London, a cosmopolitan city filled with museums, historical sites, West End theatres, beautiful parks and not forgetting the royal palaces. So much to see yet so little time. That was why we decided to get the London Pass. A one-stop pass to enter historical attraction sites, palaces and more. What’s more, the London pass offers fast track to many attractions, saving us time! Here’s our 6 days London itinerary with the London Pass.
Day 1: London Zoo & Camden Market
We started our London Pass with a day out at the ZSL London Zoo. This is one of the world’s oldest zoo which houses more than 750 species of animals in a land space of 14ha. Pretty impressive for the world’s oldest scientific zoo! Fun fact: Sir Stamford Rafffles, the founder of Singapore, was the founder and president of the ZSL London Zoo. If you’re sharp enough, you might find some resemblance between London Zoo and Singapore Zoo. We’ll leave that hunting to you.
If you’re looking for something different, apart from the usual touristy attractions, then London Zoo must be the place to go especially if you’re bringing your little ones along on holiday too. Family-friendly activities and facilities are available in the zoo. This way, your little ones won’t be bored with the usual shopping or sight-seeing fare.
The wife was particularly looking forward to the zoo trip as the hundred-year-old Reptile House was featured in the first Harry Potter film and she has never seen a gorilla up close and personal. So seeing these in real life was a plus point for her. Check out our YouTube video of London Zoo below!
After a long day at the Zoo, why not head down to Camden Market for dinner or drinks to end off your day.
Day 2: Kensington Palace & Westminister Abbey
A trip to London is not without a visit to the royal palaces. Our first royal palace visit was to Kensington Palace, home to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Unfortunately, we did not get the chance to see them. Haha! However, the grounds opened to the public were the staterooms used by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. There was the Diana Fashion exhibition going on as well. We were able to recognize some of the pieces the princess wore during the 80s and 90s.
While at the palace, take the chance to tour the palace gardens. Although we went in winter, the beauty of the garden was just stunning. We enjoyed strolling in the park and walking past Albert memorial.
For lunch, make your way to the famous “Burger and Lobster” at Knightbridge where sumpertous lobsters and juicy beef patty awaits you. The resturant served as a good rest spot as it is situated in the middle of Kensington Palace and the next stop, Westminister Abbey.
Just a few train stations away, we took the Tube from Knightsbrigde to Westminister to explore the ever-famous Westminster Abbey. Definitely a sight not to be missed if you are into English history. Stepping into the quiet abbey, we were in awe of the carved fan vaulted roof right above our heads.
At the ticket counter, you have the option of paying £5 for a tour around the abbey led by either a priest, deacon or steward who will take you behind-the-scenes to places where majority of tourists would not see. We were blessed to have a priest bringing us around the abbey and taking us to the shrine of Edward the Confessor and getting the opportunity to sit in the quire (the place where dignitaries sit when they are at the abbey). He explained in extreme detail the history behind the abbey, meanings to certain markings and furniture which would normally go unseen by the tourist eye.
If you’ve got that extra time, explore around the abbey after the tour and head to the courtyard. Spoiler alert: the courtyard is extremely beautiful amidst the ancient architecture.
Just down the road from the abbey is the Churchill war room. If World War 2 is your cup of tea, the London Pass offers entrance to this attraction. Unfortunately for us, by the time we were finished with Westminister Abbey, it was 5pm. And 5pm during winter time would mean it is closing time for all attractions.
Day 3: St Paul’s Cathedral
Built in 1675 by Sir Christopher Wren, St Paul’s cathedral symbolises hope and resilience to London city as it still stands today. Other than admiring the amazing architecture and structure, the public can get to climb up 528 steps to the top of the cathedral and enjoy the panoramic view of the city. There are 3 parts to scaling to the top of St Paul Cathedral: the Whispering Gallery, Stone Gallery and Golden Gallery.
The easiest climb of all 3 galleries would be the Whispering Gallery. The wide metal steps with hand rails makes it easy to climb. Story has it that it was named the Whispering Gallery as people in the past used to ask their other half to stand across the dome and whisper over a marriage proposal. Hence, the name, Whispering Gallery.
The Stone Gallery would offer you a breath-taking panoramic view of the city, but the best is yet to come. Most people would stop at the Stone Gallery as the Golden Gallery is much harder to climb. Narrow, steep stone steps without handheld support. The climb may be tiring but reaching the top is worth every drip of sweat. Just take a look at our photos.
Day 4: Tower of London, Tower Bridge, The View from The Shard & Thames River Cruise
Tower of London
Home to the royal crown jewels, this is one of the iconic sights not to be missed. Used as a fortress, prison and castle to past kings and queens, the Tower of London is also famous for being the execution ground of Anne Boelyn, King Henry VIII’s second wife. We had a good time walking through rooms and dungeons, and bird-watching the infamous Ravens of Tower of London. Even if you are not a history person yourself, immersing in some British history is part of the London experience!
Just a stone’s throw away from Tower of London, the Tower Bridge is London’s most iconic bridge. Do not confuse it with the London Bridge, just a few feet away. At the Tower Bridge, we got to get up to the high-level walkways and look at traffic on the bridge from the glass flooring below. On top of that, we got to view the engine rooms and learnt how coal used to power the bridge. If you’ve got children who are into trains, bridges and transportation, this would be a place to check out.
The View from The Shard
Just on the other side of River Thames is HMS Belfast, a World War 2 warship. The London Pass offers entrance to this attraction but however, we got caught up with the Christmas market going on by River Thames that we decided to skip it and head for The Shard which was a few minutes’ walk away.
Entrance to The View from The Shard is free with the London Pass. Before entering the lift to take you up to the viewing gallery, you need to go through strict security bag and body checks. The view was more of a tick of the bucket-list for us. We did get a panoramic view of the city but because of the amount of tourists on the deck and the rain clouds started to gather, we decided to go off.
River Thames Cruises
We ended our day with a cruise on River Thames. A relaxing way to take in the sights away from the hustle and bustle.
Day 5: Warner Brother’s Harry Potter Tour
This is not part of the London Pass, but because we did not have the option to buy a 5 day pass (there are only 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 day passes available), we had to forego one day to fit the Harry Potter Tour into our itinerary. Do look out for our post on the Harry Potter Tour!
Day 6: Windsor Castle
The official residence of the Queen, this has to be the place to visit in London or your trip will not be complete without a visit to the castle. What’s more, this attraction is included in the London Pass and you get to travel to the castle free of charge after 10.30am.
Once in the castle, you are free to roam around the castle grounds and visit the State Apartments. There’s the Changing of the Windsor Castle Guards happening at 11am. It doesn’t happen everyday so be sure to double check with the staff at the counter when you get your tickets.
The wife was particularly looking forward to entering St George’s chapel, not because Prince Harry and Meghan Markle got married there, but more on seeing the memorial of King Henry VIII and his beloved Jane Seymour. The chapel felt like a mini version of Westminster Abbey, with grandeur nonetheless. We had the pleasure of speaking to a steward who told us what each emblem on the ceiling represented. If you do visit, do spend some time talking to the friendly stewards who will be more than happy to shed light on facts of the chapel and throw in additional information for you.
With the London Pass, other than getting fast track entrance to attractions which saved us time from queuing (especially at Tower of London!!), we got to explore places we didn’t initally considered before but went with it because it was included in the pass.
What’s more, there is the London Pass app, making it even more convenient when it came to showing our passes. A scan on the QR code on the app and we were ready to enter the attraction. I also like how the app notifies you that there is an attraction nearby. This way, you get to maximise your pass and visit as many attractions as possible.
So if you’re considering if getting the London Pass was worth it, it was in our opinion!