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London 2 For 1 Attraction Discounts With Travelcards & Train Tickets In 2015

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.

Zone 1-2 Travelcards Withdrawn in 2015

On January 2nd 2015, the cheapest Travelcards qualifying for 2 for 1, the 1 Day zone 1-2 and zone 1-3  Travelcards were  withdrawn, the cheapest Travelcard in 2015 will be the zone 1-4 peak 1 day Travelcard valid for travel before 9:30 a.m. Monday to Friday and the zone 1-6 off-peak Travelcards – both are the same price (£12.00) in 2015.

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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  • Roslyn

    Hi Bob
    We need travel from Stansted to London and will only need zones 1 and 2 on the tube as we are staying in Covent Garden. It will be 2 adults and two children aged 6 and 7.
    We are in London for 3 nights so we only have 2 days of sightseeing. I was looking at one of the open top buses to tour the city also. Could you tell me the best deals please?
    Should I get the best deal for Stansted and buy an Oyster card for the tube travel or can I combine the two?
    Thank you.

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

      The Stansted Airport transfers are separate to transport in London
      The cheapest option is to get the Terravision bus to Liverpool Street, the fastest the Stansted Express train

      Your 2 kids are under 11 so travel free without tickets in London but not on the Stansted services The adults just get Oysters

      If you want to use the Hoho buses the best deals are on-line in advance direct
      hoho buses are great as an initial day to get orientated with London but should not be viewed as an effecient way to get around London

  • Harish

    Hello Bob,
    Thanks for helping us all fellow visitors to London. You have been a great help. I have a few questions. I will be visiting London with my family (2 adults, 2 kids ages 12 and 8) early June and staying at Cleveland square. I will be staying in London from June 6th through june 12th. I will be visiting Paris for a overnight stay on 9th. What would you recommend as the best option for me. Travel card or Oyster card? I do want to take advantage of 2 for 1 promotion if possible. The attractions we plan to visit are London bridge, tower of London, London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham palace, Trafalgar sqr, Hyde Park, Thames Cruise, Madame Tussaud. We plan to use the hop on hop off bus tour for a day. Your response is greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

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

      If you are going to use 2 for 1 extensively then the adults might as well buy a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-2 each from Paddington Railway Station to qualify for 2 for 1. You will need a passport size photo each

      Your 8 year old travels free without a ticket on the red buses, Underground and DLR IN London

      For your 12 year old go to Paddington Underground ticket office and ask for an Adult Oyster Card with a young person’s discount applied – this gives half price fares using an Oyster

      As the 8 year old hasn’t got a ticket the kids can’t use 2 for 1

  • Francesca

    Hi bob
    just a few questions
    my boyfriend and I will stay in london from saturday to tuesday (full days) and wonder if it is cheaper to buy an oyster card and use daily capping or buying a 7 day travelcard at stansted express in order to use the 2for1 for London eye discount (this will be the only 2for1 offer we will use).
    I already have an oyster card. If we put 7 day travelcard on oyster will we be able to use 2for1? thank you

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

      For 4 days an Oyster Card is much cheaper than a 7 day Travelcard

      The Oyster Cards sold at Stansted are Visitors Oyster Cards which are poor value compared to the standard one purchased in London, no Oyster Card qualifies you for 2 for 1 even with a Travelcard loaded

      Return tickets on the Stansted Express will qualify you for 2 for 1 your entire stay in London but nake sure you retain both outward and return tickets – so don’t go through the automatic ticket barriers at Liverpool Street or Tottenham Hale which will retain your outward ticket, go through the manned exit.

  • http://www.londontoolkit.com/ Bob

    Yes you’ve got the rail logo OK, (but note you’ll find it also on Travelcards not issued by the railways too on the section with the logo’s of the networks that you can use Travelcards on)

    First of if you arriving by train, the ideal situation would be if you are returning by train. If so those return tickets alone qualify you for 2 for 1 during your whole stay.
    You still have to buy the tickets from the railways and the main exception is the Heathrow Connect/Express airport services

    If you are in town for 7 days and staying in zone 4 then a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-4 would be the ideal ticket and cover all your public transport needs
    If you buy it from anywhere but a railway station ticket office it will come on an Oyster card and not be valid for 2 for 1. The good news is that unlike the railways issued 7 Day Travelcards you do not need a passport size phot and if you go somewhere like Hampton Court in zone 6 the Oyster/Travelcard handles everything seamlessly.
    So if you qualify for 2 for 1 by having a return train ticket to London buy the 7 Day Travelcard at the Underground Station ticket office of the railway station.

    If you need to qualify for 2 for 1 then buy it from the railway station ticket office, you will need a passport size photo each. The actual Travelcard will come as a card ticket with a magnetic strip.

    By all means look at the London Pass but do study it carefully and what you will use it for and be realstic what you can visit in one day.
    Many people struggle to make the London Pass work financially, (especially for 1 day) and just use it for the convenience

    You can print as many 2 for 1 vouchers as you like from the promotion web site

    If you have got return tickets for the railways to London don’t go through the automatic ticket barriers as they will retain your ticket – you need the tickets to show at the attraction – go through the manned exit.

  • Shlomi Weiss

    Hi Bob

    My name is Shlomi and I’m going to visit London on the coming August for 10 days with 3 kids (17,14,10)
    We will be staying at Golders green area (Zone 3)
    I’m really confused with all of the options
    Can you try and recommend what will be the cheapest transportation solution for us?
    We will, most probably go to central London on a daily basis
    Thanks

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

      For the adults including your 17 year old just buy an Oyster Card each with a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-3 loaded onto it for 7 of the 10 days

      The 10 year old travels free without a ticket on the red buses, Underground and DLR. You will need to go through the manned barriers to enter and exit stations – be ready with age verification documentation if challenged about the age of your 10 year old

      For the 14 year old cheapest option is an adult Oyster card with a “Young Person’s Discount” loaded onto it. The key point here is that you cannot get the Young Person’s Discount done at Golders Green Underground – only at zone 1 Underground Stations or Heathrow Airport Underground Station.
      Do not load a 7 day Travelcard onto your 14 year olds child’s Oyster

      • Shlomi Weiss

        Hi Bob

        Thanks for the quick answer

        I couldn’t understand you last sentence

        “Do not load a 7 day Travelcard onto your 14 year olds child’s Oyster”

        One more thing, we will be landing at Luton airport, what the cheapest way to get to Golders green? any chance of buying the cards in Luton?

        Thanks again

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

          For the adults assuming you are traveling into London every day it will be cheaper to load a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-3 for to cover 7 of the 10 days, using the Oyster component to pay for the 3 other days

          For your 14 old’s Oyster with the “Young Person’s Discount” loaded don’t load the 7 day Travelcard product onto the Oyster as it will be more expensive than just using the Oyster every day

          The National Express Airport Coach Service is the only direct link between Luton Airport and Golders Green and is also the cheapest
          See:
          http://www.londontoolkit.com/travel/luton_bus.htm

          You cannot buy the Oyster/Travelcards at Luton

  • Chris R

    Hi Bob
    Thanks for your excellent posts and effort to answer various queries.
    Our planned attractions to cover are:
    London bridge, tower of London, London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham palace, Trafalgar sqr, Hyde Park, Thames Cruise, Piccadily Circus. (Give or take a few)
    Just confirming / asking about some quick points
    a. Take Oyster card at Heathrow airport for 2 adults
    b. This should cover to two kids under 11
    c. Which zones we should buy card for or how much worth of money to buy it for intially
    (we will be covering places from London bridge through a little bit west of Earl’s Ct.
    e Some people recommend taking hop-on buses (open top) for better sight seeing vs trains.
    Not sure how it works, say if want to stop at London bridge or Trafalgar sq for some time, but the bus may only want to allow for sufficient time.
    f. If we take HoHo for 3 hours on the day of arrival (we wont have more time than that on the day of arrival until 5 pm) , then should we buy Oyster for lesser value than we otherwise would?
    g. I hear June is slow month, so should we pay extra for fast track passes?
    h. How to take advantage of the 2 for 1 – take one or more one-day travel card?
    (2 adults and two kids).
    Thanks, Bob

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

      How long are you in London and where are you staying in London

      June and early July is the busiest period of the year in London when tourist and the business and conference visitors are at full throttle – August is the slowest summer month

      • Chris R

        for 5 days

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

          For 5 days buy an Oyster card each at Heathrow Underground Station on arrival. You don’t need to specify zones on Oysters, the Oyster looks after the zonal charging, its just Travelcards you need to state zones when purchasing.

          If the kids are under 11 then they travel free without a ticket on the red buses, Underground and DLR.
          As the kids don’t have a ticket you’ll have to go through the manned ticket barriers, so be prepared to produce age verification id if they could be thought off as 11 years old.

          For 5 days 40 GBP should be enough on each card – by buying in London you get the balance and deposit refunded when you surrender the Oysters at the end.
          Alternatively put 30 GBP on and monitor your balance, you can top the Oysters up any time at the stations

          Earls Court is fine as a place to stay, especially if you’re arriving at Heathrow and have one eye on the wallet.. Personally if I was coming to London and arriving at Heathrow Earls Court is probably where I’d look first.
          London has no downtown area in the North American sense and the very central districts are mainly used by business people on expense accounts and first time visitors.who know no better.

          Hop On, Hop Off buses are a great first day to get quickly orientated with London and the speaking guides are surprisingly informative but are slow to get around.
          However they’re very slow to get around town.
          The main operators run about every 5 minutes so you don’t have to wait, they don’t stop anywhere longer than it takes for people to get on and off
          You’d need a whole day ticket though.
          They don’t come to Earls Court , nearest joining place would be Gloucester Road Underground a 5 minute walk from most Earls Court Hotels

          By investing some time studying a central bus map closely you can put together your own little tour on the top deck of the buses, just won’t have any commentary

          Fast track tickets are worthwhile at the London Eye, London Dungeon, Ripleys and madame Tussaud’s certainly.
          The biggest queues at the Tower of London is wafter you’ve got in queueing to view the Crown Jewells so best tactic is to get there at opening.

          If you want to take advantage of 2 for 1 print the vouchers out before you leave home.
          The day before buy a 1 day Travelcard zone 1-4 for both adults the day after from a RAILWAY station ticket office, probably the most convenient from Earls Court is Victoria or Charing Cross.
          Then use the Travelcards instead of the Oyster the day you want 2 for 1.
          The kids as they don’t have tickets don’t qualify and on the railways only under 5’s travel free.

          • Chris R

            Bob,
            Thank you, very very much.! I have never experienced such high-quality personalized responses to my questions through a web-site.
            I am very grateful to you.
            Wish you best in everything you do.
            P.S: I might still comeback with some questions, but you got most of them covered.
            WOW!!!!!

    • Chris R

      Also, should we move a bit more central from Earl’s court?

      London bridge, tower of London, London Eye, Big Ben, Buckingham palace, Trafalgar sqr, Hyde Park, Thames Cruise, Piccadily Circus. (Give or take a few)

      On one hand we pay more to and from airport but then closer to attractions?

  • Jill L

    Hi Bob… thanks so much for helping us all figure out how to have a great vacation in London.
    Our group is planning on 2 weeks in London. We were thinking of buying the 7 day zone 1-2 travel cards but wondered if you can tell me what if you travel outside of zone 1 and 2? and I read somewhere about getting a 1/2 price ticket for my 17 year old but needing to apply 2 weeks in advace?? any help you can give would be appreicated

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

      With regards your 17 year old just treat as an adult.
      There is something which is really for residents where you can pay 10 GBP and get something called an Oyster ID Card which gives 16/17 year olds child fares on Oyster Cards.
      For visitors you have to apply on-line and allow 6-8 weeks to process then you pick it up at a tourist office in London.
      These do not qualify you for 2 for 1

      You have to understand that there are 2 ticketing systems in London, everybody but the national railways sells London tickets with one set of purchasing rules.
      The national railways sell Travelcards in London stations only and it is the railways that sponsor the 2 for 1 promotion.and from whom you have to buy Travelcards from to qualify for 2 for 1. The railways don’t sell Oyster cards and do not support any child discounts for over 15’s

      If you want to qualify for the 2 for 1 promotion you have to buy the 7 day Travelcards from a railway station ticket office. It comes on a magnetic striped card ticket.
      You also have to submit a passport photo.
      If you buy a zone 1-2 Travelcard and want to travel outside zone 1-2 you have to go to the ticket office show your Travelcard and ask for an extention ticket

      If you buy a 7 day zone 1-2 Travelcard from anywhere but the railways you don’t need the passport photo and it comes loaded onto an Oyster card but doesn’t qualify you for 2 for 1
      If you travel outside zone 1-2 the Oyster part kicks in and takes care of the travel not covered by the Travelcard seamlessly.

      If you can might be an idea doing the 2 for 1 in one week with the rail Travelcard and doing any travel outside zone 1-2 the other week with an Oyster/7 Day Travelacrd combo

  • Chris R

    Hi Bob.

    I am traveling to London arriving in June. 2 Adults and 2 kids with 4 large suitcases arriving 7 am. Kids are under 11.

    We have a hotel in Earls Court which is 5 minutes walk from West Kenningston.Our queries are:

    1. Should we take a train ? We are told to take Piccadily up to Baracota then to west kennigston.
    Concern is having 4 large suitcases and the 5 mts walk with them.
    The trade off is cost of taxi vs the hassle with suitcases vs leaving one or two at Left Luggage.
    Coming back to Heathrow we are thinking of taking a taxi since flight is at 9:30 am, thinking timinig could be risk with multiple trains and change overs..

    2. Is it going to be worth buying the London pass for 3 days?
    3 Should we buy Oyster card at the Heathrow? or with combined with London pass?
    4. What’s the best way to get local calling / texting capability
    Thanks and really looking forward to your advise.

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

      Thee are few hotels around West Kensington Underground and given you have a family I’m guessing you’re staying at the Holiday Inn Express Earls Court

      The walk from the station would be very tedious rolling luggage about the 500m distance along a densely urban area with lots of kirbs and side steets to negotiate.
      Personally I’d opt for West Brompton and walk from there

      If you are taking just 1 large bag each and your kids can pull one each and hand luggage is restricted to a shoulder bag or a handbag and not carry on luggage its doable but you’ll be greatful to reach your hotel

      For West kensington there is just one change of train at Hammersmith and both trains leave from the same platform
      A private car with meet n greet at Heathrow big enough to accommodate your luggage is going to be around 67 GBP

      Left Luggage is expensive (£10 a case)

      Regards the London Pass I’d strongly advise against purchasing the Oyster Card which is the Visitor Oyster Crad which is a poor choice against the standard Oyster bought in London so I’d recommend you buy Oyster Cards when you arrive

      Regards the should we buy the London Pass the only way to find out is write down what you wnat to see in London and compare that to the attractions listed on the London pass and then work out the costs.
      For 3 days I think you might find you’ll struggle to make it pay financially, many people just buy it for the convenience

      Regards mobiles I’m not an authority on this,
      I think most people nowadays just use their own mobile checking out what is needed if anything with their current provider.
      When I travel abroad I just use e-mail using free wifi. so I’m not an authority on this

  • Prit

    Hello Bob, We are a group of 4 adults and 2 kids (age 6 and age 11) in london from 26May till 30May i.e. 5 days. I have the following questions –
    1. Would a 7 day travel card make more sense for the adults considering we are planning to visit 6 attractions (london eye, london dungeon, ripleys, tower of london, paul cathedral, lords) that are covered in the 2For1.
    2. We will buy the Oyester card for the child aged 11 as the child aged 6 travels free
    3. While printing the vouchers, do they have to be in other peoples names or can I print multiple copies for the same attraction in my name and use them for the group as needed.

    Thanks so much,
    Prit

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

      If you are using 2 for 1 extensively as you are and not travelling to London by train it would be best to buy 7 day Travelcards for the zones you require when you get to London from the nearest mainline railway station ticket office – you wlll need a passport size photo each

      The 6 year old travels free on the red buses, Underground and DLR, not the trains
      Your 11 year old will not be able to buy a cjild Oyster Card, instead buy an adult Oyster Card and ask for a “Young Persons Discount” to be loaded onto the Oyster – this gives half price fares for a period of 2 weeks.
      This can only be done at zone 1 Underground Stations and Heathrow Airport Underground Statioms

      For every attraction on 2 for 1 you need to print one 2 for 1 voucher for every 2 people wanting to visit each attraction on a 2 for 1 basis

      • Prit

        Thanks Bob for the prompt reply. Coupe of quick questions –
        1. Can I buy the child 7 day travelcard (16 pound cost) for the 11 year old and use it to get 2For1 and have the 6 year old go free with the 11 year old? Asking cause some attraction child fares are 30% off and not half off.
        2. Can I print the 2For1 vouchers in the same name but use it for different sets of people in my group?

        3. I am coming back in london on 7Jun from edinburgh to Kings cross station around 9 pm. I plan to take a train to Heathrow from there. What would be my best option and what would it cost?

        Regards,
        Prit

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

          You’ll have to look at the individual attraction terms and conditions but the standard 2 for 1 deal is that every person using 2 for 1 has to have a train issued ticket (the railways its only under 5’s that go free) even if they can travel free on London’s buses and underground.

          The standard deal is one person pays full adult admission the other goes in free irrespective of age.

          You can put what name you want on the vouchers

          Train fares in the UK are highly volatile. If you buy a ticket on the day it’ll probably be cheaper to fly to Heathrow rather than take the train.
          Also check out easyJet to Luton, Stansted or Gatwick Airports then an airport bus to Heathrow about £25

          For the train I’d recommend you read this article and you’ll have half a chance of obtaining a competitive fare.

          http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/cheap-train-tickets

          From Kings Cross the Underground goes direct to Heathrow.
          Some fares might go into Euston and for an adventure that save cost if not time via Reading to Heathrow

  • Katey

    Hello Bob can you use the 2 for 1 on combination tickets or do I need to use separate vouchers for different attractions? Wanting to do sealife and Madame tussauds.
    Thanks Kb

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

      You need to print the Sealife and Madame Tussaud’s 2 for 1 vouchers separately from the promotion web site.
      There is no limit to the number of vouchers you acn print and use as long as you have a rail issued transport ticket valid for the day of admission.

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