Our London Guide is all about keeping money in your pocket and helping your enjoy this intriguing city while doing London On The Cheap.
London is especially well suited for art and cultural lovers who are on a budget, but the city can be enjoyed by anyone, regardless of the amount of disposable income that is in their pocket. By utilizing the follow tips, you’ll be able to optimize your budget while still experiencing the trip of a lifetime.
London’s tube and bus systems are very efficient ways to travel around town, and you can even get a discount if you pick up a prepaid Oyster card. Oyster cards are available for both travelers and residents, and they tend to provide a better value than tourist discount cards and the London Travelcard.
Oyster cards can be purchased online before you leave for London. There are dozens of online retailers, such as Rail Europe, who sell the Oyster card and offer shipping to various countries. If you don’t get one in advance, however, you’ll be able to easily obtain one at a train station in London. The Oyster card covers all of your public transportation needs, such as using the tube or a city bus, and you’re only charged for the amount of travel that you actually do. As a bonus, there is a daily cap in place, and this is very helpful for those who are spending a day hopping on and off the tube. Some tourists opt for the Travelcard or the London Pass with an attached Travelcard instead, but the benefit of using the Oyster card is that you don’t have to commit to a set amount of money up front. For example, the Travelcard is purchased by the amount of days that you’ll be using it, instead of the amount of trips. If you only take the tube a couple of times one day, then you’ll have wasted some money. For a more detailed side-by-side comparison of the Oyster card and the Travelcard, visit: http://www.londontoolkit.com/briefing/travelcard_oyster.htm
Another popular way to get around the city is on foot; while you might not be used to doing a lot of walking if you’re from a country that doesn’t utilize a vast subway system, London’s residents are unlikely to own a car. Make sure you’re prepared by wearing a very sturdy and comfortable pair of walking shoes, such as the type that you can get online for a great deal by using an REI coupon code.
Hostels are plentiful throughout London, and they’re a perfect choice for those who need an extremely inexpensive room. HostelBookers.com is a very useful website in securing accommodations. If you have room in your budget, however, you should consider renting a vacation apartment. The cost is typically similar to a hotel room, but an apartment comes with the advantage of having a fully equipped kitchen and laundry facilities. The money that you can save by not needing to eat out will allow you to experience more of the city. VRBO.com is a great resource for apartment and condo rentals.
Another budget friendly option is staying at a bed and breakfast. Many of them offer significantly lower rates than a hotel. Some of the best ones are located on the outskirts of London, however, so be sure to take your location needs into account before you book a room. There are several resources available online that will help you locate a bed and breakfast, including EasyBedandBreakfasts.co.uk. You can also check out Airbnb.com, where locals put up listings of the rooms that they have available on a per night basis; you’ll be able to see pictures of the available rooms, meet the owners and easily find pricing information.
Many of London’s iconic landmarks require waiting in a large line and purchasing an expensive entry ticket. In order to save time and money, you can experience these landmarks from the outside. The architecture in London is stunning, and it is more than worth the trip simply to be able to study it in person. Guided walking tours also allow you to learn about the city’s history without spending an arm and a leg. Not only are walks environmentally friendly and good for you, but they can be very informative, too. Walks.com is the best resource for discovering which guided walking tour is right for you. If you’re determined to also get into several landmarks, however, the London Pass provides you with a good discounts. In order to truly get a great value, however, you have to be committed to visiting a lot of the places that are covered by the London Pass.
Art and Museums
London places a big emphasis on art, and almost all of the major museums and art galleries offer free admission. It is more than possible for an art lover to spend a week in London without ever paying an entrance fee, and this makes London an extremely budget friendly destination. The most notable free museums and galleries include the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Tate Modern. A listing of free museums and art galleries, along with several other free London attractions, can be found on LondonForFree.net. There are also several other free and discounted options in London, including museums that are not about art, such as the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.
Those with an interest in street art will also find several awe-inspiring examples in London, particularly from Banksy, a world renowned graffiti artist whose work can be found on random buildings. Street art enthusiasts have collaborated to keep an updated Google map of Banksy’s London work, but keep in mind that changes can happen overnight: http://maps.google.co.uk/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&om=1&oe=UTF8&msa=0&msid=106840029761599860484.00043e2db5162c1cbc318
Music and Summer Festivals
Those who visit London in the summer will have the opportunity to experience multiple different free concerts and festivals, ranging from small neighborhood events all the way to large annual events. ViewLondon.co.uk provides an updated and comprehensive listing of both types of events, along with information about everything else that is currently going on in the city. If you’re interested in learning more about free concerts in London, visit: http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/whatson/free-music-festivals-in-london-feature-roundup-3990.html. For information on summer festivals visit: http://www.viewlondon.co.uk/whatson/free-summer-festivals-in-london-feature-roundup-3978.html.
The tips above are a good starting point for those who wish to experience London on a budget, and they showcase how easy it can be to have a rewarding vacation without the need for a lot of money.
About The Author: Marianne is a seasoned traveler and has traveled to over 10 countries!