FlightsFitting your trip into your budget definitely starts with getting the cheapest tickets possible! Since the flight is such a long one (either a direct flight of 12-15 hours or broken up into 6-8 hour flights), it’s worth it to find a comfortable one so you won’t start your holiday with aches everywhere. So how can you get a cheap flight that’s still comfortable? ?
AccommodationsStaying in London will probably be the 2nd big-ticket item in your list of trip expenses - convenient and accessible places aren’t cheap! London is split into various zones, with the city centre being zone 1, and then each zone fanning outwards from there. The further from the city centre you stay, the cheaper places tend to be - but the further you’ll be from major attractions!
Day 1: WestminsterOnce you land in Heathrow, there are multiple transport options for getting to your accommodation. Make sure to check out this guide to find out what’s the best method for you! If you’re wondering whether you should get an Oyster Card or a Travelcard, our budget-friendly guide to London will help you out (check out points #3, #6, and #7)! For a 7-day stay like the one in this itinerary, it's worth it to get a Travelcard which starts at £35.10 (only zones 1-2) - make sure to find out which one fits your itinerary the best! Start your London experience with a walking tour (2-3hrs)
- Once you’ve put your bags down, get a relaxed start to your trip with a free sightseeing tour. Free Tours By Foot are a group of London-based tour guides who offer ‘pay what you like’ tours across the city. You won’t have to pay to sign up for the tour, though you can pass the guide a tip at the end of the tour if you really enjoyed it!
- There are regularly scheduled tours exploring Westminster, Harry Potter hallmarks, street art, and even local museums. This is a great way to check some of London’s most popular attractions off your bucket list while learning the in-depth stories behind them!
- Walking tours are also a great way to get used to the streets and sights of the city and simply soak in the unique atmosphere.
- Make sure to check the tour schedules to get started, as you’ll need a reservation to join in! We recommend starting with the Westminster tour, which includes Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, and more!
- If you’re on the Westminster tour you’ll end your walk at Parliament Square or the Jewel Tower. From either location, it’s just a short walk away across the River Thames to St Thomas Hospital.
- The hospital has a multi-faith prayer room on the ground floor that’s available for use, and there’s even an area for wudhu! Do note that the wudhu area is separated for men and women, but the actual prayer area is not separated. You’ll need to bring along your own prayer garments and prayer mat as well (prayer mats are provided but there may not be enough).
- Once you’ve done your prayers, head north-wards to Ned’s Noodle Bar, which serves up a variety of Asian food at affordable prices. All of their meat is halal, but do note that they serve alcoholic drinks separately. You can order a ‘Ned’s Box’ (which comes in a classic Western-style Chinese takeaway box) from just £5.95!
- After your meal, enjoy a walk along the Thames as you head towards your next destination - Southbank Centre! The Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre and hosts events including stage performances, poetry readings, and art exhibitions. This includes free exhibitions too!
- If you’re here on the weekend, make sure to check out the Centre’s Weekend Market too where a variety of food stalls are set up showcasing the diversity of London’s street food scene!
- Try out vegan Ethiopian food from Ethiopiques, vegetarian Indian street food at Horn OK Please, and top off your meal with Choco Fruit’s chocolate-laden desserts.
- Stop by a supermarket and pick up some groceries for the next few days! Even if your accommodations don’t include a kitchen, you can buy some bread or snacks for your breakfast. Meals can be quite pricey in London, and having small snacks such as nuts or fruits to nibble on throughout the day can help shave off some costs!
- Affordable supermarket chains you can check out are Lidl, Aldi, and Morrisons. Lidl even has an environmentally-conscious initiative where you can buy a whole box of produce that doesn't look the best but is still fine to eat for just £1.50!
Day 2: KensingtonAdmire the flowers at St James Park (1hr)
- Start your 2nd day in London right with an early morning visit to some of its nature spots. London may be one of the world’s busiest cities, but there are tons of gardens and parks you can escape to for a breather.
- Where better to begin than at the classic St James Park? Located a short walk from Westminster Station, this park is surrounded by iconic buildings such as Buckingham Palace and Whitehall.
- If you walk through the park, you’ll reach the Buckingham Palace Gardens which has flower beds that brighten the palace grounds throughout the year! Yes, the flower beds are full of blossoms even through the winter as special seasonal flowers are replanted on a regular schedule.
- Now that you’ve arrived at Buckingham Palace, it’s time to catch the Changing the Guard ceremony! This is definitely one of the can’t-miss sights in London and it starts bright and early at 10.45am (lasting for 15 minutes, with the handover at 11am).
- As the ceremony is free to watch, it’s best to get there much earlier to find a good spot for yourself before the crowds arrive!
- A short walk away from St James Park and St James Palace is this budget-friendly eatery that sells wraps inspired by international cuisine. Flavours sold include classics such as Mexican or Turkish, and more innovative ones including Korean, Portuguese, and Indian.
- Located between the Buckingham Palace Gardens and Hyde Park, the Mayfair Islamic Centre is one spot where Muslims in the middle of London can head to for their prayers.
- After lunch, take the Tube to the nearby South Kensington Station to visit the first museum on our list - the V&A! Named after Queen Victoria and her husband Albert, the V&A is now a monumental museum dedicated to showcasing artefacts and works on art and design from across the world.
- There are over 2.3 million objects in the permanent collection alone, so whether you enjoy performance art, photography, or painting you're sure to find something that will leave you speechless.
- After immersing yourself in art and design, give the other half of your brain a bit of a workout by heading to the Science Museum next door.
- Full of displays covering everything from clocks and timepieces to historic aircraft, your entire view of the world will shift once you've peeked behind the scenes of everyday appliances and devices.
- Kids will also enjoy the interactive exhibits that present them with problems to solve and experience, or the flight simulators (tickets range between £2-5) that'll let them get behind the wheel of real aircraft and jets!
- End your day by grabbing a bite at Bosphorus Kebabs a short walk away!
- This small kebab store in Kensington may look unassuming, but they serve up some of London's most famous gyros and kebabs. The store has been around for over 40 years, and is one of the few places in the upscale Kensington district where you can get a delicious and filling meal for less than £10! That definitely makes it worth a visit to us! ?
Day 3: British Museum, Chinatown, and Trafalgar SquareStart the day bright and early at the British Museum (2-3hrs)
- The British Museum is one of those places where you could spend a whole day wandering the galleries, and still not manage to see everything! Split across 10 different departments, the museum houses artefacts and pieces from around the world.
- If you're low on time but want to get the best out of your visit, make sure not to miss the Rosetta Stone (ground floor gallery 4), mummies (Egyptian Room, gallery 62-63), and easter island status (ground floor room 24).
- Located southwards from the museum, you'll be surprised at just how much Muslim-friendly food London's Chinatown has to offer!
- Get some crispy chicken at Good Friend, a small Taiwanese outlet that serves up finger food and more! Their generous servings are sure to fill you up until dinner, and you can't leave without trying their Volcanic Cheesy Chicken which oozes out melted cheese (for just £7.50)!
- After a morning of artefacts, it's time to explore the history of European art from the 13th to the early 20th century at the National Gallery. With over 2,300 paintings across its galleries, this is your chance to see works from famous European painters such as Michelangelo, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Botticelli up close!
- The museum also hosts several temporary exhibitions at a time, some of which may be free! Make sure to check their exhibitions calendar to find out more.
- Right outside the National Gallery is the iconic Trafalgar Square. The Square can get particularly full on weekends (or when Londoners decide to hold rallies), but it's also a great pit stop to sit down and catch your breath after a long day. You won't be able to miss the impressive 5-metre tall Nelson's Column in the middle of the Square, and the accompanying lion statues that are said to protect it.
- While you're at the Square, head over to the Malaysia Tourism office to request to do your prayers in their prayer room! Do note that the office is open from 9am - 5pm on weekdays, and is closed on weekends.
- Finally, end your day with a scrumptious dinner at Siirgista Bros. Formerly known as Burgista Bros, this halal burger chain serves burgers with toppings including Mexican cheese, halal turkey bacon, buffalo sauce, and even a fried egg!
- Make sure to try their Nacho Libre Beef Burger, which loads smoked Mexican cheese, nacho chips, red peppers, and onion salsa on top of a thick beef patty!
Day 4: Markets, markets, and more markets!Explore the classic Borough Market (1-2hrs)
- Borough Market is known for being the market for foodies within London, with over 70 stalls selling everything from freshly grown produce to freshly cooked hot meals. The atmosphere is always lively, and the tempting smell of food in the air will leave you feeling dazed.
- If you want to grab a bite here, look for the Ethiopian Flavours stall where you can get a plate of chicken breast, rice, Injera bread and a choice of two sides from just £4!
- If you're not able to find it, head to the nearby Wrap It Up! outlet to try out more of their fantastic flavours.
- From Borough Market, board the Tube at London Bridge Station and take it to Aldgate Station. From there, walk northwards towards the Petticoat Lane Market.
- This market is known for its wide selection of leather goods, but you'll also find lots of name brand pieces at bargain prices, vintage offerings, and a variety of accessories and trinkets to complete your look!
- The American-style Hummingbird Bakery is where you can have your pick of brownies, cheesecake, pies and so much more! Pop by for a quick break and indulge in a small cupcake to keep you going for the rest of the day.
Halal status: Their cakes are all suitable for vegetarians, and do not contain gelatine/rennet/meat, with some of them being vegan-friendly. Any products that contain alcohol are listed on the counter card in-store, so we advise that you check with the staff before purchasing anything.
Price: From £2.60 Opening hours: Mon to Fri: 8.30am – 6.30pm Sat: 11am - 6pm Sun: 11am - 5pm Address: 11 Frying Pan Alley, London, E1 7HSSqueeze in one more market at the Old Spitalfields Market (1-2hrs)
- First, head to the nearby Brick Lane Mosque to complete your prayers!
- London is full of historic markets, and the Old Spitalfields Market is definitely one of them. The market is considered one of the original East London markets, and hosts a variety of stalls including fresh produce, creative works, and independent retailers.
- Even if you're cutting back on your spending this trip, you definitely can't miss out on a visit here to get in touch with what's new and trending in London. Who knows - you might be able to pick up a souvenir or two here!
- Keep it local with an iconic London dish at Poppie’s Fish and Chips – don’t worry, the fish is cooked entirely in groundnut oil and no beer is used in the batter!
Day 5: King's Cross Station and CamdenHave a magical time at King's Cross St Pancras Station (1-1.5hrs)
- Did you know that King's Cross and St Pancras are actually 2 separate stations? However, since they're situated right next door to each other, almost everyone has taken to calling them 'King's Cross St Pancras'.
- Harry Potter fans will definitely want to head here to recreate going through the iconic Platform 9 3/4. The platform is a whole attraction within the station itself, and there's often a long queue if you're visiting on the weekends. Pop by the Platform 9 3/4 store to check out more Potter goods too!
- Apart from the platform, make sure to wander around this iconic area before moving on. See if you can spot the Olympic Rings from London's 2012 hosting of the Games!
- From Kings Cross St Pancras, take the Tube to Baker Street Station. On the short walk northwards towards the mosque, you'll pass 221B Baker's Street - an address made famous by its famous fictional resident, Sherlock Holmes!
- Snap a photo with 221B's iconic exterior before continuing on to the mosque. The mosque is able to sit over 5,000 worshippers and is one of the biggest and most involved mosques in London, holding prayer sessions and interfaith dialogues amongst other activities.
- Make sure to visit the mosque's Islamic exhibition as well, which depicts a visual journey through the Islamic faith. The exhibition is intended to foster a positive and peaceful dialogue between visitors of all faiths and religions.
- From the mosque, cut across the sprawling Regent Park to reach Camden Town. This hip neighbourhood is the historic origin of anti-establishment subcultures such as punk in London. Today Camden is still home to many music gigs and independent shops and is considered one of the more creative areas in the city.
- You'll find plenty of small businesses selling everything from vegan food to vintage streetwear to kitschy crafts.
- Mildred's has several vegetarian/vegan-friendly restaurants around London serving up dishes inspired by a range of international cuisines. Here you can order Sri Lankan curry, Hummus, and even Gochujang stir-fry all at once to try out how delicious plant-based dishes can be!
- After your meal, it's time to head to the Camden and Camden Lock Markets, another one of London's famous street markets! Befitting the creative and eclectic vibe of the neighbourhood, you can find vintage clothing, arts and crafts, music and even international street food here!
- Camden Lock will draw you in with its network of cobblestone alleys, never knowing where it leads you as you wander around. It's definitely one way to experience London like a local!
- Have your dinner at one of the stalls here like Makatcha which serves up authentic Southeast Asian rendang! Run by an Indonesian couple, this is the perfect place to satisfy that craving for some familiar hometown food.
- Who needs to go to the Shard for a view of the London skyline? Primrose Hill is near Camden Town, absolutely free, and delivers one of the most stunning views you'll get in the city!
- A favourite of locals and visitors alike, you'll have an idyllic end to the day sitting on the grass, tucking into a picnic meal, and watching the sunset. See if you can spot landmarks such as the London Eye before nightfall!
Day 6: The 2 TatesExplore the best of British art at Tate Britain (1.5-3hrs)
- Start your last full day in London at Tate Britain. Sometimes overshadowed by its sister museum the Tate Modern, this Westminster museum deserves a visit for its stunning collection of pieces by British artists. Here's where you can find famous pieces such as Sir John Everett Millais’ Ophelia, and John William Waterhouse’s The Lady of Shalott.
- The museum is also gorgeous from the inside out, with plenty of photo-worthy spots like the geometric black-and-white floor tiles, glass rotunda dome, and spiral staircases.
- From the Tate Britain you could head to St Thomas' Hospital to use the prayer room (refer to Day 1) or to try out a new location, take a bus to the Baitul Aziz Islamic Cultural Centre. The centre holds up to 2,500 people and is located near the famous Elephant and Castle Station too!
- Finally, we arrive at the Tate Modern, right along the Thames. This museum is one of the most popular contemporary art museums in the world and is almost always packed with excited visitors. Here, you can see works from famous names including Marina Abramovic, Yoko Ono, and Andy Warhol.
- Hop on a bus or the Tube and head to Euston for dinner at Roti King. This restaurant serves familiar Malaysian food like Nasi Lemak and Roti Canai, perfect for your last night in London.
- Do note that it gets crowded here very quickly so you might need to wait to get a table!
- Before you leave, make sure to go around trendy Covent Garden on the West End to soak in all the history and culture of the area.
- You can see the Royal Opera House, pop into some independent designer stores, and window shop major name and high street brands all in one spot!
- As this is nearby Chinatown, head over for more Good Friend fried chicken, or try out P.F. Chang's where a bowl of Chinese noodles can cost as low as £9.95!
Day 7: Kensington Palace & Little VeniceVisit the official Royal residence of Kensington Palace (1-1.5hrs)
- On your very last day, squeeze in one last visit to Royal London at Kensington Palace. Apart from being the official residence of TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their children, the palace is also a popular visitor's attraction for its peek into the lives of past royals including Queen Victoria. Entrance into the Palace itself costs a small fee, but you can explore the gorgeous Kensington Palace Gardens for free!
- Behind the palace there's also Hyde Park, where you can take a breather after your long trip and just enjoy the scenery and fresh air!
- Finally, take the Tube to Angel Station and enjoy a quick walk down Regent's Canal before you head back to the airport. Also known as 'Little Venice', this little neighbourhood doesn't look like it's in London at all! It's definitely a fitting way to bid goodbye to a city that's so historic and cosmopolitan all at once.