Visiting London On A Budget? Here Are Some Tips To Get You Started

traveling from london

On paper, London can appear to be a very expensive city. From train tickets to the price of a pint, those visiting from other countries may find, during this period of economic instability, that their money doesn’t go as far as expected. That being said, guests of boutique hotels in London UK can still find plenty of booking deals as well as great hacks for saving money in the English capital.

This blog will explore some of the many ways that visitors can save money during a London trip. From cheap and free cultural attractions to the best ways to save on travel and eating out, this is your definitive guide to a frugal stay at luxury suites in London.

Stay Central

Whilst staying at Westminster or City of London hotels like the Marble Arch Hotel might be a little more expensive than staying at Greater London accommodation, you’ll save cash on transport and travel. Inclusive breakfasts and ease of access to many of the city’s top attractions means that you’ll get more done in less time during your visit.

Of course, this is entirely dependent on the nature of your London trip. For instance, if you’re here to see a football match at Wembley Stadium, then consider booking hotels in northwest London.

Book Off-Peak

Everything from booking luxury hotels in London UK to the price of air travel is a lot less expensive if you plan your trip off peak. From late night and early morning flights to a sneaky long weekend, avoiding periods such as Christmas and the summer holidays will see you save on travel and accommodation.

Oyster Cards And Rail Cards

Oyster cards are blue contactless payment cards that can be topped up with money from your bank account and used for entrance onto the London Underground and bus services. It’s worth buying one for several reasons. Whilst you can pay contactless with your bank card, the Oyster card allows you more control over your travel expenditure. Furthermore, if you own an under 30, under 26 or senior railcard, you can link it up to your Oyster card and get a third off off-peak train fares.

Are Travel Cards Worth It?

Travel cards are linked up to Oyster cards (mentioned above) and provide access to Underground and bus travel in the applicable zones. With six London zones to choose your travel between, prices will vary accordingly.

The travel card can be bought for one day, a week and a month. It’s worth remembering that day travel cards, whilst they might save you money on paper, are actually about 20 pence more expensive than the daily cap on single fare journeys. To make the most out of a travel card during your stay, you’ll want to purchase a week-long travel card and use it at least 3 times a day for 6 days.

Peak Time Travel

Peak time travel (the hours of 6am to 9.30am and 4pm to 7pm) is around a third more expensive than off-peak travel. If you’re trying to save money during your trip to London, consider avoiding these hours on the London Underground. A good deterrent is to frame peak time travel, when the tube services are a lot busier, as 33% higher price for a doubly uncomfortable journey!

City Hopper Bus Deals

It’s not all doom and gloom for rush hour though. Buses at all times of day operate on a City Hopper fare. This means that if you take two buses within an hour of each other, you’ll get the second journey for free if you tap in with the same card.

Apps That Help You Save Money

Whilst dining out can be expensive in London, there are plenty of digital apps you can download and sign up for that will help you capitalise on great deals and discounts. Below are just some examples.


TooGoodToGo is a sustainable app that restaurants, cafes and food stalls can sign up to to generate profit from waste. At the end of the day or between meal time and manu changes, businesses can charge a massively discounted price for leftover stock that would cost more to store till the next day or would otherwise go to waste. From £3 lunch deals at Spitalfields street food stalls to a roast dinner at a Toby’s Carvery for a third of the price, this app is a great way to save money eating out or on the go, if you can make the pick-up times for the discounted meals.


With a review platform as well as discounts, TodayTix offers on-the-day and rush sale ticket offers for West End shows in the city. Often working on a first-come-first-served basis, this app provides heavily discounted tickets for what are often near-sold out shows.

Free Things To Do

Not only are there apps available for discounted activities, but plenty of free ones too. Indeed, you could spend an entire holiday in London without spending a single penny on attractions.

London’s Free Museums

London’s free museums are celebrated institutions that often surpass the quality of their ticketed competitors. Thanks to charity statuses, London’s free museums include the world-famous British Museum, one of the largest human history museums in the world. You can also enjoy the trio of South Kensington Museums  – the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and the Victoria & Albert Museum of Design. These beautiful heritage sites are teeming with interactive exhibits and enough content to keep you engaged for a whole day, if not longer.

Free Art Galleries

Aside from temporary exhibitions, many of the art galleries in London are free to visit. The most famous are probably the Tate Modern, housed within the Bankside Power Station and the Tate Britain in the Pimlico area. Alongside these, visitors can enjoy the contemporary art galleries the White Cube, Newport Street Gallery and the Serpentine Gallery.

Royal Parks

With 8 royal parks across the city, these historic reserves are diverse in their landscapes and teeming with history. All of them were originally built as private grounds for royalty throughout the ages, but all are now open to the public. The most central of the Royal Parks include Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens which border Buckingham and Kensington Palace.