Condé Nast Traveller

Tips to Avoid Queues at London Attractions

London, the vibrant and historic capital of England, is a city teeming with iconic attractions that draw tourists from around the world. However, the popularity of these attractions often leads to long queues and crowded spaces, which can dampen the experience of exploring these treasures. In this article, we’ll delve into some clever strategies to navigate London’s attractions while sidestepping the notorious queues and crowds.

Opt for Lesser-Known Spots

London boasts a myriad of attractions beyond the well-trodden path. Swap the chaos of crowded hotspots for the charm of lesser-known treasures. For instance, rather than jostling with the masses to catch a glimpse of the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, consider an enchanting alternative – the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London. This peculiar ritual takes place after sunset, precisely at 9:30pm, at the West Gate of the Tower. The ritual involves a sentry’s call-and-response dialogue, infusing an air of mystique that’s truly captivating. Similarly, trade the popular Sky Garden for the serene Barbican Conservatory or opt for the intriguing Wellcome Collection in lieu of the bustling Science Museum.

Experience Late Access Opportunities

Imagine wandering through London’s most renowned galleries and museums without the hustle and bustle of the daytime crowds. Fortunately, you can transform this fantasy into reality by taking advantage of late access hours. During the summer months of June and July, the London Zoo opens its gates exclusively to adults from 6pm to 10pm, offering a unique opportunity to explore the exhibits in a tranquil ambiance. The National Portrait Gallery extends its operating hours on Thursdays and Fridays, hosting Late Shifts until 9pm, often accompanied by live music performances. Additionally, The Science Museum welcomes adults for extended hours until 10pm on the last Wednesday of each month, featuring diverse activities such as stargazing sessions, pub quizzes, and even yoga classes.

Harness the Power of City Passes

Navigating London’s plethora of attractions becomes more streamlined with the utilization of a queue-jumping city pass. The London Pass offers access to a variety of notable sites, including the Tower of London, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Westminster Abbey, Kensington Palace, and Kew Gardens. Beyond mere access, the pass bestows the invaluable benefit of bypassing lengthy queues. Tailor the pass’s validity to your needs, with options ranging from one day to longer durations. While the initial investment might seem significant – a one-day adult pass costs £84 – it becomes a prudent choice if your itinerary includes multiple attractions in a single day. This pass becomes a valuable asset for those keen on exploring top attractions without the hassle of waiting in line.

London’s iconic attractions are an integral part of any visitor’s itinerary, but the prospect of long queues and overcrowded spaces can be daunting. By adopting strategies such as exploring lesser-known spots, capitalizing on late access opportunities, and investing in queue-jumping city passes, you can savor the city’s treasures without the frustration of extended waiting times. Whether you’re an art enthusiast, a history buff, or a curious traveler, London’s charms await you – minus the queues.


Is the Ceremony of the Keys accessible to the public?

Yes, the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London is open to the public. It offers a unique and fascinating experience.

Are late access hours consistent throughout the year?

Late access hours may vary by attraction and season. It’s recommended to check the official websites for the most up-to-date information.

Can the London Pass be shared among multiple people?

No, the London Pass is typically issued to a single individual and is non-transferable.

Are there any age restrictions for late access events?

Age restrictions for late access events vary. Some may be exclusive to adults, while others might be open to all ages. Check the specific event details for clarity.

Does the London Pass cover public transportation?

The London Pass primarily grants access to attractions and does not usually include public transportation. Consider a separate transportation pass for convenience.


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