How Much Does It Cost to Travel in London?

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Has been a while that we don´t visit London. Back in 2008 we travelled to the Big Ben city twice and I remember that we spent quite a lot of money on those trips. So to give us a glance of how much does it cost to travel in London nowadays, we invited another travel couple that lives there, to give us insider tips! This time we are not sharing our travel costs, but actually getting useful advice on how to travel to London on a budget. With the words Julie & Drew, from Drive on the Left! Thank you guys!

London! It’s a massive metropolis. One of the world’s financial centres. The hub of many of the world’s passengers. Home to fish and chips, Wimbledon, the Queen and too many pubs to count. It’s also one of the most notoriously expensive cities in the world. But actually, how much does it cost to travel in London?

Many long-term travellers and vacationers choose to skip London altogether because the cost is just too daunting. Is it even possible to experience this city on a reasonable budget? Or are we all doomed to spend every pound on a tiny, overpriced hotel room? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

So, how much does it cost to travel in London? 

On our post about how much does it cost to travel in London you are going to find some tips to enjoy the Queen’s Land without emptying your pockets. Assuming that you already have your ticket to London, let’s start with accommodation.

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» Cheap accommodation in London

Frequently the most expensive part of a holiday, in London the sky is the limit if you want to really splurge on a fantastic hotel. But if you’re like us and want great, budget friendly digs to rest at night, there are a few options to check out.

Housesitting – Nat and Rob have already covered their experience with housesitting  and we are also huge fans of this amazing way to see the world at a fraction of the cost. As London residents with a dog, we use housesitters every single time we leave town. We’ve met all kinds of great people and you can’t beat the price tag – absolutely free, once you’ve signed up as a member of one of several reputable sites!



Airbnb – Am I the only one who thinks that Airbnb  is taking over the world? These days, there are literally thousands of flats for rent in the London area, in all shapes and sizes. The best prices are found once you expand your search beyond the centre of town, but no worries. This city is very well connected by transport and you’ll have no issues making your way back in to see the sights. 

Same Hotel, Different Neighbourhood – If you prefer a hotel, another way to save big bucks in London is to stay at a location that is a little further afield. In a recent search I did, I found 24 Hilton brand-owned hotels in Greater London. The average price per night of hotel rooms at those properties ranged from £75-£275 per night. That is a massive swing for similar properties and service. Have a look at Hotels Combined for good deals.

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» What about the food in London?

As in many big cities, there are lots of great value restaurants to be found in London. My favourite resource is Time Out London, which actively compiles good value restaurants and sorts by neighbourhood, so you’re never left without an option.

Another good bet is to duck into one of the thousands of neighbourhood pubs for lunch or dinner. They typically have full food menus, with typical pub fare (think burgers, fish & chips, and salads). A burger and a pint at a local pub will keep you full for most of the day and you’ll be fully immersed in London culture at its best.

One of the most traditional food activities in London is afternoon tea. Afternoon tea, if you’re not familiar with the concept, includes tea, scones with clotted cream and jam, finger sandwiches and a tray of small desserts. It is truly a feast and English scones are to die for. They are buttery and nothing like the doorstop American version I grew up on. However, at the high end hotels, tea can set you back £50 or more per person! Several recent publications reveal the best values for tea in the city.

London Hotels in Sight 

Telegraph Uk 

Time Out London 

My favourite? The Wallace Collection!

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» Let´s talk about Pints & Pubs in London

How much does to cost to travel in London? It all depends on how much you gonna drink! 😉

Speaking of pubs, here’s the lowdown on how to experience one of London’s key features. Pubs exist on nearly every single street corner in the city. I’m not exaggerating at all when I say that. Most are on corners and many hang flowers in flower baskets. You can see them a mile away. The good news is that the quality is really similar from pub to pub. The beers on offer may differ a little, and the food menus may vary a tiny bit, but ultimately, you cannot go wrong if you duck into a pub for a pint or a meal. That said, there are a few that I’d recommend.

There’s a bit of a controversy in town as to which pub is the oldest. One of my favourites in the running is the Olde Cheshire Cheese [note: no website, but TripAdvisor is here], which has been running continuously since the 1600s. It’s located on Fleet Street, the original centre of London, and is definitely worth a visit.

Londoners tend to get emotionally attached to the pubs in their neighbourhood. In my neighbourhood of Islington, I love to spend an afternoon outside at the Crown, or the Albion. Both have great outdoor spaces and are full of character.

I also have a soft spot for the Wilmington located in Exmouth Market, one of my favourite tiny streets in London. I like to go to the Wilmington for a big Sunday lunch [theirs is definitely one of the best in town] and then sluggishly wander up and down Exmouth Market, checking out the tiny boutiques and eventually making my way home.

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»And the attractions in London?

Finally, a category in which London rocks! Nearly every major museum in London is absolutely free. Yes, it’s true. You can waltz into the British Museum for fifteen minutes to see a mummy and then scoot out the door. Or, if you happen to be in Trafalgar Square, duck into the National Gallery during a short summer rain and browse to your heart’s content. So, how much does it cost to travel in London and have fun? Not much if museum is your thing!

If the theatre is your speed, London has dozens of theatres, small to large, and on a range of budgets. For the big production, Broadway-style shows, head to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for discounted same-day tickets. Or get a broader sense of all the shows playing at the London Theatre website and book directly with one of the smaller shows during your visit.

London is a fantastic city to visit, and one that has something for everyone. With a little planning and perseverance, you can definitely explore this city without breaking the bank. How much does it cost to travel in London? It all depends on your style of travels and how much you are willing to spend.  But I´m sure with those tips your pounds will stretch a little bit more.

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Have you travelled there? How much does it cost to travel in London in your style? Share you tips?

PS: If you like this post and want to know more about London and Julie & Drew, check out their blog, Facebook and Twitter. On  Drive On The Left you gonna find great travel tips and inspiring tales! One more interesting travel couple to follow!

77 Comments

    1. Hey Pati!!
      House sitting is an awesome idea, we are big fans of looking after a pet and house, and get the chance to stay for free in a nice place. Check out our blog post about it, and you can get discount membership on our links! Sweet!!
      Thanks for sharing your video!
      All the best,

      Nat

  1. We come from Australia so anywhere we travel is not too big a shock. cost wise even with our lousy exchange rate. We used Airbnb in London and had a great apartment. We also loved how many sites and museums were free.

  2. I L.O.V.E London! 🙂 It is like a second home to me as I had spent a few years living there and still also go back there quite regularly. I love the museums, especially British Museum, because not only they have great collections and exhibits, but also they are mostly free to visit, like mentioned above.

    As for accommodation, I’ve noted that the areas around Bayswater & Paddington do have some nice small budget hotels and the location is not bad either, easily within walking distance to Hyde Park and Oxford Street.

    And as for theatres, sometimes booking the tickets online in advance could work out cheaper too, especially if you’d like to have a good seat.

  3. There is no denying that London can be an expensive city to visit but really is it any worse than the likes of Paris, Berlin, or Zurich? Happy to see you give some positive information for travelers as to skip a visit to London would be such a loss for anyone.

    1. Hi Sue,
      We found Berlin one of the cheapest capitals in Europe and London the expensive one, with Paris coming close in second.
      But with a good research and contacts you always can find a good deal.
      Cheers,

  4. London is my home and yes it can be very expensive but it doesn’t have to be. Great post!

    The main trick for cheap food and trick is going down a side street. Main streets take advantage of tourists 🙁

  5. I’ve been twice to London and it wasn’t as expensive as I would have thought but still pretty pricey. That’s one of the reasons why I put off a return there, it just costs so much! But on the other hand it’s definitely worth the money!

  6. London can be very expensive for accommodation and eating out. Attractions tend to be better for people on a budget. Lots of museums and great places for free and then there’s Groupon for good deals. Its a great city to spend a few days but if you want your budget to stretch out longer on a UK trip, head North to places like Newcastle and York!
    Thanks for sharing

  7. Good overview – people are very quick to jump to the conclusion that London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, and sure, it CAN be, though it can also be very cheap if you’re willing to make it that way. There are so many free attractions throughout like the museums, the parks etc, and there are great deals and transport cards etc to make everything else cheap too.

    Throw in couchsurfing or Airbnb and you can really sort out quite a cheap London trip!

  8. Great wrap up of visiting London on a budget. It’s certainly not one of the cheapest cities to visit but like any big city there are tons of ways to avoid spending too much money. I lived there for a few years and found it quit tough at times because there is so many awesome things to see and do, pubs to visit and clubs to enjoy. Wish I had known about a few of the things you mentioned back when I was living there.

  9. London has always been an expensive city to visit, but with the new options such as Airbnb you can really keep your costs down. We, too, really enjoyed staying our in a neighbourhood (We chose Hampstead) and loved eating in the ethnic cafes that it offered.

  10. London is a place my husband and I will definitely visit within the next few years, so I am always collecting tips. Thanks for sharing yours. We don’t drink, so buying alcohol won’t be draining our wallets, but it’s good to know there are many ways to save money.

  11. How interesting that this is your post, as we’ve been travelling long term, and are in London right now!

    Compared to Australia, food and alcohol is actually reasonably cheap in England, so I’ll skip that point (obviously not when compared to Sth-East Asia or Central America), but accommodation is the hardest part.

    Travel however offers a great solution… the people you meet!

    We’ve spent a good portion of our past 3 months across Canada, the USA & now England in FREE accommodation, as guests of the wonderful people we’ve met on the road! 🙂

    1. Hi Chris,
      So you are on the spot!
      I`m surprised that alcohol and food are expensive in Australia than in London.
      That`s true, we have met so many nice people on the road and everybody invites to visit them in their hometown.
      Cheers!

  12. Good tips! I don’t drink so I never thought to visit a pub but I learnt from your post that pubs are more than drinking places. I think it would be nice to have a meal there with friends. I’m glad that most museums in London are free. I love museums.

  13. I usually do long weekends in London so we splurge out! Although I am so cheap that I never pay ridiculous amounts on accommodation or food (maybe booze!) We had our first Airbnb experience in LDN for a festival, it was great to be so close to the grounds, no hotel could offer us that!

  14. Great post, Robson.
    I love exploring London but budget is always an issue. From where I live, a travel card on the train is almost £30. Ouch!
    I’ve found the best, cheapest and most simple way to explore is by foot. My favourite thing is to walk along the canals which lead you past thousands of canal boats, off the beaten track good (and cheap) pubs, and quirky shops. There is one walk that takes you from Warwick Avenue Tube Station through Little Venice, Notting Hill, past London Zoo and through a little gap in the wall in Camden Market. I’d recommend! 🙂

  15. As i started reading I was wondering how much? It seems like in 2008 London was cheaper than in 2014, but some of how expensive you think it i depends on the exchange rate to your own currency! Ours is much lower now than it was then against the GBP. I do love how all their museums are free! One of the few place sin the world and given how expensive and difficult it is to get tickets to some places- I think they are doing something right!

    1. You are right Elizabeth!!
      How much in does it cost to travel to London is always a big surprise. Our currency [Brazilian Real] is almost nothing comparing to GBP, so travel to UK for us is always an expensive adventure.
      The big thing is, if you want to travel to London, there is always you can minimize some costs and even save some pounds. As my husband say, free museum means more pints 😀
      Thanks for stopping by!

  16. Expensive experience, I should say. However, if you stay there for a long time, you wouldn’t feel that it’s really too pricey. However, based on my experience, I didn’t like the food in London too much. It’s not really appealing for what it’s worth.

    1. UK Food is always a challenging!
      Many of my friends that travel to London tell me the same. I kinda got used with it [I lived for two years in Ireland, neighbour country, but almost the save cuisine] but I have to admit that for the same price you get a huge and delicious meal in other countries across Europe!

      All the best,

      Nat

  17. I’m from London but now travelling around the world.

    A sure called open table is great for finding restaurants deals, even for many of the top top restaurants.

    Love and the road are right about accomadation, the prices are high. Try looking for places in East London, zone 3-4, the hotels can be much cheaper and some of these zones have hostels.

    One good things about London is that most of museums are free.

    As for drinking and partying get to bars and clubs before 9 or 10 for free entry and avoid the west end as most of these places are way over priced, try clubs and bars in Brixton, they have a better crowd and more reasonable prices.

    To save money on cabs late at night use uber.

    Look out for cheap food markets in leather lane, near Chancery Lane station which is an easy walk to holbon and Covent Garden.

    1. Hi Dave!!
      Thanks for sharing those great tips!!
      Loved the ones about hotels/hostels and especially the one about the bars! Nothing better than insider tips!!
      Will keep all them in mind for our next trip!
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Nat

  18. These are great tips! I haven’t been to London yet but I’ve been wanting to visit though. I heard that it can be quite expensive so glad to know that it can be done on a budget. I love visiting museums! and I will love it even more if I visit in London since it’s free 🙂

  19. Hi! I’ve been to London a couple of times. Yep, it’s not cheap and every year it gets more expensive, unfortunately so does the public transport like the tube! My advice, walk wherever you can, if you can’t buy a daily travelcard off peak or if you’re staying longer an Oyster card for a week. You can take advantage of numerous free museums and galleries but if you go somewhere with an entrance fee e.g the London Eye, buy your tickets online to get discount and to avoid waiting in queue. For hotels, you can check special deals or discounts on certain dates and arrange your trip accordingly. Food, hmm, alternate between breakfasts from supermarkets and fine dining!:))

    1. Great tips Tanja!!
      If you are stay more than a few days the Oyster card is a must, and I love the idea of saving on breakfast to spent a little bit on a fine dine!!
      Great, thanks for sharing your travel tips to London! All the best,

      Nat

  20. Many thanks for sharing this with us. I’m going to London next week and the tube is going to be my main transportation. Didn’t know most of these and your tips are going to be pretty helpful.

  21. No way around it, London is expensive, but I love the city so much I come back again and again. My favorite, and affordable area is Putney, feels like a village and yet is so close to central London. A walk along the Thames on a Sunday morning is absolutely free and a great joy.

    1. Totally agree with you Inka!! Some activities are free! Explore the streets of London and the Thames river is an amazing experience and you won´t spend a penny.
      Thanks for you tip, never heard about Putney area, gonna check it out on our next trip!
      Cheers,
      Nat

  22. I’m from London and every time I come back to visit with family I’m reminded just how expensive traveling in London can be. Even with the Oyster card it still racks up if you don’t plan the trips carefully. But central London is very easy to walk around and most of the popular attractions are within a manageable radius. Get walking!

    1. Hi Richard!
      No doubt walk is the best [and cheapest] way to get to know London and enjoy the city! I remember the last time we were there, we only used the Tube to go back home, super tired after exploring the city by foot the whole day 🙂

      All the best and thanks for stopping by!
      Nat

  23. Yes London is so expensive compared to many places around the world. I’m a slow budget traveller so if you want to visit London but are on a tight budget I’d recommend searching for hostels on HostelWorld.com (there’s an HostelWorld app too!) I stayed in London for 10£ per night during the week in an average and quite central hostel, and that included a ‘backpackers’ breakfast too… 🙂

  24. Oh and I walked everywhere! It saved so much money and I saw parts of London that I otherwise wouldn’t have experienced if I spent my time in a hot sweaty tube underground ?

    1. Hi Sandy!!
      Our last trip to London we also stayed in hostels, to save some bucks, but we didn´t get the backpacker breakfast as you! :- (
      Totally agree with you, walk around town is the best way to see the city, save money and also exercise! London is beautiful and waiting for us to explore.
      Thanks for stopping by, happy travels!!
      Nat

  25. Great post. Gosh, I haven’t lived in London since the late 90s! Long time. I often read about the skyrocketing prices nowadays. Very interesting article. I’d love to visit again and see my old stomping grounds in the near future!It is a wonderful vibrant city that reminded me much of my hometown NYC.

    1. Hi Marissa!!
      So glad that you liked the article, specially because you have lived there and you now the city. London is famous for ruining all travel budget, but I still believe you can enjoy this wonderful city without going bankrupt.
      All the best and thanks for stopping by!
      Nat

  26. This post is awesome! Thanks for sharing such useful info. I’ve been itching to visit London again, but with changing prices, it’s sometimes hard to know how much I should budget for the trip. This post will be super helpful to me in planning my next adventure there. 🙂

  27. Great write up. i’ve always dreamed of going to London. But things have totally changed now after BREXIT. maybe should wait while politicians decide whether you are in or out of EU?

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