There are no two thoughts about London being one of the most expensive city in the world. Where a decent cocktail doesn’t come under the price tag of 8 pounds, taxi rates are more than double the standard rates and hotel rates are not worth the mention. But still, there are quite a few ways to see London on budget.
While through the range of free London attraction you can not only meet dinosaurs and creepy crawlies (Natural History Museum), see portraits of Tudor monarchs (National Portrait Gallery), travel back to the Battle of Britain (Royal Air force Museum), see Darwin’s walking stick (Wellcome Collection) and the Lord Mayor’s 18th-century gold coach (Museum Of London) but also you can save some money for the little expensive but must do experiences in the city.
To help you to frame your best London itinerary here’s our selection of the best and cheapest ways to explore and experience best of London whilst sticking to your budget.
1) Get an Oyster Card
If you are planning to stay anywhere than Central London then you have to travel to all the attractions and the best way to travel in London is through the tube/trams/buses. Buying a ticket every time may cost you more than double the price. Whereas Oyster Cards have a daily cap, so if you make more journeys than expected, you’ll still never pay more than the cost of a day Travel-card. Visitor Oyster cards have a non-refundable £3 fee when you purchase. Contact-less payment cards do not carry these £3 fees. As fares are identical on Oyster and Contact-less Cards for the short term visitor to London contact-less cards are theoretically going to be £3 cheaper than Oyster over the duration of your visit.
2) Better Travel In Bus
Though Tube is most efficient transport, but bus is cheaper. The better way to see the city will still be walking. But since London is huge and you cannot walk in everywhere – hence you can always take bus. London buses now doesn’t provide per travel tickets, so it’s better to either use your oyster card or if you are going to make multiple bus journeys on a day then its best to opt for a day pass for bus which will cost you £5. Its dirt cheap if you are planning your most travel by bus and if you compare the price with Tube (££) or black cabs (££££).
3) Use free WiFi
Turn off your internet pack as soon as you land in a foreign land – this is an advice that goes without saying. But do remember to keep your WiFi on, as you can use widely available free WiFi to keep in touch with your loved ones at many cafes, shops, and most importantly the old telephone booths converted into free public WiFi stations (much cheaper calling someone via WiFi than phone – try Viber, it’s a great WiFi telephony app).
4) Consider the area where you choose to Dine
Your meal expenses in London will heavily depends on where exactly you are planning to dine. There are many zones in London that are just way too expensive to support a simple eatery, so the only options will be restaurants for business people and high-end tourists. The best thing would be to have your meals in a less touristy areas, like areas near Bayswater which is full of restaurants/pubs of almost all types of cuisines. Here I have dined a couple of times in Curry Palace Indian Restaurant which served authentic Indian food of good quality and was quite affordable. Or you may go to areas near Marble Arch Station (or the Edgware Rd.) which is basically home to Middle Eastern community. There you can find numerous affordable restaurants, some even offer free WiFi like Beirut Express
5) Stick with the many free attractions
While in other European cities the most important museums cost around £10 each for an adult, but London offers dozens of choices that cost absolutely nothing. So skip that expensive trip to Tower of London in favor of the British Museum, the Victoria & Albert, and the Tate Museum.
6) London’s West End Theater’s Scene
Go to the one on the south end with the permanent structure as I was told by a theater box office person that they sell their best available seats. While they promote half-price tickets, not all tickets are half-price but still you can crack a good deal buying tickets through window instead of online.