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There are so many reasons to visit London, yet too often, we are put off by the predicted costs of such a visit.
Well, we’re here to tell you that exploring London doesn’t have to be a big expense, and if you’ve got the know-how, you can easily see the city on a shoestring budget.
And no, this doesn’t mean compromising on what you do during your visit, but rather it means flexing a little creativity and ensuring some careful planning.
So, if you want to visit London this year, here’s how to see and experience as much of the capital as you can whilst sticking to your budget.
There are lots of ways you can save money on your trip, be that discounted theatre tickets, budget-friendly transport or making the most of one-time deals.
If you know about your trip a long time in advance, go online and take a look at the attractions you want to visit and see if you can get discounted rates for booking early.
Alternatively, look for vouchers and passes that give you access to multiple top attractions for a fraction of the price. For example, The London Pass will allow you to stop by the Tower of London or explore the world-famous zoo, cruise on the Thames or take in the view from The Shard.
Therefore, it’s a good idea to do some research and plan ahead to see what discounts and passes are already available. This will not only help you save money, but it will also give you some direction during your trip.
Believe it or not, there are loads of amazing places to see and things to do in London that are actually free. So before your trip, look out for any free events, such as festivals, markets and more, that will be taking place while you’re there.
What’s more, there are also permanent attractions that are free to enter, including the Tate Modern, V&A Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal Parks and City of London Churches.
Again, it’s about conducting a little bit of research and seeing what’s already free before your trip. You can also keep your eyes peeled for posters or flyers during your visit, as well as exploring the city on foot to seek out free activities.
There is so much to see in London that you could spend weeks there and still struggle to cover everything. However, a bit of careful planning can help you to enjoy your visit without burning out or spending too much of your day on the tube.
Instead of trying to race from one end of the city to another, spending money on taxis, trains or buses, why not choose several attractions or hotspots that are closer together? This way, you can easily walk from one to the other, and you’ll have a much cheaper and more pleasant day out.
In central London, you’ll find the London Eye, Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and many other key landmarks. As these attract the most visitors, they also tend to be the most expensive areas and activities.
So although there may be one or two places you just can’t miss out on, it’s better to explore beyond the city centre. Plus, this can help you to avoid the crowds and overpriced eats.
For example, if you venture outside of Zone 1, you will find the charming borough of Richmond, as well as Greenwich, Shoreditch, Stratford, Hampstead and many more.
If you plan to hop on and off the train, bus and tube to help you get about the city, then you might find that these charges quickly add up.
So rather than buying several tickets each time you head to a new place, consider getting a one-day travel card that allows you to travel freely within London Zones 1-6.
Alternatively, an Oyster card can make your journeys cheaper, as charges are capped with a maximum daily rate. This can relieve a little of the stress, and you can travel about without worrying about unexpected fees.
Another way to cut costs on travelling around the city is to cycle. Of course, you can take your own bike if you have one, but you could also make the most of the city’s cycle hire schemes. This is usually a much easier option.
There are lots of points around the city where you can grab or dock your bike, 750 stations, in fact! There are also over 1000 bikes available, and it can cost as little as £1.65 to hire, making this a very affordable way to get around and see the capital.
As well as transport and attractions, food and drink can be another big expense when you’re exploring London.
Let’s face it, you’re going to need to eat at some point, and yes, taking a picnic is an affordable option, but if you want to travel light, this is not the only option.
There are loads of exciting markets around London, and as it is a melting pot of different cultures, you can get some affordable and delicious food if you find the right place.
Alternatively, don’t be afraid to visit chain restaurants. Many will disregard the idea of eating at chains as they feel they should experience smaller or more independent restaurants. However, chain menus have to set a price across the country, so you know roughly what to expect.
So if you’re truly sticking to a budget and you want to spend your money elsewhere experiencing the city, don’t be afraid to opt for cheaper eats and use your money elsewhere.
Finally, The Shard might be one of the most famous skyscrapers in London, but it’s not the only option if you want great views of the city, especially if you’re on a budget.
Some other ways you can enjoy breathtaking but free views of the city include panoramic views from the top of Primrose Hill, Alexandra Park or the Tate Modern.
You can also visit Sky Garden which is London’s highest garden and it’s free to go up if you book tickets in advance.
Disclaimer: MoneyMagpie is not a licensed financial advisor and therefore information found here including opinions, commentary, suggestions or strategies are for informational, entertainment or educational purposes only. This should not be considered as financial advice. Anyone thinking of investing should conduct their own due diligence.