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 to London? How to save on a trip to 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 to save on a trip to London?
In this post, you are going to find some tips to enjoy the Queen’s Land without emptying your pockets. We share tips on how to reduce your London trip costs, some ideas on how to save in London without sacrificing fun. Assuming that you already have your ticket to London, let’s start with accommodation.
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 in London
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! We use TrustedHousesitters to find house & pet sitting gigs.
Airbnb in London
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.
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.
My favourite? The Wallace Collection!
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.
And the attractions in London? How to save?
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.
Have you travelled there? How much does it cost to travel to London in your style? Share your tips?
Authors: Julie & Drew
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!