London is one of the world’s most visited cities and with a range of sights and varied entertainment options, there’s something here for everyone! But London is also very expensive and this can put off quite a number of people from visiting this incredible city.
If you’re on a budget but would love to visit London, you’ve come to the right place! Here are some great tips to save on accommodation, food, travel costs, and more.
A barely furnished room in London can be priced at several hundred dollars a night. While rooms are priced along the same lines in other world capitals, you might stand the chance of coming across moderately priced lodging in the heart of the city you’re visiting. Not possible in London though; you’ll keep walking around in circles looking for cheap lodging in vain. Ultimately, you’ll give in and go for whatever comes your way.
Hostel prices are high too, so don’t place your bet on them if you’re on a shoestring budget. When looking for good hostels or hotels, remember that some neighborhoods like Knightsbridge, Covent Garden, and Oxford Street will have ridiculously high-priced accommodations. Try your luck around Bayswater, Hammersmith, or Camden instead.
Bed and Breakfasts might fit your budget, but don’t expect anything fancy out of them- the toilet may be down the hall! On the plus side, B&Bs are usually run by local folks looking to make some extra income by renting out a room of their house so you’re likely to learn a lot about London from them. You are likely to be treated to a fancy breakfast too!
If you’re staying at a hostel or a B&B, you might not have to worry about breakfast as a hearty one is sure to keep you satisfied until dinner. In case you aren’t provided breakfast or would like to eat someplace else, don’t be anxious about breaking your budget. Unlike other big European cities, you’ll find lots of restaurants serving filling breakfasts at reasonable prices.
For lunch, dinner, or in-betweens, you can head to any of London’s authentic pubs for a delicious and inexpensive meal. Hardly, if ever you’ll come across a plate of fish n chips not worth ordering again.
Another option is heading to local farmers markets and buying whatever you’d like to eat. Food at farmers markets is guaranteed to be fresh and flavorful. What’s more, you can easily assemble stuff to make a simple meal- just grab some artisan bread, cheese, herbs, and vegetables and put it all together!
Do consider eating at a good restaurant once in a while. If you don’t want to splurge on dinner, go for lunch- it’ll be cheaper and the menu will be more or less the same.
Do carry probiotics, nutritional supplements, or anything you would need to ensure you don’t fall ill because of not eating well. Pack travel-sized samples or avail freebies so that you don’t end up with a heavy bag.
Hiring a taxi is a strict no-no for tourists on a budget. Public transport is the way to go to get around London. Buy an Oyster card at any Tube station first thing you land here or order one online and have it delivered to your address.
You have to pay a refundable fee to buy the Oyster card and then top it up with some credit. You not only get discounts on swiping the card, you’re also free from the hassles of queuing up for tickets! Further, whatever amount is left on the card at the end of your London trip can be refunded.
Don’t always take the Tube; take the bus for shorter rides. Traveling by bus will also give you a good view of the city. There’s a better option- for a tip as little as £5, an enthusiastic guide will take you on a 3-hour walking tour and show you the best of London!
Madame Tussaud’s and the London Eye aren’t the only attractions in London; the city has a lot more for you for free! London has several world-class museums like the British Museum, the Tate Modern, and the Victoria and Albert that won’t require you to pay hefty entry fees.
To get a view of London’s skyline without busting your budget, head to Richmond Park or Greenwich Park. Other places that offer a stunning view of the city are Alexandra Palace, Hampstead Heath, and Primrose Hill. London has several other beautiful gardens that you can take a stroll through or enjoy a nice picnic all by yourself!
If you’re a music lover, head to the churches at St James Piccadilly or St Martin in the Fields during lunchtime to listen to classical music for free. Additionally, you’ll find free jazz or dance performances at Southbank Centre and street performers around Covent Garden. Do visit the Speaker’s Corner in Hyde Park for a unique experience!
The Changing of the Guards is a spectacle you can’t miss. This military tradition takes place inside the gates of Buckingham Palace at 11:30 am every day in summer and every other day in winter. Be there at 11 in the morning to get a good view!
Now that you know visiting London on a budget is possible, what are you waiting for? Book your tickets and be ready to have the time of your life!