Travelling to London can be pretty daunting; it is an expensive city that may put off travellers on a budget unless you know the lay of the land. With the right tips and money-saving tricks you will find there are plenty of ways to travel on a budget in London. It’s a city rich in history and culture; around every corner is a new curiosity worth exploring no matter the cost. London is a must see city no matter your budget; book a ticket over, you won’t regret it.
Getting around London is likely to be one of your biggest expenses, but also one of the easiest ways to cut costs. It starts as soon as you arrive in London; how do you get from Heathrow to your hotel? There are essentially three options: taxi, express rail, and the Piccadilly Line. The most economical would be the Piccadilly line which will cost you about five pounds but will also take about an hour and a half. Catching a cab is a lot quicker but is very expensive; you’ll be lucky to get away with less than £60. The best option by far is to get the express train to Paddington, about £18 pounds, and then use the tube or busses from there.
The first step in keeping travel around the city cheap is to buy yourself an Oyster, even if you aren’t planning to use public transport that much.It will halve the cost of your ticket and you’ll make up the cost of the card within 2-3 journeys. Another tip which frankly you should be doing even if you aren’t on a budget is making sure to walk as much as possible. Walking is a great way to get to know a city and, of course, it’s free. I would recommend staying at a central hotel, like the Paddington Court London, that puts you within easy walking distance of most of the major sites and shopping destinations in the city.When you can’t walk anymore or your destination is too far it’s time to catch the bus. The bus network covers London comprehensively, gives you a nice view of the city while you’re travelling, and is much cheaper than the tube (it’s a flat fair no matter where you go). The busses are not as fast as the tube, especially when going through the city centre, but they are still a better option if you aren’t in a hurry. You’re on holiday so relax and enjoy the ride.
If you plan to go beyond London and into the countryside then you should invest in a Rail Card for a convenient UK trip. There are a variety of options that will give you a third off all rail fares such as the 16 to 25 Rail Card or the Two Together Rail Card (great when travelling with a partner). Practically any trip out of London will pay for the small cost of purchasing the card.
When to Go
London is at its most beautiful in summer. The parks are green and lovely, the daylight hours long, and the people of London are noticeably happier and more active. Unfortunately summer is also when London is at its busiest. The best recommendation would be to show up in August or September. It’s still pretty warm and the light till quite late, but most of the tourist crowds have gone home and accommodation is a bit more affordable. If you’re after a wintery holiday then January is your best bet for similar reasons.
What to Do
London is quite literally full of things to do. On every corner is a pub, in every street a park, and on every block a museum or gallery. While many of the things to do cost money there are a lot of excellent budget options to keep you busy. Most of the major museums and art galleries around London are completely free, and the few that aren’t are usually only a few pounds.If museums don’t take your fancy a lot of the London night life is affordable, if not actually free, with generally only the cost of a few drinks between you and a great night.The West End is unfortunately generally quite expensive but if you’re willing to get up bright and early you can usually get tickets at quite an extreme discount (usually down to £10) by waiting in line for some of the last minute tickets on sale direct from the theatres. There are lots of ways to have an incredible time in London not matter your budget, so what are you waiting for?