London is by far one of the most visited tourist cities in Europe. With thousands of years of history, beautiful galleries and museums and over 1500 square kilometres to explore, it’s a no brainer that London is held in such high esteem. Its attractions are vast and diverse, and many of them are so recognisable, you could ask someone on the other side of the world who’s never visited the city, and they’ll know Big Ben and Tower Bridge from just a photo.
Whilst the city attractions can often be free to visit, beating the crowds is another story entirely. With so many luxurious yet great value city break London packages, it’s easier than ever to enjoy the UK Capital from a roomy and centrally located hotel suite. You wouldn’t be surprised then, that many others may have the same idea.
Whatever attractions you visit, you’ll always enjoy your time in London more if you can skip the queue. With so many places to see and family or loved ones to keep entertained, you won’t want to waste a second fo your trip. Below are some tips to help you save time during your holiday, and live every moment to the full.
Plan the attractions in advance
Whenever you’re planning on visiting the city, writing a bucket list in advance of your must-see attractions is a great way to get started. This will help you to gauge which ones are manageable with the time you have in the city. Extra research can also help you to gage opening hours and suspected waiting times.
Avoid rush hour
Avoid rush hour like the plague. With cramped conditions in the underground network and inner-city bus routes highly prone to congestion, you’ll find your trip to the main attractions will take far longer. Rush hour is usually between 7.30 and 9.30, and 4 pm and 7 pm. Single tube fares are more expensive too and can see you spending up to a third more on individual journeys.
Early morning or late afternoon is best for quick visits
Whilst rush hour is terrible, early morning or late afternoon visits to the top attractions could save you a lot of time when it comes to sightseeing. Late and early morning visits also give you ample time to enjoy London’s less touristy attractions. For instance, why not stop off for a Montcalm hotel afternoon tea before your 4 pm slot at St Paul’s Cathedral?
Try an off-peak holiday
Off-peak public transport is all well and good, but off-peak holidays are even better. Why not make a long weekend of it during November or a mid-spring visit in late April? This can also cut down air and train travel costs and could save you money on hotel booking at our boutique hotels near Barbican
Book online for greater value
When you book your London attractions online, you’ll not only save money but skip the queues as well. Most prepaid ticket booths will fast track you through the ticket queue and allow you quick and easy access into the site your visiting. You can usually book a specific time for your visit, so make sure you get there a little early so as to make the most of your visit.
Invest in a London tourist pass
London Tourist Passes give you quick and easy access to some of the best attractions in the city. Ranging from 1 to 10 day passes, this magic key of a sightseeing all-rounder will ensure that you can see as much as possible and brings you over 80 attractions and tours to take during your visit to London.
If you have lots of free time
However, the London Tourist Pass will only save you money if you have a lot of time to spare. Starting from over £50 for a day pass, you’ll need to utilise at least three inner-city attractions each day to get the most out of your visit. If you’re tailoring your trip around other plans, then the tourist pass may well not suit.
Buy a travel card
Buy a daily or weekly travel card, giving you quick and easy access to all public transport services. When you utilise a week travel card and take over four journeys a day, you’ll find that you actually save money instead of taking and paying for individual journeys.
If you plan to use it
That being said, if you’re staying centrally and plan to only visit locations in the city centre, you can easily walk the streets of London. Not only is London’s heart fairly compact, but it will give you a new face of the city that public transport simply can’t reflect. You never know, taking a shortcut through that side street could lead you to find your new favourite cafe or shop.
Visit the free exhibits
Whilst queuing for tickets at attractions like the London Dungeons can eat into your precious sightseeing time, many museums simply allow you to walk straight in. The Tate Modern, Britain, National Galleries, British Museum and Museum Row trio all allow you to enter their permanent exhibitions completely free of charge. Whilst donations are welcome, you’ll save lots of time on ticket queues, all while visiting some of the city’s most historic institutions.
And explore off the beaten track
It’s not just the big guns either, smaller art galleries such as the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, White Cube and Newport Street Gallery all allow you free access to their exhibits. On top of this, many of the museums outside the city centre will be less crowded and more personalised in their collections. The Horniman Museum in Dulwich, for instance, gives guests a chance to explore a truly unique collection of taxidermy and ancient artefacts, all housed in an outlandish yet beautiful arts and crafts designed building.
Always factor in delays
Regardless of your queue-jumping life hacks, you’ll always find a slight delay to any visit. Whether it be bag checks on your way in or a tube delay, there’ll always be external factors that add a little time to your journey or delay your visit. Nothing can ever run completely smoothly in London, but you can always avoid the larger queues and crowds.