London is well-known for being one of the most expensive cities to live in and visiting isn’t much better.
Despite incredibly affordable rooms at hotels like the Piccadilly London West End, the price of staying in the city can be difficult to navigate, especially on a low income. However, if you’re visiting for a few days and are looking to explore the city with tight purse strings, there’s no need to fear!
There are plenty of life hacks to help you explore the city without breaking the bank and a whole treasure trove of free hidden gems spread across the city. Below are just some of our top tips for visiting the city on a budget.
London museums are often free
London is one of the best cities in the world for culture and history. Dating back two millennia, the explorations of the British around the world has led to quite a collection of art, artefacts and more which can be found in museums throughout the city.
From Darwin’s taxidermy in the Natural History Museum to the archives of the British Museum, London has collated ancient collections of natural, human and artistic history. For a three-day extravaganza of free museums, try South Kensington’s Museum Row for a triple whammy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum, all of which offer free, interactive and family-friendly permanent exhibits.
So are the galleries
Visiting the historic National Gallery will have you absorbing 800 years of international artwork, whilst the Tate Galleries exhibit modern and up-and-coming art.
If you’re on the lookout for recognisable faces throughout history, then the National Portrait Gallery is the one for you. If, on the other hand, contemporary art floats your boat, the Saatchi Gallery in West London and the Serpentine Gallery in Hyde Park will satisfy your hunger.
Travel and Oyster cards
Traveling through London is easy, especially if you’re staying downtown. Think that’s out of your budget? Don’t worry! There are plenty of West End hotels with special offers. If you can’t find a deal and find yourself spending a lot of time on public transportation, make sure you save money by avoiding peak times.
Between the hours of 7:30 PM and 9:30 AM and 4 PM and 7 PM, the prices on public transport increase by about a third. To avoid this, travel at off-peak hours when the trains and buses will be far more comfortable to travel in, especially during the summer months.
Explore the city centre on foot
Alternatively, if you’re able to and are staying central, you have a great opportunity to explore the city on foot. Whether you’re staying at hotels near Piccadilly Circus or you’re near Hyde Park, walking the city can give you a fresh perspective and a street-level view of the city’s world-famous ambiance.
World class entertainment on a budget
Many comedy shows in the city operate on donations and can give you a glimpse of some of the best up-and-coming comedians on the London scene. They need the practice, especially in the lead up to the Edinburgh Festival!
For show-stopping theatre on a budget, you can find West End theatre show tickets for as little as £12.