London is one of my favorite cities, but it can be quite expensive. It is an expensive city even without the currency exchange for British pounds. My first trip to London the rate was 1 GBP to 2.2 USD, so you would double everything and add a bit more. Although it is an expensive place to visit, here are some tips to save money in London (Over $150+ of Savings)
6 Tips to Save $150+ in London
#1 Get an Oyster Card (Saves $20-30)
Having an Oyster Card is extremely convenient and saves you a ton of money each week. The fares are lower if you have a card so there really is no reason not to get one. Here is the the Oyster Card Site.
#2 FREE Entry to the Westminster Abbey (Saves Admission cost $33 or £20)
Here are the steps to get in for free. Trust me, I have tried this twice and it works.
- Head to the back or exit of the Abbey. (Just ask where the exit and gift shop is located)
- Tell the guard at the gate “I would like to pay my respects to the unknown soldier”
- Enjoy the inside of the Abbey, take a few photos and pay your respects to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
- Most of the time you are accompanied by the guard so remember this is just to see the tomb and the inside, not to stay in for as long as you please.
#3 SKIP the London Eye (Saves Admission cost $33 or £20)
This was the biggest waste of money ever. Trust me the view is not that great and getting a good photo with YOU in it is impossible with the glare/glass. Still go see the London Eye as it is a cool attraction, but I recommend avoiding the ride.
Instead of riding the London Eye go visit one of London’s free museums like my favorite The British Museum (famous things like the Original Rosetta Stone are here)
Although there is a few thousand of people who will disagree with me about the London Eye on Tripadvisior, if you really want to ride it then I would recommend going at night. But if you want a good Free picture with Big Ben, then head to the opposite side and take this same photo op that I did. I still can’t justify riding a glorified ferris wheel for $33.
Okay, well you still can get a good photo like this of Big Ben, but I still thought it was a waste of money. I like the look of the London Eye, especially at night, but taking a ride is way overpriced.
#4 St. Pauls Cathedral for FREE (Saves Admission costs $26 or £16)
Throughout my budget backpacking I have seen so many beautiful churches, even some made completely of bones. After seeing a bunch I now refuse to pay entry for any Church, Cathedral, Mosque, Castle etc…9 times out of 10 I have been unimpressed with the interior and most of the time the outside is the real thing of beauty. Regardless of religion, I don’t think you should need to pay to enter a place of worship. St. Pauls Cathedral made me a bit upset when they were charging such a high amount to enter a church, so I didn’t go in past the the security. But that shouldn’t stop you, click on this link and go to a service for FREE. This site provides all the information on how to see the inside and attend a service for Free.
#5 Eat & drink at a Wetherspoons. (Save $15)
Pub Food in London can be really expensive. Eating out every day can break the bank and especially when it comes to drinking, Save a bunch of money by ordering the Wetherspoons lunch specials and then hitting up happy hour later on. The Wetherspoons have practically bought out every pub, so you will have no trouble finding one in London. Here is their list of locations in London for reference.
#6 Cheap Movie tickets (Save $15)
Seeing a movie in London can get really pricey. Head over to the awesome Coronet Theatre in Notting Hill. This place is really cool, it is an old styled Victorian Theatre that was renovated and turned into a Movie Theatre. Monday night is Student Night so tickets are ₤3.50 or $6, Tuesday night has the same deal for everyone. Click here for the Theatre’s website.
So that is $150+ in total savings for London. Check out my Travel Resources Page for some more money saving sites to use for your next trip!
What are your great money saving tips for London? Share them and leave a comment below
*GBP/USD rates are current 01 FEB 2014 (some rounding occurred)