It’s no secret that London is one of the many places in the world with high living costs. However, you shouldn’t label London as too expensive too fast! There are many ways for both Londoners and tourists to save a lot of money and here we discuss some of them.
Many attractions in London are actually free! There are multiple things to do without having to spend any money, which you would otherwise have to do in many other large cities! Some examples of free tourist attractions are British Museum, National Gallery, Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern and the Victoria & Albert Museum to name a few.
Oyster Card / Contactless Card
A now well-known way to save money is to use an Oyster card or a contactless debit/credit card instead of paper tickets when travelling on the tube and buses. You can purchase an Oyster card at almost every corner for just £5 and travel much cheaper than with paper tickets. At the end of your visit you can either keep it and use the leftover credit for your next visit or give it back! In case you give it back you will get back your leftover credit and the £5 you previously paid.
London is an amazing city for food – though not always a very affordable one. If you’re a huge food fanatic but don’t have the budget to dine and wine in London’s best restaurants, then street food is there for you! There are plenty of food markets all over London offering international cuisine options that are a must to try. One famous example is the Borough Market. You can also read our 'Best Cheap Eats In London' blog for some more inspiration.
Whilst there are some attractions in London that are free, there are also some you will need to pay for such as the Tower of London, the London Zoo, Westminster Abbey or the Shard. Should you consider to do a lot of sightseeing, purchasing the London pass will be of great use and value to you. It covers more than 80 of the main attractions in London and even has the option to cover travel expenses on top. Depending on the length of your stay the pass is available for 1,2,3,6 and 10 days.
A central question asked before each trip is where to stay! Hotels in London are generally quite expensive, particularly those closer to the City Centre or with better transport connections. Hostels are not for everybody as you will have to share a room with up to 10 strangers trying to catch a really cheap deal there.
A comfortable and affordable alternative is to stay with a host family! With our friendly team at Host Family Stay you can book a homestay and live with a local family from just £147/wk including Bed & Breakfast. In addition to saving money, you will also have the chance to improve your English, learn more about the British culture and your hosts can provide you with lots of tips and tricks to make your trip more memorable and enjoyable!
Have a Night Out in a Pub Instead of a Club
London is also quite famous for it's evening entertainment! Yet if you want to save a bit of money you may consider going for a night out at the pub instead of a club. While an evening at a club in London can quickly cost you around £100, a pub is much cheaper! For example, most clubs take at least £20 for entry and £10 more for each drink. In a pub, however, you pay no entry fee and usually not more than £5 for a beer.
A real secret is the Ye Old Cheshire Cheese Pub: One of the oldest pubs in England where even Charles Dickens has written his books! And also one of the cheapest - a pint of beer costs just £3.60.
Find the BEST Currency Exchange Rate
First of all, NEVER change money at the airport or on the boat from Calais! Although changing your money at the airport may be convenient, you’ll end up paying more in conversion fees than almost anywhere else. The only two places in London that will get you both the best rate and charge no conversion fees are UK Post Offices and the Bureau de Change at Marks & Spencer, a trusted chain store in the UK.
These are just some of the tips that we provide to our guests while helping them plan their London stay. At Host Family Stay we hope to be able to assist you too with your London trip. Get in touch with us today for any enquiries you may have. Our friendly staff will be more than happy to help.
Published on 12th March 2019
Updated on 19th April 2020