A budget-savvy guide to London
March 8, 2019
by Ana Umpierre Rivera
London is the largest city in England and the United Kingdom. As the capital, the city is buzzing with local pubs, art exhibitions and a wide variety of food. As you walk the famous streets, you will find yourself amazed with how modernism and history coexist harmonically. While the living cost in London tends to be expensive, this should not keep you from visiting it. With a budget-friendly itinerary, you’ll be able to travel the city without breaking the piggy bank.
Moving around London
The city is very well connected through a user-friendly web of public transport. Whether you decide to use the tube (the underground), the bus, the overground or the DLR, among many others, you will be able to reach any part of the city you want. While the transport is really useful, once you are in the city centre, you should consider walking to most places. For example, if you are in Southbank and you are interested in going to Tower Bridge or Covent Garden you may do so by walking. The trail takes around 20 to 30 minutes, but you have stores, pubs and even other attractions in between that you may want to visit.
If you do decide to use public transport, the bus might be a good solution, if you are not in a hurry. This way, you save money -as the bus is the cheapest of the collective transport- and you can see the city, which is something you can not do if you are travelling underground. The best way to get around the city is by using the app Citymapper, that allows you to find the fastest routes when walking and all the journeys available using public transport. While transport is very efficient it’s just as expensive, especially when travelling during peak times and out of zones 1-3.
Tips to save money in public transport
- Avoid peak times; this means between 6:30 and 9:30 am, and 4-7pm from Monday to Friday steer clear of any means of collective transport. Not only will save you money but will save you time and space -as they will be full of people getting off of work-.
- Once you are in the city centre, most of the attractions are walking distance. This will save you money, and it will give you a chance to explore the city.
- If you are planning to stay in London during a seven-day period, you should consider buying a 7-day travel Pass or an Oyster Card. It will be cheaper in the long run to top-up the card, instead of buying single day passes.
- Oyster cards can be bought in various stores across London, including the Gatwick, Heathrow and Stanstead Airports.
- If you decide to pay as you go on your Oyster card, make sure to check the fares of your journey on the London transport page.
Best and affordable places to eat in London
Because the city is a multicultural hub, you will have no trouble finding something to eat of your choosing. With a plethora of options, you can choose what type of cuisine you are in the mood for. While eating in restaurants may be fun, most of them are expensive and don’t provide you with enough options to satisfy your curiosity. You should also check out the numerous pubs around the city; whenever you feel like you need to take a break from walking, make sure to pop into the nearest pub and grab a cold beer.
Top 5 food markets in London
- Camden Market – nearest tube station Camden Town
- Borough Market – nearest tube station London Bridge
- Southbank Centre Market – nearest tube station Waterloo
- Greenwich Market – nearest DLR station Cutty Sark
- Old Spitalfields Market – nearest tube station Liverpool Street
Free things to do in London
After having eaten everything you could, is now time to do some more exploring of the city. If you are an art enthusiast, London will be a great place to enjoy all types of art in many renowned museums. The entrance is free to most museums, however, there are some particular exhibitions that require a ticket; be sure to check the museum’s webpage for more details. No matter what your art interests are, London has something for everyone. If you are captivated by world cultures, the British Museum has an amazing collection of artefacts from all around the world. If you are, however, looking into contemporary art, the Tate Modern will surely be of your liking.
Free museums to visit in London
- The British Museum
- Tate Modern
- National Gallery
- Natural History Museum
- Science Museum
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- Imperial War Museum
- Museum of London
- National Maritime Museum
- Tate Britain
Aside from the museums, there are many other great activities to do in London free of charge. Imagine visiting places that you have only seen in movies.
- Begin your trip to Hogwarts by going to Harry Potter 9 ¾ ‘s platform located in Kings Cross station.
- If you are looking for movie love, a stroll through the coloured houses in Notting Hill -where Hugh Grant walked the streets to find the love of his life- is a great place to start.
- Want to live your rockstar dreams, take a picture in the iconic crosswalk featured in the Beatle’s album.
- Say hello to her majesty, by taking a picture in front of the Buckingham Palace.
- Stay there to see the traditional changing of the guards. Just be sure to check out when it’s happening as the times tend to change throughout the seasons.
Must-see London’s attractions
Now, while London does have numerous free attractions, some require tickets, but they are certainly worth the price. You definitely should not leave the city without having visited the following main attractions. Whether you are a Harry Potter fan or are intrigued by England’s royal history, these attractions will surely catch your attention.
- The London Eye
- Westminster Abbey
- Tower of London
- Tower Bridge
- The Harry Potter Warner Studios
Start packing, the wonderful city of London awaits you! Be sure to make a plan before living so all the money you spend is on delicious food, beers and the lovely souvenirs your loved ones will be expecting.
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March 15, 2019