Bent Johnson

Nov 26, 2022

How Best To Visit London On A Budget

London is often seen to be an expensive city to visit, especially if you are travelling form a country where the exchange rate is not in your favour. That being said, there are some really easy and nifty ways to visit London on a budget that each visitor can follow.

Now, one thing that I love most about London is that there is a place for everyone in our amazing city, especially with all the cool areas in London to explore. Honestly, If you want to spend £1 Million pounds in a day or if you want to spend less than £10 a day, London is the place to do it.

So, one of the ways in which I love to travel is to ‘spend and splurge’. This is where I am sensible with my spends but also dapple in all the things I want to do. It’s all about finding the cheapest way to do the things you love, all without spending any extra money.

As I said, London can be expensive, just like most other global cities, but there are options and ways in which you can lower your costs and visit London on a budget.

Take a look, below, at some easy ways to visit London on a budget.

1.) Travel costs in London

Okay, so hover-boards are not yet a thing (obviously), but wherever possible (and that is pretty much everywhere in London), take the Bus/Tube/WaterTaxi/CableCar to get around the city.

Honestly, this is usually the cheapest way to travel if you are travelling solo or with 1-2 other people. Once you start to combine travel with over 4 people, and the journey is less than two miles or so why not grab a private hire car from the likes of Uber.

Now, you can even request a traditional black-cab through their app too for added ‘London vibes. Just be prepared to pay a higher fare for the privilege. 

Another way to save some of that dosh is to hire a London cycle, which Londoners fondly call ‘Boris Bikes’ after the Mayor of London who introduced them.

They are a very cheap way to see the city, with hundreds of pick-up points and drop-off points, dotted all around Central London. Without sounding too much like a parent, be careful if you do decide to cycle in London. It can be a very safe city to bike in, but if you are unfamiliar with the surrounding areas and driving/cycling on the other side of the road it can be a little easier to lose focus. No one wants a grazed elbow! Ouch!

There is another, obvious, FREE way to get around our wonderful city and that’s by walking, of course! Sometimes I notice visitors to the city clamber upon the tube to go 30 seconds to the next stop. Obviously, this is justifiable for some people, but if you can get those feet moving and enjoy the streets of our city.

Plus, walking will be just as quick as the tube once you factor in walking to and from the train. Also, London has some beautiful architecture and is a beautiful city! use your travelling time to take a stroll, soak up some of the historic sights and save yourself some money. It really is one of the best ways to visit London on a budget.

Read more: What to do at every tube stop in London

2.) Finding a hotel in London

In so many ways, this can be the biggest expense in London.

Prices here are aligned to other major cities like; New York, Paris and Hong Kong – but fear not, there are ways you can still save some money and visit London on a budget.

If you like to stay in some epic London hotels and you like the comfort of having your own personal space, consider booking a serviced apartment. This option becomes especially cheap once 3 or more people are staying -as you can share a 1-2 bed apartment.

This way, you can cut costs by up to 30 per cent from traditional hotel prices.

The second option is to search for a deal (which I love). Some hotels offer seasonal discounts when occupancy is lower, so keep an eye out for times when you see an offer.

If neither of these work, hop on sites like Airbnb that has thousands of properties in London. 

3.) Eating in London

Oh, the food… there’s so much variety in London.

Now, everyone knows the economical options of “a sandwich or wrap from the convenience store” – but what if you want to still have very delicious food and restaurant experiences without breaking the bank.

Head to Brick Lane and East London, generally for a value for money meal. After all, this area of London is filled with some of the best curry houses in London

Many of the restaurants will try and sway you into theirs – just remember you can always barter for a better offer in Brick Lane as there is so much competition. We typically get a few beers added to our meal for free.

It’s one of the only places in London where I have found you can do this.

Another option for economical food is at Camden Town Market and all the other markets in London. Here, there is a range of food stalls and small restaurants with offering every type of food you can ever imagine.

Think; Thai, British, Hungarian, Polish and otherworldly cuisines that will make your mouth water and your pocket happy.

It really is one of the easiest ways to visit London on a budget and keeps costs down. 

4.) Visit like a Londoner

Want to take a river cruise but the cost seems pretty steep? Well, there are some easy hacks to get a much cheaper river cruise across the Thames that most locals know all about.

Hop on the Thames Clipper which is run by Transport for London and head to Royal Boroughs like Greenwich and other areas of London.

You can board and pay using your Oyster card with costs being significantly lower than a river cruise. You still see all the sites, landmarks and history, just on a different boat, making it an easy way to visit London on a budget.

As for destinations like the London Dungeons, The Aquarium and Madame Tussauds – there is nearly always ‘2 for 1 offer’ for more commercial sites. This all means that with one full-price ticket purchase, the other person gets in for free.

These offers are usually on cereal boxes (check within food-stores like Tesco or Sainsbury’s) or with your train tickets, too.

Plus, remember that The British Museum,  The National Portrait Gallery, The Tate Modern, The Victorian and Albert Museum, The Imperial War Museum, The Natural History Museum and The Science Museum are all free to enter. You can spend weeks in these places, making it an easy way to visit London on a budget.

Read more: Best areas in London to visit

5.) Join a festival in London 

Another great way to save money and have an action-packed filled day is by visiting London when there is a festival on.

There are many great festivals all across our city, from; the New Years Day Parade, the Notting Hill Carnival, Pride and the Chinese New Year celebrations, to boot!

If you’re looking for a chilled afternoon and you don’t want to spend too much money on the book you have always wanted to read – why not head to the British Library, It’s one of a select few libraries in the UK that has every book, ever published. It’s honestly a perfect place for bookworms and a great way to explore and visit London on a budget.

Read More: Pride In London

6.) Fund Your Night Out

 No night in London is ever the same, trust me on this! There are so many awesome places to explore, even if you’re looking to visit London on a budget.

Many bars/live venues charge a cover fee at the door, this can sometimes be countered by arriving at the gig early when they host free entries up until a certain point.

Another way to keep costs low is to buy your ticket in advance. If you have a talent, there is another way you can have a perfect night out without spending a dime. Take part in a comedy evening or sing a few sets of your songs. Or, how about Sharing poetry?

Whatever the gig, there are some easy ways to visit London on a budget for a night out.

Read more: Best areas in London to visit