Visiting London on a Budget

If you are planning a trip to London but have a tight budget, don’t worry!  There are lots of things to see and do which won’t cost a penny and if you know what you are doing a budget holiday in London is possible!  Before you go it is wise to make a plan of what you want to do and when so you know how much you can expect to pay.

Photo by Oxfordian
Photo by Oxfordian


Most of the money you spend during your trip to London will be on accommodation, especially if you opt for a hotel stay.  Even a pretty run down bed and breakfast in central London can cost around £50 for the night and a nice hotel in a central location is going to set you back at least £100.  If you want to cut these costs down you have two options – you can either book a bunk in a hostel dorm which will set you back around £15 a night or you can book a hotel outside of the city centre and travel into London each day.  For a nice hotel on the outskirts but still within tube range, you will still be looking at around £30-£40 per night.


There are numerous transportation options in London but if you want to travel around on a budget, by far the best way is by Tube (the London Underground).  You can either buy a one way Tube ticket which will take you from A to B, a day pass or a week pass.  These get cheaper per trip as the time increases so if you are planning on doing a lot of travelling and will be in the city for a while, opt for a week pass.  If you will be in London for longer than one week you might want to look into a pre-paid Oyster Card which can make your travel even cheaper.

Be aware though that the Tubes stop in the early hours of the morning and don’t start up again until around 5.30am.  Taxis are ridiculously expensive and so a bus will be your best option late at night.


Want some good news?  Well, a lot of London’s main attractions are free.  Most of the museums, art galleries and parks can be visited at no cost at all, and there are so many of them that a week would not be long enough to visit them all.  Attractions like the London Eye, Madame Tussauds and the London Dungeon all cost money but you can usually save quite a bit on the entrance fee if you book beforehand… and on top of that, window shopping is also a great option and you don’t need to spend a penny – Harrods and Hamleys are great places for this as are the markets and Carnaby Street.

If you want to visit numerous attractions and are willing to do it all in one day, you might want to look into going on a city tour.  Numerous companies have bus tours and they can be as booked for as little as £15.  This usually includes 24 hours of transport and you can hop on and hop off the buses whenever you feel like it.

Eating Out

Like most things in London, restaurants aren’t cheap although there are options available to you.  All of the usual fast food chains like McDonalds, Burger King and KFC are in the city and meals can be bought from these for very affordable prices.  Pubs are another good option with most meals costing under £10.  Upscale restaurants are going to set you back a lot, and figures of £50 per head are not uncommon.  Other options include supermarkets where a salad or sandwich and a drink can be bought for around £5 – you could always do this and choose to eat in one of the many parks in the city.

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