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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 walk-up tickets, not fast-track and not to be used in conjunction with other promotional tickets. However, there are a few attractions in London where you can book 2 for 1 tickets in advance.

– 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.

2 FOR 1 Advance Online Booking

You can now book in advance 2 FOR 1 tickets for a few of London’s main attractions (The Coca-cola London Eye, The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds London, Dreamwork Tours – Shrek’s Adventure and Ripley’s Believe it or Not! London) avoiding queueing on the day.

You purchase your tickets to these attractions direct from the 2 FOR 1 web-site, not through the attraction web site or a third party.

On the 2 FOR 1 page for the attraction instead of selecting the 2 FOR 1 voucher menu option, you instead select the Buy Online option.

If you are not already registered you will have to register for 2 FOR 1.

After selecting that you wish to purchase an attraction on-line in advance you will typically be given a unique promotional code and switched to the attraction’s own web site and taken through a special ordering process. Most of the attractions available this way are the busiest ones and you are prompted to select the day you want entrance and the entry slot (often a 30 minute window of time). You pay for the tickets there and then.

Note – you will still have to show your qualifying rail tickets on arrival.

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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  • April Bowler

    (Sorry long post)

    Hello, I commented on another post about Travel Card vs Oyster Card. I have since researched the 2-for-1 offer and would like to take advantage of the money-saving opportunity. I understand that I need to purchase a travel card through a rail station. The closest rail station to where I’m staying is Waterloo. I have questions about the logistics. I will be arriving at Heathrow with my mother. We will be arriving at separate terminals. I’ll most likely arrive at Terminal 5 and she will mostly arrive at Terminal 2. I will have to swing by Terminal 2 to meet up with her. I’m not sure about walking between terminals so I was looking at the Underground loop that runs through the airport. I was thinking we would then take the Piccadilly link to South Kensington, change trains and take the District line to Westminster, change trains again and take the Jubilee line to Waterloo. Perhaps that is not the best route, please advise if there is a better route. We should be able to then buy a 7 day travel card stamped with the rail logo which will be valid for the 2-for-1 offers.

    My question is, how should I pay for travel from Heathrow Terminal 5 to Terminal 2 and then on to Waterloo? I would think since I have to get off and exit the underground system to pick up my mother, that would be considered TWO one way fares (one ticket for Terminal 5 to 2, exit, and then one ticket from Terminal 2 to Waterloo). On top of that my mother will need a one way ticket to Waterloo. Should I purchase all of these as separate one way fares? We’ll be traveling around 12:00-14:00 so I’m not sure if that is considered peak or off-peak time.

    I’m looking at the Heathrow Express, and it looks like I could purchase it for 11 GBP if I purchase it 90 days in advance or more. Would this be a cheaper option and more convenient? I also assume if I take the Express from Terminal 5 and exit at 2 to meet my mom that would count as a single fare and then I would still have to purchase 2 more fares to get us both from Terminal 2 to Paddington. The easiest option it seems would be if she could meet me directly at Paddington or if the distance between Terminal 5 and 2 is walkable. I’m not sure if it is. It looks like Paddington is out of the way, but overall the jouney looks faster so it might end up being more convenient. I would need to change trains at Paddington and then again at Westminster and finally arrive in Waterloo.

    I’m looking for the cheapest and relatively convenient option. I don’t want to have to spend a ton of money with several one way fares simply because I have to pick up my mother at a different Terminal.

    Lastly, regarding the 2-for-1 offer, would I be able to ride the tube or perhaps even walk to attractions and still be able to receive the offer as long as my travel card was purchased from a rail station? Meaning I don’t actually have to ride the rail the day of visiting the attraction in order to get the deal?

    • Bob

      How long are you staying in London overall?

      Where exactly is your accommodation in London?

      Are you both flying out of Heathrow at the same time?

      By the way the Heathrow Express train between T5 and T2 is free

      • April Bowler

        We will be in London for 7 days, plan to get 7 day travel card issued at a rail station. We will both be flying out at the same time at LHR but again at different terminals. I do not have an exact address for my accommodation yet because it is an AirBnB but it is near Waterloo (14 minutes walking) and Lambeth (7 minutes)

        • Bob

          Ok buy an Oyster Card each at Heathrow Central Underground Station between Terminals 2 and 3 from a ticket machine.
          In 2016 the fare between Heathrow and Waterloo by the Underground route described is £5.10 Monday to Friday from 0630 to 0930 and 1600 to 1900 and £3.10 at other times.
          So use the Oyster for the airport transfers in each direction and put the cash on the Oyster to cover the fares
          In January the fares go up slightly

          The 7 day Travel cards zone 1-2 give you unlimited rides for 7 calendar days in the centre of London on the buses and Underground

  • David Head

    Hi Bob,

    My wife and I are travelling to London in February for 3 days sightseeing. We will both be travelling by train. But……………….we are travelling from different places…….one to Waterloo and one to Victoria……………..and then meeting up. So……………..we will have two valid rail tickets………………….but from different companies and starting stations and to different London Termini. My question is: will we still qualify for the 2 for 1 attractions? Nowhere does it seem to say you have to have 2 rail tickets which are the same……………………so presumably 2 different ones are acceptable? Would be grateful for clarification please.

    Many thanks. Keep up the great work.

    • Bob

      Yes, I don’t see a problem with that.

      If you have old fashioned card/magnetic strip tickets remind your friend not to go through the automatic ticket barriers on exiting the platform on arrival in London as they retain your ticket which you need of course to show at the attractions

      • David Head

        Many thanks Bob.

  • Joe

    Hi Bob,
    We are staying at a hotel close to the Waterloo station for 7 days. If I purchase the 7 day travelcard from the waterloo station, we would automatically qualify for 2 for 1, correct? However, would it better for us to buy the London pass? I am travelling with my wife and my 11 year old son.

    • Bob

      7 day Travelcards bought from the RAILWAY ticket office within Waterloo Station will qualify you for 2 for 1
      If you do not have a railways id card you need one of those two which is issued free of charge but you need to supply a passport size photo

      Regards 2 for 1 v London pass there is no straight answer

      The London Pass with transport option is not a great idea, so just consider the pass only, no transport option.

      Broadly to make an informed decision you need a bit of discipline to know what attractions YOU will want to attend and a crude itinerary of what you are doing each day, clearly you want to restrict the day you require London Pass as few as possible

      If you are the kind of person that likes to sightsee at a leisurely pace it might well be the London Pass works out more expensive than buying tickets individually, at the other extreme if you cram in multiple attractions each day under London Pass, financially at least you shold be better off

      At the end of the day you just need an itinerary, what you wnat to see and sit down and work out the maths of the various options

  • otilia floroiu

    Hi Bob,

    Just wanted to ask you if trip from Gatwick to Victoria by train qualifies for 2 for 1.

    In order to use the 2 for 1 is it enough for one person to have the checked train ticket or both of them?

    Many thanks,

    Otilia

    • Bob

      A 1 way railway ticket from Gatwick to Victoria purchased from the railways qualifies you for 2 for 1 on the day of travel.
      If you buy a return (round trip) ticket it qualifies you for 2 for 1 between the outward and return trips in Central London

      Every person wanting admission under the 2 for 1 scheme needs their own railway qualifying tickets

      • otilia floroiu

        Hi Bob,

        I am usually quite clever 🙂 Sorry for repeating the question but I just want to make sure before the purchase.

        So if we are only 2 people and we want to use the 2 for 1 it is required for both of us to have a train ticket?

        • Bob

          Yes 2 people, 2 train tickets, 1 x 2 for 1 voucher

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