Visiting London is on a lot of peoples bucket list. It’s a vibrant city full of culture and history with some of the worlds most famous landmarks. Like a lot of popular capital cities though it can be an expensive place to visit. We looked at several ways in which you could save a euro or two so your visit to this great city doesn’t have to break the bank.
- There is an amazing amount of free major attractions. A lot of them, particularly the national museums, need a whole day to visit so there’s at least a weeks worth of free sightseeing to get you started. In fact the official visit London website lists no less than 101 free things to do!
- Stroll along the South Bank from Westminster Bridge to the famous Tower Bridge (just query them in your favourite search engine). It’s a fascinating 3 mile (5km) stroll which follows the river Thames on the south side and takes in a host of free entertainment and loads and loads of major historical landmarks. There are lots of restaurants and pubs along the way but best value can be found in the food stalls that sell a wide variety of street food and there are plenty of places to sit and enjoy the sights, sounds and atmosphere right by the river.
- Eating out can be expensive. There are lots of supermarkets in central London, in particular Tesco Metro which sell ‘meal deals’ at the same price as the rest of the UK. No London premium! This is a great way to get lunch because you can get sandwiches/wraps/salads with a drink and a snack all for around £3.50 (€4.00). You just need to find a nice place to eat and that’s not hard in Covent Garden or Trafalgar Square for example. A lot of the free attractions including the Museums have picnic areas indoors and out and it is a lot cheaper to buy your ‘meal deal’ in the supermarket and take it with you than buy it in the cafés while you are there. A cup of Coffee in the Science Museum could cost you almost as much a meal deal from the supermarket!
- London is famous for it’s theatres and if you want to visit a show you can buy cheaper tickets at the TKTS kiosk in Leicester Square. You can’t order online you have to turn up and see what is available but you can get some good savings.
- It’s nice to take a sightseeing bus which drives round the London streets and you can spot all the famous sights and landmarks. The price for a sightseeing tour starts at around €40.00 (£35.00). If you can do without sitting ‘open-top’ and you don’t mind not having a commentary (for which a tip is encouraged) then you can get a number of regular red London routemaster buses that will drive you round the London streets past all the famous landmarks for about €10.00, the price of a daily oyster travelcard which allows you unlimited travel on all London transport. Check out the key bus routes in the capital and information on travelcards can be found on Transport for London
- A great way to see London and find out more about it is to take a guided walking tour. There are several and there are many themes and areas to choose from. They are usually less than €10.00 and the guides are very informative and knowledgeable, you will find plenty online. Again, if you can do without a commentary then there are lots and lots of circular walks in all parts of London and all distances that you will find from a simple internet search. If you take a picnic on a free circular walk you can get a great day out on the cheap and save your travel money for a nice dinner or show in the evening or maybe even both!
- Take a tube train out of London. Your oyster travelcard will allow you to travel to the furthest regions of the city. For example you could visit Richmond, a lovely town in south west London that is 30 minutes ride and the last stop on the district line. It has a beautiful riverside area and a famous deer park which are free to visit. Greenwich on the other side of the city, has the national maritime museum (free), Greenwich park (free) and lots of quaint shops and an indoor market. The Olympic park at Stratford is a 20 minute tube ride away from central London and a great place to spend the day. By making the most of your travelcard you can visit lots of amazing places for free, and If you have the family with you it can help save your holiday money for when you have to spend a fortune getting into a paying attraction.
- Shop around for your Travel money before you leave. There are Bureau de Change around every corner in central London but you will get terrible exchange rates. The best deals can be found online and the best exchange rates can be found at Compareholidaymoney.