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How Much Does It Cost To Visit London?

Updated: November 19, 2023
 By Margaret

Is London expensive to visit? Relative to many cities in Europe, it is. But that doesn't mean you should cross London off your bucket list!

This post lays out the costs of both a 3-day trip and a 7-day trip to London for low-budget travelers and moderate-budget travelers.

HOW TO USE THIS GUIDE

The prices in this guide are based on the following:

(1) prices are for one adult traveling in March, which is off-season, making it one of the best times of the year to visit London, England for those looking to save money.

(2) We list costs for both low-budget and moderate-budget travelers.

Low-budget travelers have a set amount of money to spend. This means:

  • Staying at 3-star budget hotels or even hostels, outside the most popular parts of London.
  • Visiting mostly free attractions and two paid attractions unique to London, such as Buckingham Palace.
  • Eating food from London's food markets or supermarkets and not dining out.
  • Using public transportation only.

Moderate-budget travelers have a flexible amount of money to spend. This means:

  • Staying at 4-star hotels in a Central London location.
  • Visiting both free attractions and several paid attractions.
  • Dining out for a few meals, but also eating food from a food market or supermarket.
  • Using public transportation most of the time, with a cab ride or two when needed.

(3) Prices are per day. You can use the per-day cost to estimate a budget for any number of days

(4) Airfare is not included, though we do include costs to/from airports.

(5) Shopping is not included as that is very discretionary to each traveler.

TIP: Our guide to London on a budget is an excellent companion to this post regardless of your price point.


HOW MUCH DOES A LONDON TRIP COST?

These summaries are based on the detailed calculations just below this summary.

Low-budget

3-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations £375
  • Transportation £51
  • Attractions and activities £51
  • Food £60
  • Total £537 (£179 per day)

7-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations £875
  • Transportation £52
  • Attractions and activities £105
  • Food £140
  • Total £1,172 (£167.40 per day)

Moderate-budget

3-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations £600
  • Transportation £64
  • Attractions and activities £123
  • Food £165
  • Total £952 (£317.30 per day)

7-day trip (per person)

  • Accommodations £1400
  • Transportation £91
  • Attractions and activities £193
  • Food £385
  • Total £2,069 (£295.57 per day)

COST OF ACCOMMODATION

Other than airfare, accommodation will take the largest bite out of your wallet. This cannot be avoided, as London is popular year-round.

But you can find rooms on the lower end of the price range.

Our post on Where to Stay in London lists hotels for every budget in many of the parts of London you most likely want to visit.

Low budget: £125 per night per room

Moderate-budget: £200 per room per night

where to stay in london

Accommodations besides hotels:

If you are willing to stay in a hostel, there are some with private rooms for under £125 per night. Most hostels have shared kitchens, so you can save even more by preparing your own food.

For the ultimate in savings, staying in hostel dorm rooms in well-rated hostels will save you a bundle with most beds costing £35-£60 per night.

Hostels in the UK are nicer than you may expect! Take a look at prices and reviews here.

If you are thinking of Airbnbs, you'll be disappointed to hear that you won't find many in Central London that cost less than a decent hotel room.


TRANSPORTATION COSTS

Prices are standard regardless of your budget when you ride the subway and buses. 

The only variation is if you use black cabs for a few rides.


Round Trip Cost from airports via the least expensive option

Heathrow Airport to/from London round-trip £13

Gatwick Airport to/from London round-trip £20

*We will assume arrival/departure from Heathrow.

Heathrow Airport Underground Station

Transportation Costs in London

To understand how the below costs were calculated, read our guide to the different public transportation card options.

Low-budget:

  • 3-day trip £38 (2 rides a day at £6.30 per ride with pay-as-you-go tickets )
  • 7-day trip £39 (2 rides a day at £2.80 with an Oyster Card/Travelcard/Contactless Payment)

Moderate-budget:

  • 3-day trip £51 (same as above plus one 15-minute black cab ride going 2 miles)
  • 7-day trip £78 (same as above plus three black cab rides 15-minute black cab ride going 2 miles)

TIP: One way to combine transportation costs with seeing a lot of London is to take a Hop-On-Hop-Off Bus Sightseeing Tour.

It may cost a bit more, but it is a convenient way to travel between popular sites. Plus, they often include a free Thames River cruise!


ATTRACTIONS AND ENTERTAINMENT COSTS

When calculating these expenses, we considered the amount of time you have to spend and what top attractions are free, reasonably inexpensive, or worth splurging on like Buckingham Palace.

Here are just some of the dozens and dozens of free attractions and things to do in London.


Low-budget

3-day trip: £51 total

This includes free attractions and 2 ticketed attractions:

See our suggested itinerary for 3 days in London with even more free things to do and see.


7-day trip: £105

This includes free attractions and 4 ticketed attractions:

TIP: Low-budget travelers, you may want to consider getting a London Tourist Discount Pass as you can save some money depending on what attractions you decide to see.

There are options for every budget. Read more below.


Moderate-budget

3-day trip: £123

This includes free attractions and 4 ticketed attractions like:

7-day trip: £193

This includes free attractions plus 7 ticketed activities like:

TIP: Moderate budget travelers should seriously consider getting a London Tourist Discount Pass. The more attractions you see, the more you can save. Read below.


How to save money with a tourist discount pass

Any tourist in London who plans on visiting 3 or more ticketed attractions, should seriously consider buying a London Tourist Discount Pass as the more attractions you see, the greater your savings may be.

There are passes that are all-inclusive and are sold in increments of days. For example, you could purchase a London Pass for a 3-day trip or a 7-day trip.

There are passes that are sold by the number of attractions you plan to see like the Explorer Pass that sells passes for 3, 4, 5, 7, or 10 attractions.


FOOD COSTS

Low-budget: £20 per day

Moderate-budget: £55 per day

Note that alcoholic drinks are not included as that is discretionary to every traveler.

These average costs are based on the information just below.


Tips on food costs:

Breakfast

A filling breakfast can keep you going for several hours! It may also be the cheapest meal of the day. 

  • Does your hotel include breakfast? That’s a money-saver right there.
  • Do you have a mini-fridge? Buy cereal and milk. Get a loaf of bread and have jam sandwiches. 
  • For the ultimate British experience, have a classic English breakfast that will keep you full for hours! You can find excellent breakfasts for under £8-10.

Lunch

Get food at one of London’s inexpensive food markets where you’ll find lots of different delicious - and affordable - cuisine from the many food stalls.

Both Borough Market and Brick Lane are options. Expect to pay between £5-10 depending on your choices.

For big savings, get a “meal deal” from one of the chain supermarkets (Sainsbury’s, Co-Op, Tesco, etc). 

They cost between £3-5 and typically include a sandwich or salad, a drink and a snack. Plenty of locals take advantage of this bargain, and so should you!

Dinner

This will be the most expensive meal of the day. A rule of thumb for every budget is to avoid dining near a major tourist attraction.

Low-budget travelers will want to eat some meals in their hotel rooms with inexpensive takeaway food like Fish and Chips.

Chinese, pizza, Mediterranean, and Indian cuisine can be very good and fairly cheap.

If you want to dine out, check out these articles: 26 Best Cheap Eats In London, and the Best cheap eats in London.

Moderate-budget travelers dining out for several meals at mid-range restaurants will find that entrees cost somewhere between £12-15 and starters cost around £8-10.

Oh, be sure to go for cheap Afternoon High Tea! It doesn't get more English than this!


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About The Author

Margaret

An American simply by accident of birth, Margaret moved to London over 16 years ago and hasn’t looked back since! With a keen interest in History – and a BA degree to match – Margaret prides herself on her knowledge of the amazing city she calls home and she's been guiding here now for nearly a decade. Social history is her real expertise, with sound understanding of the day-to-day lives of Londoners over the past centuries.
Updated: November 19th, 2023
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