Top Money-Saving Tips For Visiting London
Although London is notorious for being one of the most expensive cities in the world (well worth it, we say) – most visitors don’t realise that there’s actually plenty of things to do and see, and fun adventures to be had without breaking the bank!
Here are our best money saving tips for visiting London:
Get an oyster card
[Image credit: Transport For London]
Oyster card prices are more than 50% cheaper than buying one-day travel tickets, or single fare journey tickets! So getting one for your time in London is well worth it!
How do they work?
You can top-up your Oyster card with a certain amount (e.g. £20) and pay as you go until it runs out, then you can top up again if need be. Alternatively, if you are going to be doing quite a bit of travel, you can purchase a Travelcard which allows unlimited travel within specified zones (and are priced according to which zones you travel within). You can get these weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Find out more info about London travel and Oyster cards here.
We also highly recommend catching the underground into the city instead of a black cab if you’re touching down at Heathrow. The Piccadilly line can get you into Central London in approximately 40 minutes at a fraction of the price – and you don’t have to worry about heavy traffic at peak hour (the taxi meter loves this, but we sure don't!)
Although, if you haven’t packed light for your trip and do have a quite a lot of luggage, using a car service might be a good idea as many underground stations do have a lot of steps. Additionally, a car service can even be a cost effective option if you're in a big group (as you can all chip in towards the cost of the cab).
Oyster Card holders can also quality for a range of discounts and special offers throughout London.
Get a London pass
[Image credit: The London Pass]
If you’re planning to visit as many of London’s tourist attractions as possible, the London Pass is definitely a great idea for you!
The London Pass gives you a choice of over 70 attractions to visit, and the great thing about it is that the participating London attractions are included in the cost of the pass, so you don’t have to worry about buying them all individually (which makes your holiday much easier to budget for!).
Some of London’s most famous attractions included in the pass include: Westminster Abbey, St. Pauls Cathedral, Tower of London, and Kensington Palace. You can even get fast track entry at some of them! More info about the London Pass here.
Catch London’s iconic red buses
[Image credit: The Manufacturer]
Why waste your pennies on a London City Tour bus, when you can get the real London experience by catching one of London’s big red iconic buses?
Don’t know which one to get on? That’s ok – why not try this: Download the app CityMapper (a London essential!) and input your destination for the day (let’s just say you’re going to Tower Bridge) – then CityMapper will give you all your transport options for getting there, including bus only routes. Even though the journey there might take a little longer, I can guarantee you’ll see much more excitement from the top deck of a double-decker bus, then under the busy streets of London on the tube.
Furthermore, if you're using 'Pay as you go' on your Oyster Card (as opposed to having a Travelcard), London buses only cost £1.50 per journey, or you can take advantage of the 'hopper' fare, which means you can catch two buses within the same hour for just £1.50!
Take advantage of the golden freebies!
[Image credit: London Town]
Who said London needs to be an expensive trip? You’re spoilt for choice when it comes to free things to do in the capital!
Most of London’s incredible museums, such as the Tate Modern, National Gallery, British Museum, Science Museum, National History Museum, and many many more, are all free of charge to enter. Some special exhibits on at the time may have an extra charge, but you don’t have to visit these if you don’t want to.
And we can’t forget about London’s gifts of nature – our stunning parks! Hyde Park, Hampstead Heath, Richmond Park, St James’ are just a few that we recommend. You truly can’t beat a picnic in the park on a hot sunny summer’s day (don’t forget the pimms!)
There are also many free walking tours in London. Some of the most popular are Sandemans’s and Free Tour! Of London. Although these tours are free to join, do remember that the tour guides make their living on tips, so at the end they ask you to pay them only what you think the tour was worth.
Get cheap West End tickets
[Image credit: TheatrefullStop]
Catching a show on London’s West End don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. If you’re organised enough, you can buy your tickets well in advance and score great discounts! If you’re more of a last minute planner, you can also visit the Discount Theatre website to keep an eye out for some last minute bargains, or when you’re out and about in London for the day, if you stop by the TKTS booth in Leicester Square you can pick up some cheap last minute theatre tickets!
Londoner’s tip: If you know which show you want to see, try lining up at the theatre to score stand-by and returned tickets (one man’s loss is another mans gain!)
Stay in a London Vacation Rental
[Image credit: Ivy Lettings, Kingwood Road]
Choosing to stay in a self catering vacation home in London can be a far more cost effective option for your holiday, as opposed to staying in a traditional London hotel – why? Here are just a few reasons:
- You can do your own laundry, free of charge (we even supply a starter set of detergent)
- You can cook your own breakfasts (or all meals if you wish) in your very own private kitchen
- You have much more space in your private rental home to relax and unwind as after your long day of sight-seeing. This means you can bring home your own nibbles, wine, beer, take-out, or whatever you fancy, to enjoy – which is much better than the mini-bar, which always ends up costing you a mini-fortune!
So there you have it – Ivy’s top tips for things to do and how to save on your trip to London. But don’t forget that visiting our wonderful capital is a once in a lifetime experience for most, so don’t hold back too much!
Ivy Lettings are specialists in London vacation rentals and London holiday apartments and homes.
We have a portfolio of over 120 vacation apartments and homes in central London, all of which have been selected according to our strict criteria based on suitability to our guests' needs and expectations. You can browse our portfolio of London Holiday Rentals here.
We’d love to help you find the perfect holiday rental for your dream vacation in London. Get in touch with our friendly and experienced team on [email protected] or +44 020 7349 7016