There really is no place like London; as one of the most vibrant and diverse cities in the world, the heartbeat of the capital draws people in from far and wide.
But with so much to do and see, it is all too easy to fritter away the pennies without realising. So, to avoid cash flow issues and still make sure you experience the best of London, hotel bookers LateRooms.com has put together the ultimate guide of how to do London on a budget.
A thrifters’ Paradise
For fashionistas who can’t quite stretch to the dizzying prices of Bond Street, Carnaby Street is the place to head. Situated just beyond the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street, it is the Mecca for all things urban, vintage and great bargains – perfect for effortlessly cool fashion at affordable prices.
This is one expense that’s easy to forget about but then creeps up and casually breaks the bank. So as much as we all might want to live the quintessential British dream and ride around London in a horse drawn carriage, the reality is a little different.
If it’s a short journey you’re taking, download the Santander Cycles app. You can hire a bike from as little as £2, this is a cheap and convenient way to get around the city, not to mention more scenic than getting the tube.
But if the London Underground cannot be avoided, remember you don’t need to spend hours queuing to top up your Oyster card – contactless cards are now accepted across the network and group passes available if you’re visiting en masse.
Best views for free
The bustling metropolis really is a sight to behold and any chance you can get to see the city’s beautiful vista, we encourage you to grab it with open arms. For a cool £25 you can take in the views of the city from Western Europe’s tallest building, The Shard.
But if money doesn’t stretch that far and you aren’t a fan of dizzying heights, all is not lost; London is home to beautiful parks with vantage points that give you a panoramic of the iconic skyline. Take a trip to Parliament Hill in Hampstead Heath, or if you’re based south of the River Thames pay a visit to Greenwich Park Observatory.
And besides, if you’re in The Shard, you won’t be able to see it. Go figure.
With some of the best-known museums in the world, if you’re looking to culture, you’re in for a treat. And the best bit about it? Many of them are free to visit.
So why not lap up a bit of culture at the British Museum, the Victoria and Albert or take in some beautiful art the Tate Modern? With over 300 museums you can take your pick, so take a look at the exhibitions they’re holding that month and top up on your knowledge.
Eating and drinking
Let’s be honest, healthy budget or not, you can’t not eat.
Before you ask, you really don’t have to stick to fast food chains for cheap eats, instead you can dine well and experience some of the cooler hangouts by taking a trip to one of the many food markets London boasts – an absolute must is Borough Market, Southwark.
As London’s most popular market, this bustling area is home to over 100 street food stalls. With treats from some of the country’s finest artisans, head down between Thursday and Saturday to see the market in its full glory.
After your fun filled day in the capital, the next thought turns to where to rest your head for the night. This is an expense that can definitely drain the pockets if you don’t look in the right places.
If you’re looking for somewhere lively, with cheap drinks, but also a bit of cultural elegance head to Palmers Lodge. Voted one of the top ten hostels worldwide in VisitLondon’s Best Hostel Category three years in a row, you can stay at this 4* Victorian lodge for as little as £12 a night. Close to Swiss Cottage tube, this 1881 era lodge has recently been restored to its former glory, offering not just budget accommodation but also a unique experience to your London trip.
It can be as much a question of when to book as it is where – London hotels tend to be cheaper in January, with many properties running offers at this time.
If a summer sojourn is more enticing, rates dip in July and August as many hotels have less corporate bookers driving up demand.
So there you have it, a savvy guide of how to do, see and get the full London experience on the cheap. And with hotels in London starting from £39 on LateRooms.com and up to 40% off some hotels when you book through its app, there really never has been a cheaper way to take that city break to the capital.