London is a lovely city full of historical buildings, eye-catching structures, and splendid attractions. However, a touristy place like this may cost you a fortune, especially if you are coming from a different country. The same as for the people already living in the UK, it is a bit costly for them to have a holiday in the said city. Compared to some other cities, the cost of living in London is about 10-20% higher. So here are tips how not to break the bank while in the city:
1. Early bookings will always help you save money. Airlines and hotels give you higher rates when you book few days before your planned date. I suggest to ring them up or do it through online months before your intended date of visit.
2. When in London, make an itinerary before you go out exploring. Most of the attractions are in the Central London. There are free maps in the hotel lobbies or just look on our friendly Google map. Knowing which places to go will not only help you save time but also money from riding public transportation around the city.
3. Get a Visitor Oyster card for transport. London does not have jeepneys around, but they do have public transportations like the underground tube, buses, and trams. This card covers all of these transportations going to most tourist attractions around the city.
- you can get a 50% discount when using Visitor Oyster card for a Tube journey (£2.20 with Oyster per journey compared to £4.70 with cash)
- it offers daily capping which means you can ride the tube for a maximum of £6.50 each day and then the rides are free after that
- it is accepted on every London public transport, including discounted fares on riverboats
- when your credit is not enough, you can still use it for your last fare (on Tube, not sure about buses, though)
- you don’t need to queue at the ticket office
- you have choices of what type (or how many days) of cards you need (e.g. 1-2 days, 3-4 days, seven days or a month)
- if you will be traveling with kids under 11, they will be free. 11 to 15 years old needs a Visitor Oyster card and you can get a young person discount from the station.
- you can order it online and pick up at the airport as you arrive
For more information please click this Visitor Oyster cards link.
4. If you want to visit and enter most of the attractions (with fees) in the city, the London Pass would be good for you. I wouldn’t say it will be cheap, but if you really want it, this pass will give you discounts on entrance fees as well as riding sightseeing bus. You don’t have to buy a Visitor Oyster card because it is already included in the package. They also have suggested itineraries for three days.
5. Know the places with no entrance fees! Not all the museums and attractions in London have fees. They have parks that you will definitely love as well. It won’t cost you a dime, and you will be close to nature!
6. Be healthy and just walk around the city! Every part of the city is interesting so walking around will be exciting (unless you have kids who moan all the time). As what the second tip said, as long as you know the places you want to visit, you’ll figure out the streets going to your next destination.
So far, these are the tips I can give based on my experiences. TAKE NOTE: public toilets are not free in most places, so I suggest you keep pennies in your pocket in case of emergencies. Next blog will be about how to understand the complicated lines of London underground tubes.
Here are some places to visit in London:
St. James Park
The Regent’s Park
Diana Princess of Wales Memorial Fountain
Museum of London
Imperial War Museum
Madame Tussauds (Wax Museum)
Natural History Museum
Tate Modern (Modern Art Gallery)
The National Portrait Gallery
London Transport Museum
London Film Museum
Victoria and Albert (V&A Museum)
The London Dungeon
Warner Bros. Studio – Harry Potter World
CINEMAS AND THEATERS
Leicester Square Theatre
The London Theatre
GREAT ARCHITECTURES AND ATTRACTIONS
Tower of London
The London Eye
The Big Ben
The Houses of Parliaments
The Shard (skyscraper)
St. Paul’s Cathedral
The City Hall
St. Mary Axe (skyscraper)
Please visit this Gallery for more photos!