Our Blog

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…

alert-success

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

alert-success

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

alert-success

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

Tags: , , , ,
  • Cat

    Hi. Going to London zoo tomorrow and wanted to use this offer. Do I have to get a ticket to Euston (nearest mainline to zoo). If so which is the nearest stop. I can’t seem to find this out anywhere! Thank you :)

  • Allison Bee

    Hi Bob, my cousin and I will be visiting London from June 2nd to 6th and I just needed some advice as to our best option. We’re arriving at Gatwick Airport and staying near the East Acton tube station. We will be leaving via Gatwick as well. It looks like our cheapest option would be to get a return ticket and take the Southern train from Gatwick to Shepherd’s Bush (changing trains at Clapham Junction) and then the tube to East Acton (using oyster cards). However, I’m not certain that this return trip would really qualify for the 2for1 promotion. Would it be better to pay more and get return tickets to Victoria station (and transfers on the tube with oyster cards to East Acton with our luggage) to be certain that our train tickets qualify for 2for1? Also, just wondering if it’s worth it to have to wait in line to buy tickets to the attractions using 2for1 rather than buying ahead of time online without 2for1 but skipping the lines, seeing as we only have a few days to see so much? Thanks!

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      I would suggest you go to Victoria rather than Clapham Junction just to make 100% sure your train tickets will be accepted for 2 for 1.
      As far as I know you cannot get Oyster Cards at Clapham Junction either without going outside the station.

      During the peak months there are going to be queues and waiting times with standard tickets as used by 2 for 1 but it will vary a lot from place to place
      The London Eye and Madame Tussaud’s will be among the worst. Tower of London and many other places it shouldnt make too much difference at all

      • Allison Bee

        Ok perfect! Thanks for the quick reply and great advice!

  • Monika Sharma

    Bob, i live in Stratford and want to avail of 2 for 1 offer. What tickets shoukd i buy and from where ?

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      I’m afraid there is nowhere I can see where you can buy tickets that qualify for 2 for 1 in the immediate vicinity of Stratford as all the railways stations that were there seem to be run now by the Overground or TFL Rail whose ticketing doesn’t qualify for 2 for 1

      You could buy a train ticket for each person on-line Vauxhall to Waterloo for the day you want 2 for 1 and collect it from a railway ticket machine for that purpose from Stratford International
      The tickets cost £2.90 per person and most ticket web sites will add an admin charge onto that
      You would not use these tickets, but just show them at the attraction on the day

  • Anshul Jain

    Hi Bob
    I have similar question to Shak. I’m going for bank holiday this Saturday 28/05/16 to Monday 30/05/2016 to London 5 Adult and 1 kid (under 1). I’ll be reaching to London by Megabus at Victoria Coach Station. I have one monthly pass as I am frequent traveler to London and use that during my business visit.
    if I take 4 oaster card for other 4 adult, how can I maximize 2-for-1 offer. Can i take Vauxhall to Waterloo from Victoria station.
    Please not only 4 adult will visit the paid attaction

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      Your cheapest option would be to buy one-way rail tickets Vauxhall to Waterloo at Victoria RAILWAY station ticket office and not use them.
      They only qualify for 2 for 1 on the day of travel but you can buy them after noon the day before.

      If any of the adults have a credit card that supports contactless payment you can use the card as an Oyster and avoid all the hassle of buying and cancelling the Oysters

      • Anshul Jain

        Thanks Bob.

        I got to know that there will lot of rush at the windows and possibility of not getting tickets. will that be a case? Is there risk on relying on 2-for-1 option.

        • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

          It varies from place to place.
          Places like the London Eye and Madame Tussauds will have long queues this time of year and for people who have not reserved in advance or got fast track tickets potentially long waits

          On the other hand places like Tower of London you should not be inconvenienced that much

      • Anshul Jain

        Thanks Bob,

        got to know from one of my friend that there will be lot of rush at window in next 2 days. will there be any risk in 2-for-1 option? how long it may take for the ticket queue and for main attraction queue.

        Could you please suggest.

  • Brian Gmutza

    Bob,

    My wife and I making our first trip to London and wanted to make sure I’m on the right track to qualify for 2-4-1. We are arriving at Heathrow and staying near Victoria Station. My plan was to buy Oysters at Heathrow and take the Piccadilly & District lines to Victoria. At Victoria, we’d purchase two National Rail Zone 1-2 7-day Travelcards to cover transport for our 5 days and 2-4-1. We’re going to Wembley for the England-Portugal match, so we’d need to use the Oysters for transport there and back. We’re then taking the Eurostar to Paris, so we’d use the Travelcard to tube to St. Pancras.

    I also had a question about the photocard for 7-day Travelcards. I assume that US sized passport photos are OK for this? I checked the UK passport site, and it looks like photo sizes are close, but not exactly the same as the US.

    Thank you so much for this site… it has truly been a godsend at clarifying the process!

    Brian

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      Sounds like you’ve got it.
      If you smile and act friendly most ticket attendants have a pair of scissors at hand to trim the photos if needed.
      Don’t forget to cancel the Oysters at a ticket machine at St Pancras to get your £5 deposit plus cash up to £10 left on your Oyster.

      • Brian Gmutza

        Thank you so much!

  • Rob Lacey

    Hi Bob. Please help . Sorry if this is long winded but I’m new to this. We are travelling by train Nottingham to St Pancras . Two adults 2 kids (9 and 13) 7th-9th August. I want to visit several attractions in zones 1-2 .Looking at 241 deals. Do I need to buy a travel card when we get there? If so which is best for us? Can I purchase our adult tickets online then present with the voucher or do I have to pay at the door when we get there.Thanks in advance.

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      If you have return train tickets Nottingham to St Pancras and you purchased the train tickets from the railways then these qualify you for 2 for 1 alone.
      You have to buy the 2 for 1 tickets on the day at the ticket office, you cannot buy tickets in advance with this offer and most attractions its just the walk up standard admission not special fast track tickets
      You need one voucher for every 2 people plus you should be able to show the rail tickets if asked
      At St Pancras don’t go through any automatic ticket barriers to exit the paltform as they will retain your outward rail ticket.

      For transport around London just buy 4 Oyster Cards at St Pancras Underground Station.
      For the kids Oysters ask a member of staff to load a “Young Persons Discount” on the kids Oyster for half price fares
      In Central London the most you can pay in a calendar day is £6.50 with Oyster

      There is a £5 deposit for each card which is refunded when you cancel the Oysters at the end plus any money left on each Oyster

      • Rob Lacey

        Fantastic thanks I’d have never have thought about oyster cards

  • Shak

    Hi Bob,
    I’m going for the bank holiday weekend this Saturday 28/05/2016 to Monday 30/05/2016 to London. 3 kids, 4, 8 and 11 and two of us adults (family of 5).
    I’m going to be staying at a hotel that is in walking distance from Kings Cross Station. If I get an all day tube pass for central London zones 1-4?, can I use this to get around London and also to use for the 2 for 1 offers ?

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      The 2 kids under 11 travel free on the Underground and buses without tickets

      For the 11 year old get an Oyster at Kings Cross Underground Station ticket machines and ask a member of staff to load a “Young Persons Discount” onto the Oyster.
      With such an Oyster the most you can pay in Central London (zones 1 and 2) in a calendar day in fares is £3.25

      Getting the same Oyster for the adults without the “Young Persons Discount” is the cheapest pure transport option at a maximum of £6.50 per day.

      To qualify for 2 for 1 there are several options

      a) As you say buy a 1 day Travelcard from the RAILWAY ticket office at Kings Cross for each adult. However these cost £12.10 each

      b) Use the Oyster but also buy a one-way train ticket from Vauxhall to Waterloo from Kings Cross RAILWAY ticket office for the day you want 2 for 1. You can buy the day before after noon. Don’t use the tickets just have them to show for 2 for 1
      Each ticket should cost £2.90

      c) If you are arriving in London by train with return rail tickets these will probably qualify you for 2 for 1 or if you are arriving at any airport except Heathrow or City then return tickets on the airport trains will qualify you for 2 for 1

  • Tom Hattan

    Hello Bob

    Thanks for the service you are providing for all of us visitors.

    My question is: Can I buy the Vauxhall to Waterloo tickets (to qualify for the 2 for 1 discounts) at any rail station (say Victoria,) or just at Vauxhall or Waterloo rail stations?

    Thanks

    • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

      You should be able to buy these train tickets at any RAILWAY ticket office including Victoria in Central London

      • Tom Hattan

        Thanks Bob,
        Second question: If I buy both an in-bound Vauxhall – Waterloo for June 14 and a return ticket Waterloo – Vauxhall for July 8 (total £5.80 each person), I should be covered for any 2 for 1 vouchers I want to use in that period – correct?

        • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

          Yes that is correct
          But only for 2 for 1 attractions in Central London

          • Tom Hattan

            Bob,
            I assume our train tickets to Hampton Court would work for the 2 for 1 there?

          • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

            Yes they will

This is a unique website which will require a more modern browser to work! Please upgrade today!