It is no secret that London can be an expensive city; research suggests that it is one of the most expensive cities in the world to visit and yet millions of tourists continue to travel there each year which perhaps indicates that it needn’t be as costly as you might first think. Certainly, if you are looking for a lavish and luxurious city break, you can indulge in London but there are also a number of ways to discover the very best of the city without breaking the bank.
Time of Year
The time of year that you choose to travel to London can have a huge impact on the overall cost of your trip. The cost of your flight, train and accommodation can be vastly reduced just be choosing to go outside of ‘peak’ times in the UK. These generally include school holidays, summer months such as July and August and December when Christmas arrives in the city. That said, you don’t need to miss out on some of the better events just because you are trying to travel in low season. For warmer weather and the chance to see some of the major events which arrive in London, visit in September; schools in the UK will have recommenced so it will be quieter and there is plenty going on in London during early autumn. For Christmas fun and festivities try heading to London towards the end of November or in early January; these are still considered ‘off peak’ months but a lot of the festive fun arrives in late November and hangs around until mid-January.
Look for Good Deals
Planning a trip in advance is always the best way to secure cheaper deals when it comes to travel and accommodation so if you know you have time to look around and see what deals can be found then this is a great way to save money. However, even last minute breaks can sometimes be found at a good rate, especially if you go on third party websites for last minute hotels and break packages. There are plenty of good quality, good value accommodation options in London, whether you are on the hunt for hotels near Hyde Park or you want to stay somewhere a little further afield so it pays to take a little time and see what deals can be found online.
Tour the City
Much of the heart ofLondoncan be explored on foot and there are even free walking tours which you can take to help you fully explore and discover all that the city has to offer. One point to note, however, is that the free guided walking tours aren’t actually free; you are required to make a donation based on how good you thought the tour was but this can still be significantly cheaper than booking tickets for another walking tour. Alternatively, there are a number of apps you can download which would allow you to create your own walking tour ofLondon.
Londonhas some truly world-class attractions and the best part is that a number of them offer free entry for members of the public. If you are staying at the Grand Royale London Hyde Park Hotel then you will have a number of these attractions within walking distance, including Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens, Speaker’s Corner and some of the bigger museums in the city like the Natural History Museum, the Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum. Then there are the popular markets, the parks and gardens, the art galleries and so much more that you can see and do in the city without spending a single penny.
Eat on the Cheap
Unfortunately we don’t have any tips for how to eat at a Michelin-starred restaurant on a budget but we can offer advice on how to eat well on a budget. Street food sellers are becoming increasingly popular and are great ways to enjoy home-cooked food without the price tag you would find in a restaurant; these can often be found at the larger markets in London such as Portobello Road, Borough Market, Camden Market and Greenwich Market to name a few. Alternative options include simply heading away from the main tourist areas, such as Oxford Street and Leicester Square, to find those restaurants and cafes which don’t charge a fortune or making use of the many supermarkets which are located all across the city and generally offer meal deals where you can pick up a pre-packaged sandwich or salad, a packet of crisps or a snack and a drink for a fairly reasonable price.
Even if you opt for a travel card or a Visitor Oyster card, the cost of travelling around zones 1 and 2 in London using public transport can quickly begin to add up. Don’t be fooled into thinking that the tube map is to scale; much of the City of London and even Central London can be explored on foot if you don’t mind walking for 20-30 minutes to reach some of the more popular landmarks and attractions. The best part about walking is that you also never know what you might come across whether it be a hidden gem of a coffee shop, a street performer or an attraction you might not have heard of before. If you do need to travel around London then a Visitor Oyster card is the best and most cost-effective way to do this. It costs £5 to get the card and then you top it up with credit. The £5 can be refunded to you if you return the card at the end of your trip along with any remaining credit and there is a daily cap so once you reach that cap you won’t pay any more for your travel that day.