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The National Rail 2 for 1 admission voucher promotion to many of London's top attractions is a little publicised scheme that has to be one of the biggest bargains available for visitors to London (and beyond).
Tickets & deals
Essentially it's a scheme sponsored by lots of local rail operating companies in the UK to encourage people to travel to attractions all around the UK by train including London.
By presenting your printed voucher at the ticket desk of the attraction together with a valid rail ticket two people can gain entrance for the price of one adult.
The coupons are freely available, you can download and print them from the promotional website, the only limit being that you can only download up to 3 vouchers per attraction for up to 6 people, at any one time. You can add as many attractions as you like.
You will need to register at the 2FOR1 website before you can access the vouchers. You can alternatively pick up the vouchers at train stations themselves which often have a limited supply, they may not have the voucher you are looking for.
For some of the most popular attractions in London, you can now buy 2 for 1 admission tickets in advance on-line from within the promotion website. You must bring a printed voucher with you along with your valid train ticket to qualify for the promotion. Currently vouchers shown on a mobile device are not accepted.
The scheme is supported by many, if not most of the major London attractions as well as many you won't have heard of.
Below is a list of the post popular attractions included in the 2FOR1 scheme, many more can be found on the Railways 2FOR1 website.
The 2 for 1 offer is not limited to attractions, there are opportunities to use this scheme on hop-on buses, at galleries and museums, on walks and tours, boat trips and cruises, theatre tickets, restaurants and non London attractions such as Warwick Castle and Shakespeare's Birthplace.
Before you make concrete plans on using 2 for 1 do check your required vouchers are available for the dates and attractions you want to visit.
Some of the most popular attractions like the London Eye, Tower of London etc may have blackout dates or withdraw from the scheme during peak summer visitor weeks.
Although the promotion is set up assuming most participants will be from the UK making day trips from their home, there is nothing to stop overseas visitors taking advantage. The hurdle for most visitors is the requirement for a valid train ticket, along with printing out a voucher if you have not planned your trip before leaving home.
It can be a bit confusing for the first time visitor to the UK. Airport trains from Gatwick and Stansted Airports do qualify if bought from the railways, but the Heathrow trains, the Heathrow Express and TFL Rail Heathrow do not. London Underground tickets also do not qualify you for the scheme.
You must have a valid train ticket for the day you visit the attraction. A standard open return ticket normally spanning a month covers all the days between the outward and return legs of the ticket for 2 for 1. A single ticket is valid for 2 for 1 just on the day of travel. Brit Rail passes are also valid.
If you are using the train coming into London to qualify for this promotion you will probably have separate tickets for outward and return legs of your journey.
It is essential that you do not go through the automatic ticket barrier at the London terminus as the barrier will gobble up your ticket and not return it. You will need the ticket when you present your credentials at the attraction you want to use 2 for 1 with. Use the manned exit instead, retaining your ticket.
More about National Railways into London
If you don't have a train ticket, then the Travelcard London public transport pass is the way to qualify for the promotion. Nearly every visitor to London will have to buy a Travelcard or Oyster public transport pass to get around.
The question of which, Travelcard or Oyster is very complex - but the savings you can make using a Travelcard with 2 for 1 admissions will far outweigh any savings of Oyster over Travelcards just for the transport.
However, not any old Travelcard will do to qualify for 2 for 1, the key requirement is you must purchase from the railways, (not from the Underground).
In 2015 1 day Travelcards for zones 1-2 were withdrawn, the cheapest Travelcard is now a zone 1-4 Travelcard.
The daily cap on the alternative transport pass, an Oyster is £7.70. Therefore for 1 day, if you are staying in zones 1 or 2 (which nearly all visitors do) you are paying a premium of £6.50 for buying a 1-day Travelcard to qualify for 2 for 1 over an Oyster Card that is not valid for 2 for 1. So do factor this price penalty into the savings you are making on the 2 for 1 tickets.
The vouchers you print from the website (link at top of page) have expiry dates. The promotion is long standing but attractions supporting do come and go.
You can print as many vouchers as you like from the website, the only limit being that you can only download up to 3 vouchers per attraction for up to 6 people, at any one time. You can though add as many attractions as you like. Stations often have vouchers too, but they may not have the vouchers you want so it's best to print from the website.
Vouchers are normally for walk-up standard admission, not fast track tickets - though do read each promotions detail page to understand exactly what is on offer. There are now a few attractions in London where you can book 2 for 1 tickets in advance from within the promotion website.
By 2 for 1 it means that two people can enter the attraction whether they be adults, children or seniors for the price of one adult admission - though again do read the detail page of each offer.
Each person covered by the voucher needs a valid rail ticket or Travelcard as detailed above.
When you print the voucher from the website you will be asked things like travel date, station from which travelling, address etc. Don't get hung up about it, if the date or station proves to be incorrect it doesn't affect their acceptance.
You can now book in advance 2 FOR 1 tickets for a few of London's main attractions (The London Eye, The London Dungeon, SEA LIFE London Aquarium, Madame Tussauds London, Shrek's Adventure! London) avoiding queuing on the day.
You purchase your tickets to these attractions direct from the 2FOR1 website (banner link at top of page), not through the attraction website or a third party.
On the 2FOR1 page for the attraction instead of selecting the 2FOR1 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 the buy online option you will typically be given a unique promotional code and switched to the attraction's own website 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.
Whether or not your train tickets are accepted for 2 for 1 is a major talking point for our 2 for 1 discussion page.
The promotion was designed with the English domestic traveller on a day trip or weekend break to London in mind, the point being to encourage people to travel to the attraction by train instead of taking the car and/or London Underground.
Precise rules beyond a simple return (round trip) train ticket to a London terminus railway station are not set out and attractions do vary widely with the degree of scrutiny checking the rail tickets and their interpretation of the rules. Make no mistake you will not have problems with a straight forward return (round trip ticket) into London, this includes the airport trains from Luton, Gatwick, Stansted and Southend Airports.
The issue arises for visitors who do not naturally require a rail ticket or a railways issued Travelcard for their travel needs in London and still try to qualify for 2 for 1 at as little expense as possible. The most common questions on this are dealt with on our 2 for 1 discussion page, but at the end of the day the person selling you the ticket has final say on whether they accept your railway tickets for the promotion.
As a quick overview the following types of tickets are valid for the 2 for 1 promotions, it is worth noting our above comments about how sometimes this results in confusion for overseas visitors who are looking for the cheapest way to qualify for the scheme. Use these as a guide and check our FAQ on 2 for 1 if you are still unsure.
The London Pass is a flat rate sightseeing pass to many (but not all) of London's main attractions. You can buy a London pass for 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 day durations. It gives you entry into around 80+ London tourist attractions. You have paid a set sum per person in advance and then you just show your card at the entrance or ticket office of any attraction included on the London Pass, they will swipe it through a card reader and you will be allowed entry, some attractions you will get fast track entry.
You can also opt to have a public transport pass, the Visitor Oyster Card included to get you around London.
You can have the London Pass shipped to your home address (for a shipping charge) or you can collect the tickets in London for which there is no charge. If you choose to collect your order in London you will need to print and bring with you the London Pass voucher which is emailed to you on completion of your online order. The collection point is off Trafalgar Square which is geographically the centre of London.
The more you visit, the more you save
• Access 90+ London attractions including the Tower of London, London Zoo, Thames River Cruise, Tower Bridge, St. Paul's, Westminster Abbey, The View from Shard, Windsor Castle, a hop-on, hop-off bus tour, and many more...
• 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 10 day passes available.
|London Eye||Amazing panoramic flight on the world's highest observation wheel. » Fast track tickets available.|
|The Shard||Tallest building in Western Europe with viewing of London from the top. » Fast track tickets available.|
|St Paul's Cathedral||Cathedral of the Diocese of London, venue for royal weddings. » Pre-book to guarantee entry.|
|Westminster Abbey||Along with St Paul's, England's main religious building.» Pre-book to guarantee entry.|
|Tower of London||Home of the Crown Jewels and a rich thousand year history. » Fast track tickets available.|
|Madame Tussauds||See wax statues of the most famous people in the world. » Fast track tickets available.|
|London Dungeon||The creepiest attraction in town, the London Dungeon. » Fast track tickets available.|
|Hampton Court Palace||Henry VIII Medieval Palace set in vast grounds. » Pre-book to save money.|
|The London Zoo||World class zoo in the centre of London. » Flexi tickets available.|