retired. However, with the London Explorer Pass, you have the option. If you get the card delivered you will need to pay shipping, but you can get free collection from the London Explorer Pass office in Central London.

However, the reason a lot of passes have become digital is it is just SO much easier and simpler. So we recommend this option. With the London Explorer App downloaded to your phone you simply scan the QR-Code at the attraction and you are in! There is no need for delivery or any hassle of getting to the Collection point. It couldn’t be easier!

The App doubles as your guide book to helping you choose and locate which attractions you want to visit. The App is an offline app so if you don’t have data this is no problem and it contains all the information you need for any of the attractions. We have used passes like this all over the world and never had any issue at in the use of the digital passes. The only potential issue is your battery. The app itself is very low power but if you are taking loads of photos and videos you do run the risk of flattening your phone’s battery. But simply carrying a charger or power bank should help negate this issue.

For most attractions, it is a simple matter of presenting the pass and entering the attraction but there is the issue of Timed tickets. Some would have you believe this makes the pass impossible to use and a waste of money. We disagree and have used the Timed Ticket system countless times often to our advantage, we discuss this later on in detail.

Overall the pass really couldn’t be simpler to use, while there are a few inherent disadvantages which we detail later the Pro’s out weight those in our opinion and that is without really considering the Real advantage, the up to 40% money Saving.

In reality, these Passes are ALL about the attractions. They have to be super high quality and be things you really want to see. Otherwise, the pass is a waste of money, there is no point in seeing and doing things you don’t want to just because they are on the pass, So let’s take a look at what we think are the Best Attractions included on the Pass.

Attractions

Coca Cola London Eye – £30

Coca Cola London Eye

Since it’s construction at the turn of the millennium the London Eye has been an Icon of the Capital and is on almost everyone’s must-do list. Set right in the heart of the city the Wheel provides the most stunning views of the cities best landmarks. The Wheel towers directly over the river giving incredible views of the houses of parliament, Big Ben, Buckingham Palace along with extensive views of the City skyline including the iconic Skyscrapers such as The Shard, The Gherkin and the WalkieTalkie!

The rotates very gently and slowly almost giving the impression of not moving at all as you enjoy the view from your safe and secure pod. The ride takes approximately 30mins as it glides around giving a truly unique perspective on the City.

The only issue with the London Eye is the sheer popularity, at weekends queues can get quite ridiculous and it is even possible for the Eye to sell out. If you are visiting midweek this is less of an issue but at the weekend, especially in the summer months, you need to be there pretty early to guarantee a ticket. Once at the Ticket booth you can pick a time and head off to do something else before your timed ticket slot.

1 Day Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour – £38

Big Bus Tours

Open Top bus tours are a fantastic way to get around and see any new City. And these bus tours have been operating in London longer than just about anywhere else. In fact, the Originals were horse-drawn and were just used as regular buses only becoming tourist attractions much later.

While the upper deck is very weather dependent when it is fine and dry the top deck really does offer fantastic views as the bus travels around the Cities best sightseeing locations. London’s Subway system is one of the best in the world so getting about will be no issue, but the tours really offer a very enjoyable way of linking up your attractions.

Among many things London is known for it’s less than fantastic weather, it does rain a lot and being atop an unprotected bus is not the most enjoyable of activities. This is where the flexibility of the Explorer Pass really comes into its own as if the weather is really just diabolical for part of your trip just put off the bus tour until a drier day, we do get them every so often! Often with attraction passes for bus tours you need to head to a ticket center to get a bus ticket before boarding but with the London Explorer pass you just show your Pass to the Bus Driver!

The London Dungeon – £30

London dungeon

These dungeons have popped up all over the place there are now ones in San Francisco, Shanghai, Amsterdam Edinburgh, and many more locations but the London Dungeon was the first and we think the best. The Dungeon tells the tales of the Macabre and Grizzly past of London City. It does so via a series of Live Action performances detailing the gruesome goings-on such as Jack The Ripper, Sweeny Todd the Black Death, The Great Fire and Torture and Execution in general.

The Attraction also includes a Boat ride and a simulated Hanging Ride! It may all sound a bit gruesome and serious but the focus in on fun and the whole experience is highly interactive and engaging. London’s history is filled with times of horror and the lives the inhabitants of this city had to endure are quite unimaginable by today’s standards. We really loved the Dungeon and think it should be high up on everyone’s list.

Madame Tussauds – £35

Madame Tussauds

Again, Madame Tussauds is now a Global attraction with branches popping up in seemingly every City around the world, but London was the first, founded over 200 years ago by Marie Tussauds and is still the best exhibit in the world. We find some of the Tussauds to be very poor quality, but high-cost tourists traps that really should be avoided at all costs, but the London version is different, it really is a cut above the rest.

The Wax models here are seriously impressive and incredibly lifelike. The collection is far more extensive than the rest and it always seems to keep the better models for its original Flagship location. At busy times the attraction can be overrun. At the weekend head there VERY early or leave it till later in the day, after 3 pm at least, or you will be in for a long queue and a packed and overcrowded exhibit were getting photo’s with the waxworks, which is kind of the point, will be nearly impossible!

Churchill War Rooms – £ 22

The War Rooms are an incredible location that is literally steeped in the most incredible history. Her you visit the actual locations here Churchill planned the defense of the island against the Nazi Peril and plotted the strike back that freed the world.

You will see the maps used to plan the D-Day Landings and beyond, the Transatlantic Phone room that facilitated the planning between the UK and Roosevelt. There is also the Churchill Museum that has interactive displays and artifacts telling the story of this incredible time in history.

The War Rooms are really one not to miss!

Hop-On Hop-Off River Cruise 24hr Pass- £19.25

River Thames

With London bisected its entire length by the River Thames a River cruise is a must-do method of seeing the City. The fact this tour is a Hop On Hop Off trip only makes it more appealing. While it’s usefulness as transportation is limited, as the boats only sail every 40 mins, as a fantastic attraction in itself that can link up several landmarks it is fantastic.

The Boat sails between Westminster and Greenwich Park via all of London’s best Waterside attractions. Stopping off at the London Eye and Tower Bridge along the way. It’s a fantastic way to see the city and the only downside is the fact it would only cost you £19.25 even without the pass so this attraction only really makes sense on the 5 and 7 attraction passes

Westminister Abbey – £23

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey is a real highlight of London and one absolutely not to miss! It’s Central location right next to the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben mean it is a definite must-see with its stunning Gothic Architecture. However you can visit the Abbey for free, you just need to pay to go inside.

This, however, is well worth it. The interior is just as stunning as the exterior and has been the location of countless historical events such as the Coronations of just about every Monarch in the last 1000 years along with countless royal weddings such as the Current Queen of England along with Willaim and Kate.

It is also the final resting place for some of history’s most notable figures including
Charles Darwin, and Charles Dickens and more recently Stephen Hawkins. Along with a Large number of Royals. If the Royal Family and British history is your thing the Westminster Abbey is the absolute personification of this!

Football Stadium Tours – Arsenal -£25 / Chelsea -£24 / Wembley -£20

Football, or Soccer if you must, in ingrained in the British Psycy and culture. So nothing can be apter than a tour around a Major football Stadium. While we would not be seen dead in the Emirates (Arsenal) Or Stamford Bridge (Chelsea) most people are not so discerning as our objections are solely based on the tribal lines of the sport (Man Utd all the way here) We would happily visit Wembly however, and as we said most visitors would love visiting any of these iconic stadiums.

Wembley is a modern and genuinely huge stadium that serves as our National Stadium. Not affiliated to any club it hosts cup finals and major events rather than, week in week out, football. The Emirates Stadium is Arsenal FC’s brand new Stadium, this ultra-modern 60,000+ seater stadium is seriously impressive. Stamford Bridge is much older and smaller than the others but with that comes heritage.

All the Stadium tours allow you access to changing rooms trophy rooms (probably disappointing at arsenal 😉 ), pitchside access and player tunnels, along with other behind the scenes locations.

Care should be taken when planning these tours as they will not be available on matchday’s or if a major event is on at Wembly.

Advantages

Inspiration

Most people have a dream of visiting a City or Location and feel they know exactly what that want to see and do but then when the process of turning this dream into a reality they suddenly realize they know very little about the practicality of what is actually available in the City. This often leads to people having very little idea and tuning up and relying on finding things when there. Instead, Buying a Pass allows you to really know exactly what is on offer and what it is you want to do. We have lost count of the number of times we have discovered an attraction simply because it was on a pass we bought. Often these turn out to be highlights of the trip!

Planning

Likewise Having the pass gives a real Focus on the trip. A lot of attraction in London are free, such as the parks and visiting Buckingham Palace or a spot of shopping on Oxford Street or at Harrods. But planning out your trip can be confusing, With a pass you can plan your trip around the Paid attractions and fit in the free things around this. Knowing exactly what you are planning on doing really helps you plan out a trip.

Flexibility

While we strongly advise planning your trip out to get the absolute best of it, a completely rigid itinerary is pretty boring and also can make the trip less fun. Things change, such as weather and even just your mood and it’s important to have the flexibility to chop and change as need during your trip. A great example is the Open-top Bus tour. This will be pretty miserable in the pouring rain. With a pre-booked ticket you are stuck but with the Explorer pass, just switch it out for another day! This applies to many other attractions such as the river cruise, the London eye (poor vis), etc, and conversely if you have indoor attractions (Madame Tussauds, The Dungeon, Sealife) planned for good weather you could swap these out for a day that is less wonderful.

Do not underestimate this advantage in London, If the weather is good, take advantage, it probably won’t last!

Budgeting

Budgeting is a boring but unavoidable part of any trip. Knowing how much you have to spend and how much you need can be a depressing business. With a pass, it’s one simple sum to cover all your spending needs as far as attractions go. This means no unexpected credit card bills and now burning through your holiday cash in only a couple of days…well unless you go mad in Harrods that is!

It also helps that you can buy the pass before the trip meaning you can spread the cost of the trip out nicely. With the Explorer Pass, you have 30 days to get any refund on unused passes so if you buy around 1 month before the trip and something happens you can get your money back.

No Rushing

The London Explorer Pass works by choosing the number of attractions, we really like this way of doing things as it takes the pressure off. There can be a desire with all-inclusive passes to rush around the City seeing everything just to get maximum value from the pass. With the pass only having a set number off attractions you can tour the City at your leisure only doing attractions as you choose.

London Eye

Disadvantages

Some attractions, such as the London Eye use what is known as a timed ticket. This means you need to visit the ticket office and present the pass. This is then scanned and a ticket presented for a specific time, normally the next available or you can choose a later time if it suits. This does cause an issue at very busy times as the next available can be much later and they even sell out on very busy dates. Pre-Booking means you can select this Time-slot ahead of time and avoid the issue. However, this has its own drawback meaning you are set to a rigid schedule and have to arrive at an allotted time and date. The Explorer Pass approach allows you to chop and change as you please!

No Tower of London. This is a big loss from the Explorer Pass. The Tower of London is a great attraction and the location of the Crown Jewels something a lot of people want to see when visiting London. It is well worth the visit so the fact it’s not on the pass is a problem. You could, of course, visit separately but this misses the point slightly of buying a pass to include everything.

If this is a BIG Problem consider the London Pass that Does include the Tower of London. See below for more details.

Care must be taken to not plan too much. Many people overestimate how many attraction they can fit in a day. 3 Attraction a day is certainly doable but you are unlikely to fit much else in and you are not realistically going to get 5 attractions in a day, over a 3-day trip 7 attractions is doable but it will a hectic trip. The worst thing you can do is plan too much a then miss out on some attractions or rush through things to get your money’s worth. You may even find yourself skipping things you wanted to do, such as free attractions to fit in the paid-for ones. People can forget to take into account traveling time and the human body’s finite amount of energy and attention to keep rolling all day. Check the hints and Tip section for ideas on how to plan your trip.

Is the London Explorer Pass Worth It?

With everything taken into account, we love the Pass, and we really feel it will massively help your trip to London be everything you want it to be. But the reality is most of us buy the passes primarily with cost savings in mind. So let’s take a look at some possible cost savings with the pass:

  • 3 Attractions – Adult – £64 ( £21.30 Per Attraction) Child – £52
  • 5 Attractions – Adult – £94 ( £18.80 Per Attraction) Child – £74
  • 7 Attractions – Adult – £114 ( £16.28 Per Attraction) Child – £94
3-Attraction Pass – £ per Attraction
  • Coca Cola London Eye – £30
  • 1 Day Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour – £38
  • The London Dungeon – £30
  • Normal Price: £98
  • Pass Price: £64
  • Savings: £34 – 34%
5-Attraction Pass
  • Coca Cola London Eye – £30
  • 1 Day Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour – £38
  • The London Dungeon – £30
  • Madame Tussauds – £35
  • Churchill War Rooms – £ 22
  • Normal Price: £155
  • Pass Price: £94
  • Savings: £59 – 38%
7-Attraction Pass
  • Coca Cola London Eye – £30
  • 1 Day Hop-on Hop-Off Bus Tour – £38
  • The London Dungeon – £30
  • Madame Tussauds – £35
  • Churchill War Rooms – £ 22
  • Hop-On Hop-Off River Cruise – £19.25
  • Westminister Abbey – £23
  • Normal Price: £198
  • Pass Price: £114
  • Savings: £84 – 42%

As you can see there are clearly huge savings to be made! These are our favorite itineraries but they are not especially the BEST value if you try harder you could save even more, but that is not the right way to use the pass. The key is to only do the things you want to not save the most money. You could save even more by doing nothing but what is the point in that.

However, we would be remiss to not point out it is also possible to not save any money at all. Some of the attractions are low value and can limit the potential savings if the price per attraction is more than the normal price. If the attraction you want to do consider getting a pass with less attraction and just paying the entry fee on the cheaper attractions at the gate.

Tips And Tricks – How best to use the Pass

London Eye View

Groups attractions, Paid AND free – While London is not the biggest city, especially not Central London where most of the attractions are based it still pays to visit Attractions that are clustered together at the same time. For instance, the London Eye and The London Dungeon are both stone’s throw away from each other. We find Heading to the Eye and getting your timed ticket before heading to the dungeon, and then returning to the eye at your allotted time workes great. This gets both attractions visited in a morning.

Keep in mind this applies to free attractions as well, when planning the paid attractions always look at what is in the area to do free of charge as well!

Work out the cost of YOUR attractions – As the London Pass works on set number of attractions the cost per attraction is the most important factor but it doesn’t always work out as cleanly as you imagine. So the best way to work out what is cheaper is to run the maths.

By going from a three attraction pass to a 5 attraction pass the price per attraction drops £2.50 but that applies to ALL attractions, not just the extra ones, so you will save more in the original three! See its quite complicated so the easiest way is to add up all permutations and just see which will cost you least.

Don’t plan too much – We always say 3 attractions MAX per day anymore and you risk not fitting things in or rushing so much you won’t enjoy yourselves. With only one day in the City, a 3 attraction pass is fine as you can visit the London Eye and the Dungeon and also do the Big Bus Tour, allowing you to visit some free attractions.

Use the Bus Tours and Boat Tours to link attractions – The Bus and Boat tours are very poor means of transport but the tours themselves are really fun and get you to some great sights of the City. We use the tours as attractions themselves but you can still take advantage and hop off at certain locations to visit other attractions or just take a better look at something.

Book Timed Tickets early then do something else – As mentioned above if an attraction requires a timed ticket and availability is low and you can’t get into the attraction until later it’s best to visit another attraction while you wait for your timed slot.

Visit indoor attractions in the rain and outdoor attractions when the weather is better – The Pass allows great flexibility and unless you have a crystal ball you cannot plan for weather until much nearer the time. We tend to plan “days” and that way we can move these days around to suit the weather. It’s not a complete RE-Plan in the fly just a case of we were meant to do this on Friday, but it’s given rain so we will do that plan in Saturday and move do Saturdays plan on Friday as it’s more suitable to poor weather.

Have Backups – Sometimes attractions are unavailable for unforeseen circumstances always have back-ups in mind. It can be massively disappointing to miss out but it is better yo do something else rather than lose out completely.

Don’t Rush – Like planning too much there is also a desire to rush each attraction to get onto the next. This is a mistake. Take your time and fully immerse yourself in the attraction.

Alternatives?

The London Pass is one excellent alternative to the London Explorer Pass. This is a more expensive option but it is an all-inclusive Pass with over 80 attraction and quite a few excellent options such as the Tower of London and the View from the Shard. It is a fantastic option and well worth a look

Have Your Say

Have you tried the London Explorer Pass? Did you think it was good value or did you not get full value from it for some reason? Were the attraction all you expected or were some of them a letdown? Let us know in the comments below as we use your feedback to help better advise our readers!

If you have any comments or question feel free to leave a comment. The London Explorer Pass can be quite a complicated thing to fully understand so if you have any comments or queries just fire away in the comments, We love hearing from our readers.

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