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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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  • Zeev

    Dear Bob
    I will be in london from 10-15/2 but only 4 full days to travel. i will be with my 12 years son and my wife.
    we only use 1-2 zones and want to visit 2 or 3 from the 2for1 attractions.
    7 days travelcard is the best/
    chepest options for us?
    thank you!

    • Bob

      How/where will you be arriving/departing from London and where are you staying in London exactly

  • James Isaac

    Hello Bob,

    We are a group of three adults reaching Heathrow on 13th January. We will be staying at Neasden upto 21st January.
    I wanted to know if it would make sense to buy a 7 day Paper Travel Card as we also intend to visit the Tower of London, Churchill War Museum, SeaLife, Madam Tussads etc.

    We would be visiting Oxford and Stonehenge as well during the said period.

    I would like to know if the 7 day paper travel card would be the best option for me. If yes, where exactly can I get them.

    Thanks in advance,

    James

    • Bob

      You are in London 9 days with airport transfers so to qualify it would make sense to use Oysters on the first and last days and to qualify for 2 for 1 get a 7 day Travelcard zone 1-3 for the middle 7 days (Neasden is in zone 3)

      Your issue is to be where to buy the 7 day Travelcards from
      The nearest railway station ticket office to Neasden is Cricklewoood, connected to Neasden by buses

      You will need the passport photos for this purchase

  • Patsy Chappell

    Hello Bob,
    We will be in London in March after reading a lot of your replys to others I have a few questions. We want to use the 24l offer on the first day at Westminister Abbey and Churchill War Room and The London Eye. On the second day we want to use the 241 at Tower of London and St. Paul’s. Please let me know what I need to buy. If we purchase the 7 day rail can I do passport type photo here in the States and bring with me to use? If the answer is no to the previous question is there a photo type machine at Paddington Station we can use? I will be using the Heathrow Express to arrive at Paddington Station we are staying near Hyde Park. Also we will probably be using the underground and buses to get to a lot of the attractions, so can you use the travelcard or do I need to buy the oyster also. Thank you so much for your help.

    • Bob

      How long are you staying in London?
      Where exactly around Hyde Park are you staying?
      How may people in your party, any kids?

      • Patsy Chappell

        We are in London for 4 days but we are going to Winsor on the day of arrival, and the last day we take Eurostar to Paris in the am. We are at The Royal Park Hotel near Paddington and Lancaster Gate Tube. It is just my husband and myself. Thanks for you quick responce.

        • Bob

          Seems a rather busy schedule you have there!
          On the basis that you are spending day 1 at Windsor and day 4 leaving London from St Pancras it would not be worth buying a 7 day Travelcard for in effect 2 days travel.

          The simplest option would be just to buy a 1 day Travelcard each from Paddington RAILWAY station ticket office each morning, no photos required

          Windsor is out by Heathrow Airport so you will be doubling back on the same train track from Paddington to Windsor than you travelled in on the Heathrow Express.
          Hopefully you have bought 90 day advance tickets from Heathrow Express to keep the cost down?
          If not, off the top of my head I don’t think there will be much difference in price in someone meeting you at Heathrow taking you to Windsor, storing your luggage then taking you by car to your hotel at a time you want than 4 train journeys up and down the same track.
          It would avoid the awkward walk from Paddington Station to your hotel with luggage too
          See:
          https://www.londontoolkit.com/tours/heathrow_windsor_tour.htm

          • Patsy Chappell

            Yes i have already bought the 90 day advance tickets. I don’t mind doubling back as we are flying overnight and the walking before getting on the train again will be nice, plus i want to get checked in. I want to thank you so much for helping me. So the l day Travelcard from Paddington RAILWAY will let us ride the Tube, buses and be able to use the 241 offer? So no need to get the oyster card. Thanks again!

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