A visit to the capital of the United Kingdom is a dream vacation for many people who long to travel and see the world, but London is one of the most expensive cities on the planet. That makes it cost-prohibitive for many people unless you learn how to make the most of a low-budget London vacation. There are lots of ways you can get around spending your retirement fund on expensive hotels and restaurants and still get to see the best sites and enjoy the most popular attractions this amazing city has to offer. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of your low-budget London vacation:
1. Try Bed & Breakfast in London
There is no point at all in spending a lot of money on a high-end London hotel when you plan to spend most of your time exploring the city anyway, not holed up in a hotel room. There are some really great guest houses and bed and breakfast inns throughout London and its surroundings that are a lot less expensive than traditional hotels, as well as being comfortable, cozy and friendly.
Many historic homes in London have been converted into bed & breakfasts, and the owners are fonts of knowledge regarding the sights, with tons of inside information on how to explore the city on the cheap. Make your travel budget spread even further with a delicious morning meal included in the price of your room.
There is perhaps no better way to book a room at a good bed & breakfast on a budget than by utilizing the power of the internet. By looking online, you can find the best deal without wasting hours of your vacation aimlessly wandering around. Keep in mind that you can also use the internet to plan your trip to London with Expedia. People from all over the world come to enjoy the rich history of London, especially Australians. It only takes a few moments to find the most affordable option for your trip, and best of all, you can plan that trip on a budget from anywhere with internet access.
2. Ride the Tube
The cost of fuel in London is exorbitant, and it can be nearly impossible to find a parking place, so driving your car in London is not a very good way to save your pennies and pounds. The same applies to hiring a taxi, although if you decide to go somewhere by taxi you can save money by sharing with someone else who’s going in basically the same direction. However, the London Underground can take you to just about any part of the city you might want to go and prices are actually quite reasonable. Don’t be intimidated by the complex lines and multiple stops…just ask a ticket seller and listen for announcements. Buy a Travelcard and save even more on multiple trips.
3. Meal in Markets
One of the most costly aspects of any vacation is certainly dining in restaurants. Although you may want to budget for a couple of nice dinners out, you can really stick to a low budget by shopping for your meals in the marketplaces. Open-air produce markets, meat delis, and grocery shops are the best places to enjoy a variety of local and ethnic cuisine inexpensively. You can assemble a tasty picnic and enjoy a filling meal by wandering through a London marketplace instead of shelling out your dough on a pricey gourmet restaurant meal.
4. Party in Pubs- Not Clubs
One of the quickest ways to blow your budget is to spend an evening in one of the city’s famous nightclubs. It only takes a few outrageously overpriced cocktails to make you wish you hadn’t spent all that money just to be jostled around on a crowded dance floor while your ears are assailed with trendy techno noise. London pubs are warm, authentic, friendly and far less expensive than dance clubs, with reasonably priced beers (served room temperature- not cold) and even cheap, hearty meals.
5. Tour the FREE Attractions
For a city known for being so expensive, London certainly offers a great many free attractions, from museums and art galleries to parks and gardens. The Museum of London is a fabulous place to spend a few hours discovering the history of London since the days of the ancient Romans. You can see some of the most amazing works of art in the world for free at the Tate Modern and Tate Britain art galleries, and the National Gallery offers another outstanding free experience.
6. Take a Walk
There’s so much to see and do in London that you might think you have to run around from one end of the city to another. However, the most enjoyable way to discover the sights is to pick one section and just spend the day walking around. Trafalgar Square is a great place to stroll around with plenty of iconic attractions like Nelson’s Column. On the South Bank you’ll see the London Eye, although taking a ride on this mega-ferris wheel can really break the bank.
7. Enjoy Street Performers
Although the cost of a ticket to a play in the West End is less than the price of a Broadway musical in New York, it still isn’t cheap. However, some really talented street performers provide enjoyable acts and offer free entertainment that is just as pleasing as any high-society production. Covent Garden is a great place for fantastic street performances, and the only cost is whatever you feel like tossing in the hat.
8. Do Your Shopping in Street Markets
The haute couture scene in London is world renowned, and you’ll find some of the most famous designer boutiques on the planet in this city. However, you won’t find any affordable bargains in the high end shops, so why not explore some of London’s popular street markets? Camden Market, Portobello Market and Greenwich Market are not only great places to pick up souvenirs, trendy clothes, antiques and crafts, but they are also lots of fun!
9. Listen to FREE Music
Who says you have to shell out the big bucks for a concert in London? Southbank Centre and the National Theatre offer free concerts, and there are free matinee performances on Mondays at the Royal Opera House. You can also take in free shows on Saturdays at Notting Hill Arts club, and enjoy free lunchtime concerts at St. Martin-in-the-fields.
10. Watch the Changing of the Guard
No visit to London- low budget or not- could be considered complete without seeing the famous Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace, and guess what? It’s free!