Let’s imagine you’re coming to London. Let’s imagine you’ve used all my great guides to plan your trip (insert shameless plug here) and now you’re probably wondering how you can do all those great things without spending to much. Lucky for you I’ve put together a list of tips to help save a few pennies during your trip to London because let’s face it, every little helps, doesn’t it?
Here are 12 great money saving tips for your trip to London!
1. Walk where you can
I know this sounds like a stupidly easy one to put on the list but London is such an easy city to walk around that spending you money on travel would just be a waste. Yes, of course you’ll need to buy travecard if you are heading from one side of the city to the other but if you’re staying central you are much better off not buying a travelcard and just walking! What I love about walking in London is that every corner you turn there is another beautiful building to see, a food market to smell or some very talented busker to hear – it’s an experience you just don’t get when you’re stuck on public transport. TFL have this very helpful walking map which shows you which stations it’s quicker to walk between rather than getting the tube. Cool, huh?
If you’re coming to London to see one or two sights then the London Pass is not for you! However, if you’re coming to see all the iconic sights then the London Pass will save you a lot of money. If you haven’t heard of it before it’s a sight seeing credit card which gives you entry to London’s top attractions for one set price. I did a whole blog post about the London Pass so if you want to read more about it and find out if its right for you click here.
3. Seek out cheap theatre tickets
What are day seats I hear you cry? Day seats are usually 6-10 seats in the theatre that they hold off to sell at a reduced rate. What’s the catch? Well, these seats are only available at the theatre box office on the day of the performance you want to see. The box offices usually open at 10am but I’d recommend getting there early to secure your ticket. This list by Theatre Monkey shows you a comprehensive list of all the theatres that do days seats. Some also do daily lotteries that you can enter either online or at the venue.
4. Find the cheap eats
Next to NYC, London if the food capital of the world! If you’re visiting London you’ll want to try out all the good food it has to offer but at the same time not spend ridiculous amounts of money. Lucky for you London has some brilliant cheap eats. You’ll find some suggestions of good budget eats on my guide to must eat restaurants for first time visitors.
5. Take advantage of the Free Stuff to do
There is plenty of free stuff to do in London that is actually really good. I’d suggest the museums and galleries of which most of them are free, the markets to marvel at & nice walking routes to take. We also have some iconic shops to do some window shopping at like Harrods and Liberty’s! This article by Secret London has lots of great suggestions.
6. Use OpenTable or Bookatable
When you want to eat out but you also don’t have the biggest budget, looking at websites like Opentable or Bookatable are great because they usually do offers or set menus that are at a reduced rate to a usual menu. Also, if you have a restaurant in mind that know you want to try, have a look at their menu online to see if they do a cheaper version at a certain times of day. Cheeky little tip there!
There’s a bit of a catch to this one because Airbnb can be very expensive – that’s if you look for entire houses. If you’re really on a tight budget there is the option to stay in a room in someone’s house and it can be a lot cheaper. If you think about it, when you’re on holiday you’re actually not in the hotel very much anyway & mostly only there to sleep.
8. Take advantage of happy hour
Drinks in London are expensive – that’s one thing you need to learn quick! Happy hours are a perfect opportunity to get money off drinks or even twp for the price of one! Here are a few suggestions of how to drink cheaper in London…
- Drink Up London – Shows you all the good bars for every occasion.
- Be At One – does great cocktails and they have quite a few locations around London. Plus if you download their app you can extend the happy hour by one hour!
- Drinki – an app that gives you some great exclusive offers and even free drinks!
10. Use the bus as your sightseeing tour
Instead of buying an expensive open top bus tour, find a bus route for just £1.90 which goes past all the iconic places like Big Ben, Downing Street and The Royal Courts of Justice. Bus routes 9, 11 and 24 are great ones.
11. Make a plan & do your research
Before going on holiday I always do a plan and research what I want to do, see and eat on my trip. One of the reasons I do this is so I see everything I want to see but the main reason is to make sure I only spend on the things I want to spend on. Think about it – what if you walked straight out of the hotel, found a random breakfast place and spend £15 on something not so good when you could’ve done a bit of research and found the cafe around the corner was a lot better and a lot cheaper. I’m not saying you have to plan every second of everyday but just have an idea. My blog on how to plan your trip in 4 easy steps should help!
12. Don’t take a taxi
Taxis can get very expensive very quickly. Not to mention you will probably be stuck in London traffic for long time. Why spend £10 on one single journey when you can buy an unlimited travel card for just £8? See more about the best ways to travel around London here.
13. Don’t eat at ‘tourist’ places
Eating in London’s more ‘iconic’ locations are usually highly inflated in price and in my opinion not worth the money! If you think about somewhere like Leicester Square there are a lot of ‘chain’ places charging £15 for a plate of sub-par pasta. Instead, you could go to a more interesting and independent location like Bermondsey Street’s Flour & Grape and get much higher quality for half the price!
14. Don’t buy daily travel passes – use an Oyster card!
Imagine it’s your first day of sightseeing. You get up and want to head straight to Buckingham Palace. How do you get there? You could buy a single ticket from the machine for £4.90 or instead you can buy a daily travel card which is £8 for a whole day of unlimited travel. Another option would be to use an Oyster or contactless payment card which is £2.90 each way! The moral of the story don’t buy single tickets! Don’t worry, if you’re still confused check out my guide to London transport here.
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