article hero

London On A Budget: 11 Essential Money-Saving Hacks For Your Next Trip


Santriani Bohari  •  Sep 02, 2017


[Updated: 14 Jun 2019] It's a common misperception that London is one of the most expensive cities to visit, but it doesn't necessarily have to be that way! Credit: Giphy To make sure you don't burst your budget, we've rounded up some of the best hacks and tips that can help you save some of your pounds ? P.S. If you're heading to London, find more halal local food, prayer spaces and attractions all on our website here! Trip planning made easy, eh? [inlinewidget id=29312]
1. Go to the best attractions for free
Tons of London’s attractions and events are free, like the Notting Hill Carnival and the daily Changing of Guards at Buckingham Palace. Entry to some of London's most world-famous museums are also free: marvel at the beauty of the architecture and collections at the likes of the British Museum, Natural History Museum (pictured), and Tate Modern. If you’re between the ages of 16-25 you can even get discounted entry prices to Tate exhibitions by joining the Tate Collective - the membership is free, and all exhibition tickets will cost just £5! #HHWT Tip: Check this article out for 5 free museums you have to visit in London (with halal food nearby!)
 2. Get creative with photo spots 
Credit: design-dautore.com on Facebook What's a London vacay without an Insta-worthy shot to seal the deal? Wandering around vibrant areas like Neal's Yard, Covent Garden and Notting Hill won't cost you a single cent ? Head for neighbourhoods such as Brixton, Camden, and Shoreditch to take in the eclectic and youthful culture - whether you're exploring vintage shops or street markets, you'll get a brand-new view of London for sure. #HHWT Tip: If you have an Oyster Card and some time to spare, hop onto the No. 11 public bus which has several major monuments and iconic buildings along its route. If you're sitting from the start to end of the route some of the monuments you'll see include Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, and St Paul’s Cathedral!
3. Use fast-track tourist passes & online bookings
Credit: London Pass on Facebook If you'd like to experience London from the fancy touristy perspective but on a budget, you should definitely get the London Pass ? From just £75, you'll get free access to over 80 London attractions AND fast-track entry so you can skip all those pesky long queues, especially if you're travelling in peak season! The Pass is valid for 1, 2, 3, 6 or 10 consecutive days so you can pick one that fits your trip. Not only you will get to experience London hassle-free, you get to save over 50% on the entry fees to all of London's biggest attractions! 
Credit: London Pass on Facebook Hopping onto a Thames River cruise, watching a Shakespearean play at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, exploring the Tower of London... there's no end to the number of things to do with your London Pass! #HHWT Tip: Bundle your London Pass purchase with the Oyster Travelcard to get unlimited travel on public transport in all of London!
4. Stay at budget-friendly accommodations across the city
From hostels to rental apartments to affordable hotels, there's no shortage of budget-friendly accommodations for you when you head to London. Though some neighbourhoods such as Westminster will definitely be more expensive as they're right in the heart of the city, you can overcome that if you're travelling with friends or striking a great deal at an affordable hostel.
Credit: Hostelsclub on Facebook Trust us, you'll be spoilt for choice. So to make things easier, be sure to check this article out for some the best budget-friendly accommodations you can stay in London ! Even if you stay pretty far out of the city, the reliable public transport system will make commuting a breeze! 
Credit: Wombats Hostels on Facebook Beds at hostels in Central London start from as little as £9 (with breakfast!), and most offer the choice of dormitories or private rooms. Some of the more popular hostel chains include YHA, wombat’s, and St Christopher’s Inns.
Credit: Claire on Airbnb If you're travelling in a group, an apartment or Airbnb is definitely the way to go. Spacious apartment (like this one) can costs about £14 per person if you do the math, which is more than worth it for access to a kitchen and washing machine. Whether you prefer staying in London's bustling central areas or in the quieter suburbs, you're bound to find a space that'll make your trip all the more pleasant ?
5. Bask in the stunning beauty of London views - FOR FREE!
 Who says you need to buy tickets to the London Eye to get a bird's-eye view of London? ? Head on over to Primrose Hill, a favourite among the locals for the great view it affords of the London skyline. The park is also a great place to spend a day just enjoying the fresh air of the outdoors and do some people-watching (especially on weekends)! 
Credit: Richard Kaby on Flickr Don't forget to wander around the neighbourhood: Primrose Hill is also known to have some of the prettiest English houses in town ? The famous Camden Market is just a short walk away too, so once you've finished your picnic on Primrose Hill you can head over there to check out what hip and hand-made trinkets are being displayed that day.
Credit: Vancouver4life on Facebook Rising above the heart of London, the Sky Garden is another lesser known venue to enjoy panoramic views of London. Its sloping roof and windows make for a stunning picture and a warm, sunlit space for you to admire the scenery from. #HHWT Tip: Tickets to the Sky Garden are free but limited so do check the website before you head over. Each ticket has a 1-hour time limit from the time of entry.
Credit: Sky Garden on Facebook
6. Rely on the London classics - the Tube and Oyster Card - to get you around the city
 One of the cheapest (and easiest) ways to get around the city is, of course - the Tube! Get yourself a Tube map so you can navigate London like a pro ? Although if you’re really trying to cut costs, check the walking times between stations so you won’t have to pay for unnecessary tube rides! You can get the tube map near the tourists’ kiosks at airports, hotel lobbies and even public transportation areas. You can also conveniently download the map onto your phone.
Credit: Brasserie Blanc on Facebook Cut your transport expenditure in half by purchasing the Oyster Card, which is a smartcard that allows you travel on the London Underground, Overground, Tram and those iconic red London buses! Oyster Cards even come with a daily price cap so if you’re only in London for a few days or not taking public transport a lot, it’s totally worth it! (Just avoid travelling during peak hour if you’re using a pay-as-you-go fare.) #HHWT Tip: If you’re in London for 5 days or more, it might be more effective to load your Oyster Card with a Travelcard. A 7-day Travelcard for Zones 1 and 2 will cost you just £35.10 which can save you so much more in the long run! Just make sure to compare between an Oyster and Travelcard before you decide! 
7. Consider leaving the Tube behind to get a brand-new view of London
Credit: Transport for London on Facebook Alternatively, it might be even cheaper to get around by cycling, especially if the places you're visiting are located near to each other. For just £2, you can access a Santander Cycles bike for 24 hours. Many of London's major attractions are clustered together, so if you're exploring a neighbourhood a day this is the perfect way to make use of your time and money! #HHWT Tip: The first 30 mins of each ride are free, so to make the most savings, make sure each ride lasts less than half an hour so you'll end up paying only the initial £2 activation fee.
8. Get the best affordable (and Muslim-friendly!) eats
Credit: Stax Diner on Facebook Eating is one of THE best parts about travelling, agreed? ? Just take your pick from these 12 yummiest halal eateries in London near major attractions! Many restaurants offer halal meat options, and of course, there are countless fully halal or Muslim-owned restaurants that you'll never run out of options.
Credit: @fiestudy_abroad on Instagram
 That said, eating out all the time is bound take a toll on your wallet. To get the best of both worlds, though, why not save money by buying groceries for some good old home-cooked meals? ? If you're booking an apartment with friends, definitely make some time to spend an evening recreating classic London dishes like fish and chips or shepherd's pie with your purchases. You might be tempted to stop by a supermarket to pick up ingredients, but try stopping at a local farmer’s market instead to pick up produce that’s both healthier and more affordable! There are plenty of farmer’s markets around London, so you’re sure to find one near your accommodations.
You could also try out eating at food halls, of which there are many scattered around London. We recommend Selfridge's food hall for its spread of sumptuous and affordable halal food ? A generous helping of lamb kofta here costs only £3, and if you have leftovers that's your next few suppers settled! P.S. Be sure to check out our guide to halal food at Selfridge's food hall here!
Credit: @thomas.looi on Instagram Otherwise, you can always indulge in some classic Turkish kebabs, which are dotted all over London. A small doner kebab will only set you back £5, and a filling lamb burger costs just £4.60. Remember to check out our other London food guides here to see the amazing choices you have!
9. Refill your bottles and cut costs at the same time
Credit: @lesswastelaura on Instagram
Save money on staying hydrated by checking out free water refill points around the city. It’s even available as an app so you can find your nearest water cooler in seconds. Not only will you not have to shell out money to keep yourself refreshed, but it's environmentally-friendly too.
10. See musical performances for half the price (or less!)
Catching a show on the West End or any of the independent theatres is one of the must-do activities when you’re in London. But the huge ticket prices can definitely put a damper on things - so here are some tips for getting cheaper tickets for any show you want!
Credit: @suekimm0 on Instagram
The TKTS booth in Leicester Square is easily the most well-known tip for getting cheaper tickets. If you’re not set on a particular show and have time to spare, head down to get last-minute cheap tickets. Just make sure to get there early as they sell out fast!
Credit: @cassiemitchele on Instagram
If you’re feeling lucky , you can also head down to the theatre to queue for a standby ticket (sometimes you might even get front row seats for half the price!) or enter a day lottery. Several popular shows hold lotteries, including Hamilton The Musical, Harry Potter And The Cursed Child, Matilda, and School Of Rock so check to see if you might have a chance at snagging a ticket at just £10! #HHWT Tip: If you’re more cautious, compare ticket prices to get the best deal ahead of time!
11. Go budget shopping for just about anything
Credit: @heytirta on Instagram What's a trip to London without doing some shopping, right? If Harrods or fancy boutiques aren't your thing, head over to Primark AKA a shopping haven for you shopaholics out there! ? The best part about Primark is that it's absolutely affordable and will always make you come back for more (speaking from personal experience ?). Not only is this little paradise filled with the latest trends, but they also offer British themed items which make great souvenirs for below £10! #HHWT Tip: Primark also sells pretty coats too which can help you with the British climate if you're travelling during winter ?
Credit: Somewhere Beyond Here on Facebook If you're tired of huge departmental stores, though, head down to Portobello Road Market, where you'll find some of London's best vintage clothing bargains! Other street markets known specifically for their clothes and accessories are the Old Spitalfields market, Inverness Street Market, and Petticoat Lane market. 
Credit: West of Me Vintage Clothing on Facebook Check out the rest of London's street markets here so you can shop till you drop without spending a bomb ?And don't miss out on these shopping streets near some amazing halal food too! #HHWT Tip: There's also a cafe serving Malaysian food (Makan Cafe) right in the heart of Portobello Road Market. Teh tarik and nasi lemak, anyone?
Credit: Poundland on Facebook For the cheapest and best snacks to bring home (to relive your London adventure), pop by Poundland where you can find everything for 1 pound. Yes, 1 pound. Credit: Giphy Being a tourist in London doesn't mean you'll burn a hole in your wallet for sure. In fact, now that you know all the best budget hacks for a wallet-friendly time in London, you'll fall even in more love with the U.K.'s famed capital for sure ? If you're still feeling lost about how to plan your next London trip,  check out our website for the top attractions, halal food and nearby prayer spaces in London!  [inlinewidget id=29312]