Article by Amy Baker
Photos by Vago Damitio
It goes without saying that London is one of the world’s most expensive cities. If you have the cash, you can dine at the finest restaurants, rest your head in the most luxurious hotels and spend obscene amounts of money hitting the designer shops that the capital is so famous for. However, if you haven’t got a bank balance to rival Richard Branson like most of us, you’ll be pleased to hear that London is a city that can be done on the cheap. How I hear you cry? Well by doing some research and keeping your ear to the ground, you can experience the London that the locals know and love. Here is London on a Budget.
First things first, there are hundreds of wonderful online deals out there which mean that you can experience the best of London for a fraction of the price. Hop online, conduct a little research and in no time you will discover hotel and restaurant deals galore, packages for cocktails, meals, spa treatments, afternoon tea’s in some of the city’s fanciest destinations for a fraction of the cost. By being a savvy traveller and conducting some research before you travel, you can arrange an abundance of activities for the price of one if you were to just turn up on the day.
It’s important to make the most of the free activities on offer. London is a hotbed of museums, galleries and exhibitions and there are loads that you don’t have to pay through the nose for. Places like the Tate Modern and the National Gallery – potentially the two most iconic London museums, are mostly free to visit and are a great place to spend a few hours.
Although people have the impression that London is enormous, many of its main attractions are well within walking distance of each other so don those comfy shoes and hit the pavement. Without having to shell out a penny you can take in the Houses of Parliament, the London Eye, the Southbank, the River Thames, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, Trafalgar Square, Nelson’s Column, Downing Street – and the list goes on. All of these London highlights are arguably more interesting from the outside anyway! They say that the best way to get to know a city is on-foot. That way, you discover the hidden away gems which give you a real insight into the type of place it is. Whether it is a graffiti-lined side-street in East London or a fish market in Brixton, these are the real sites that people who are wrapped up in hopping from expensive attraction to expensive attraction miss. And more fool them!
London is a city at the forefront of the street food movement. This means that you can grab cheap eats from street vendors and market stalls that rival the fare served in establishment’s charging a small fortune. Places like Camden Market, Spitalfields and Borough Market are home to top-class chefs pedalling their wares for a tiny cost and if you are really broke, you can always fill up on the plentiful free samples.
Amy Baker is a London-based writer with a passion for travel. She writes advice for people who want to get away from it all and contributes to a number of travel websites and magazines.