When you visit London on a budget, £10 can make a big difference. Especially when it’s roughly what you want to spend per day, you need to know exactly how to travel cheap in London.
Having lived there for about a year and a half before moving out to sunny Rome, I was always on the lookout for free things to do in London. The pace is fast and often, stressful when you live there. When you’re a tourist too, and the average cost of a trip to London for a week can jump up if you don’t know where to look for enjoyable, calm, and free or cheap things to do in London.
I’m going to be helping you out on a few London budget restaurants and try to lower the overall cost of your stay, especially if what you’re wondering is: “How much does a trip to London cost?” and “How to travel cheap in London?”.
Follow the tips I’ve written down for you in this London on a budget blog. How can I visit London in one day? That’s definitely not very enjoyable, as the city is already fast-paced and you might waste lots of energy. I don’t recommend it. If you’re trying to work out a London budget 2021, book a few days during which you can really discover the city’s personality. That way, you can really enjoy all the depth of the activities you can do – even on a trip to London on a budget.
1. Low Budget London: Go to the museum
What is the best month to go to London? According to how many free museums in London there are, any month is good. When you’re on a low budget London trip, it can be tricky to try and figure out what to do during the day.
When I first started wondering “How can I see London on a budget?”, I had to take into consideration that once you’re out of one of the best London budget hotels, you’re outside all day. You can’t really be coming back to the hostel three times a day to have a pee or a bite.
Planning a trip to London on a budget means being strategical. I’m not only talking about London budget restaurants and cheap bites. I’m talking about the fact that you will have to drink and have a pee stop several times during the day. Even a coffee from McDonald’s adds up if you’re spending on three or four coffees a day.
What will alighten your London travel budget is a visit to the best free London museums. There are so many, and some of the most interesting are located in posh, very nice areas like South Kensington. Pay a visit to the Natural History Museum, the V&A (my favorite because of the fashion section!), and the Science Museum. Even if you don’t want to include museums for your budget trip to London, I promise you’ll learn a lot of new fun facts.
2. London Budget Restaurants: Have an afternoon tea
When you visit London on a budget, you still want to make the most of every day. And this also means afternoon tea. Now, how can I see London on a budget? You need to be strategic when choosing your London budget restaurants and hotels.
Who said you have to have a full afternoon tea? I have found that a great snack in the middle of a shopping day I should not be having is from Patisserie Valerie. Even on a London travel budget, you can get your plentiful with two scones, clotted cream and a cup of tea.
If you want to splurge on a full afternoon tea, you’ll have to be even smarter when planning a trip to London on a budget. That means you might have to cut down on a restaurant one evening, or do a bit less shopping. Still, you can get a cool afternoon tea on a budget trip to London for as little as £15 even in some fancy restaurants.
Where? Patisserie Valerie, 15-17 Great Cumberland Pl, London W1H 7AS
3. Get a new outfit at a London charity shop
Getting cool new gear from a charity shop is one of my favorite almost free things to do in London. The average cost of a trip to London for a week can get expensive pretty fast. How much does a trip to London cost? It can average several hundreds to thousands of pounds if you’re not paying attention to tips on how to travel cheap in London.
When I was a bit broke, I’ve found addresses of charities that all belong on a London on a budget blog. In some charity shops, you can definitely get a new outfit for ten pounds, sometimes even less. Charity shops are your new London budget 2021 BFF. They pay attention to the clothes’ details when they receive donations, which means that you can get brandname clothes for much cheaper, in excellent condition.
That leaves you some money for London budget restaurants and tips about how to travel to London on a budget. Traid, Oxfam, and Fara are three of my favorite charity shops, but you can also find cool things from Cancer Research and the Salvation Army.
4. Low Budget London: Get lost in a market
When I visit London on a budget, one of my favorite things to do is take a long stroll in the London markets. There are many more markets than you could ever dream of in London: Columbia Road Flower Market, Borough Market and its local produce, Brixton Market and its African and Jamaican products, Portobello Road and its antiques, fashion and succulent street food in London.
Most of the famous London markets are open during the week as well as the weekend. However, if you really want to feel the hustle and bustle of the city, I would consider going there on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. Plus, you can get a breakfast to give you some strength while you’re making your way through the crowd!
5. Get a book and a coffee
Even if you’re on a London travel budget, you can still plan an awesome moment there. With a tenner, you can absolutely visit London on a budget. I would recommend getting a book from a charity shop like Oxfam where you can always get a good, thick novel for under £3.
Then, I’d suggest heading to one of the best London budget restaurants and coffeeshops, like a Caffè Nero, a Starbucks, or a small independent coffeeshop. Since it’s now fall, to visit London on a budget is even easier. The prices on the spot in London budget hotels are much cheaper, as are the flights.
What is the best month to go to London on a budget? I’d say that right now is a pretty cool choice, with the weather just barely starting to cool down. And if you want to avoid buying a new book, you can always visit one of London’s libraries to spend a chill afternoon there.
6. Budget Restaurants London: Get a pizza and a donut
Among the almost free things to do in London on a budget, you can basically get a full meal for less than £10. Sure, it won’t be the veggie-based full meal – unless you head to the suburbs of London for affordable restaurants.
But if you want to get a great Neapolitan pizza in London, I’d suggest getting a margherita pizza from Franco Manca to go – that’s one of the best London budget restaurants available all across town. Then, I’d go to one of the ultra-delicious Crosstown Doughnuts shops and get a huge peanut butter & jam donut. All this for under a tenner, yes, that’s right. Is that not a cool London on a budget blog? I knew you’d like it.
Thinking food ahead is one of the best ways to figure out how to travel cheap in London. There are so many delicious food options here that the average cost of a trip to London for a week can shoot up pretty quickly if you’re a foodie like me.
7. Find incredible street art in London
What is the best month to go to London to see street art? I’d say the spring months and the very end of the summer are the best London travel budget options for that. London is full of amazing street art. Some areas are filled with stickers and drawings and paintings and poems, like Brick Lane, Camden Town, or Shoreditch.
How can I see London on a budget? Focus on arts. They’re always really cheap to observe, from the free museums in London to open air street art.
When you visit London on a budget, think of your accommodation carefully. London budget hotels will help you plan a trip without the pain of a high rent. However, what you don’t pay in accommodation, you might have to pay in transportation if you select a hotel that’s too far from the main attractions in London.
Planning a trip to London on a budget includes thinking of accommodation that’s kind of close to all the best things to do in London. If you choose the trendy East London or the edgy Camden Town, you’ll be able to enjoy incredible street art all around.
8. Low Budget London: Pay a visit to Poundland stores
If you’re living in London on a budget, there’s no way you haven’t heard of Poundland stores. If you’re looking for how to travel cheap in London, you’ll love this chain where you can basically get anything for £1. That means chocolate, notebooks, socks, books, makeup, toiletries, kitchenware, deodorant, and so many more necessities!
I had to include Poundland in this London on a budget blog. The average cost of a trip to London for a week can really reach the top of the graph. For all the little items you’ll need during your stay at a London budget hostel, I’d strongly suggest passing by a Poundland.
I’ve bought much more makeup than I thought I would love from Poundland. Not only do their have an incredible makeup brand called Makeup Gallery that makes the creamiest lipsticks and coolest nail polishes, but they also sell outlets of Barry M, Maybelline, Models Own, and Rimmel makeup.
That’s one of the best almost free things to do in London, and I’ve bought more than one stationery item from Poundland. Sometimes, it’s just lovely to live in London on a budget.
9. Get a donut from Bread Ahead Bakery (or two)
When you visit London on a budget, you still kind of want to eat out. After all, London is very much renowned for its diversity of cheap restaurants and high-end cuisines. When I used to work at the Shard as a receptionist, it would be a great joy to go down all 32 floors to get a fabulous donut.
Luckily, Borough Market is just across the street and with it, the fabulous Bread Ahead Bakery London. That is simply the best donut dough you’ll ever come across. The Bread Ahead bakery is also a bakers’ school, and you can sometimes peek through the windows and spot the students making fresh recipes.
Bread Ahead Bakery also has a stand inside Borough Market, where you can get bread, olive and cheese sticks and the most incredible cinnamon buns ever. My recommendation? Order the sinner cinnamon bun, with some cream on top of it.
That is definitely one of the best bakeries in London, and just writing about it makes me want to book a ticket and eat one of these donuts while taking a walk on London Bridge.
10. Watch a movie at Genesis Cinema
To answer ‘What is the best month to go to London?’, I would say: every month is perfect to visit London on a budget. Especially when some cinemas and theaters offer budget activities in London.
Genesis Cinema, in on Mile End Road in East London, is one of those London travel budget BFFs. A ticket costs well under a tenner most days of the week, and there’s a cute coffeeshop that you’ll love when you’re planning a trip to London on a budget.
How can I see London on a budget? Start by choosing your accommodation well before planning cheap activities in London. Having lived in both Mile End and Bethnal Green in East London, I’ve found that not much was happening there. As such, the best London budget hotels and some of the best London budget restaurants are there. If you need food from a halal restaurant in London, that’s also a cool area to visit.
When you’re trying to plan a London travel budget, look for places like Genesis Cinema. It’s not always easy to plan an evening out in London without leaving an arm and a leg at the till. Cheap movies and theater tickets in London can make all the difference on a rainy evening.
What to do in London with £10?
See? To visit London on a budget can be a very enjoyable thing. Taking a long walk around St Paul’s Cathedral and walking up on the Millenium Bridge to end up at the fabulous Tate Modern museum is one of my absolute favorites things to do with a low budget London.
10 pounds can be enough, although I do recommend packing up a bit more if you really want to enjoy all the cool eateries and activities that London has to offer. It doesn’t matter if you need to splurge once in a while if it means you’ll bring back incredible memories from your trip to London on a budget!