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London is an incredibly diverse city with so much to do and see but many can be put off visiting because it’s can be very costly.  If you want to see all of the big tourist attractions you’re going to be paying upwards of £20 a time per person so you are looking at a price tag of £100 for a family of five before you even factor in the cost of transport, food, drink and accommodation.  The overall cost to spend a weekend in London even for a couple can equate to that of a cheap holiday abroad.  Those that live in London or the UK and enjoy travelling around the city can discover some great places that some visitors may not have yet discovered that won’t break that bank to visit.

 Next time you head to London, here’s how you can have a great time and do it on a budget.

Accommodation

One of the biggest expenses in London is going to be your accommodation but you don’t always need to stay somewhere expensive. There are loads of great Hotels in the City that are only around £100 a night which is far more affordable. You can also save a lot of money if you’re willing to travel a little.  Hotels that are right in the city centre are going to be far more expensive than ones that are a little further out.  If you just get somewhere outside of the centre of the city and then travel in on the tube in you can save yourself some money.  Look out for deals that include breakfast which can help you save that little bit extra.  There are always plenty of cheap hostels around the city.  The amenities are of course basic but if you’re trying to work to a budget then it’s a great way to save money and it often doesn’t matter much anyway because many won’t be spending much time in the room.  I know quite a few people that have used hostels and had great trips whilst on a budget.

Food

Food will be your second biggest expense while you’re in London and although you’re bound to spend quite a bit on it unless you eat fast food or sandwiches there are ways that you can reduce the cost.  A lot of the chain restaurants in London have similar prices to everywhere else so they’re often a far cheaper option than some of the independent places.  Many restaurants offer lunchtime specials or early bird dinner deals.  Plenty of deals can also be found online, simply print off a voucher or show staff a copy on your phone depending n their terms and conditions.  London has a great street food culture especially along the south bank.  There are so many yummy foods there you can try and you can find some of the best foods London has to offer, it’s not a surprise this city is a foodies paradise.  There are many great restaurants in London in case you do decide to splash out at least once on your visit.  Make sure you take a look at my restaurants section to see some that I have enjoyed over the years.  

Free Museums

 Photo Credit: Pixabay

Some of the best attractions in London aren’t the expensive ones and in some cases they are free. The British Museum is one of the most famous museums in the world and although you have to pay for some of the specialist exhibitions the majority of the museum is free.  It’s a huge museum where you can easily spend a whole day without having to spend any money.  It is worth taking some sandwiches with you if you want to save cash because the food there is pretty expensive.

As well as the British Museum you could also visit the Museum of Natural History that has numerous of great science exhibits including a new exhibit on human evolution showing some groundbreaking new discoveries.  It’s the perfect place to take kids for an educational yet fun day out.  The exhibitions in the museum are always changing so it’s worth visiting every time you go back to London.  My girls loved it when we went along and we spent hours there and lost track of time it was so much fun and I loved it was a great way to educate without them even realising.

If you’re interested in art, London has plenty to offer. Firstly, we have the national portrait gallery with some of the most famous paintings from British artists.  If you’re after something less traditional, the Tate Modern has plenty of great exhibitions to see as well – my friends seem to go there quite often. The gallery is in an old power plant along the Thames and they’re constantly updating the exhibits so if you want to see some work from the best contemporary artists in the world then this is the place to go. As well as the galleries themselves there is some great street art around the city so you can even spend a day just walking around and seeing what you can find on the walls around London.

History buffs should aim to visit the Royal Air Force Museum whilst in London where you can see over 100 military aircraft ranging from the modern and dating back to the World Wars.  Even if you aren’t an avid history lover it’s still a great site to see.

Parks

One of the things that people often forget when they’re visiting London is the parks. The city has plenty of open green spaces that are perfect for spending a free day in during the summer.  The main area of Hyde Park is often being used for events such as Winter Wonderland at Christmas but you can still access parts of it or the whole thing when nothings on.  Kensington Gardens in central London that is home to the famous Peter Pan statue and has some great open spaces for picnics as well as a playground for the kids.  There you will also find the Orangery where I once enjoyed a lovely afternoon tea with a friend.  Clapham Common is the perfect park for sports lovers as has plenty of great space for joggers, a tennis court and even a skate park so if you’re an active family, this might be a great place to visit.  These are just a few of the great parks that are around the city so if you’re heading to London in the summer months, don’t forget to visit some of them and take in the beautiful scenery.

London can be a pretty expensive place if you want it to be but as you can see there are ways around this.  You can still have a great time when visiting London on a budget.

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34 thoughts on “A Weekend In London On A Budget”

  1. we booked our stay at a hostel. I prefer hostels over hotels, especially when I am travelling solo or in smaller groups as we get an opportunity of meeting new people from across the globe and you never know you might just end up finding some interesting company ;).

  2. Haven’t been to London since I was a girl my dad lives in Surrey so I’m going to go visit again one day

  3. I have to admit it has been years since I went to London but there is so many things to do there isn’t there. I love the amount of free museums!

    1. There are loads of free things to do which people don’t realise. London is a great place as you won’t get bored.

  4. Great post, I live 20 minutes by train into London and hotels are a lot cheaper where I am, it is always easier to stay a little further out, you can get some great deals for eating out on sites that do deals we have had some amazing meals in London for £20 ahead.

  5. We’re lucky to live just outside London so we tend to grab the train up, however my folks have had a couple of weekend breaks there and it’s amazing destination with some lovely hotels. You do need to save up and keep an eye out for offers. My folks tend to do theatre packages and do shopping on the side as well. We love the free things like walking around the Royal Parks and down Southbank x Great tips x

  6. oh what a great post as when we visit London we actually never really know what to do or where to go so will have to bookmark this post for future reference

  7. Oh my gosh. I spend sooooooooooo much money in London. We went to the aquarium (or sea life centre – I can’t remember which one it was) and it cost us nearly fifty pounds for 2 of us!!! And I am partial to a Pret! I will have to look out for some lunchtime special or early bird menus

  8. So much of London can be seen for free if you know where to look. One of our faves is Sky Garden near the Monument – such wonderful views and FREE!!

  9. London is so big and you are absolutely right if you are willing yo stay on the outskirts the acvimmodation will be cheaper.The london underground network is very good to get you from one end of London to another. The museums, art galleries, parks are all free and loveky to explore. You can even pick up cheap theatre tickets on the day.

  10. I’m fortunate to have a place to stay in London. I lived there once upon a time so I always manage to find some deals etc. But this is a great post for people who are planning a visit and don’t know where to start.
    Museums were certainly one of my greatest sources of pleasure too. I could easily spend a month on a Museum holiday!

  11. What a great round up. I always find there are some good deals on lunchtime eating in London, it’s a far cheaper way to eat out than in the evening. I adore London.

  12. I like that there are so many things in London that you can enjoy for free, including museums. My recommendation on cheap eats are the pre-theater menus, which are always very affordable.

  13. Theres so much to see and do in London without having to spend a fortune. I love the museums the most myself! xxx

  14. I found booking my hotel and train as part of a trip worked out cheaper but then I got stick in a Travelodge that was in the red light district not too great with kiddos

    1. Oh dear that doesn’t sound to good. You would have expected to be placed somewhere else considering you had children with you.

  15. I always book our hotel stay in advance for cheaper rate. London is still expensive especially transport. Food is manageable.

  16. Haven’t been to London for years, would love to visit the British Museum and some of the parks.

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