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Top Tips for Keeping your London Travel Cheap

Updated on July 10, 2013
London | Source

London on Budget?

‘London’ and ‘budget’ in a single sentence sounds exotic, doesn’t it? Last year, the capital city of UK was 18th most expensive city of the world and the most expensive in UK. Despite its pocket-burning lifestyle and staggering living costs, London remains one of the hottest tourist destinations in the world because of its wealth of cultural and tourist attractions.

If you are also yearning to visit London but are on a tight budget, follow these tips to realise your dream of London travel without straining your pockets too much. From accommodation to travel to eat-outs in the city, these tips will help you in planning a ‘budget-friendly’ itinerary to the city:

Pack Light

Don’t be surprised! Packing light should be the first step towards trimming your budget for London trip. Stuffing your travel bags with unnecessary clothes and accessories not only sprains your back but it augments the travel costs as well, as airport authorities charge higher weighing costs. Therefore, keep a check on your packing before zipping off the bags.

London Budget Hotels
London Budget Hotels | Source

Sleep Cheap in London

Accommodation expenses can reach astronomical heights in the city. Therefore, in order to save money on this front, browse through the hotel websites and look for the best deals. One of my friends recently visited London and booked a budget hotel from that too at very low prices. She later told me that the services were quite satisfactory and the accommodation rates were comforting as well. You can also check with premium hotel websites before zeroing in on accommodation.

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Book the Cheapest Flight

It is so surprising how many of us (including myself!) overlook this aspect while planning our trip. The truth is, you can save a good chunk of bucks even in this! Book directly with your desired airlines (no intermediaries!) and choose flights to London flying on unsociable hours as they are the cheapest.

In addition to this, de-select the meal option and take healthy snacks with you instead as airline meal can cost as high as £7 for one-way. If you do not have any special requirements, then do not pre-book your seats, as it costs additional charges.

It would be even better if you compare flight rates of different airlines flying to London before booking. One such website is that allows you to compare the flying rates. In short, scour the different websites and use internet to your fullest advantage to reduce your travel expenses.

Using Oyster Card in London Tubes

Oyster Card
Oyster Card | Source

Get yourself an Oyster Card

As soon as you land in the city, grab an Oyster Card. It is a plastic smartcard and one of the cheapest ways of travelling in the public transportation of the city. The card normally costs £3 and offers you a 30% discount against the normal fare charges.

Another way to save loads of money on travelling in the city is through London Pass. This pass allows you free ‘one-way’ access to over 60-plus attractions of the city. In addition to this, if you have chosen pass with ‘travel’ option, then you will not be charged for travelling in any means of public transport of the city, be it tube or trams or buses. London Pass also offers discounts on meals in selective restaurants.

London Street Food
London Street Food | Source

Explore the Street Food

Some of the most historic streets of London are home to numerous cafes and food stalls where you can have sumptuous meals that too at pocket-friendly prices. Exmouth Market, food stalls at Bricklane are among the cheapest and tastiest street food options for you.

However, if you want to indulge into the exquisite dining experience under budget, then visit This website offers unimaginable discounts (as high as 50 %!) on meals at some of the topmost restaurants of the city. Along with discounted meals, you can also grab a free meal once you have earned requisite points.

Join the ‘Walking tours’

In my experience, the best way to acquaint yourself with the city’s culture is by walking around the narrow alleys of the city and in London, there is ample opportunity for this. There are dedicated walking tours run by tour operators. Most of these tours are modestly charged and cover a majority of historic neighbourhoods of London.

If you want to save more money on this front, then try walking tours by locals. These Londoners work as part-time guides and charge around £1-£2 at most to take you to the famous streets and nearby attractions of the city.

View from the Monument
View from the Monument | Source

London Views for Less

Forget about scaling dizzying heights with London Eye to get an enthralling view of the city. (It will cost around £18 for a 45-minute flight!). The better and more economical option is to ascend to the top of Monument to the Great Fire of London and grab a panoramic view of the city at just £3. In addition to this, the Portrait Cafe at the National Portrait Gallery offers unprecedented views of Trafalgar Square and Westminster.

However, you need to have some drinks at the cafe in order to savour those breathtaking views!

Visit Free Attractions

Numerous attractions in the city have zero admission fees. National Gallery, Tate Modern, Victoria and Albert Museum, Serpentine Gallery and the Museum of London are among the prominent ones. Additionally, plenty of art galleries allow free access as well; however, you need to pay some bucks if you want to visit a particular exhibition at an art gallery.

Musical gigs at Southbank
Musical gigs at Southbank | Source

Make a Visit to Southbank for Free Gigs

Head towards Southbank and enjoy live music performances by local artistes for free. As this area is known for its cultural diversity, it is always brimming with some activity. Along with free activities, there are number of attractions like Tate Modern and Garden museum nearby.

London may be one of the most expensive cities of the world, but that does not mean that you cannot afford a visit to this city. Take a clue from these ideas and visit London without worrying about inflating expenses.


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    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 4 years ago from London, England

      I sincerely hope you visit London soon. It is an amazing place and I am sure these tips will definitely help you in maintaining your frugality! lol, thx for your appreciation jpcmc

    • jpcmc profile image

      JP Carlos 4 years ago from Quezon CIty, Phlippines

      I've never been to Europe and I'm pretty sure I'm missing a lot. I used to travel a lot when I was younger. And I'm one of those extremely frugal persons who's always hunting for the best deals. I'll keep these in mind just in case i get to visit London someday.

    • ameliam.michelle1 profile image

      Ameliam Michelle 4 years ago from London, England

      Thx Europewalker, kmes and Mahalo Nui Loa Hawaiian Scribe for your comments. London indeed is one of the most beautiful cities of the world. There is so much to explore in this royal kingdom. Hope you all visit this country in the future.

    • Hawaiian Scribe profile image

      Stephanie Launiu 4 years ago from Hawai'i

      What an interesting hub about a city I've always wanted to experience. Being here in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, I don't know whether I'll ever get to London, but it remains in my heart as a fascinating place. Voted up, interesting, beautiful. Aloha, Stephanie

    • kmes profile image

      Kayla Swanson 4 years ago from Wyoming

      If you travel Europe (not sure about London) you can easily get by walking or using mass transit. It is much different than the states where renting a car is sometimes the best option. I once explored all of Switzerland in a day by taking the Eurorail.

    • europewalker profile image

      europewalker 4 years ago

      London is one of my favorite cities to visit and I agree that walking is the best way to explore a city. Good tips, voted up.