Pages - Menu

23 Dec 2013

Top Tips for Visiting London on a Budget


With its abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants, world-class theatre shows and billion pound properties, it's no wonder that London has a reputation as being a little pricey. However with free museums, amazing street food and great value London holiday accommodation all on your side, there's plenty of ways to make the most of your trip to London without making your credit card cry. 

If, like many of us, your New Year's resolution is to tighten your purse strings and spend a bit less, here's just a few of the ways to save money in London:


1. TRAVEL

Whilst taxis can be tempting for any London first-timers who don't know their Kensington from their Kentish Town, tubes and buses are the way to go if you want to save your pennies.

Our clients are often asking us for London travel tips and the first one would definitely be to buy an oyster card. For a £5 refundable deposit, you'll be able to get around the city, on trains, buses and tubes, must cheaper than it would be for single or return fares. However, do plan out how far you are planning to travel in advance as it may be cheaper to purchase a day travelcard which will allow you unlimited travel until the end of the day. Also make sure to avoid peak time (06:30-09.30am and 16:00-19:00) when fares are more expensive and tubes are packed like sardines.

It's also free to hire one of the 'Boris bikes' dotted around the city for half an hour at a time but make sure you're experienced at cycling on the road before you hop on one. Also, never underestimate the power of walking as stations on the tube map often appear much further apart than they actually are.




2. SHOPPING
Whilst Harrods, Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges have put London on the world map as a shopping destination, they all have one thing in common: they're expensive!

To get the very best bargains, you need to venture off from the well-trodden pavements of Oxford Street and head to London's markets to hunt for some hidden gems. Venture over to Old Spitalfields Market for antique treasures and vintage clothes or to Camden Market for kitsch souvenirs and gothic fashion. You can see some more of our favourite markets here.

Fashionistas with a penchant for designer clothes but a limited budget should keep an eye on the various sample sales occurring throughout the city where you can get your hands on high-end fashion for low-end prices. Also be sure to check out quintessentially British chain stores, such as Topshop and Marks and Spencers.


The Music Room


3. ATTRACTIONS

Your bank account need not fear when it comes to entertainment because there's a huge choice of cheap things to do in London. For example, many of London's best museum and galleries are free. Therefore, you can go and meet the dinosaurs at the Natural History Museum; see Vincent Van Gogh's 'Sunflowers' at the National Gallery and visit the Apollo 10 Command Module at the Science Museum without even having to get out your wallet.

Whilst some of London's top attractions do charge a large entry fee, there's some great free alternatives if you scratch a little under the surface. Swap a pricey trip up to the top of The Shard for a climb to the peak of Primrose Hill in Regent's Park for some of the best views over London and trade an expensive visit to London Zoo with a day out at one of London's charming (and free!) city farms.

For cheaper theatre tickets, go to the TKTS booth in Leicester Square where you'll often be able to get your hands on half price performances. Music fans need not shell out for costly tickets either with free Monday lunchtime recitals at the Royal Opera House.

Leicester Square



4. EATING

London has a huge density of Michelin-starred restaurants which, understandably, cost a small fortune to eat in. However, the capital is equally renowned for its amazing range of inexpensive street food and budget restaurants.

We recently summed up our favourite street food markets here where you'll be able to get some of the best ribs in London from The Rib Man for just £7 and the capital's tastiest Taiwanese buns by Bao London for £3.50.

If you're looking for more of a sit-down meal, head away from the main tourist areas into Soho for some of London's best cheap eats. Fill up on a bowl of ramen or a perfectly cooked steak for just over a tenner or tempt your tastebuds with some more of our favourite budget dining restaurants in London. If you're visiting London on a budget but have a taste for fine dining, make sure to research the current deals on websites, such as Toptable or Groupon, for cheaper set menus or keep an eye out for restaurant soft launches where you'll often get 50% off food in the newest and trendiest restaurants in the city.


5. ACCOMMODATION


Aside from flights, accommodation is likely to be where the largest chunk of your holiday budget is spent. However, there are ways to reduce the amount you spend by searching around for the best value deals. Make sure you book in advance for the very best offers and, if possible, be flexible with dates as the many special events occurring in London mean that certain dates will be more expensive and in demand than others.

If you're heading to London soon, consider staying in one of our London vacation rentals. With spacious rooms and homely facilities, they offer greater freedom than cheap London hotels with the option to save your cash and cook at home if you would prefer. For those travelling to London for extended stays or with a large amount of people, in particular, serviced apartments offer much better value for money. Take a look at our Special Offers page for the very best deals on offer.



If you're visiting soon and want to book a London serviced apartment close to these great attractions and restaurants ideal when exploring London on a budget, speak to a customer advisor. Call us on +44 843 298 8820 or email us at info@check-in-london.com for rates and availability.