From free attractions to combination tickets, explore London on a budget with our top money-saving tips. You really don’t have to break the bank when visiting one of the most expensive cities in the world
Buy The London Pass®
The London Pass allows you free – often with fast-track – entry to more than 90 top London attractions, including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge Experience, ZSL London Zoo and so much more. With two years to use your pass, you can keep your plans flexible. Find out more.
Buy a Visitor Oyster Card
The Visitor Oyster card is your ticket to exploring the city and covers all your transport needs. It’s simple, easy to use, and activates upon entry at any ticket barrier. Just tap in on the circular yellow card reader and tap out again when you finish your journey. Top tip: If you buy The London Pass® and travel package, your electronic Visitor Oyster card will be pre-loaded with credit to match your London Pass duration.
Travel in style
Although you’ll want to use public transport for longer journeys (see above), central London is ideal for walking or even cycling using the city’s Santander Cycles scheme. This way you see more sights and get some exercise and may even happen across some hidden gems on your journey. Top tip: It’s actually faster to walk between stations such as Covent Garden and Leicester Square – especially at busy times.
London’s free attractions
Many of the capital’s top museums and galleries are free to visit. Tate Modern, National Gallery, British Museum, Natural History Museum, and so many more! Charges may apply for special events and displays, but you can see the permanent world-class collections completely free of charge. Remember London’s outdoor spaces too – Hyde Park, Kensington Gardens, Hampstead Heath…the list goes on.
Eat for less
Eating out, especially as a whole family, can be expensive wherever you go. But there are heaps of cost-saving and tastebud-pleasing options all around London. Head to Borough Market (aka foodie paradise) for a freshly cooked lunch, or Chinatown for authentic Chinese food. For more fantastic Asian food on a budget, try Dim T, Marugame Udon or Yokocho – they have branches across the capital. Need to satisfy that sweet tooth? Creams Café is an ice cream sundae, waffle and crêpe heaven. Plus, the portions are huge!
Book online in advance
If you don’t think you’ll do enough sightseeing to warrant a London Pass, you can still save by booking online and in advance. For example, London Eye tickets are up to 20% cheaper online and you can even buy a combination ticket – see the London Eye and 2-4 other attractions for a fraction of the price.
Visit the theatre for less
Did you know you can see an authentic Shakespeare play for just £5? Buy a standing ticket at Shakespeare’s Globe for most productions. Alternatively, find standing tickets for productions at the Royal Opera House or the Royal Albert Hall. For last-minute tickets for West End shows, visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square – you can make huge savings of up to 65%!
London is a shoppers’ paradise and it doesn’t all have to be designer brands and big spending. There are plenty of bargain options. Check out affordable high street stores or search for cheap retro originals at some of the many vintage emporiums. Top tip: Shop at London’s wonderful markets, where you can often haggle for even bigger savings!
For budget accommodation, look no further than London’s friendly hostels, budget hotel chains, B&B’s and even some university halls of residence (if you time your trip with the holidays, that is). Did you know you can camp in London? There are campsites in Lee Valley – one of the capital’s most beautiful and largest green spaces – Crystal Palace, Chertsey and many more.
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