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London on a Budget Guide

Updated: January 14, 2024
 By Margaret

This post provides 30 tips for those visiting London on a budget, including free museums, inexpensive food, discount theatre tickets, as well as budget itineraries.  


Sightseeing Tours

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.

We also offer several self-guided walking tours and self-guided bus tours.  We are now offering GPS-enabled audio tours

Be sure to read our post, "Which London Hop-on-Hop-off Bus is Best", which includes links to get discounts on bus tours.


If you are planning on visiting many popular London attractions, such as 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 attraction 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!

Don't pay for a view from the Shard when there is the free Sky Garden as well as great restaurants with a view and bars with a view.


We've also put together several sample itineraries that are very friendly to your bank account. Each one gives several days' worth of ideas.  

Also, check out our monthly things to do posts, which all list free and budget activities for their respective months.

Things to include in any itinerary:


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.

Hotels aren’t the only option though – London has a wide variety of low-cost, safe, and central hostels to choose from including St. Christophers, Generator Hostels, and YHA.

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!


London is known for its 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:

Free attractions and activities in London:


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:


London is renowned for its trendy shops, but oftentimes 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.


About The Author


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. Read More...
Updated: January 14th, 2024
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