London is regarded as one of the best cities on the planet, but let’s face it, all the praise comes at a significant cost. Living in London is known to be incredibly expensive, and it’s the same for travellers and tourists to the city – everything costs a lot of money.
Or does it? Sure, if you plan on staying in a top London hotel or an awesome apartment you find on Airbnb, it can hit you in the pocket. And there are a huge range of attractions that cost a small fortune just for entry – let alone for the food and drink you will need to sustain you. But there are some simple ways to what you want in London that won’t cost the earth.
With this in mind, for today’s travel guide, we’re going to take a look at how to do London on a shoestring budget. As you will see, you don’t have to spend your entire life’s savings to take in all this massive and magical city has to offer. Read on to find out how you can get around the UK’s capital city without ruining your finances.
Buy a map and walk
No matter which way you look at it, travel and transport in London can be excessively expensive. But here’s the thing – it’s also relatively unnecessary. All you need is an up to date map and a pair of good walking shoes and you will get around al the central locations and sites of interest with ease. Taking the tube or grabbing a black cab isn’t just expensive, either. It means you will miss out on all the little details that make London so unique. On one street you will find cobbled paving that has existed since long before Victorian times. And on the next, you will have your breath taken away by the very best in super modern skyscraper architecture. When every street has its own little story, why miss out on the full details by going underground and travelling via the packed, unfriendly nightmare of the Tube?
Get on your bike
OK, so London may not be the safest city in the world for cyclists – but things are getting better. You will find bike banks all over the place, and it’s super cheap to pick one up and leave it at your next destination – plus, of course, you will see so much more of the city than you would be travelling by rail, tube, bus or car. Cycling will get you from A to B pretty quickly, too – you often see cyclists travelling faster than car drivers in the UK’s capital! Just make sure you and your travelling companions are wearing helmets and safety gear, as well as taking great care to avoid any accidents, which crop up all too often, sadly.
The London campervan experience
Campervans and London might not seem like an obvious mix – but it works! The beauty of campervans is that you can travel anywhere you like without having to fork out for accommodation, and it’s no different in the nation’s capital. Your best bet is to find a service that lets you compare campervans in London or get one from your hometown and drive in from there. Of course, there might be safety concerns with staying in some London areas, so use your campervan wisely and head out to the outskirts of the city each night so you can sleep soundly and with peace of mind. Ultimately, when you experience London by campervan you can dip in and dip out, working your way around the entire city over the course of a long weekend.
The hostel experience
Feeling sociable and looking to meet other travellers from around the world when you’re in London? A hostel is your best – and most affordable – option for accommodation. There are lots of dirt cheap and very friendly travel hostels in London, and as long as you don’t mind sharing your room with other travellers, they can be awesome places to stay. Backpackers from all over flock to these places, and you will never be too far away from finding cool people with interesting stories to tell. Plus, of course, sometimes it takes someone from foreign climes to really tell you the truth about your capital city!
Now, let’s take a look at some of the incredible things you can do and see in London without spending a penny. The broad collection of museums are the perfect starting point, of course. The Natural History Museum is a must-see for any tourist to the city – as is the Science Museum. The British Museum and Museum of London are also amazing places to visit – as is the ever-popular Victoria & Albert. All of these places have free and permanent collections which will take you over a day to see, so you will ever be short of things to see. Prefer the outdoors? London also has a vast array of parks – all of which are free to explore. Hampstead Heath is well worth a look, as it sits on a hilltop and offers you incredible views of the bustling city. Check out Regent’s Park, too, and the rolling hills and lake of Battersea Park. But really, there is plenty to see in London without going anywhere specific. Just walking around capturing the sights and sounds is enough for many travellers, and throw in a visit to see places like the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament will take the best part of a day.
OK, so there you have it – some great ways to see London – and do some impressive sightseeing – while you are on a shoestring budget. Sure, the UK’s capital city can be an expensive place – as is the case for capital cities all over the world. But ultimately, all it takes is a little forward planning and a map, and you will find there is plenty to see and do that will cost you virtually nothing. Any more tips on how to do London on a budget? Feel free to leave them in the comments section below!