How to Explore London on a Budget


London is one of the most impressive cities, not just in the U.K. but in the entire world. However, it’s also a bit on the expensive side.

This doesn’t mean you should throw in the towel and postpone your trip to the Big Smoke. You can get a taste of this iconic city by exploring budget-friendly events and localities. None of which will burn a hole in your pocket.

There are many other ways to have an unforgettable yet affordable experience. This article will give you a few tips.

Method #1 – Go on a Healthy Walking Tour

Physical activity is the key to staying healthy, and there’s no reason to pause your exercise regime when in London. One of the healthiest ways to explore the Square Mile is on foot.

Besides the health aspect, taking a hike is also budget-friendly. Think about it – you won’t have to spend a dime on pricey car rentals or taxi rides, which can be well over $40.

The money saved on transport can be used for something else. For example, you could get better accommodation and have a dish at the restaurant of your dreams.

Another perk of traveling on foot is that you’re not restricted to large streets only. See a quaint pub down a narrow alley? There’s no need to waste hours looking for parking. Simply walk in, grab a beer, and have a chat with the locals.

Method #2 – Take the Public Transport

If walking isn’t an option, but you still want to keep your budget intact after your visit, consider public transport. From busses to the underground, London has an incredibly well-developed transportation network you can use to travel practically anywhere.

Most importantly, it’s relatively affordable, especially if you’re visiting London in a group. For instance, a group travel card costs $12.81 for adults if you only want to explore the first six zones of the city. If you wish to check out all nine zones, you’ll only need to pay $0.77 more. In other words, each person spends just over $1 for the ticket, making it a real bargain.

Method #3 – Book Your Accommodation Outside Downtown

Staying in Central London is a dream come true. It’s also incredibly convenient, as every major landmark is just three or four miles away. Want to admire Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace? It’ll only take you a few minutes to get there.

But guess what – the convenience comes at a price. Many landlords charge well over $200-$300 a night, which is why Central London accommodation isn’t an option if you’re on a budget.

A much better alternative is to book your stay outside the downtown area. Fulham and Islington are just two of your options, both of which are affordable yet relatively close to Central London. Once you find a suitable room or apartment, you can explore the rest of London on foot or via public transport.

Don’t forget – the subway network comprises all London zones, so there’s no need to rent a car or invest in other, more expensive means of transport.

Method #4 – Rent a Bicycle

Although car rentals are out of the question for thrifty globetrotters, this doesn’t mean every form of renting is unavailable. Bicycle rentals are convenient yet affordable.

For instance, renting a bicycle is a great money-saving tactic because some providers charge as little as $2 for this service. You can find one at pretty much any corner since there are nearly 800 docking stations throughout London.

Just think about it – you get to see one of the most stunning places on the planet from up close while staying active AND saving money. Triple whammy!

Method #5 – Avoid High-end Restaurants

Dining is a big part of any trip to London. One of the reasons the city attracts swarms of tourists is that it features fantastic restaurants with a variety of cuisines. After all, London is a multicultural giant, and it makes sense why you can try dishes from all over the world here.

With such a rich food landscape, indulging yourself in a number of high-end restaurants might be tempting. But remember – you’re not in London for your annual splurge. You want to return with a few bucks in your pocket, and you won’t be able to do so if you’re not careful with your eating.

Thankfully, there are many inexpensive alternatives to exclusive restaurants. Fast food joints are dotted all over the city, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding an affordable meal. Additionally, consider buying ingredients at one of the 9,000 grocery outlets in the Greater London area and making food in your hotel room.

Method #6 – Discover the Wonders of the Local Markets

When someone mentions London, the first thing that comes to mind is awe-inspiring landmarks, a diverse population, and modern architecture. Still, the city has retained some of its rustic charm before the industrial revolution, mainly thanks to the local markets.

In addition to their traditional vibe, they can also be your best friend when saving money. Not only are they hotspots for cheap food, but they also feature innumerable stalls. Therefore, whether you want to eat or buy a unique souvenir for a low price, local markets should be your destination.

Method #7 – Try the Off-season

London attracts masses of tourists all year long, but some times are busier than others. For instance, summer and Christmas holidays are when most people go to the U.K. capital. As a result, you can expect higher prices during these periods.

If London is on your bucket list, and the time when you visit the city isn’t paramount, opt for an off-season stay. Spring and fall are prone to rainfall, but the prices pale in comparison to those during the rest of the year.

London and Budget-friendly Travel? It’s possible!

London is expensive, but it’s not out-of-bounds for frugal visitors. Follow the above methods, and you’ll have the time of your life without spending too much money. You’ll return with a nearly-full wallet and, more importantly, memories you’ll cherish for the rest of your life.


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