With its plethora of shops, exhibitions, boujis restaurants, trendy bars, West End musicals and so much more, London’s not exactly made for the penny hungry traveller. Recently named the most expensive city in the world ahead of Paris, New York and Sydney, London has fast become a playground for the super-rich and not so famous.
But we (as resident Londoners) are here to restore a little faith in your mind set (and purse strings). Yes the rent may be high and the cocktails expensive, but there are still a million and one options out there for the budget conscious traveller. Here’s our guide to experiencing the very best of London on a shoestring:
Snap a Panoramic
There are few sights less impressive than the London skyline in all its glory. With so many iconic buildings and landmarks – the Gherkin, the Shard, Monument, St Paul’s, Big Ben, the London Eye and the O2 to name just a few – there’s always something amazing to photograph, but the trick is to find the right angle. Greenwich Park, Primrose Hill (near Regent’s Park), Parliament Hill (in Hampstead Heath) and Brockwell Park are all famous for their incredible panoramic opportunities, so grab your best pano lens and your best camera ready face and get snapping!
Pick up vintage treasures
You might be on a budget, but no trip to London would be complete without a few token souvenirs right? The obvious market choices are Camden and Portobello, and rightly so, but why not steer away from the tourist crowd and do as the locals do with a trip to either Spitalfields or Broadway markets (both, handily, surrounded by some of London’s best pubs). For the flower lovers amongst you, you’ll find your home from home at Columbia Road flower market – cheap, colourful and smells like heaven.
Lose track of time at a museum
Crazy fact – there are over 300 museums and galleries in London. If you’re in town for a flying visit, make sure you tick off a few of the biggies. The V&A, Tate Britain, Tate Modern and British Museum always have fascinating collections, and of course you can satisfy the big kid in you by admiring the dinosaurs at the Natural History museum or learn about space travel and psychology at the Science Museum. Guaranteed you will learn something that will blow your mind!
Experience a traditional English pub
You can’t come to England and not drink some real ale in a traditional English pub. This being London, you’re spoilt for choice at every turn, but in the effort of saving a few of your precious pennies, we strongly recommend The White Horse pub in Soho. Something of a secret the locals try to keep, The White Horse is part of the Sam Smith group of pubs which, put bluntly, sell super cheap/pretty decent drinks. You’re welcome.
Go celebrity spotting
You might not like to admit it (boys we’re looking at you) but everyone loves a good celebrity spot. And in London, where the streets are teeming with A, B, C, D and Z list faces, chances are you’ll rub shoulders with the rich and famous at some point. E & O, a Japanese restaurant in Notting Hill, is a SUPER popular celeb hangout, where the likes of Kate Moss, Siena Miller, David Beckham and Kate Hudson swap A List chat over tofu and dim sum. Similarly, Shoreditch House in East London boasts famous members such as Professor Green and Cara Delevingne.
Ready to put our pearls of wisdom to good use and experience London on a shoestring? We’ve got a range of awesome London tours available – check them out here.