London on a budget: A guide to budget travel in London


It is a well-known fact that London is an expensive city. However, for anybody wishing to explore London on a budget, it can be done. If like me, you don’t wish to spend a lot of money, you may want to consider following these tips for exploring England’s capital city on a budget.

London on a budget

Travelling to London

Megabus offer extremely cheap fairs to London from many towns and cities throughout the UK, which makes visiting London on a budget easier for somebody who already lives in England. For example, I booked last minute tickets between Manchester and London for £6 each way. You can purchase even cheaper tickets by booking in advance or using your NUS card if you have one. Compared to last-minute train ticket prices of £57 at the cheapest, this is a brilliant deal. In my opinion, a Megabus is a great way to travel to a different town or city. Most mega buses also have plug sockets and wifi, which is of course, very useful. Another positive thing about travelling by Megabus is they are often a lot quieter than trains, making it easier to take a nap if you are tired.

Although I often travel by Megabus, I can understand why some people choose to take a train instead, as trains take around half the time. If you do wish to travel by train, I recommend booking in advance and travelling out of peak time hours. However, travelling via Megabus is the cheapest option for somebody wishing to spend as little as possible.

London on a budget


Now, I know they are not for everyone but I choose to stay in hostels whenever I visit London. Mainly because hotels in London are very expensive and far too over budget for me. I paid just £32 to stay at a YHA hostel in central London for two nights. Anybody who has searched for accommodation in central London will understand that this is a total bargain. Sharing a room with total strangers isn’t for everybody. However, when you know you will be out all day – does it really matter?

YHA London central is about a five-minute walk from Regent Street which makes the location great. Although the rooms are pretty basic, they’re still clean. The reception/ bar area is open 24 hours a day and the staff serve food and non-alcoholic drinks throughout the night. This is obviously a good thing if you’re a night owl like me but don’t want to disturb anybody sleeping in your room.

Read more: Solo Travel: What are the pros and cons?

Food and drink

Another great way to explore London on a budget is to prepare your own meals. On the day I travelled up to London, I prepared and packed a chicken salad before leaving home. I also packed a few snacks. This meant I didn’t need to buy any food on my first day there. If you are travelling to London for more than one day, consider doing a small food shop at a local supermarket. Many hostels have kitchens where you can cook and prepare your own food. Obviously, this is cheaper than eating out at restaurants for your entire trip. To save money on buying drinks, take a drinks bottle with you. This way, you can ask bars or cafes to fill it up again once you run low which will save you having to keep paying for drinks whilst you explore.

London on a budget

Getting around the city

There is a lot to do in London which means there is a lot of travelling involved in exploring the city. Because of this, buying tickets for trains, buses, and the tube could easily add up. To cut costs, I suggest walking everywhere. Not only will this save you money, but it is, in fact, a great way to see more of the city. For example, the main purpose of my visit was to collect inspiration for my major project at university, I didn’t actually plan on doing the typical tourist stuff. However, during my walk between two museums, I passed Big Ben and Buckingham

For example, the main purpose of my visit was to collect inspiration for my major project at university, I didn’t actually plan on doing the typical tourist stuff. However, during my walk between two museums, I passed Big Ben and Buckingham Palace. I, of course, used this as an opportunity to snap some photos of these iconic London landmarks. If I would have caught the tube, I would have missed out on this opportunity.

London on a budget

Overall, I spent approximately £60 on necessary things. For three days in London, including two nights in central accommodation, I’d say that’s pretty amazing. I did, however, treat myself to some fabric from Liberty London which isn’t exactly cheap. I just couldn’t resist!

Thank you for reading, I hope these tips are helpful and have shown you that visiting London on a budget is completely doable! Feel free to leave your own tips in the comments!

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  1. Great photos from your visit. My favorite thing to do in London was to wander through all the beautifully manicured parks. Stunning. Keep up the blog, you’ve got a great start!

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