London can be a fairly expensive city to visit, however there are a number of things that you can do to cut costs during your stay. If you select your accommodation and activities carefully, and well ahead of time, you can easily explore the city on a budget. Keep reading for five tips that will show you how you can enjoy yourself without spending much at all.
Photo by Fernando Bueno
Rent an Apartment Instead of a Hotel
Hotel rooms can be very expensive, especially if you choose to stay within the city centre. A better idea, especially if you are travelling with your family, is to rent an apartment. Apartments can be found throughout the city, so you are sure to find one in a district you prefer. Prices are also very competitive, especially if you travel outside of the school summer holidays, don’t forget to find flight coupon codes in various websites to save a little bit more. Apartments also come with self catering facilities – enabling you to wash your clothes instead of having to pay for a launderette, and cook your own dinner, saving you the cost of eating out.
Buy an Oyster Card
The London Underground is the cheapest way of getting around the city, and because it’s so extensive you should be able to get to anywhere you want to go. Instead of buying daily travel cards, however, it’s a better idea to invest in an Oyster Card. These can save you as much as 50% on the cost of your tickets, especially during off peak travel times. There are two different types of Oyster Card available. The Visitor’s Oyster Card is the ideal option, as it offers you discounts on travel in addition to discounts at certain attractions and restaurants. It does, however, need to be bought before you arrive in London. The second type of Oyster Card is the standard card that only provides discounts on travel. Note: you cannot use an Oyster Card on the Heathrow Express or Connect services.
Book Attractions in Advance
It’s much cheaper to buy tickets to attractions in advance, instead of buying them on the day. You can also, sometimes, get fast-track tickets, enabling you to enter the venue before those who haven’t yet purchased tickets. Everything from the London Dungeons to the London Eye can be booked in advance, and you can even purchase a London Pass to help you save more money on the city’s top attractions. Oh, and if you are visiting with the aim of seeing a West End show during your trip, check out the deals on London theatre breaks by theatrebreaks.com.
Check Out the Free Attractions
London has so many things to see and do that you may be surprised by the amount of free attractions there are in the city. Lots of the city’s museums are free to enter, as are many of the art galleries such as The National Portrait Gallery and The Tate Modern. London is also home to numerous parks, which can be the perfect place to spend an afternoon, especially during the summer months. These can be a great option for families who don’t quite know how they want to spend all of their time in the city.
Know Where to Shop
Whilst most people visiting London will choose to visit Oxford Street and Knightsbridge to do their shopping, and it can be a fun experience, these are the most expensive shopping areas in the city. Instead, why not visit Portobello Market in Notting Hill, or Camden Town – both of these areas are culturally unique, and also have a great selection of items for sale that are much more individual than the shops in the city centre can offer.