Squeeze the most out of your trip to London with our top money-saving tips. And the best bit? Many of these affordable options are way more fun than pricey alternatives!
1. Get a Visitor Oyster Card
Possibly the best way to save money in London is by getting yourself an Oyster Card travel smartcard for the city’s fantastic public transport system. Using a Visitor Oyster Card is more than 50% cheaper than buying one-day paper Travelcards or single tickets with cash (order one before you arrive to start saving immediately!).
Insider tip: Visitor Oyster Card holders qualify for a range of food, drink and other discounts and special offers.
2. Leg It!
Although you’ll want to use public transport for longer journeys (see above), Central London is ideal for walking or cycling using the city’s “Boris bike” scheme. This way you see more sights, get some exercise and may even happen across some hidden gems on your journey!
Insider tip: Especially at busy times, it’s actually faster to walk between stations such as Covent Garden and Leicester Square.
3. Free Attractions
London has a host of amazing free attractions and landmarks that you can visit without spending a penny. These include top art galleries and museums including Tate Modern, Tate Britain, National Gallery and British Museum, and outdoor spaces such as Hyde Park and Hampstead Heath.
Insider tip: Don’t miss free spectacles such as Changing the Guard.
4. Cheap West End Tickets
Seeing a West End theatre show doesn’t have to be expensive. Buy your tickets in advance for big discounts. You can also visit the TKTS booth in Leicester Square for cheap, last minute tickets.
Insider tip: If you know what you want to see, try lining up at the theatre for stand-by tickets and returns. More tips on buying theatre tickets.
5. The London Pass
The London Pass gets you in free (often with fast-track entry) to more than 60 top London attractions including the Tower of London, Westminster Abbey, London Bridge Experience and the Thames River Cruise.
Insider tip: Get a 10% discount on the London Pass when you buy it through us.
6. Book Online in Advance
If you don’t think you’ll do enough sightseeing to use a London Pass, you can beat the queues and save on ticketed attractions and exhibitions by booking online and in advance. For example, London Eye tickets are up to 20% cheaper online.
Insider tip: Plan ahead as tickets are often issued in time slots.
7. Happy Hours
For a money-saving night out, keep an eye on pub happy hours or get yourself along to one of London’s many student club nights. With drink promotions, two-for-one deals and more, this is a great way to enjoy yourself without breaking the bank.
Insider tip: Ask at your hostel and check online for the latest student club information.
8. Small Shows
London has thriving live music, comedy and cabaret scenes. And the great thing about these smaller productions is they’re usually a lot more affordable than traditional theatre shows or big-name music gigs.
Insider tip: Cabaret shows crop up in some amazing and unexpected bijoux venues.
9. Cheap Eats
For affordable food, look out for chain restaurants, buffets and traditional cafes. In fine weather, you can purchase pre-made sandwiches from supermarkets or shops such as Pret A Manger and Eat, and dine al fresco in one of London’s lovely parks, gardens or courtyards.
Insider tip: Take a packed lunch to More London for some of the best, free sightseeing in town!
10. Bargain Shopping
London is a shoppers’ paradise and for those watching the pennies, there’s plenty of bargain options. Check out affordable fashion in high street stores such as Primark or search for cheap retro originals at London’s vintage emporiums.
Insider tip: Shop at London’s wonderful markets, where you can often haggle for bigger savings!
11. Sleep Cheap
For budget accommodation, look no further than London’s friendly hostels, budget hotel chains, B&B’s and Halls of Residence (as long as you time your trip for the university holidays!)
Insider tip: Did you know you can camp in London?
Check out this video for more tips:
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