Samuel Johnson’s famous quote, “When you tire of London, you tire of life” is completely true. London is the cosmopolitan capital of England and a lot of travelers dream to visit this bustling city. Be warned though: London is a very expensive city to travel to if you are on a very tight budget. This guide to London will hopefully save you some money.
Hostel – dorm rooms for around 10-15GBP (US $15-30) a night, depending if you’re staying close to the city center or not (the city center is one square mile found east of the river Thames and is often known as the central business district). Privates can range around 25GBP (approx $39) and up.
Hotels– can range anywhere from the $100 mark to up to more than $400. There are numerous luxury hotels within the area as well as budget ones.
Food – A sit down can cost as much as 30-40GBP per meal for two people. You can buy cheaper meals at Pret a Porter (sandwiches) or at other “fast” food places serving sushi and the like. Expect to pay at least 5 GBP ($7.7) for a sandwich from one of these places and around 2 GBP for drinks ($3.50).
Transportation – If you figure out how to ride the bus, it will cost you less than 2 GBP per ride (around $3.50), the tube prices depend on which zone you are starting from and traveling to. If you need further information on the costs, you can check out the Transport for London website. A taxi is very, very expensive and is not really recommended if you are on a budget. If you are also planning to take a taxi into the city, note of the congestion charges too, that will also add to your fare, as well as other tariffs. Check the Transport for London website for updated information.
How to Save Money
London is a very expensive city, and everyone says that. Although for an expensive city, there are a lot of ways to save money:
1)Entrance Fees – You don’t need to pay entrance fees to see some of the famous sites – Places like St Paul’s Cathedral and Westminster Abbey open their doors for worship on certain days/hours. A downside is that you can’t see some of the other rooms except for where mass is held.
London is an expensive city , but it doesn’t have to be.
2) Eating Out – Avoid eating in restaurants found directly in Leicester Square – most of the places that are in this area are highly tourist centric and cost a lot more than what you would originally pay for. Instead, go to one of the side streets and see if you can find something that’s local.
3) Look for specials – Try eating a sit down dinner at lunch – some restaurants have lunch specials that offer food at a much cheaper price than dinner prices. You can opt to go to a sandwich shop for dinner or make your own at the hostel.
4) Buy an Oyster Card – or a day tube ticket – instead of fumbling around the machine trying to figure out the zone you’re from and where you’re going, buy a day ticket to the tube. If you’re staying longer, invest in an oyster card. You just reload the card as you go and you won’t get charged more than a day tube ticket.
5) Avoid Taxis – Take the tube from the airport to the city instead of a taxi or a train – this will take a longer time than the train but it is the cheapest option.
Top things to see and do in London:
1) Tower Bridge – the drawbridge that you see on TV is not London Bridge, but Tower Bridge. You can go up to the top and look down at the cars that are crossing the bridge and at towards the River Thames.
2) Tower of London – the complex was initially built in 1066 and where the crown jewels are kept. You can walk through the ancient walls see the place where Anne Boleyn was beheaded and hear the story about the lost princes of the tower.
3) Westminster Abbey – a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and also a site where the royals have been crowned, married, or buried in. See the speaker’s corner and the tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the grand interiors of the church.
4) Buckingham Palace – though you can only get to go in the palace itself on certain months in the summer (you have to book your tickets in advance online otherwise you may not get in at all), you can tour through the various rooms and see some exhibitions that are on display (previous exhibitions include Faberge eggs & Duchess Kate’s wedding gown).
5) Houses of Parliament – home to the famous Big Ben and where parliament meets. You can’t technically go inside (except on certain days during the summer months via ticketed entry) but you can take as many photos as you want outside.
6) Stroll around the parks – there are a lot of them and they are big enough to spend your day in. There’s Kensington Park, adjacent to Hyde Park. If you go during the summer months, you’ll often find free concerts in Hyde Park. On other days, there is always the Speaker’s Corner, which allows anyone to get up and speak their mind. There’s also Green Park and St James Park, near Buckingham Palace
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Ultimate Travel Guide to London [restrict]The Ultimate Travel Guide To London[/restrict]