How To Do London On A Budget

Being the capital city of England, it goes without saying that London is a very expensive place. From housing, to food… to basically everything. I’ve visited multiple times and I lived there for a year when I was on my uni placement (which was, quite frankly, the most expensive year of my life).

The annoying thing is though, London is such an incredible city – it’s this famous for a reason! Although it’s an expensive place to visit, I loved it during my time there, and I figured out some tips and tricks to save myself a bit of money along the way. These little hacks should hopefully help you to have a successful visit to the capital and stay within your budget!

Book A Hostel/Cheap Hotel

I know what you’re thinking, but bear with me. Yes, some hostels and cheap hotels are grim, but despite the stereotype, not all of them are! I visited London a few years ago and stayed at a hostel called The Phoenix in Marylebone for 2 nights. Do you know how much it cost me altogether? £30. It wasn’t all bells and whistles, obviously, but it was literally just a place to sleep and it meant I had more money to actually get out and experience the city. Have a look around and of course read reviews, and you may actually come across a little place that does the job at the fraction of the price of a hotel chain.

Look Out For Train Offers

Now and then companies like Virgin Trains do flash sales, and they’re the best thing ever. In the past, I’ve got a return ticket from Leeds for £10 and from Newcastle for £20 which is insane! They usually do these about two or three times a year, but as you can imagine, they sell like wildfire so you need to be on it. I’m signed up to alerts for Virgin Trains so as soon as they announce a sale, I’m one of the first to know and can get on it straight away (click here to sign up to alerts).  If there aren’t any offers on, you can always look at advance bookings. The further ahead you book, the cheaper the price!

See The Landmarks

The majority of key things that make London iconic are completely free to visit. Big Ben, Tower Bridge, Buckingham Palace, Canary Wharf….the list is endless! You can take as many pics as you want, and you can really get to explore and discover the most famous parts city without spending a penny. One very famous landmark is The Shard, and you have to pay to go to the top. But I have a top tip: there’s a bar about halfway up called Oblix that you can go in for free! The views are still amazing and you don’t need to pay to see them. It is quite fancy though, so make sure you’re not dressed too causally. And if you want a drink, be prepared to pay through the nose.

London - Tower Bridge

2 For 1 Attractions

Have you seen those vouchers on the Kellogg’s cereal packs? They do them at least yearly. Basically, they’re on the go now and give you 2 for 1 entry to major UK attractions until June 2019, and a lot of them are in London. There’s the Dungeons (which are awesome by the way), Madam Tussauds, The London Eye and Seaworld. Two tickets for the price of one is a major saving so if you want to do activities like this, these coupons are definitely something to take advantage of. Make sure you check use restrictions beforehand, but generally, they’re very flexible and you can use as many as you want. You can find out a bit more about them here.  So, if you’re currently a Nestle cereal kind of person, consider a temporary switch to Kellogg’s!

London - Dungeons

All Day Tickets

All day tickets are the way to go when you’re visiting London. If you’re into open top buses to see the sights, you can buy a day ticket so you can hop on and hop off whenever you like. And of course, there’s the tube which is the quickest, easiest and probably most popular way to navigate London. If you buy singles to separate destinations, at the end of the day you’ll see you’ve spent an absolute fortune. Just buy one day ticket in the morning and you’re set for a full day of exploration!

Do All The Free Stuff

Besides the landmarks, there’s great activities you can do for free in London. The National Gallery and The Natural History Museum are just a couple of the fabulous, historic places you can visit. You can literally spend hours exploring these places, they’re just incredible. One of my favourite free places in London is Primrose Hill, especially in the summer. You can make up a picnic and have a really chilled time camped out on the grass overlooking the entire London skyline. I saw the fireworks from there one New Year to avoid going into the city centre, and it that was really cool!

London - National Gallery


London really is a fantastic city, and one of those places that should be on your bucket list if you haven’t been already. Some people may think that it’s impossible to put “London” and “Budget” in the same sentence, but actually, if you’re smart about it, you can visit and not have to spend too much money at all – I did!


    • budgettravelbugs

      Thank you! I love London too – it’s such a great city. The 2-for-1 deal is definitely a hidden gem! I’m glad you found tips helpful and hope you get some use out of them 🙂

  • Richard Bailey

    Loved the post. Thanks for all the tips. I have wanted to visit London and England in general but have always heard how expensive they are. The day tickets for the bus and the tube are excellent suggestions, I know when I’ve been into the city here, I get a day pass for the subways and it’s so much cheaper and easier to just hop on and off whenever and however much you want. This post will def be bookmarked in my travel folder to come back to.

    Thanks again!

    • budgettravelbugs

      I’m really happy that you enjoyed it and found it useful 🙂 It’s always lovely to get good feedback! If you manage to visit London in the future, I hope you enjoy it!

  • Maike

    Great tips! London is my very favourite city. I try to go there as often as possible. I never heard of the hostel Phoenix but it sounds super cheap and well located. I would love to try it next time!

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