Exploring London on a budget is not an easy task, after all, London is one of the most expensive cities in the world. But don’t fret, with a few easy tips and tricks you’ll realize that it’s possible to do without breaking the bank.
1. Choose the Right Neighbourhood
Where you stay plays a huge part in the prices of hotels, restaurants, and attractions around you. Forego staying in London’s expensive areas like Mayfair, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Soho, and Chelsea, and instead opt to stay in Islington, Camden, Shoreditch, or East Croydon instead.
2. Stay in a Hostel or University Housing
Even cheap hotels in London are not for everyone, so if price matters more than premium accommodation, you might choose to spend a night in a hostel. There are hundreds of hostels all over London with prices in good neighbourhoods starting at just £15/night. If you are visiting in the summer, consider staying in University housing available for short-term stays for as low as £185/week.
3. Get an Oyster Card and use Public Transportation
The Oyster Card is a pay-as-you-go card valid on all London transportation, including the tube, buses, Tram, DLR, and London Overground. You can buy a 7-day (£32.10), monthly (£123.30) or daily (£12) pass to avoid paying the steep £4.80 fee for each ride. (Prices listed are for Zones 1-2 only)
4. Take a Free Walking Tour
There is no better way and, most importantly, cheaper way to see the city, than doing a free walking tour offered by Undiscovered London and Sandeman’s. Not only will you see all the major sights, but you will also discover little-known streets, hear stories, and get a feel for London history. The tours are free, but tips for the guides are encouraged.
5. Visit London’s Parks
There is no shortage of parks and gardens to explore in London, and the best part is that they are all FREE! Discover the Royal Parks, like the Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, or have a picnic in Hampstead Heath.
6. Explore London’s Museums
Some of London’s best museums and galleries are free to explore, like the British Museum, the Natural History Museum, Science Museum, and the Tate Modern.
7. Eat for Less at London’s Markets
London’s famous markets like the Borough Market, the Brick Lane Market, and the Camden Lock Market offer cheap eats from all over the world. Alternatively, keep an eye out for affordable international food chains like Busaba, Tas, or Pho. And don’t forget the local’s favourite – fish and chips!
8. Drink for Less by Joining Pub Crawls
Want to explore London’s buzzing night scene on a budget? Then join one of London’s many pub crawls. For £10-15, you’ll get free entry and free shots at 5 different bars, plus you’ll get to meet a lot of other travelers!
9. Explore on Your Own
Don’t forget that one of the best ways to get the feel for London is to get off the beaten path and explore the little alleyways, the lesser known areas, and the activities that never make it into the guidebooks. So put down that map and stop reading your Lonely Planet book!
Go out and get lost!
What are some of your tips for traveling on a budget?