London is one of the most fascinating and popular cities in the world for tourists from all over the world, but also one of the most expensive. So how can you survive the exhorbant prices and at the same time discover all that the British capital has to offer? Here are some tips on the cheapest options available, from flights to accommodation…
Flights to London
Ryanair is one of the most popular airlines to fly low cost to London. Ryanair’s base is at the London Stansted Airport, about 60 miles from London city center. Only traveling with hand luggage will allow you to cut the cost of the flight. Take a look at our article on tips on flying with Ryanair so you can avoid the risk of having to pay extra fees.
Because weekends are in high demand when it comes to visiting London, instead of flying back on a Sunday, whenever possible try to get a Monday flight, which in most cases is a much cheaper day to fly.
Transport from the airport to London
From Stansted Airport, the cheapest option to get to the city center is the Easybus, which takes around 1 hour and 40 minutes to London’s Baker Street (you can take it even if you have not flown with Easyjet). Cost: about €11 per pax round-trip, but if you book online and well in advance you can also find tickets for only 2 pounds! Be careful because there are other buses, such as Terravision, but they are more expensive, as well as the train.
Getting around London
Bicycles are the cheapest solution, if it’s not raining all day that is. To check out a bike you just have to swipe your credit card and pay about €1 to use the bike for 30 minutes. When the time expires, you can return the bike and get another one (the euro you paid gives you access to the bikes for 24 hours, if not used for more than 30 minutes each).
The metro, known as “the Tube”, is the quickest way to get around, but also one of the most expensive…a single trip in zone 1 costs £4.50. If you plan to use the Tube for a longer stay you can buy an Oyster Card for one week for about £35.
Perhaps the most challenging part of the trip when it comes to being on a budget, as London can hardly be called a welcoming destination for travelers on a shoestring budget, but taking in the culture and history is always free. So hop on your bike and discover the city’s main museums, which all offer free admission: the British Museum, the National Gallery, the Tate Gallery, and the National History Museum. Remember that even though you’re surrounded by tourist attractions in the city, it’s worth it to take the opportunity to spend time in these magnificent centers of history, art, science, and culture.
If you plan on seeing everything, absolutely everything, and you also plan on using a lot of public transport during your stay, the best and cheapest option is the London Pass, which includes unlimited public transport and entrance to all attractions (Tower Bridge Exhibition, St Paul’s Cathedral, Churchill War Rooms, Thames River Cruise, Westminster Abbey and many others), discounts in shops and restaurants, and priority access meaning you get to skip the lines. You can purchase the card online by selecting the days you will be staying. The cost for two days is £64.
Where to stay?
Kings Cross is probably the best place in the central district of London to find a good selection of cheap hotels, it is also an excellent choice for transport because it is well connected with the main tourist areas and major airports. Earls Court is also recommended because it has cheap accommodation and is well-connected. The most expensive areas are the West End, County Hall and Mayfair & Knightsbridge.
The best free experiences in London
Multi-cultural neighborhoods, colorful markets, museums filled with treasures, major events, and a historical center full of big city hustle and bustle…here are some of the best experiences to have in London without spending money…
– Visit the Saatchi Gallery and the Tate Modern
– Go see a film on Sunday in the Drayton Arms pub
– Listen to a live music concert
– Head to Hammersmith and watch a rowing race on the Thames tideway