London is known as the gateway to Europe, and it’s also home to some of the world’s greatest museums and galleries. The city is full of historic landmarks, beautiful parks, and bustling shopping districts. There are plenty of things to see and do in London, whether you’re looking for art or architecture, food or fashion.
You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to visit London. In fact, you can enjoy the city for less than $1,200 per person. These budget tips for enjoying 6 days in London include flights, entertainment, and even meals.
Save Money Booking Your Flights to London
If you want to save money booking your flights to London, then you can sign up for newsletters like Scotts Cheap Flights that alerts you to flight deals.
When I booked my flight to London in the summer of 2019, I did it with a Scotts Cheap Flight Alert, I paid about $450 round trip.
Alternatively, you could also consider using tools like Skyscanner which searches hundreds of travel sites to find the best prices from all airlines flying to London.
Cheap Accommodation in London (that aren’t hostels)
There are tons of accommodation options in London, but if you’re like me and not interested in sharing a room at a hostel, then look to the many colleges located in London. Staying at college dorms was a tip I picked up from Rick Stevens London.
I stayed at the London School of Economics Passfield Hall for 6 nights, and it only cost me $270 USD. I had my own private room with a sink. The bathroom was communal with stalls for toilets and showers. And there was a common kitchen where you could cook and store food if you wanted.
There was even free breakfast available every morning. Meaning I only had to pay for lunch, dinner, and snacks.
Budget-Friendly Attractions in London
Fortunately, there are tons of free attractions and things to do around London. From observing the changing of the guard at Buckingham palace to tons of museums (they ask for a donation, but it’s not required), you can spend as little or as much as you want and still do a lot.
Here are some of the free popular attractions I enjoyed:
- National Gallery
- National Portrait Gallery
- British Library
- Victoria and Albert Museum
- St. Pauls Church
- The Old Baily (the legal nerd in me couldn’t resist)
- Trafalgar Square
- Kings Cross station (especially if you’re a Harry Potter fan)
Though I would highly recommend the following paid attractions:
- Thames River Cruise (price varies, there are lots of options)
- Tower Bridge (approx. $15)
- Tower of London (though you’ll need to stand in line to see the crown jewels) (approx. $35)
- Buckingham Palace tour (only available in August/September, approx. $40)
You can also see some incredible theater shows for very little. Many shows will offer cheap same day tickets or a limited number of standing-only tickets available first come first serve. I got to see Phoebe Waller-Bridge perform Fleabag and it only cost me 10 pounds!
Though it did require getting up a bit early and standing in line, I was unsuccessful my first attempt but got there early enough in the morning to get a ticket the second time I tried. Once I had my ticket, I went about my day visiting the national gallery.
Getting Around London on a Budget
Public transit is very affordable in London, so you won’t need to pay a ton to get around. Since I was there for a week, I got a 7-day travel card for about $40, I never once paid for a taxi. London is also just a beautiful city to walk in, so consider walking an option too.
Total Spent for a Week in London
As you can see you can absolutely keep costs down without sacrificing on an incredible London experience. Here is what I spent:
Airfare = $450
Accommodations = $275
Entertainment = $120
Transportation = $40
Total = $885
Add in meals for lunch and dinner as well as a bit of shopping, and I still spent under $1,200.
Frequently Asked Questions
Still have some questions about visiting London on a budget? We’ve answered the most common questions below.
How much should you save for a trip to London
With so many options available, it’s easy to rack up big travel costs. But if you plan ahead, you can find cheap flights, hotels, and tours. For example, I found roundtrip flights from San Francisco to London for under $500.
How much spending money do you need per day in London
I recommend spending between £30 and £70 per day if you want to experience the best of what London has to offer. This will allow you to eat at restaurants, shop, explore attractions, and enjoy the city.
What is the cheapest way to get around London
The Underground, also known as the Tube is the cheapest and easiest way to get around London. A single ticket costs just $5.50, but if you plan ahead you can save money by buying tickets online.
If you want to travel further, you can take advantage of the Oyster card system, which allows you to tap on and off at all major transport hubs across London. This means you won’t need to worry about finding change or having enough cash on hand.
Is the British Museum free?
Yes! The British Museum has one of the most extensive collections of ancient artifacts anywhere in the world. It’s easy to spend hours here exploring exhibits from around the globe. While it is free, they do ask for a small donation that is optional.
What are the best ways to go sightseeing in London for a small budget
If you only have a few days to explore London, here are some great options for seeing the sights at a reasonable price:
• Visit the British Museum for free every day from 10am–5pm.
• Take a walking tour of Central London for £12 (about $16).
Can I have a vacation in London on a budget?
Absolutely, if you want to save money on your trip, consider staying at one of the many college dorms (usually only available in the summer) or hostels around town. Hostels typically offer dorm beds for under $50 per night, making them a great option if you’re traveling solo. They often provide free breakfast, too.
What should I visit or do when visiting London?
If you want to explore London’s history, culture, and architecture, then you should definitely add the Tower Bridge, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, St Paul’s Cathedral, and the British Museum to your list.
For fun, try going to one of the many live music venues in London. Or if you prefer to stay indoors, check out the National Gallery, Tate Modern, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, and the Royal Academy of Arts.
London is a vibrant city and while it can be an expensive city to visit it doesn’t have to be. With these budget tips, you’ll be able to enjoy the city’s amazing museums, monuments, and galleries without breaking the bank.