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London 2 For 1 Attraction Discounts With Travelcards & Train Tickets In 2016

Author: Bob Handford

What is The 2 For 1 Promotion

The 2 for 1 promotion covers over 150 attractions in the London area.

2 for 1 requires a voucher printed at no charge from the promotions web site, plus a transport ticket issued by the railways that would enable you to get to the attraction that day. (The scheme is promoted by the railways)

2 for 1 means that one person pays the full standard adult admission and another person goes in free, irrespective of age. This means that the scheme is not normally worthwhile when children are involved as they normally go in around half price anyway, (you cannot use 2 for 1 to pay child admission and get another child in free).

You have to check out each attraction\’s individual rules and regulations when you print out the voucher from the web site, the above is the general rule but individual attractions may have other restrictions.

Attractions Covered And Savings

One of the attractions of the scheme is that it covers many of the top attractions.
These include the Tower of London, Madame Tussaud\’s, London Dungeon, London Zoo, London Eye, Kensington Palace, Tower Bridge Exhibition and Hampton Court.

Attractions do come in and out of the scheme. The London Eye is a good example.

When you consider that the admission to the Tower of London is over £20 and the cost of a 1 Day Travelcard is around £12 the savings are very worhwhile.

Key Points Of The 2 For 1 Promotion

– To qualify you must have a valid railway ticket with the railways logo on that is valid to get you to Central London on the day of entry to the attraction. Single railway tickets are only valid on the day the railway ticket is used. Return tickets are valid for 2 for 1 the entire period between the outward and return legs of your train ticket.

Or  a valid Travelcard issued by the railways, (not by the Underground, TFL or on-line)

– You must have a 2 for 1 voucher for the attraction. You can print as many vouchers as you like at no charge.

– The deal is normally for standard tickets, not fast-track and not to be used in conjunction with other promotional tickets.

– The vouchers have expiry dates. Near the expiry dates a new set of vouchers are put up on the official web-site. Each voucher cycle some attractions join, others may drop out.

– There is no limit to the number of vouchers you can use in a day.

Qualifying Railway Tickets For The Promotion

The facet that gets visitors confused is the qualifying rail issued tickets that can be used with the 2 for 1 promotion.

If you are not travelling to London by train, your work around is to buy a Travelcard. Travelcard is a public transport pass covering the buses, underground, DLR and railways in London. The alternative Oyster pass is not valid for the 2 for 1 scheme.

The only places that sell Travelcards with the rail logo on are railway ticket offices at Central London mainline rail stations, (Paddington, Marylebone, Euston, Kings Cross, St Pancras, Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Charing Cross, Waterloo, Fenchurch Street and Victoria). All these also have Underground ticket offices and some have information centres which also sell Travelcards. Purchasing from anywhere other than the train ticket offices do not qualify. Travelcards bought on-line in advance do not qualify for 2 for 1.

Its not all straight forward with the qualifying railway tickets either. The UK has a privatised rail system with many operating companies, not all of which support the promotion. Confusingly return tickets on the Gatwick Express and Stansted Express airport trains bought from the railways do qualify but tickets on the Heathrow Express and Heathrow Connect do not.

There are railways stations in the suburbs of London away from where most visitors stay which may sell tickets valid for 2 for 1. If a railway station is in one of the London public transport zonal areas it will sell both Travelcards and return rail tickets that are valid for 2 for 1. However, the ticket office at such stations must be operated by the railways for tickets to be valid for 2 for 1.

Many stations are dual railways and underground/overground stations but unlike the mainline railway stations in Central London listed above do not have separate ticket offices. Some stations like Heathrow Airport and West Brompton as a result do not sell tickets valid for 2 for 1 whilst Ealing Broadway does.

The Cheapest Way To Qualify In 2016 If You Are Not Using The Train Into London

To qualify for 2 for 1 you need a valid rail issued ticket that will get you to Central London and the attraction in question on the day of entry.
Remember the airport trains from Gatwick, Luton, Stansted and Southend Airports (but not Heathrow) are valid for the promotion.

If you do not have a rail ticket then the cheapest 1 Day Travelcards issued by the railways that will qualify you for 2 for 1 is a zone 1-4  Travelcard.
In 2016 the cost of a 1 day adult Travelcard zone 1-4 is £12.10 (you can no longer buy 1 day Travelcards zone 1-2)
Assuming you are staying in Central London (zones 1 and 2) the maximum you can spend on an Oyster is £6.50 – so you are paying a £5.60 premium per person for using a 1 day Travelcard instead of an Oyster Card so you need to factor this into whether the promotion is worthwhile.
If you are in London a few days then a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-2 is available and at £32.40 is actually cheaper than an Oyster for more than 5 days travel in zones 1-2 and about the same for 5 days.
The railways do require a passport size photo in order to purchase a 7 day Travelcard.

Perhaps the cheapest option for many is to buy a very short railway ticket purely to qualify for 2 for 1.
For example a one-way adult rail ticket between Vauxhall Station and Waterloo is £2.90 in 2016.
Remember a one-way train ticket only qualifies you for 2 for 1 on the day of travel.

If you are using 2 for 1 in a Central London attraction you really need a railway ticket to a London terminus railway station like Waterloo. Attractions differ on the level of scrutiny they apply to vetting railway tickets, but to make sure you should have a ticket to a London terminus – the attraction itself has final say whether they accept your ticket.
If you actually use the rail ticket make sure you don’t use an automatic ticket barrier at your destination to exit the platform as the barrier will retain your ticket, go through a manned barrier.

For the visitor its very confusing identifying which stations ouside the London terminus stations are run by the railways and issue tickets valid for 2 for 1.
The simplest option is to look up the station on the National Rail web site.
For each station at the top of the page it will state who is managing that particular station.
(Opening hours of the ticket office will also be stated)
If it is managed by the Underground, Overground or TFL Rail then tickets issued will not qualify 2 for 1, a railway company then you are OK, (except Heathrow Express).
National Rail Station Search Facility

Photo ID Cards For 7 Day Travelcards Purchased From The Railways

In 2012 the railways brought in a requirement that when you buy a 7 Day Travelcard you require a photo id card. This is issued free when you buy a 7 Day Travelcard, but you must bring along your own passport size photo. This rule only applies to 7 Day Travelcards bought from railway stations.

(7 Day Travelcards bought anywhere else than the railways ticket offices come loaded on an Oyster Card and do not require a photo but are not valid for the 2 for 1 promotion.)

You do not need photo id for 1 day Travelcard

Related Information

Travelcards – Prices, Zones, How To Use…

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2 for 1 Promotion Web Site – Print Your Coupons From Here.

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The London\’s Pass – London\’s Other Transport & Attraction Ticket …

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Discuss 2 For 1 With Bob

For the visitor to London its bad enough getting on top of Oyster v Travelcard, let alone the 2 for 1 promotion.

So if you\’re confused just make a comment below, normally I’ll respond well within 24 hours

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  • Ava

    I forgot to add this to my previous post:
    Upon our return, we returned the Oyster card to get a refund of the deposit and the balance on the card.
    TIP: use the big ticket machine. The smaller machine dose not have cash for refunds. We tried the small machine and it didn’t work. It doesn’t say you cannot return the cards, it just returns the card. We thought the machine was not working. Had to find a staff who directed us to use the big machine.
    Also, to travel within Central London, take the bus so you can see the city. We either walked or took the bus.
    We had a great time in London and we would definitely use the trains and buses. I BIG THANK YOU TO BOB.

  • Ava

    I want to share my experience:
    As per Bob’s advice I bought an Oyster card for travel to and from LHR, and a zone 1-6 travelcard. One of my daughters didn’t bring a passport picture but it was not a problem at all. We got the picture at one of the photo booths. It was cheaper than getting it in the US. It cost £5.00 for 5 pictures. What a bargain! My daughter will use the remaining for her passport renewal next month. I paid $13.00 for 2 pictures. The photo booths are available all over the place. I saw 2 booths by the ticket machine at the airport.
    We used the travelcard on the bus, overground, and underground trains. We didn’t have to wait for off peak hours to travel as we bought the 7 day card.
    We used 2 for 1 offers at a couple of locations and restaurants.
    Again took BOB’s advice to not to use this offer at London Eye and Madame Tussaud’s. Instead We purchased the combi offer which worked out cheaper.
    I want to THANK all the railways staff who patiently answered my questions every single time I took the train or bus. In the first couple of days almost all the time I confirmed with staff that I was on the correct platform and was taking the correct train. KUDOS TO BRITISH TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM.
    After the 3rd day we became experts.

  • Edelweiss

    Hi Bob – ok so I’ve read everyone’s comments, so bare with me if I repeat myself.
    So my hubby, me and my son (10 years) old are keen on going to Madam T and London Eye.
    Is the process as follows:
    – I purchase a 2for1 – which enables hubby to travel on the train free as well as entrance to the attractions? Or I still buy a travel card for him and the voucher only gives him free entry to the attractions?
    – I purchase a separate train ticket for my son as well entrance paying full entry price to the attractions?
    – Once I printed out the vouchers, I go to MK Central and travel to London and then present the rail ticket to the various attractions?
    Thanks Bob.

    • Bob

      You print out a 2 for 1 voucher for each attraction at home
      You go to MK railway station and buy a return railway tickets to London which qualifies everyone for the 2 for 1 promotion – there is no 2 for 1 discount on the railway tickets, just but whatever the best railway ticket is available for your needs
      You pay for whatever tickets you want (Oysters) to travel around London when you arrive in London – this is not affected by 2 for 1

      You walk up to each attraction ticket office ask for availability of standard admission tickets and hand over your 2 for 1 voucher and if requested show your rail tickets

      You’ll pay for 1 adult and the 10 year old at normal standard admission prices, the other adult goes in free

      Bare in mind that these 2 attractions are two of the busiest attractions with the longest queues and you cannot use 2 for 1 on skip the line tickets or but the tickets on-line in advance with reserved admittance times

      • Edelweiss

        Thank you – now it makes sense.

  • Gladys

    Ok Bob thank very much. Then i will buy 3 7 adult travelcard (two girls of 16 years old and me) and 3 7 child travel card for girls of 15 years, old. You know if girls of 15 years old pay child rates in attraction and can use the offer 2 for one?

    • Bob

      Each attraction has its own individual agebands for kids – so you will need to check out each one’s web site

      Its important to note with 2 for 1 (railways) that the standard deal is one person pays full adult walk-up admission, another gets in free irrespective of age
      Its not one child pays child admission another child goes free

      • Gladys

        Do you say that the offer 2 for one that’s not work for children? then every child have to pay for his ticket?

        • Bob

          Yes so for your party of 6, 3 adults and 3 children you’d need 3 x 2 for 1 vouchers and you’d pay 3 standard adult admissions, the same as if all were adults

          • Gladys

            ok thank you so much you were very kind.

  • Gladys

    Hi Bob.
    Thanks for your advice. I’m writing from Italy. We will go to London to settember for 6 days. I would like to know where can i see the attractions 2 for 1 that can use with traveld card? Because i saw stanted express and national express i doesn’t the same, because to stanted express doesn’t habe mdame tussaud. i am thinking go to visitor center to liverpool street, if buy there the travel card is ok for 2 for 1? Go there because i can’t understand if for girls of 15 years old is better oyster card or travel card and for girls of 16 years old what’s better. Thanks.

    • Bob

      The Railways (Stansted Express) and national Express 2 for 1 schemes are two separate schemes.

      The much larger scheme is the railways 2 for 1 scheme which you can qualify for by getting return train tickets from Stansted to Liverpool Street (the tickets need to be shown at the attraction) plus you need to supply the 2 for 1 voucher for every 2 people.
      As you qualify for 2 for 1 with the railway ticket the best ticket (assuming you are staying and travelling for 6 days in the centre of London) is to buy an Oyster card each from the ticket machines at Liverpool Street Station.For the adults load a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-2 (£2.40) onto each Oyster, for the kids (under 16) don’t load a 7 day Travelcard but ask a member of staff to load a Young Persons Discount onto the Oyster which gives half price adult Oyster fares and a maximum of £3.25 per day in fares

      You do not need photos for this

      If you want to qualify for the National Express and railways 2 for 1 buy return tickets with National Express to Liverpool Street. This will qualify you for the National Express promotion.
      Then to qualify for the railways 2 for 1 promotion do not buy Oyster cards at the Underground Station but buy 7 day Travelcards zone 1-2 from the RAILWAY station ticket office adult and child versions. However you will need a passport size photo for these

  • Rob Ireland

    We hope to take advantage of the 2 for 1 Days Out vouchers in conjunction with a 1 week TravelCard purchased above ground at Blackfriars Station ( after flying into Gatwick and taking the ThamesLink). I think I have the intricacies worked out, BUT as tourists from Canada, printers for the vouchers may not be readily available. Will voucher downloads shown on an iPad be accepted?
    Thanks
    Rob Ireland

    • Bob

      Just print the vouchers out before you leave Canada

      • Rob Ireland

        Thank you Bob. Does that require that I select a date in advance and commit to that date with a payment?
        Rob

        • Bob

          No just check the expiry date of the vouchers – you can use them any time up until that date

          • Rob Ireland

            Bob. This is good. I have some vouchers printed out but am at a loss to find an expiry date on them. Two of the attractions we would like to see, viz. The Tower of London and Westminster Cathedral are not available as 2 for 1 until Sept. 4. We are hoping to see them on Sept. 5. Are we able to get vouchers for THAT date, before we leave Canada? I can’t seem to add these attractions to “My Trip” for the purpose of printing vouchers.
            Thanks
            Rob Ireland

          • Bob

            Afraid I do not have an insight into the precise dates the 2 for 1 people update the vouchers
            This weekend is a national holiday weekend in the UK so the people who run this won’t be doing anything until at least Tuesday

          • Rob Ireland

            You have been very helpful. Thank you Bob.
            Rob Ireland

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