London on the Cheap

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Mar 31, 2015 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

London – one of the world’s capitols, and one of the world’s most expensive cities. But it doesn’t have to break your bank – here are some tried and true tips for saving money in London. And if you find something to splurge on, well, you’ll have the cash.

 

London on the Cheap!

Wikimedia Commons: Juergen Rosskamp, adapted by Wandering Educators

 

Activities & Attractions

You have probably heard of the London Pass – which allows you to visit up to 60 different attractions for one price (who needs sleep?). This article from cheapflights shares a great list of things to do under 20£.

If you’re taking the train from anywhere, London has a 2for1 deal on many attractions.

Touristy things that are free include the Changing of the Guard, the Ceremony of the Keys at the Tower of London, the Houses of Parliament, and hanging out at Trafalgar Square (where there are also free events).

 

Changing of the Guards

Photo: Heather Robinette

 

Music

There’s free music everywhere! St. Martin in the Fields often provides free concerts at lunchtime (grab a sandwich from the Crypt café underground there, if you dare!). Check Time Out London for timely free music events.

 

hit the Crypt cafe after a free concert at St Martin in the Fields. From London on the Cheap

Crypt Café, St. Martin in the Fields Wikimedia Commons: Oxfordian Kissuth

 

Museums

There are hundreds of museums in London – and some are free! Be sure to check out the Natural History Museum, the Victoria and Albert Museum, the British Museum, the Science Museum, the National Gallery, Tate Modern (and Tate Britain), the National Portrait Gallery, and the Museum of London – all free.

If you have some extra change, consider a small donation at the door.

 

The British Museum. From London on the Cheap

British Museum. Wikimedia Commons: Ham

 

Theatre

Did you know that buying directly at the theatre’s box office can save you money (especially at the last minute)? Try that!

Also, get out of the West End (the main theatre district), buy preview tickets, try standing room only (especially at the Globe Theatre), find promotional codes on groupon or other promotion sites/newspapers, and keep your eye on each theatre’s twitter and facebook pages, if there’s a particular show you’d like to see on the cheap.

 

London's Savoy Theatre. Tips from London on the Cheap

London Savoy Theatre. Wikimedia Commons: Andy Roberts

 

Films

Here’s a fun one – love movies? ShowFilmFirst offers free previews of new movies! Just register to get notifications.

 

Eating

Take advantage of lunch buffets to fill up – and then walk it off!

Often, grocery stores have great meal deals.

Fish and chips is an affordable meal (and delicious).

Ethnic restaurants are often inexpensive – be sure to explore Brick Lane and Southall. And you know we love street food and markets – buy something and then have a picnic in the park!

 

Fish and chips - from London on the Cheap

Fish and Chips! Photo: Heather Robinette

 

Transportation

Buy the Oyster Card to save on transportation costs. Buy one at the airport, take the tube into London, and you’ll have already saved some cash!

You can also do the bikeshare with Santander Cycles – it costs 2£ per 24 hour period, but you can ride for free for 30 minutes.

Walk! You’ll learn a lot about London by walking it.

 

Transportation tips - London on the Cheap

Wikimedia Commons: Kevin Poh

 

Accommodations

There are hostels, airbnb, homestay, and plenty of discount accommodations available.

If you’re going to be in London during university breaks, consider staying at university housing. It’s really, really inexpensive.

 

 

What will you do with all the money you save? (I suggest spending more time in London!)

 

 

London!! From London on the Cheap

Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0