QUEUES - AND HOW TO DO THEM

Even if you plan to loaf around London, deciding what to do at the last moment you will have to plan. Ticket queues are notoriously long and a wait of up to 2 hours is not uncommon at peak times in high season. Pre-booking, even the day before, or buying a combined travel/admission ticket (at tube stations) is advisable. Our advice is to visit major attractions as soon as they open to avoid the crowds - get obsessive in the mornings and loaf in the afternoons. Remember a lot of London is free. See also our planning pages..

Pre-booking tickets is the best advice we can give you. The alternative (buying a tourist pass) is best if you're traveling alone or as a couple, and plan to cram a lot of sightseeing into a few days or if money is no object - there are often better deals to be had with 'family admission' tickets at attractions and two for one offers with Oystercard (see transport pages). A bus pass for the whole of London costs £3, and is a pleasant way to travel, as long as you avoid the rush hour

Here's our advice:

SINGLES OR COUPLES: - Stay in zone 1 or 2. If you're on your own, team up with someone to enjoy 2 for 1 admission - see the Oystercard offers on our transport page. Hey, you might just get lucky... try to get tickets in advance to everything as there's nothing more boring than being on your own in a long queue.
If you want to be a bit more leisurely we'd advise doing the sights in the mornings and spending the afternoons wandering or exploring the museums and galleries - which are mostly free (nearly ALL museums, the National Gallery, Tate Galleries are free, only special exhibitions - including the Royal Academy - are not.)
If you can, pre-book tickets for the big attractions, and go for the first available admission time. Otherwise buy a combined admission/travel ticket at any Underground station (ask about this - or get the leaflet from tube station as the exact details are subject to occasional change).

FAMILIES: it's usually cheaper to buy a family admission ticket - and for many attractions kids will be half price or even free. Use 2 for 1 offers where you can find them - see TIME OUT or the free newspapers (handed out outside tube stations).
We think that you'll only want to visit a maximum of four high-priced attractions while you're here: Madame Tussauds, London Dungeon, The Tower, Hampton Court, Buckingham Palace, the Zoo are the favourites. Do your sums before you part with any money, however unless you like standing under a hot sun (or more likely in the rain) outside a ticket office for long periods prebook all tickets. We can't say this often enough.

Remember that in the UK queues are orderly and polite, there is no pushing-in and people will hold your place in the queue if you ask them nicely, and reciprocate the favour. This applies to bus stops, queues outside attractions and everywhere else. Guidebook to what to
                            see and do in London




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