London on a Budget Guide
This post is a guide for visitors and tourist who are visiting London on a budget (updated for 2018). We provide tips on free museums, inexpensive food, discount theatre tickets, as well as 1, 2, 3 and 5-day budget itineraries.
- Save on Tours and Attractions
- Free Things to Do
- Eating on a Budget
- Discount Shopping
- Discount Theatre Tickets
- Budget Itineraries
- Hotels and Accommodations
DISCOUNTS ON SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND ATTRACTIONS
Just start with us. All of the tours offered by Free Tours by Foot are pay-what-you-wish and are a great way to visit London on a budget.
Be sure to read our post, “Which London Hop-on-Hop-off Bus is Best“, which includes links to get discounts on bus tours.
POPULAR LONDON ATTRACTIONS
If you are planning on visiting many popular London attractions, such as the Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London and St. Paul’s Cathedral, then you might do well to consider a tourist discount pass.
A London tourist discount pass can save you big bucks, depending on the sites you want to visit. Once you’ve got a rough guide to the attractions you’re going to explore, take a look at their websites to check if your entry could be covered with one of their cards. The potential savings are 50% off of retail prices.
Take a look at our post on the London Pass and Other Sightseeing and Attraction passes for more information.
Check out our post on 2 for 1 deals to get the low down on this special programme!
We’ve also put together several sample itineraries that are very friendly to your bank account. Each one gives several days worth of ideas. London doesn’t have to be expensive. Also, check out our monthly things to do posts, which all list free and budget activities for their respective months.
- 1-3 days London itinerary – general idea that mixes sightseeing, museums, theatre, etc.
- 5 day London museum itinerary – chock full of free and low-cost museums.
- London under £100 per day – great ideas to stay under the century mark each day.
- Free Things to Do at Night – some itinerary ideas for evenings in London that are free or close to free.
- London off the Beaten Track – not wholly budget travel ideas, but some good options.
Things to include in any itinerary:
- Monument to the Great Fire – a great observation deck for £4/adults and £1.50/child.
SAVE ON ACCOMMODATIONS
Some of the most expensive hotels in the world are located here in London. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t affordable ones, too! Generally, the closer you are to the centre of town, the more expensive the room. So keep an eye on the map when choosing your accommodation.
- Top 30 Cheap London Hotels – a list compiled by TripAdvisor’s rating system.
- Here is a list are our favorite budget hotels in the city.
- 24 Hotels under $100 (£65) – a list compiled by Eurocheapo.
- University Halls – an inexpensive way to stay in Central London (especially during summer months)
Other ways to save on accommodation include:
- Using a voucher – Just as above, keeping an eye on voucher sites can often net you a big discount for your hotel stay!
- Calling the hotel directly – If you can find a great deal on travel websites like Expedia, LastMinute or Priceline, it is always worth calling the hotel to let them know. Most will be more than happy to match the offer you found online…all you have to do is ask!
- Checking out Roomorama and Airbnb – Rooms and flats offered by Londoners themselves, you can sometimes nab yourself a place to stay for as cheap as £25 a night!
Free Museums and Other Attractions
London is known for our free museums and galleries, and there are so many more free things to do. It’s possible to get your culture fix without having to pay a single penny, too! No matter what your interests are, there’s a free museum ready for your visit.
For guides on where to go, check out some of our recommendations:
Free museums in London:
- Tate Modern and other free London Museums
- Medical Museums (including FREE ones!)
- Military Museums (FREE ones here, too!)
- City of London Museums (…ditto!)
Free attractions and activities in London:
- 10 Free Things to Do in London
- Visit Abbey Road and the Beatles Crosswalk
- Best Free Things to Do in London with Children
- London’s Wonderful Parks
- Walk Regents Canal from Little Venice to Camden Town
- Visit Westminster Abbey and St. Paul’s Cathedral for Free
- Visit the Tower of London for Free with a visit during the Ceremony of the Keys
- Cheap London Skyline View from the Monument to the Great Fire of London
- Free View of London from the “Walkie Talkie”
- Visit Leicester Square
- Free Art Galleries in London
- Free Concerts at St. Martin’s in the Fields
Not quite free attractions:
EATING ON A BUDGET
London has a lot of great eateries that are both delicious and budget-friendly. It’s easy to find high-quality cuisine from all around the world, but be sure to try a few classic British dishes before leaving London.
You might be interested in a London Tastecard, which offers up to 50% dinners and fine locations.
Why not take an almost free London food tour?
Here are some of our favorite restaurants, pubs and food articles:
- Street Food App – street food is delicious, inventive and inexpensive. This app is for street food lovers.
- Best Pizza in London
- Best Pie in London
- London’s Best Riverside Pubs
- Visiting Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese
- London’s Best Historical Pubs
- 10 Bizarre and Quirky Restaurants
- Afternoon Tea in London
London is renowned for its trendy shops, but often times the most popular brands and the least budget friendly.
To see a range of what London has to offer, check out our post on the best shopping in the city.
Though not cheap, Harrods, the most famous department store in the UK, is also worth a visit, if only for window shopping.
DISCOUNT THEATRE TICKETS
London’s West End is a destination for theatre-lovers all over the world. But world-class performances don’t always come with world-class prices! It’s possible to get yourself a great deal on theatre tickets, so check out our post for the best tips and tricks.