London is huge, and it’s likely that the sites you want to see are scattered around the city. So it’s definitely a good idea to buy a travel card for a day or more, depending on how long you’re staying. An Oyster card for zones 1 – 6 should be sufficient for all the main attractions. A day pass costs £17, and a 7-day pass is £58.6. However if you’re in a group of 3 or more people, the price drops significantly. A day pass for 3 for example, costs only £10.6 each. If you’re traveling to London alone, you may want to consider asking people around you in front of the ticket booth if they would buy a group ticket with you. Since every individual gets a card, you don’t actually need to travel together with your ‘group’.
Not every type of accommodation offers a kitchen, and even though cooking your own food is the cheapest option it’s not always feasible. One basic tip for finding cheaper restaurants applies to all large cities: avoid eating in tourist areas. Any restaurant located in a central location, near a famous landmark or in a tourist area will have inflated prices. However avoiding these places doesn’t mean you have to miss out on a typical British meal.
Fish & Chips: you can find the typical fish & chips for up to £15 at many restaurants in London. While outside the center it can cost you a lot less, this is a large meal and can easily feed two people if you get a lot of chips. Along with typical cod, you can also get cheaper fish options such as calamari rings that cut the total price by up to £4. Most places that offer fish and chips also have delicious pies for around £7. Specific restaurants include: Fish & Chippper at 47 Cranbourn Street just outside Leicester Square Station, Poppie’s Fish & Chips at 30 Hawley Crescent Street near Camden, and St. Georges Tavern at 14 Belgrave Road near Victoria.
If you’re on a budget then it’s likely that you can’t afford to pay £23 and spend hours in line to go up in the London Eye. However there are plenty of free ways you can sight see in London. With a day pass you can take unlimited rides on the subway and see the London Eye, Buckingham palace (watch the changing of the guard), Big Ben, the Tower Bridge and more, without actually paying to go inside.
London is full of beautiful parks including: 350 acre Hyde Park, Bushy Park (where you can meet deer), Park Vista with the Prime Meridian line, and the Wimbledon Common park with ponds and a windmill. There are also free music performances at the St. Jame’s Piccadily, Southbank Central, the Hootananny Brixton and many more.
Free museums include:
- Learn about the history of London at the Museum of London
- The Natural History Museum, which has the skeleton of a T-Rex among other attractions
- Sir John Soane’s Museum offers a free candlelit tour
- If you’re into art then you can’t miss out on the William Morris Gallery
- You can even hold blocks of gold at the Bank of England Museum
Pubs and drinking:
The cheapest option is to buy some drinks in a store and sit outside in a park or by the river. However if you want to experience the atmosphere of typical British pubs then here are a few inexpensive options:
- The Anchor Tap at 28 Horselydown Lane offers beer from £2.70 a bottle and pub food for around £6. There is an outdoor beer garden, and there is a quiz night every Thursday.
- King William IV at 816 High Road offers beer from £1.99 a bottle and British food in the range of £10 and £20. It boasts 15 different beers including real ales. It has blues and jazz nights on Thursdays and screens live sporting events.
- Coach & Horses at 29 Greek Street offers draft beers from £1.85 for a half pint and is an old-school pub with pride in its heritage as a writer’s drinking den.
This is the trickiest part of any trip to save money on, especially if you are looking for a combination of prime location, high security, and comfort. The cheapest options are of course hostels, with plenty of bed dorm options at around £9-10 per night. With a day pass, location becomes less of an important factor, and staying far from the center is a great way to save money.
Airbnb offers prices per night that average £47. However there are many places that you can book for around £20. The great thing about Airbnb is the option of having a room to yourself and access to a kitchen, which can cut food costs. A friendly host can also give you useful tips from a local’s perspective so that you can make the most of your trip.
Total costs when following the tips above:
Approximately £50 a day including: cheap hostel room, group day pass, two meals out and a couple of cheap beers at the pub.