Tuesday, 6 October 2009

5 Tips to Travel Economically in London

(Updated December 2017)

Many people think that a trip to London is almost impossible because of the mighty Great Britain Pound (GBP) that has reduced all other currencies to pittance. But you can stretch your money and enjoy London at the same time, if you know how. Here are 5 tips to do it:

1) Visit the Free Attractions
There are many paying attractions in London. However, the best ones are free - British Museum, National Gallery, Tate Modern, Natural History Museum, Westminister Cathedral, Victoria & Albert Museum, etc.

Unless you must visit a certain paying attraction, visiting all the free ones is enough for a memorable trip to London.

You get to see naked statues for free at the British Museum!

Don’t worry about missing out if you don’t visit a certain attraction because eventually everything will begin to look the same. For example, visit Westminister Cathedral which is free instead of St Paul's Cathedral (GBP16.00) and Westminister Abbey (GBP20.00) because when you visit one church, you’ve seen 'em all.

2) Book Online
Attractions like Madame Tussaud, St Paul's Cathedral and Tower of London offer discounts if you book your ticket online. The discounts are not much but it’s still savings which could be used for food and transport. So remember to check the website of the attraction you wish to visit. You could save a couple of quid.

3) Bus Instead of Train
Using an Oyster card, a bus ride would cost GBP1.50 while a tube ride would cost about GBP2.40 (depending on the zone). There are also Travelcards and Day Passes. Read all options available and see which one suits your travel itinerary best.

Bus ride in London

But the downside about taking the bus is that you must know which bus to take and where to get off.

With the tube, you just get off at the specific station mentioned in the guides and look for the attraction you wish to visit. But the tube system in London can be confusing and overwhelming with its numerous lines running in different directions, and not to mention the human traffic at peak hours.

Remember to use the bus for long distance travel too because it's cheaper compared to taking the train.

And here's another tip. easyBus offers one of the most economical transfers from London to airports like Gatwick, Luton and Stanstead. 

4) Vespers - Your Free Entry into Paying Cathedrals
Vespers is the evening prayer service held in churches and is open to the public.

In St Paul's Cathedral and Wesminister Abbey where there are entrance fees, vespers are held after the last tourist has been ushered out at closing time. Attend the vespers at these places if you want to save your hard earned money. You not only get to hear the angelic voices of the choir, but you also get to step inside these awe inspiring houses of worship - for free.

St Paul's Cathedral

However, don’t think of roaming around after the vespers because the popular tourist spots within these places would have been cordoned off. For example, you would not be able to climb to the Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral after closing time.

5) Survive on Sandwiches
One proper meal in London would cost an average GBP10.00 per person. In my country Malaysia, I could feed myself for half a month with that kind of money.

This egg & mayo sandwich costs 1.35 quid which made quite a substantial meal

The best way to reduce food expenses is to prepare your own meals. But if you do not have the time or cooking facilities, then I would recommend surviving on sandwiches. Shops like Pret-A-Manger and Marks & Spencers Food sells cheap sandwiches and these shops are available on almost every street corner.

If you’re horizontally challenged, think of surviving on sandwiches as a new crash diet; and if you're the type who likes to gorge at each meal, think of all the glorious food waiting for you when you return to your homeland.

Enjoy London!


Anonymous said...

Excellent write up Julie. Very informative on cost saving.
Bet u enjoyed your London trip,did u go oslo?

Btw, how was the summer weather there? Still cool huh


Julie Lim said...


Glad you liked the write-up :-)

London was fabulous! Weather was chilly especially at night because it was heading into autumn at that time.

And yes, I went to Oslo. I'll post a few entries on that soon!

AudMraz said...

Hi Julie,

Good tips :) Am sure you loved London!

Travelcards and day passes are the best options. Some train tickets are also much cheaper if you buy in advance, I think they're called Apex tickets last time.

I wonder if they still have the 1 pound pizza with free all-you-can-eat salad bar? We used to eat that when we're out and about, haha..

Buying food from the supermarket is definitely the most economical. Much much cheaper and more filling to make your own sandwiches.


Julie Lim said...

Hi Audrey,

I didn't see the 1-pound pizza with all-you-can-eat salad bar. Or else I would have been standing in line too!

SirSimplySaw said...

hmm the part you said you could feed yourself half a month on £10 = RM58 is a lil aggravating, dont u think so ?

well sandwiches are good choice but if you fancy some hot food can always get 2 piece chicken with chips for around £ 2.50...but of course dont eat it everyday..

cheerss..enjoy urself

Julie Lim said...

Hi SirSimplySaw,

Maybe it's a bit exaggerating but I have lived on RM58 for half a month by eating only one cheap meal a day. Tosai is the best!

Thanks for the GBP2.50 chicken and chips tip. Will look out for it when I go to London again :-)

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