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.
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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?
13 thoughts on “9 Tips for Exploring London on a Budget”
Great tips! Love walking tours because you see so many more of the little details that you might otherwise miss if you’re on a bus tour. I definitely like the sound of doing a pub crawl in London!
Definitely! And the little anecdotes that the tour guide tell are always so much more interesting then the guide books!
PS. If you ever get a chance to do a pub crawl in London, do it in Camden Town!
London is quite expensive, if you don’t really know how to travel and stay there cheaply 🙂
Hope our tips can help! 🙂
I definitely agree about London’s parks and walking tours. I’ve been quite involved with both, and tourists certainly appreciate it, especially if they have little money to spend.
Exploring alone is also great.
You are absolutely right, Nathan. Walking around the city is a great way to see London without breaking the bank.
I love all London museums and galleries – they need to get more publicity like this because they are such a fantastic place! Thanks for sharing.
Choosing the right Neighbourhood is def a really important part of your stay in London. You can easily end up far from everything and having to spend hours on the tube to visit things … Great article !
Thanks for sharing the post.
Exporing London on a budget is really a tough task because there are many things to do but if some one plans and follows it seriously you can definitely save some and can be stuck to your budget. Best is to have a full planned budget from before according to you.
The points described here by you are great and quite helpful while travelling to London, one can easily follow it. Eating and Drinking less on London’s market is one of the best point to save according to me.
So nice of you for posting it, keep going like this.
Have a nice day.
It’s always good to have a pre-planned budget when you travel, Hashwardhan. But we also recommend having a bit of a cushion, in case you do come across a really cool activity that you didn’t plan for in advance! 🙂
Its a very good and informative share.
Indeed, with so many fantastic attractions situated in the city, these can be a great option for budget breaks without sacrificing convenience.
There are numerous 3 star hotels in London and families may find these are the ideal choice for their trip, as many provide a good balance between economy and all the necessary amenities.
Another plus point about choosing this kind of accommodation is the sheer variety on offer, which means you should be able to find something that is just right for you and your brood.
Thanks for the share .
Keep doing good work.
God Bless U!:)
Very good tips. There is one thing that you might want to update on your article.
Oyster Card fares have changed since you wrote this article, a 7-day pass now costs £33, the monthly pass £126.80 and the daily pass is available for £12.30. Inflation, as they say…
Your blog is great BTW, keep up the good work!
london market is awesome!