We are still a bit miffed that we didn’t get an invite to the Royal Wedding in London this year, but that won’t deter us from visiting. According to this UK article, more than 19 million people visited England’s capital city in 2018, and it was probably wedding fever that stirred an interest in this already popular location. If you’re planning on traveling to Europe at any point, we really do recommend you add London to our bucket list of cities you need to visit before you die.
Before you pack your bags, and before you practice your curtsey to the Queen (just in case you catch a glimpse of her in one of Buckingham Palace’s windows), you need to know one thing about London. It can be expensive. From transport to accommodation, this isn’t a cheap place to visit. But that is where we come in. If you were thinking about visiting London, here are some money-saving tips we think you will find useful. And you don’t even need to give us a royal wave as a thank you!
Plan in advance
There are loads of things to do in London, and unless you’re made of money, you are NOT going to have time to see and do everything. From seeing shows at London’s West End to ice skating at the Tower of London (and everything in between), make a list of what you want to do, and then budget for them accordingly. Some of London’s attractions have concessions for groups and families, and some are included with the London Pass which is mentioned below. You might also secure extra discounts when you’re booking online, especially when you’re using sites such as this one. Create an itinerary, and then find ways to make savings in the places you are desperate to visit.
Get the London Pass
Simply put, the London Pass is awesome. Rather than paying individual ticket places for all of the attractions you want to visit, buy a London Pass, and you will make significant savings. It costs £154 (in English money) for 6 days, but the price can fluctuate depending on how many days you are staying in the city. It will then give you free entry into over 80 locations around London, including Kensington Palace, Windsor Castle, and London Zoo. You can use it for free on the London Bus tour, hopping on and off at your leisure when you want to get up close and personal when you’re touring London’s iconic landmarks, AND you can skip all of the long queues as you get fast track entry. In short, to save money and time, the pass is indispensable.
Get the Visitor Oyster Card
You can see a lot of London for free with the London Pass when you’re using the hop on and off bus tours. However, the Oyster card is another useful way to get around the city. Rather than paying for one-day travel passes or single tickets, the Oyster card will give you discounted travel on the city’s rail, bus, tram, and subway services. You also get discounts at some of London’s shops, restaurants, and entertainment venues, so like the London Pass, this is another handy way to save money.
Sleep on the cheap
If you want a little bit of luxury, then sure, stay in one of London’s top hotels. But considering you are probably only visiting London for the attractions, and the chance to rub shoulders with William and Kate (you probably won’t), you don’t need to spend a fortune when you’re looking for somewhere to lay your head for the night. There are loads of youth hostels and cheap hotel chains available that are far cheaper than such places as The Savoy (around £600 per night). Check out this website for a comprehensive list of affordable places to stay.
Visit the free attractions
Not everything in London costs money. There are plenty of free attractions, with something for everyone. For a bit of culture, you don’t have to pay to get into the National Gallery and British Museum. You don’t have to pay for the famous Changing of the Guard ceremony at Buckingham Palace (see image above). And a walk through Kensington Gardens and Greenwich Park won’t cost you a dime! For these and more free attractions, have a look at this London Guide and add a few to your itinerary.
London is a fabulous place to visit, so don’t let the city’s expensive reputation put you off. Use our advice, save up your frequent flyer miles for the journey, and then head off to one of the greatest cities in the world. Just don’t forget to pass on our best wishes to the Royal couple if you do happen to catch a glimpse of them on your travels.