Monday, 23 May 2011

A Budget Conscious London Tourist Guide

Visiting London doesn't have to break the bank. Here are some travel tips for the budget conscious.


Eating in London can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are plenty of ways you can save money when out sightseeing. While eating out can be enormously expensive here, groceries are generally cheaper than they are in the states. If you aren't up for packing your own lunch, most grocery stores (Sainsbury's, Tesco, etc.) and drug stores (Boots, Superdrug, etc.) offer a wide selection of sandwiches, many available for only £1. Find one of the many lovely parks to sit in and have yourself a lovely little picnic. You could even buy yourself a beer or bottle of wine to enjoy with your meal as drinking in public spaces isn't illegal here as it is in the states. You can get a four pack of beer or bottle of wine for around the price of a pint in the pub. (If you're super cheap you could even pick up some Sainsbury's Basics beer for 99p!)

Another budget friendly option would be to eat at a place like Pret A Manger that offers wide variety of reasonably priced sandwiches (made fresh daily). A sandwich, chips, and a drink at Pret will run you around £5 or £6.

Even if you are on a budget, you can't pass up eating at a pub while in London. A pub meal will generally cost you around £15 per person (assuming you only have one pint). If you keep an eye out for deals and special offers, however, you could get away with much less. For example, our neighborhood pub, The Landor, offers their entire lunch menu for £5 every weekday! There are most certainly similar offers around London, so keep your eye out!


Every tourist has their list of "must-sees" while in London. If you don't have yours yet, check out a site such as Time Out or Rick Steves' website to compile your own list.

Most of the museums are free/donation only; you could spend a week in London just exploring the many amazing museums and art galleries! However, it is hard to pass on some of the hardcore tourist attractions such as the Tower of London or the London Eye. While totally worth the money, neither of these attractions are particularly cheap (around £20 per person). However if you order your tickets online (and this is the case for many London attractions) you can get a slight discount.

Another fun way to save money while in London would be to sign up for websites such as Groupon or Living Social and keep an eye on them in the months/weeks before your trip. These sites offer serious discounts on dining and activities that could be fun while you're here (I just recently saw a traditional tea service offered for 60% of the regularly advertised price!).


London is an incredibly easy city to get around. The tube and a pair of comfy shoes can generally get you anywhere you need to go (unless you're traveling with a baby. In that case you should consider bus travel as the tube stations aren't particularly easy to navigate with a stroller). Getting an Oyster card will not only allow you to get a discount on tube and bus travel, but will also let you look like a local at the tube turn styles. ;) An Oyster card costs £3 (you purchase it for £13 but it comes with £10 on it). I would budget around £5 per day for travel if you're planning on tubing around a bit.


Here is an idea of what you can expect to spend per day in London:

breakfast: £5 for pastry and coffee/tea
lunch: £1 to £15
dinner: £7 to £20
travel: £5
activities: £0 to £20

So you could probably budget around £20 to £50 per day depending on your food and activity choices. Of course if you are staying at a place where your breakfast is included (Chez Hungerford, for example) you can get the price down further.

For your viewing pleasure, here are some pics from the flight Jason and I took to on the London Eye in 2009:

Feel free to post your thoughts/ideas/questions in the comments section below this post!

1 comment:

  1. I plan on taking Charlotte to some art galleries and some shopping trips while I'm there. I hope she will enjoy the art as much as I do! Can't wait to see London, you and Jason and especially Charlie!


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