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Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

My family is going to be in London in early August -- my planning is going well but I need some help figuring out two of the days. On Friday, we are planning to go to the Tower of London (arriving before it opens), and after a few hours there, go to see Tower Bridge in the afternoon. Do we need to get advance tickets for these or should we be fine if we show up early? If so, would 30-45 minutes before opening be enough?

On Saturday, we are planning to visit Westminster Abbey, Parliament and the Churchill museum. What order should we visit these in and should we get advance tickets? (We realize it will be a very full day.)

Lastly, is it a good idea to buy tickets for the London Eye and river cruise together and ahead of time?

I know London is very busy in the summer, particularly on the weekends, but we want to be as smart as we can about our time.

I appreciate any suggestions -- thanks in advance for your help!

4 replies to this topic
U.S. expats
Destination Expert
for Windsor, London, Dry Tortugas National Park
Level Contributor
20,856 posts
235 reviews
1. Re: Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

No, it really isn't a good idea to buy advance tickets. Especially if you come early, you won't have much, if any line to stand in. But everyone will go through security--advance ticket or no.

For the London Eye, what is the weather doesn't cooperate?

For the Tower of London, you will be fine.

Re: the Tower Bridge; you can walk across the Bridge for free, or if you are very much interested in the mechanics of it, pay the entrance.

Even Westminster Abbey's Verger Tour says to book it when you arrive at the Abbey.

On that busy day do you mean to do this tour?


In any case you might have time for two, but possibly not three. Another reason why buying ahead is not a great idea.

Bayonne, New Jersey
Level Contributor
7 posts
6 reviews
2. Re: Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

Very helpful!

Destination Expert
for Cotswolds, Rome, London
Level Contributor
4,284 posts
109 reviews
3. Re: Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

I would be inclined to pre-book Westminster Abbey - I have been there when the queue for tickets has been horrendous. Are you planning on going inside the House of Parliament or just walking by?

The other one to pre-book if it is something you plan on seeing is the Churchill War Rooms.

Guildford, United...
Level Contributor
5,540 posts
28 reviews
4. Re: Advance ticket purchases and best use of time

I did Westminster Abbey again recently, having a couple of hours free, and agree it might be good to prebook that. Took me about half an hour to get in without prebooking, there was no queue for the prebooked tickets entrance. London Pass, incidentally, did not entitle you to “skip the line”.

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